5 Min Read
- The Harmful Effects Of Porn
- How Porn Is Similar To Cheating
- You're Saying Porn Is Actually Cheating?
- What To Take Away
- What Readers Think (300+)
Is porn cheating? Or is porn a reasonable choice?
Men looking at porn online, and increasingly women too, has over the years become a more regular and destigmatized activity. But what does that mean for a relationship?
Is porn cheating, or is it a legitimate way to get sexual stimulation without actually cheating?
Before that question can be answered there are a few other questions that need to be asked and answered.
- Are both partners aware that porn is being used in their relationship, or is one partner watching porn in secret?
- If it’s being watched in secret, is that because one partner is opposed to porn and would feel like it’s cheating?
- Do both partners know and accept the negative impact porn can have on their relationship? Most don’t.
The truth is that for most people porn is almost always watched alone and secretly. So, the next question is,
- Does the secrecy make porn cheating?
There are two primary viewpoints when it comes to whether porn is cheating.
- Some argue that since it’s all on a screen and not with a real person it isn’t in the same as an affair.
- Others say that it's sexual pleasure that involves another person outside the relationship so, virtual or not, it’s still cheating.
Before you answer that, let’s look more closely at what porn can do to you and your relationship.
The Harmful Effects Of Porn
Porn seems harmless enough, right?
No one is really getting hurt. People want to make it and you want to watch it. No big deal.
Wrong – it can actually be a very big deal.
Whether you recognize it or not, looking at porn can have extremely negative effects on you and your relationship. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to see that effect until it’s pointed out.
Viewing porn changes how we view sex and what we’re attracted to, which changes the sexual relationship with our current or (future partners).
Here are a couple of ways porn harms us and our partners:
- Porn gives a high that is very addictive, leading to the need to view more and more in order to feel satisfied.
- Women can become especially hurt by their partners watching porn. I regularly hear them say they feel rejected, unattractive, not enough...
- Watching porn can create unreal expectations and when these expectations aren’t met there's disappointment, disconnect and a breakdown in intimacy. Female porn stars are paid to behave as they do on screen – they’re acting out male fantasies and not representative of most normal female behavior in bed.
- Achieving sexual satisfaction with just your partner and without the aid of porn can become difficult. Consider the affect on your partner when they realize they alone aren’t stimulating enough for you, and that you need to look at other women in order to get fully aroused, stay that way, and orgasm.
Many people struggle answering the question, "Is porn cheating?" Ultimately, each person has to decide for themselves.
But if your relationship is suffering because porn has negatively affected it, such as with secrecy and deception, it certainly fits into the ‘that’s a problem’ category if nothing else.
How Porn Is Similar To Cheating
“Okay, but it’s still not really cheating – is it?”
I hear this question quite a bit from couples for whom porn has become a problem.
Well known psychologist Dr. Phil has addressed the subject of porn as cheating many times. Here are his thoughts from the article Is Internet Pornography Cheating? to help you in answering the question for yourself:
Internet pornography is a growing trend that has many people worried about their relationships. Is it cheating? And is it a "normal guy thing"? Here's what Dr. Phil believes [emphasis added]:
- It is not OK behavior. It is a perverse and ridiculous intrusion into your relationship. It is an insult, it is disloyal and it is cheating.
- Consider how it makes your partner feel. If it makes your partner feel ugly, hurt, deceived, lied to or inadequate, then it needs to stop. If it is eroding your relationship, it's gone too far.
- Pornography isn't real, it's a fantasy. It's makeup, beauty lenses, hair extensions, camera angles, lighting and silicone! It's also somebody's daughter who has taken a really, really wrong turn. She's demeaning herself, debasing herself, humiliating herself and she's being exploited by people who are funded by you. It is a sick, demented, twisted world. It's not healthy, it's not natural and it's not normal.
- Viewing internet pornography or engaging in cybersex is a short step to taking cheating to the next level.
- You need to tell your partner that viewing pornography is absolutely, unequivocally unacceptable in your relationship. Draw a line: Your partner needs to choose between the pornography or the relationship.
Ask yourself or your partner:
- Would you do it with your partner standing right there?
- Are you turning outside of your relationship to meet a need that should be met within the relationship? You can't change what you don't acknowledge, so find out if you or your partner have a problem.
- Do you justify the behavior by saying, "It's harmless," "Everyone does it," or "It's just the internet"?
- Does it intrude on your relationship?
And most importantly,
- Which is more important: pornography or your relationship?
You're Saying Porn Is Actually Cheating?
So, now what do you think -- Is porn cheating?
Opinions will vary and that’s understandable.
But be careful not to go to the easiest conclusion and accept many people’s belief that there's nothing wrong with looking at porn.
You’ll need to decide for yourself if porn is normal and how you feel about it as an influence in your relationship.
If you’re a partner, it’s okay to reject it and place it in the cheating category if it makes you feel not attractive enough and betrayed. If this is the case, however, you’ll need to have a frank and open conversation with your partner.
If you’re the one looking at porn, perhaps the biggest determination as to whether porn in cheating is going to be how your partner feels about it. Is your partner hurt when you watch porn? If so, it may not convince you that porn is cheating, but it should be enough for you to make an effort to stop out of respect for them.
What To Take Away
It’s not unusual to need professional assistance in changing your behavior if looking at porn has become a habit you want to stop. This process can also help you learn how to effectively talk to your partner about porn as well.
Porn is a very difficult topic to talk about, especially with your partner. Get the guidance and understanding of an expert in counseling men, who’s experienced in dealing with porn addictions to assist you if you believe porn is cheating and it has become a stumbling block in your relationship.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on July 3, 2012, updated on September 11, 2018, and has been updated again with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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- Why Addiction To Internet Porn Is Such A Big Problem
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- Get More Help with a Porn Addiction