Sex, Christians and the Internet

An academic researcher asks you to share your opinions on religion, sex and online communication


Is it always wrong for unmarried people to have sex? Do you think sex toys are acceptable for use within marriage? Is it ever OK to use contraception?

Do I have your attention now?

For more than five years the Pure Sex, Pure Love column has asked Busted Halo readers for opinions about the intersection between faith and decisions about love and sex. When I met Kelsy Burke, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh who is writing her doctoral dissertation on Christians, the internet and discussions of sex, I was thrilled that someone in the academy was taking these conversations of faith and sexuality as seriously as I do. I immediately began thinking about how she and I could team up to share her research with the Busted Halo community, and after a few months of collaborative discussions, we’ve figured it out:

Are you interested in sharing your opinions on religion and sex, and online communication about these issues? If so, keep reading to learn how you can participate in this valuable research. Kelsy will be using this data for her doctoral research, and in a future column I’ll share the Busted Halo survey answers so we can discuss the implications for young adult Catholic dating and married life.

Kelsy is a friend of mine and is doing a great service by putting together such a thorough and hard-hitting list of questions on sex, religion and the Internet. I hope you will participate in this survey and I look forward to sharing the data right here on BustedHalo later this year.

Hello Busted Halo readers!

My name is Kelsy Burke and I am a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. I am conducting research that explores how Christians use the Internet to talk about issues related to sexuality. If you are 18 years or older, I’d like to ask you to participate in my study by completing two online questionnaires.

You don’t need to disclose your real name, and no identifying information will be recorded. Your participation is completely confidential and after you submit your responses, they are stored securely offline. There are no risks or benefits for participating in this study.

Here are the details:

[Thanks to everyone who answered these surveys! They are now closed. Kelsy is no longer requesting participation for this study.]

  • The first questionnaire will take you about 15 minutes to complete and will ask you basic demographic questions (e.g. age, race, marital status, education). It will also ask you questions about your religious affiliation and participation, Internet use, sexual practices (like whether or not you’re sexually active), and sexual attitudes (like what kinds of sex acts you consider to be wrong).
  • The second questionnaire will take you between 15 and 30 minutes to complete and will ask you to read a hypothetical scenario that describes a Christian couple’s conflict over an intimate issue. It then asks a series of questions about your response to the couple’s approach in solving their conflict.

If you are interested in participating in my study, here’s the link to the first questionnaire. In order to access it, you’ll need to enter the access code: bustedhalo.

After completing the first questionnaire, follow this link to the second questionnaire. In order to access it, you’ll need to enter the access code: bustedhalo2.

* * * * *

I would also like to conduct one-on-one online interviews with 15 Busted Halo readers who complete both questionnaires. If you participate in an online interview, you will be compensated in the form of a $10 gift certificate.

This interview will last between 30 minutes and one hour and will take place on a secure instant messaging forum that is accessible with a password on my website. I will ask you a series of open-ended questions about how you use the Internet to find resources about sexuality and a few questions about your beliefs about sexuality and your religious faith.

If you are interested in participating in an online interview, please email me at or contact me via my website after completing both online questionnaires.

I’ll look forward to hearing from you!


This research study is being conducted by Kelsy Burke, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. It has been approved by the University of Pittsburgh Institutional Review Board and is being overseen by Distinguished Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh, Kathleen Blee. For more information about Kelsy, check out her website,