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)?
do you really believe that desires, when nurtured and dwelled over - don't eventually lead to actions?
I believe that the way in which you handle these desires decides how it affects you personally and your relationship. I think that we both agree that repressing those desires out of hand is not healthy, I also believe however that it is not necessarily bad to fantasize and dream more then just the initial thought of "wow, she's hot".
When it becomes obsessive is where I would draw the line, personally I am not uncomfortable thinking about sex in relation to other women and I am not obsessed by it so I'm not that worried about it.
maybe i draw the line even further than porn - thinking of another person other than my partner - sexually.
I think that it's odd that you are somehow uncomfortable about fantasizing about sexual desires with other people, to me it seems as though you believe that your relationship requires you to be faithful in your mind as well, am I correct in assuming this?
"thinking" is not the initial occurring thought- rather it's the active choice to continue with it.
Fantasizing can provide pleasure and inspiration for my own sex life (in reality) sometimes I "go with the flow" of a desire, sometimes I don't. It really depends on how I feel, what I am doing and how aroused I am at that moment. I try not to get aroused on funerals for instance, because it affects me negatively, but I'll definitely enjoy my dirty mind when I'm on the beach for the first time of the summer.
i don't feel like i'm repressing anything. my sexual desires definitely have their outlet.
That's odd, because I feel like I'm sometimes repressing sexual desires (because it simply isn't the time or place for it) yet I also indulge in my sexual desires as well.
what we sometimes consider as freedom is actually enslavement to our instincts.
Sexual desires can be both enslaving and liberating, it's all about context. I embrace my "animal" instinct because I am an animal and I know that blocking certain desires does nothing to change the fact that I have those desires. I embrace them but not without critically analyzing them for what they are: pleasure or problem (which depends on context).
I harness my animal instincts just as much now as when I was single, and I enjoy my desires just as much. Having a girlfriend doesn't change who I am, or what I am (an animal) so to be happy and to live a fulfilling live I'll have to balance the necessities of my survival and prosperity with the pleasure and problems that my sexual desires can cause.
I can't help but feel as if you are somehow ashamed of these thoughts and desires that you have, did you change the way you handle your sexual desires since you're in a relationship?
i do believe that faithfullness starts in the mind. but as you mentioned sensing that i'm somehow ashmed of my thoughts , it is important to stress that this really isn't the case.
there's a big link in christianity betwen sex and shame, and i feel that's where you're taking the things i said. i'm well aware of the different sides of the male personality, fighting for attention at all times. i know that the sexual libido is a part of that, no use denying, or ignoring it.
when i talk about controlling thoughts i'm not talking about repression, but of overcoming - managing to detach yourself from enslavement to your desires so that you may choose from them at will.
i'm sure you can relate to examples in other fields - not eating the cake - not because you're fighting yourself (which won't last) but becuase you have a bigger goal, and have convinced yourself that after all- it's only cake. not smoking the cigarette becuase you realize that it's your instinct which is going for it- not you. it's learning to look at your desires from above and recognizing them for what they are- passing, momentary, meaningless desires, which should succomb to your will rather than vice versa.
i'm not denying the animal in me, but i recognize that there is MORE to me than the screaming child who wants his toy right now. becuase that's what the ANIMAL is- a child screaming for attention, and as a human being i have the choice of succombing or not.
i admit that i've had my failures over the years, and if i was ashamed of anything- it was being beaten by my inner child. but nobody is perfect 100% of the time.
it's been several years since i thought of these things... thanks for this!
Thanks for taking the time to reply and to color the picture so that I have a better understanding of what you mean!
It seems as though you and me are much closer to each other in opinion then I initially thought.
"when i talk about controlling thoughts i'm not talking about repression, but of overcoming - managing to detach yourself from enslavement to your desires so that you may choose from them at will."
Exactly, sometimes it can add pleasure to your life, sometimes these desires are just a hindrance.
I'm still somewhat surprised of your earlier comment though, that you "draw the line at thinking of another person other than your partner - sexually". I suppose that by "thinking" you mean to say that you really "go with the desire" and fantasize deliberately about having sex with another person.
I'd like to think that the way in which I handle my sexual desires (thoughts) and how I act upon them has not changed since I'm in a relationship and hopefully it will not change if I were to become single in the future. It's just information from a part of who I am and I can easily handle and analyze the data without being emotionally involved.
I don't feel like I'm unfaithful when I fantasize about having sex with another woman then my girlfriend because it's just sex. No matter how perverted my fantasy would be, none of the emotional attachments that I have to my girlfriend are involved, so I don't feel "bad" for having these desires.
My girlfriend is so much more to me then just the sex bit that I'm just not worried about being unfaithful when I know that my relationship with my girlfriend is so much more then "just" sex. If I were to attach sexual desires to another woman it still does not compete with what I have with my girlfriend, there is no contest, nothing to be shameful about and nothing that can be though of as "being unfaithful".
"i'm not denying the animal in me, but i recognize that there is MORE to me than the screaming child who wants his toy right now."
But you didn't took the object of your desire home to do the nasty with her, so you didn't got your toy anyway?
Isn't that an example of where you can indulge in the pleasures of your inner child while not allowing your desires to influence your accomplishments in a negative way by acting on it in any way that is more then just a thought experiment?
I honestly believe that if you are convinced that actively fantasizing about sexual intercourse with another woman is somehow being "unfaithful" in your mind you are missing out because a dirty mind is a joy forever.
if your partner sees porn as cheating, it is your obligation to honor that.
To me that would mean that the contract can be determined by one party, the only obligation I have is to honor the agreement (relationship) itself, I don't have an obligation to honor my partners opinions, only those that we've agreed to build our relationship on, although I do have an obligation to consider her opinions I am not necessarily obliged to honor them.
I would most definitely never end up in a relationship where pornography would be considered cheating, neither would I ever end up in a relationship where looking at other women is considered cheating for that matter
I might look at the menu in other restaurants to see what's for dinner, but I'll eat at home.
on the scale of bad things you can do to your partner, porn is bad, but definitely not as high as having an affair.
I most definitely do not agree. What is wrong with watching two or more people have sex? A dirty mind is a joy forever, the ideas that you get from watching porn can be used in your sex life with your partner. What is it exactly that makes porn bad to do to your partner? I don't see how porn can be intrinsically a bad thing for relationships.
Whenever somebody says that pornography is bad for relationships it really makes me wonder what kind of sick porn people are watching, I feel like I'm missing out on something.
"anyway you'll have to deal with the consequences- whatever they may be."
That is certainly true, whether or not I'm monogamous by nature or not is not at all relevant in my relationship because my girlfriend expects this of me and we agreed to be in an exclusive relationship. My ass would fly out the door if I ever cheated on her, and rightly so.
My mind is however my responsibility and my personal "playground" and I enjoy fantasizing about many things (not just sex), I wouldn't want to infringe upon the "mental" liberties of my girlfriend and neither do I accept an infringement upon my imagination from her.
I'm not perfect and I don't expect perfection from my girlfriend, If you start feeling guilty towards who and what you are you will lose yourself in the relationship, if your partner has expectations to which you can't conform, the relationship is doomed from the start.
It's so incredibly important to be open and to communicate your ideas and expectations openly as to truly know and understand each other, especially controversial subjects. It allows you to better understand your partner and to strengthen the bond that you share. If you don't share, these kind of controversial subjects and the internal conflicts that can arise will eat away at your heart until there's nothing left but a shell of the person that you once were.
I guess we can both agree that all relationships are different and that not everything works for everybody.
"'Cheating', in my view, is anything which breaks your partners' trust"
Although I appreciate your point, you have stretched the meaning of "cheating" far beyond its traditional meaning. Cheating in this context is about violating monogamy. Certainly we do not want to break a trust in a relationship, but "cheating" means specifically violating an exception of exclusivity in a physical sexual relationship.
If your partner sees your enjoyment of porn as cheating then you need to come to an understanding about the meaning of "cheating" and your partner's expectations.
Also, porn is not "bad" if your partner has no problem with your use of it. It is not something you "do to" your partner unless it violates a mutually agreed upon expectation.
I don't know if I agree with your statement that "most of you think that cheating is wrong and monogamy is the only way to go."
I think everyone thinks cheating is wrong. Well, anyone with any semblance of a conscience. If you've agreed with a partner to not be monogamous, then you aren't really cheating. That discussion was more monogamy v polygamy. Cheating is technically a different issue since you can cheat while not necessarily being in a monogamous relationship.
Porn isn't cheating as far as I'm concerned. It can be fun when 'used' by the couple together. If one or other uses it as a replacement to, rather than enhancement of, their intimacy then it's obviously a problem. But still not cheating.
Did you visit the "monogamy" discussion that was posted a few weeks ago? Some people [on T/A] don't agree with sex outside of the relationship, especially if it is behind the partner's back. That is what inspired this thread because I wanted to see what everyone defined as cheating. Porn is a "no no" to christians, so I was wondering how fellow atheists feel about it.
I agree with your statement: "Cheating isn't inherently wrong imo , but it would imply a dishonesty of sorts which I find to be distasteful."
The physical stimulation don't bother me as much as if my partner were to enter an emotional relationship with someone else. That is where I would draw the line. I don't have a problem AT ALL with porn. Nor do I have a problem with him obsessively fantasizing over another woman. These are merely sexual interests, and hopefully he is smart enough to separate the sex (or sexual desires) from any emotions.