I was a member of a Christian online dating site last year and met a wonderful godly man. We exchanged emails and talked via Skype every day and night for two months. We were planning to meet, but before it happened, one day during our Skype conversation, he started to say things that stirred up our emotions. We ended up climaxing over Skype.
I felt so guilty. I've never done such a thing, but he didn't seem upset by it. He said this was natural, but later because I could not go on, we prayed together and asked forgiveness from God and each other.
Is telephone sex still sex or not? By the way, he stopped contacting me after a while. So sad.
Dear Reader, I'm shocked and saddened by your letter, but I'm not surprised. Your letter was hard to read. I'm grieved by your sin because it separates you from God. I'm saddened by the reminder that our enemy has made sexual sin so cut-off from relationship that we're not even sure it is sex. And I'm emboldened to answer because the convenience of the internet and the prevalence of online dating coupled with the ubiquity of high-speed Internet convinces me that you're not the only one doing this.
First a few observations: You describe the man you met online as wonderful and godly. His behavior — leading you into sexual sin, defending that sin as natural, then leaving you after getting what he was after — is neither wonderful, nor godly. Scripture is clear that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. (More on that in a minute.) It's more accurate to say you met a man whom you thought was wonderful and godly. Sadly, it's a lot easier to mislead and be misled about things like character and commitment to Christ when your only contact is online. That's even more true and likely when the relationship progresses quickly and without any accountability or input from people you know in real life. Just because a matching site has "Christian" in the title is no guarantee that it will only supply Christian leads and only lead to God-honoring relationships. You must be on your guard and measure everything, and everyone, against Scripture. It is our standard.
Your sin is shocking. But for anyone who knows what the Bible says about sin, it isn't surprising. God tells us that "no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man" (1 Corinthians 10:13a). Earlier in that same book, a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul describes his audience: the sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, swindlers. He says of them, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived … [these categories of sinners] will not inherit the kingdom of God." But he doesn't end there. With great relief we read, "And such were some of you." What changed to turn these sinners who would have no part in God's kingdom into members of the early church? Paul says, "But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (6:9-11).
And so we are to flee sexual immorality, to run away from it the way Joseph ran away from Potiphar's wife (Genesis 39), because it defiles us body and soul. Paul says that for those in Christ, sexual sin is like uniting Christ with a prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:15-20).
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, 'The two will become one flesh.' But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
You asked if what you did is sex. It is sexual activity, and while obviously it is not intercourse, it is sex. Even more importantly, it is sexual sin. God designed marriage to be the proper and only boundary for sexual expression. (That's not to say any and every form of sexual expression, as long as it happens within marriage, is sanctioned by God. It is possible to sin sexually with your spouse. But that's a whole other topic for another day.) Your question — "is it sex?" — once answered should immediately lead to another. You should ask with Paul: "Wretched [wo]man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24).
The reason I rejoice to answer your question is that God's solution for our worst sins is sufficient. The Gospel is "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16a). Romans 5:8-9 says, "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God."
How can we, whose sin leaves all deserving of the wrath of God, be saved? Romans 10:9-13 says,
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.' For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
This is the day of repentance. Acts 17:30-31 tells us, "The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
I pray that you will confess your sin and turn away from it toward the God of mercy and grace, and that by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will overflow with love for Him and from that abundance, obey His commands as you grow in maturity and are changed to be more like Him. He alone is our hope and source of rescue.
I pray it in the only name that saves, Jesus Christ.
For His Glory,
Copyright 2012 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.