Since my discussion on monogamy, I have realized that most of you think that cheating is wrong and monogamy is the only way to go (unless, of course, you have an agreement with your partner to be open).
I would define cheating as sexual stimulation, whether it be oral or just plain out intercourse, by someone other than your partner. Some say that watching pornography is cheating. I guess I can understand that, in some cases, porn could cause a partner to fantasize more about the women/men in the videos and find themselves less attracted to their partner.
My question to all of you is:
What do you define as cheating? And, more importantly, Is pornography cheating (especially if the spouse doesn't approve of it)?
It seems like the definition of cheating is either entirely subjective or mutually agreed upon between partners. When it comes to sexuality I find that I take the Satanist standpoint of "sexual freedom", so I tend to be more wary when emotions get involved. I have cheated on my partner before, and admitted to doing it followed by--surprisingly enough--a well received explanation of why and what it means to me.
The basic idea is that--and I know this is kind of getting off the real topic of pornography, but I'm getting to that so just bear with me--sex does not, for me, register as being something emotional. For me sex is something that just comes naturally between people. I'd even go so far as to say that it is something I consider beautiful in an artistic sense--only with certain people of course--, but I think it's kind of absurd that it as been so romanticized.
Pornography is even less romantic than sex and involves even less--if any--emotional stimulation, so naturally, for me, pornography is benign.
Wow, Becky, this thread just keeps going and going and going. Are you even still following it?
I ask. What if one partner in a relationship withholds sex and/or affection for an extended period of time, say months or years. Isn't that a kind of "cheating" itself? Would this justify cheating or seeking an outside relationship?
Lee, Thanks for your opinion.
It was purely a hypothetical question. Though I have known quite a few people that have and probably still are suffering in long and prominantly sexless marriages where the withholding partner forbids viewing pornography. Knowing a little about computers I've had a few frantic calls asking how to erase their browsing history before the wife gets home.
Thinking back I've noticed that for most people getting caught with porn usually only merits a week or two in the "doghouse" whereas getting caught with another woman would probably end the relationship.
Evidence that if pornography is still "cheating" it's usually viewed as a lesser crime than a physical extra-marital relationship. I expect the verosity of the couples religious beliefs, however, would have an effect on the outcome. What with the stuff about lusting in your heart and all.
Your hypothetical question appears to assume a lack of bedroom action is the cause of the relationship problems and the "thing" to blame or point to as justification.
Sexual problems in relationships are rarely just about sex. It's usually a symptom of an even deeper issue. When someone no longer has the desire to meet their partner's physical needs, it's often because their own emotional needs are not being met. Likewise, sometimes people who are not having their sexual needs met withhold emotional intimacy and it becomes a vicious cycle. If a partner withholds emotional intimacy or support for years, is that kind of "cheating"? People don't usually lose their libido or withhold sex on purpose. Most people want a relationship that is both emotionally and sexually fulfilling.
Regardless, I could never see withholding either as justification for cheating. If I found myself in that situation, I would either work to fix the underlying issues or move on. I would hope my partner would do the same rather than cheat.
As an atheist I think the point is moot. To enter into a covenant with another person, promising to be monogamous, is in itself a no win situation. It is only through religious doctrine and civil law that people are pressed into lying and pretending that they will never cheat, literally, or as Jimmy Carter put it, in our hearts. Porn is just another form of entertainment. It only becomes something else when we break out the lotion and the towel, then lock the door. Is it cheating then? No. I don't remember, in any of the weddings I either participated in or merely attended, the celebrants promising never to choke the chicken or misuse a back massager. If I had a spouse who had a problem with porn then I should have known that going into the union. That spouse would have to go if she could not accept my sexual proclivities.