Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sex and Scams

by Soraya

The following article contains adult content and is intended for our readers aged 18 and older

The scam's impact on our sexuality is one of the most uncomfortable parts of the scam to talk about or even admit to ourselves, but it can also be one of the scariest and most painful ways a scam causes damage. Each person is different, but in general there are three ways a scam can wreck havoc on that part of our lives.

You Believe You Had Cybersex with the Scammer

The issue of cybersex during a scam is discussed in detail in the July 6, 2013 article "Cybersex During a Scam." This article is located on our blog under its publication date.  You may access it quickly by clicking on the "cyber sex" label under this article. When you click on this label, the article you are reading now, and the detailed article about cybersex will appear on the screen.

The most important thing to remember about cybersex, or even intense flirting or playful, joking banter, flashing, or sending suggestive links, is that any type of sexual teasing, seemingly sexy flirting, or cybersex engaged in during the scam was not a form of online sex or flirting, but a form of online sexual assault or harassment. You never consented to the sexual talk or activity because you never consented to that type of talk or activity with the person you were actually talking to. Tricking someone into sexual talk or activity they would not want is a form of sexual abuse. The scammer did not seduce you, they abused you. This may be difficult to remember, but it is important to keep in mind when embarrassment, guilt, or fear creeps into your mind.

You Find Yourself Still Daydreaming About the Person in the Photos The Scammer Claimed Were of Them and/or the Explicit Stories They Told or Tricked You Into Sharing

First, try to determine the source of the detail you keep thinking about.

In many cases, you will realize the detail was stolen from a complete stranger . (If the detail is a photo, video, or appearance description, it was almost always stolen at random from a web site, book, television show, or a previous victim.) When you find your mind drifting back to these, remember that you are not thinking about the person you thought you were talking to or about the scammer. You are thinking about a random person's appearance or writings. It is no different than if you came across these descriptions or pictures during an intentional web search for adult materials, on accident, from a non explicit television show or book, or any other way a person can find images or stories. While you can't just command yourself to stop finding someone attractive, or a scenario appealing, it is important to get rid of all photos, stories, and other tangible things the scammer sent you. This should be done as part of a complete purging of ALL things from the scammer, sexual or otherwise.

Avoid trying to find the real person in the photos or videos, or the real writer of the explicit scene with the goal of hooking up with that person. Most stolen stories, pictures, and videos come from sites run by online strippers known as "web cam girls," erotic story web sites, pornography sites, or boudoir photography web sites. People who perform on or write for explicit web sites are not interested in finding a girlfriend or boyfriend through the site. It's a job or a hobby for them and they likely already have a completely separate offline life. You may find the materials are from someone who simply didn't set their privacy settings high enough on a Facebook page or Google plus album, or who did nothing more than submit a story to an erotica writing contest or allow their boudoir pictures to serve as samples. These people are also not going to welcome a flirtatious note from you. They also have their own lives and had absolutely nothing to do with the scam. It is no more reasonable to think they would want to start dating you or hook up with you than it would be reasonable to assume the owner of a stolen wallet that you found thrown on the sidewalk is going to want you to ask them out.

When these things start to upset you, try visualizing a big stamp that reads "random image" or "submitted story" and picture a big hand stamping those words over all of the photo or the scene.

As you look back over this part of the scam, you will realize that other details were parroted from you. As the scammer tricked you into sharing these immensely personal details by pretending to be someone else, they were taking note of them and weaving them in to their scam. The way to heal from guilt and shame over these types of details is to take them back from the scammer. Ask yourself who was in these fantasy scenarios before the fake persona the scammer put in your head and put that person back in there. You never have to tell anyone else who it is or worry about whether or not it is appropriate or realistic. It is all happening in your own mind. Whenever you find your fantasies drifting to something from the scam, gently bring them back to your real wishes. Let's look at the PG rated portion of a fantasy as an example. Suppose you find your mind drifting back to a scene of you and the scammer walking along the beach on a romantic date. You have sat back and thought about this picture, and realized the scammer parrotted that back at you. It was originally your dream date with Adam Levine or Katy Perry. Stop associating it with the scammer by taking a deep breath and saying, either in your thoughts alone or out loud if you are in private "That's my dream date with Adam Levine/Katy Perry" and mentally cut the scammer image out, putting Adam/Katy (or whoever it was really about for you) back in.

Your Sexual Behavior Following the Scam Upsets or Scares You or Someone Close to You

Some people go wild after the discovery of a scam. They want to go out more than ever, love nothing more than being hit on, hook up with as many people as possible, and flirt with absolutely everyone they find physically attractive. They may be "playing the field" or they might be in a hurry to find a real boyfriend or girlfriend, or both. Regardless of the specifics of the behavior, the underlying goal seems to be to prove that there are real men or women out there who will truly find them attractive. There is nothing wrong with being wild if that's who you really are, but if this is out of character for you or you find yourself using other people or making your friends think you're going to go off with a serial killer, it may be time to take a step back. Take a moment and ask yourself if what you are about to do is safe. Then ask yourself if what you are about to do would cause physical or emotional harm to the other person. Getting into a car and going off alone with a stranger you just picked up at a bar might sound fun, but it is also very unsafe. Telling someone you want to date them when you really only want a purely sexual relationship and are planning to dump them soon might feel clever, but it could hurt that person emotionally. Adults are permitted to do anything they want as long as everyone else involved is a consenting adult, and your choices are your own to make. Just stop, step back, and take a moment to think things through anytime you are in doubt.

Other people turn away from anything sexual following a scam. They don't want to date, hook up, or even flirt. Some do not even want to keep up their appearance or have same sex friends compliment them and tell them they wish they had their hair or figure or ability to attract women (or men). It is perfectly okay to back away from this part of life for a while if you need to. This is one reason we remind those who join our web site as chatters, yahoo group members, or both that the "Scams of the Heart" web sites are not there to serve as an online dating service or hook up lounge. Some people have to return gradually to that part of life, and have the right to do so at their own pace. If you feel ready to restore that part of you, it might be a good idea to take small steps. Begin watching television shows or movies with your celebrity crushes in them, take a day and fix up your appearance if you've been neglecting it, or just take a walk around the park or mall and start noticing people again.

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