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What is Cheating?
Internet Sex, Fantasies, Watching Porn?

Anyone reading this on our site has to at least be open to looking at sexual health education... but what about porn sites and chat rooms, etc. How do they affect relationships? How far do the boundaries go before you can begin asking yourself if it is a betrayal of your commitment to one another; is it cheating?

The Answer

Everyone feels differently. These are really tough questions that have to be individually defined and as always we encourage you to tune in to your heart and determine if it is right for you. Essentially, it comes down to what you define as 'going too far.'

Lisa Lawless
By Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D.
Psychotherapist & Sexuality Expert

CEO & Founder of
Holistic Wisdom, Inc. & NAASAS

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Take some time to evaluate the situation in an objective manner by thinking about these facts-

Masturbation among men and women who are in committed relationships is not unusual.
Fantasy is very different than actually acting out.
It is a pretty high (and possibly unrealistic or even controlling) expectation to expect that your man or woman should only fantasize about YOU while masturbating. This truly depends on the partnership and each partners preference.
It is common for men to use pictures and women to use sex toys as part of their masturbation.
Men and women with high sex drives, who enjoy sex with their partners, are apt to feel more sexual, not less.

While these facts do not excuse men or women from their obligations to their lovers, it can help you understand that many people use pornography to let off sexual steam or enhance their partnership when used together or shared in their communication about it.

Sex on the Internet may trouble you because you are concerned about living up to the "standard" others are setting. Your moral value system may be called into question and you may wonder whether this crosses an acceptable line. Usually the use of pornography is in no way a reflection of how your partner feels about you or your sex life just as your crush on Ben Affleck or Salma Hayek or the steamy romance novel you are reading doesn't affect your feelings for them.

Important Questions To Ask Yourself

Are they doing something that they won't share with you?
Is your partner spending more time with the Internet than with you?
Are they chatting, corresponding, establishing cyber relationships or even actually meeting other people, and you do not have an previous agreement to an "open relationship" of that type?
Has their use of pornography become chronic and you are upset by it?
Do you have an issue with it and just need your partner to work through your insecurities with it?
Do you and your partner have unresolved trust issues from previous relationships (including ones from childhood) and need to work through those first before you indulge in sexual explorations on the Internet?
Do you have a conflict in moral beliefs about sex that affects whether or not you both can be comfortable with one or both of you seeking out entertainment or educational adult content?

If you find that you have concerns or challenges around this issue with a partner, your best solution is to try to talk about it with them. If you are single, then find a friend you can trust and process it. It is always best to deal with these things directly and work though it.

If you feel that the issues are too complex, confusing, deep or you can not agree with your partner on what is right for the health of your relationship, you may want to speak with with a therapist. They can help you both understand the situation and work toward goals that will empower both of you to get your needs met while working through any inhibitions or painful wounds.

No matter your decision about this for yourself or for your relationship, taking the time to examine these matters can be an enlightening way for you to be a better partner and more nurturing to yourself.

Also see our related article -
Vibrators are for Women... as Porn is for Men


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