Young People Ask . . .
What’s So Wrong With Telephone Sex?
“PHONE SEX,” according to one well-known American magazine, “has replaced the love letter as the preferred means of romantic communication for couples who find themselves apart.”
What is phone sex? It involves talking about or listening to explicit erotic matters on the phone.* Those engaging in the practice often masturbate to relieve their arousal. Whether the obscene talk takes place between courting couples or between strangers, phone sex is alarmingly popular. In fact, some are openly advocating it.
“It’s the safest sex you can have,” claims one woman. Apparently, quite a few agree with her. For instance, in October 2000, in response to an increase in HIV infections, a group of Russian health experts took out newspaper advertisements to promote telephone sex.
Other people, however, are promoting telephone sex strictly for profit. Phone sex services—where people pay to hear obscenities—have become a billion-dollar industry in the United States alone.
Just why has this practice become so popular? The book The Fantasy Factory puts it this way: “Intimate physical and emotional contact is dangerous. There are physical risks of sexually transmitted disease, personal/professional risk of exposure, fear of judgment and the repercussions of ‘abnormal’ desire. Phone sex subverts the risk.”
Granted, phone sex doesn’t involve physical contact with another person. But does this mean that there is nothing wrong with it or that there are no dangers or risks at all?
Is Telephone Sex Harmless?
Sexual desire is especially strong during youth. The Bible calls this period when sexual desires are at their peak “the bloom of youth.” (1 Corinthians 7:36) During this crucial time in life, a Christian youth should learn to “get possession of his own vessel in sanctification and honor.” (1 Thessalonians 4:4) That is, you must learn how to cope with and control your sexual feelings. This is crucial to having a healthy, balanced view of sex.
Telephone sex, however, teaches one to indulge, rather than control, one’s sexual impulses. More than that, it promotes a degrading, distorted view of the opposite sex. The Bible teaches that sexual intimacies should be enjoyed only within the framework of marriage. (Hebrews 13:4) But phone sex encourages young ones to experience sexual pleasures outside marriage. The Bible teaches that real happiness comes from giving—not getting. (Acts 20:35) But phone sex teaches one to use others as a means for selfish gratification. The Bible teaches married couples to develop true intimacy by cultivating mutual love and trust. (Ephesians 5:22, 33) Telephone sex, however, promotes coldness and anonymity.
A Harmful Addiction
Ancient Corinth was renowned as a city of immoral vices. With good reason, then, the apostle Paul wrote to Christians there: “I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) Telephone sex is one of the means that Satan the Devil is using to corrupt young ones today.
For some youths, calling telephone sex lines has become an uncontrollable addiction. One young man we’ll call Jim demonstrates just how “hooked” some can become. Jim saw the number for a telephone sex line on a billboard advertisement. He memorized the number and later called it out of curiosity. The calls to the line became more and more frequent. Before long, he had racked up a $600 phone bill!
Stimulating sexual desires while you are still unmarried runs counter to the counsel of God’s Word. It urges: “Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, sexual appetite.”—Colossians 3:5.
The Dangers in Courtship
What about young adults who are engaged in a serious courtship? Of course, it is only natural for people who are in love to want to express their feelings toward each other. Back in Bible times, one God-fearing young woman said regarding her fiancé: “I am my dear one’s, and toward me is his craving.” (Song of Solomon 7:10) As the wedding day approaches, it is right and proper that an engaged couple discuss certain intimate matters. However, is phone sex a safe way to express romantic feelings?
No. Even engaged couples are obliged to follow the counsel of the apostle Paul: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people; neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks. For you know this, recognizing it for yourselves, that no fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.”—Ephesians 5:3-5; Colossians 3:8.
Intimate talk that deliberately arouses immoral thoughts or that triggers masturbation is obviously unclean in Jehovah’s eyes. And it could lead to even more serious violations of godly principles. One couple, for example, were enjoying a long-distance courtship. At first, they used their frequent telephone conversations as a means of getting to know each other. Before long, however, they began discussing immoral topics. Their conversations became increasingly explicit. It is not surprising, then, that when their circumstances finally allowed them to be together, they quickly fell into unclean behavior.
Surely, we who want to please God will do our utmost to avoid falling into the trap of telephone sex. How can we be successful in doing so?
‘Pummel Your Body’
Telephone sex can become addictive. We need to ‘pummel our body and lead it as a slave’ in order to meet Jehovah’s approval. (1 Corinthians 9:27) If you are currently engaging in telephone sex, why not get some help? Telling your Christian parents would be a good start. Yes, they may well be upset with you. But they may also be in the best position to help monitor your behavior so that you don’t have a relapse. The elders in your local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses will also be willing and able to help out.
If you are courting, be determined to remain chaste, even when talking on the phone. An engaged Christian woman named Leticia says: “My fiancé and I have read together Bible-based articles on staying chaste. We appreciate the way they have helped us maintain a clean conscience.” Have the courage to change the topic if your talk becomes suggestive. Consult together about the need to keep your conversations clean.
In some lands, advertisements for telephone sex are featured on television late at night. Perhaps it would be best for you simply to avoid watching late-night TV. Since masturbation will similarly arouse, rather than deaden, immoral thoughts, it is vital that you avoid this unclean practice.* You can successfully expel unclean thoughts from your mind by dwelling on upright things. (Philippians 4:8) Surround yourself with friends who use wholesome speech, and read God’s Word and Christian publications daily to fortify your resolve. In this way you will not allow room for immoral fantasies to creep in and corrupt your thinking. Most important, pray to God for help. The apostle Peter wrote: “Throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.”—1 Peter 5:6, 7.
“The pressure on young ones to get involved in illicit sex is very great,” says a young Christian girl from Brazil. However, Jehovah knows the challenges you face. Be assured that he will give you all the help you need to stay clean in his eyes.—Ephesians 6:14-18.
A similar vice, sometimes called cybersex, involves erotic discussions in Internet chat rooms.
For suggestions on how to overcome masturbation, see the book Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work, pages 198-211, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Pictures on page 20, 21]
Both telephone sex and cybersex are gaining popularity
[Pictures on page 20, 21]
Courting couples must beware that their talk does not become unclean
[Picture on page 22]
Reading God’s Word and Christian publications can strengthen your resolve to remain chaste