Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sexting, Bodies and Personhood

In a Christian Voice article last month on sexting, I drew attention to the fact that women are sexting more than men. On one level this is surprising, since sexting makes women more vulnerable. After all, a man who has no scruples when it comes to receiving or asking for explicit pictures is probably going to have no scruples when it comes to forwarding those pictures to his mates. A woman who engages in sexting thus sets herself up for the worst sort of public exploitation and is forever under the power of the man she trusted.

But in another sense, sexting makes women less vulnerable, because a girl can experience the excitement of giving her body to a man without ever having to do business with him as an embodied person, without having to approach him in all her vulnerability, fragility and humanness. For many women, this is precisely the appeal of sexting. Sexting is thus seen as liberating sex from the problem that has dogged it from the beginning, namely having to deal with real people. An article in Sans Magazine was exuberant about sexting’s potential to free sexual relationships from the constraints that come with physical presence:
No longer do we actually have to commit to a single task of actually physically undressing, warming up our partner and then engaging in the carnal act of intercourse…. Plus, we don’t ever have to actually see the person.
This quote demonstrates how sexting is the culmination of the dehumanizing principles behind the sexual revolution. The promise of the sexual revolution was that intimacy could be fulfilling outside the obligations of marriage, a promise that researchers have now discovered to be false. The lie of the 21st century is that sex can be fulfilling without actual intimacy. This too will be found to be a lie. In the meantime, the problem is that by coupling sexual pathologies with extremely addictive digital technologies, that brain is being rewired to think differently about sex, relationships and what it means to be human.

Read more here.
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