Is porn cheating?

Q: I caught my husband trying to have a live chat with a porn star. He told me that he was not trying to do anything and that I have nothing to worry about. What should I do?–Jealous

Dear Jealous:

Before I could answer your question, some research was in order. I didn’t know what a live chat with a porn star actually entailed, so I typed “porn live chat” into Google. The first site that came up had a URL that I could not say out loud in front of my daughter. All I can say is this: thank the Lord I do not work in an office. The research I do for this blog would get me fired.

Anyway, I found a button called “live chat” that took me to a page that showed a woman sitting in front of her web cam. She was clothed, for the most part, and she was doing nothing that was particularly interesting other than holding onto her foot and rolling her eyes.

I could chat with this woman for free, so I sent her a message that said, “Wow. You are hot.” Why not? I figured I do my best to allow her to feel good about herself.

She didn’t message back. In order to get her to do something-say to take off her shirt or smile-I would have had to fork over some credit card digits. We’re on a budget here (aren’t we all?), so I didn’t do that. From what I could gather, though, I could easily part with a large sum of money, all just to see my new friend Jasmin dance and strip in front of her web cam while I typed messages like “oh baby, that’s the way I like it.”

Now that I understand exactly what a live chat is, I agree with your husband to some extent. He’s not ever going to leave you or cheat on you with Ms. I Strip for Money because Ms. I Strip for Money wants nothing to do with him. She’s as shallow as it gets. She doesn’t want a relationship. She just wants him to hand over the money. That’s it.

But, you may wonder: Is there something inherently dirty, gross and downright disrespectful of your husband to want to chat with naked, gyrating women online? I was on the fence about that question, so I rode my bike to the coffee shop that my husband and I own and asked a few random male customers what they thought.

One man told me that he would never, ever, in a million years talk to a naked woman online when he could, instead, be talking to his naked girlfriend in real life. But he also admitted that, even if he had no access to a naked real life girlfriend, he probably wouldn’t look into getting a fake virtual one, either. He’s just not that type of guy.

Another man said, “It seems like that woman’s husband is wasting a lot of energy and time that he could be putting into improving his marriage.”

(I swear that real men really did say this. I didn’t really ask women and then pretend that the answers came from men.)

I thought he made a good point. You and your husband have some issues to discuss. I recommend sitting down together some night when you are both calm and talking about the following questions:

1.    Where do you draw the line with monogamy? Exactly what does and does not constitute cheating as far as you are concerned?

2.    Are you connecting sexually with each other? Does either one of you feel unfulfilled sexually?

3.    Are you connecting romantically? Does either one of you feel unfulfilled romantically?

4.    Has your sex life gotten stale? Are there things you should be doing to spice things up?

5.    Do you feel inadequate about your ability to please your partner sexually? If so, what would make you feel more confident?

6.    When and why do you feel jealous? What sets off these feelings? How can you work together so you both feel more secure?

7.    What place does porn and masturbation have in your marriage? If you feel uneasy about either, what about it makes you feel uneasy? If you are a proponent of either, what about it do you enjoy?

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Be open minded. Your goal is not to talk your partner into adopting your point of view. No, your goal is to understand your partner and for him to understand you. Once you understand each other on a deeper level, you can work on coming up with a porn compromise. For instance, you might decide that it’s okay for your husband to look at online porn and to chat up a hottie or two, but only when you are sitting right there next to him.

25 comments… add one

  • Mrs. Micah June 23, 2009, 10:57 am

    Any form of interaction in porn skeeves me a lot more than just plain old watching it. Even if the woman isn’t really interested in him and is online, it’s still on the level of lap dancing for me. There’s an interactive quality that I don’t like.

    I don’t know if I’d consider watching regular porn videos to be cheating, but anything with interaction (and my not being around) is something I’d put my foot down on. I doubt my husband would be interested in this sort of chat anyway, but if he was then I’d want to talk about it and work it into something we do together.

    Reply
  • Jason June 23, 2009, 11:10 am

    I gotta go w/a vote against the interactive thing. Scenes of Glenn Close and rabbit stew go through my head. If it just involves non-interactive forms of media, I’d say it should be a known part of the marriage. This sort of thing needs to be “out there”, otherwise questions linger in the relationship if “discovered”.

    Reply
  • Holly Page June 23, 2009, 2:06 pm

    These are great questions to ask oneself before entering into the great porn debate. Porn makes a lot of women uneasy, but it’s important to understand why it makes you uncomfortable before you go on the offensive.

    For some additional strategies for how to talk about porn with your husband, here’s another resource: http://www.whoopieschool.com/blog/couple-sex/the-great-porn-debate.

    Great post!

    Reply
  • A Clarke June 23, 2009, 8:01 pm

    I find it telling that he did this at a time he likely knew he would be discovered. Some would call it a cry for help. What type of help is another question entirely. Personally I know of no one in this economy who could justify this behavior. Are all your loans paid off. Is he regularly adding to your retirement fund? Is he adding more than he spends on online porn? If not, then you and he are not his priority. Find out how much he’s been spending online and for how long. He may even be startled by how quickly each seemingly small transaction can build into a substantial sum. Justify it against your own pay scale or penny pinching and think about the long term ramifications. How many hours extra would you have to work to cover the bill? Think of the things you could have done to improve both your lives had you not been at work all those hours. Marriage is after all a partnership. If he truly didn’t want to be caught in the act then is he always so clumsy. What have the children seen Daddy doing? If not yet, then when?

    Reply
  • Gerald Weber June 23, 2009, 8:07 pm

    When I first read the headline I thought to myself, porn is innocent enough. Well for the most part. I think that when you get into the interactive live chat porn star thing, regardless of how shallow the woman on the other end is, this still seems to be crossing a line just a bit. That’s just me I’m sure this is a subject that is very debatable but that’s my 2 cents. ;-)

    Reply
  • Tracy June 23, 2009, 9:02 pm

    I read a book this weekend, “The Brain That Changes Itself” that talked about how porn can affect a person’s relationship with their significant other by pushing them to want more and more of differrent stuff. While they’ll still love and be attracted to their mate, sex with them will not be desirable and the relationship can suffer damage. It was very interesting to me.

    Reply
  • Tony Lawrence June 24, 2009, 1:38 pm

    I think if you aren’t doing this together, you shouldn’t be doing it.

    My wife and I went to a strip club once. The sign said “Free Lunch”, we were broke and hungry and neither of us is prudish, so why not? The lunch was decent and we knew the kitchen was spotless because the Board of Health goes in there weekly looking for an excuse to shut them down :-)

    Personally, I can’t imagine paying money for “Live chat”. I hesitate to be judgmental, but the temptation to call this a bit “off” for someone who is in a relationship is strong.

    Reply
  • Sarah June 24, 2009, 7:28 pm

    This is an ongoing debate in my relationship. My bf, at one time, was a member of over 400 Yahoo Groups in the porn category. Pictures, videos, and chat boards. I find this extremely offensive when he has me at home. I have a very open mind about sex and porn together, but when hidden and to that extent, means that he is not satisfied with just me. It had come to a point where he would rather watch it on tv when i wasn’t home for ‘personal time’ than participate with me as a partner. I think if you are going to do it, it should be a shared adventure to enhance your sex life. Not to hide and keep a secret.

    Reply
  • Scott June 25, 2009, 1:28 pm

    Having done a lot of research on the clinical effects of pornography (good/bad) for a NPO that was working on crafting legislation to block all pornography at the ISP level, I can say that there is so little good that comes out of the adult entertainment industry and what it produces that it is hard for a healthy individual to support pornography.

    Husbands convince themselves that it’s not bad. Wives convince themselves that it’s natural. However way you try to justify it is fine, but it’s still justification. If you take a step back and look at it from the big picture, you can’t help but see what harm the stuff does to marriages, children, relationships, and the lives of people lured into the industry.

    See it for what it is, not what you’d like it to be.

    Reply
  • Donna July 5, 2009, 3:26 pm

    Right on, Scott!!

    Reply
  • lind July 8, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Anyone who tries to tell you that porn is not harmful is full of it! Everything is in the mind first. My husband started using porn, had an emotional telephone relationship with another women, phone sex with another and rationalized all of it by saying that as long as he did not have sex or touch them he was being faithful. The whole bottom
    dropped out when he e-mailed my 20 year old daughter and asked her to send naked pictures of herself and her freinds to him and maybe a videro of her having sex with another girl. He was going to pay her for it.

    SEE, the brain gets twisted. It needs more and more of the sex fantasy fix. It escalates over time. And yes I have been having regular sex with my husband and we are always affectinate to each other. None of this is healthy behavior. Not even for a single person.

    Reply
  • Maria August 21, 2009, 12:44 pm

    I would love some feedback from bloggers and/or Alisa my husband has asked me permission if he can check out swinger websites as this is lifelong dream for us-I am not on board by the way! and i said i am not your boss thats your call i did mention that i did not like it but he has over the last year i would say become OCD about spicing up our sexlife he mentions it to me then expects me to fix it is that fucked up or what? he has the problem and wants me to fix it?? so of course being the good little wife i am i try to spice things up a bit monogamously but do suffer as i always feel this isnt exactly what he wants and in turn our sexlife gets damaged, my self esteem and i also have become resentful. How does a woman get her husband to see how damaging feeding a negative obsession is? I have tryed in every shape and form to explain what it does to me and how it affects our life negatively but he thinks Im making a mountain out of an anthill and he says this type of “fun” would just for excitement.That he loves me and only me.I must stick to my guns and not deny that this is not a healthy outlet.

    Reply
  • Alisa August 21, 2009, 12:48 pm

    Maria–If you are not into it, you are not into it. If he doesn’t understand that, he doesn’t understand you. It sounds like he’s going through a midlife crisis, btw. I would suggest counseling, because it’s really hard to get at the real issue. Maybe a sex therapist?

    Reply
  • Maria August 21, 2009, 1:02 pm

    i have suggested it he is not into that either we have seeked counseling in the past and were matched with a horrible counselor i swear she did more damage than good now he will not go as he feels it is not help of course we did not see the counselor for this issue how do you make someone see they are a troubled souls? We have chatted and he reports he is just a bit bored with the marriage right now and i feel he is projecting his boredom into his sexuality pls know that i love this man more than life itself but am struggling way to much. when is enough enough?

    Reply
  • Maria August 21, 2009, 1:03 pm

    BTW alisa thanks for taking the time to chat with me i appreciate a total non bias opinion

    Reply
  • Tiffani Kerlik August 24, 2009, 10:59 am

    My husband looks at porn, but immediately emails me to engage in our own version of porn. Nasty grams, I call them, he is only interested in me, and honestly if he still thinks I look like that after all these years, 4 kids and 3 years into menopause. Well more power to him. By the way, if anyone has also completely and most defiantly lost their sex drive due to menopause, please let me know I am not alone. My sex drive is always wine induced; otherwise, it is not there. And my husband is not the issue. I am completely crazy for him, I call him Superman…he is just that good.

    Reply
  • Kathy August 26, 2009, 11:03 pm

    I consider porn cheating. Probably because I was married to a man that did porn rather than me (his wife at the time). I was willing and able when he was actually not away on a business trip (three weeks a month). But when he came home from said business trips, he was “worn out” from his activities (porn).

    My now hubby, when I first met him, had a Sports Illustrated calendar. After my experience with the prior husband I wasn’t even comfortable with that. I had him remove the calendar. In place of that, I emailed him some photos of me in a bathing suit from my 20s. I figure if he wants to look at women in bathing suits, he’s gonna look at me. We weren’t even having sex yet, so he was getting a preview of what I looked like without much clothing on.

    Reply
  • usa January 21, 2010, 11:52 am

    Look, porn in itself is not a good thing. But for men its mostly just a visual stimulus. If any man takes it further then the whole character of the man, the marriage needs to be looked at and dont just blame porn, thats too simple. And how about all you women? Never masturbated? Never read a romance novel? Then thats cheating too. Porn, like alchohol IS TO BE AVOIDED, but most men do both….Alchohol also can ruin marriages and families but even women drink the damn thing, so whats the big deal? Porn is again women just getting their knickers in a knot instead of accepting men and women ARE different, , we may be equal, but we are different.

    Reply
  • mike January 21, 2010, 11:56 am

    Before taking aim at porn how about getting alchohol out of society first? Or is that also being “justified” as someone else put it by women? Whay are women drinking? Sure, sure women say they drink “socially” they justify that despite the terrible effects of alchohol on your selves and those around you….So lets not get hypocritical. Both these thinsgs are NOT good but both are prob gonna be around for some time….fact of life.

    Reply
  • tim January 21, 2010, 12:01 pm

    Men who are going to cheat will cheat regardless of porn. porn is not the defining factor the mans character is. All these women here saying their men have cheated, thats because thats who they are, JERKS. they would have done eventually even without porn. I think porn just gives you aclear, easy, visible scapegoat without accepting maybe there are other deeper problems in your mariages…Women would happily blame porn than some other aspect of their marriage.

    Reply
  • Jason T. Nelson January 29, 2010, 10:27 pm

    First of all, as a husband and a man, I can say that there’s highly likely nothing to worry about here…yet.

    If it’s a one time thing then it’s curiosity. Let’s face it, the web gives us access to things that we’ve never had access to before, and so a live chat with a naked girl might just be one of the things on the guy’s bucket list.

    Obviously it’s not the smartest thing in the world to do, or the best use of time, but the chances that anything physical will ever happen (well at least that involves both parties touching each other), nor will there likely be an emotional affair flaring up, I think you can chalk this one up to curiosity and guys enjoyment of well…naked girls.

    For me the suggestion of talking about this, or that he should tell her he’s going to be doing this, I think this is ridiculous and unrealistic. Listen, whether we like it or not, we’re all individuals with our own thoughts, and fantasies.

    As long as were not doing something to harm the marriage, and as long as we’re not betraying our spouse, then we have the right to remain silent about these things.

    This goes for porn and masturbation. As long as it’s not affecting the marriage, there’s no reason to have to disclose it if we don’t feel comfortable. These are personal preferences that we do to and for ourselves.

    When it becomes harmful and begins to affect the other person, or get’s into the gray area of one spouse doing something that they wouldn’t want done to them then that’s when it’s cheating.

    When there’s an intimate emotional connection, or of course a physical connection then that’s cheating.

    Porn is not cheating in general. This guy was playing with fire a bit, but I still don’t believe he crossed that line. However, to sort of contradict my own points above, I will say that now that he’s gotten caught, now that the cat is out of the bag, and it’s affected his wife, then sure, he’s got some splainin’ to do. To what extent of that he has to explain is up to the couple until there’s a new comfort level met once again.

    Great posts, and great way to make us think :)

    Reply
    • Pepper January 25, 2013, 8:49 pm

      Though I agree with the majority of your opinion, I cannot help to point out that the nature of live chat porn is different from your good old regular porn. I am a female and I watch porn somewhat regularly, and have clicked on live chat porn just to see what the heck it’s all about. The way I see live chat porn is on par to say: paying for a hooker to perform for you on a hotel bed while you sit in a chair and jerk off.

      There is an element of interaction. Sure all his hands are on himself, but the interaction is now both ways rather than one way. And when you are sharing a sexual experience (the two way interaction) with another person, then yes you are cheating (by my definition)

      Reply
  • Helen August 19, 2010, 12:43 pm

    My husband has been a porn addict for 18+ years. I didn’t know it when I married him. He will look at it for hours and then lie about it when I mention it because our sex is “different” or he has trouble having and erection. He is even into the animated porn. He will use the KY to help himself while watching and still claims he is not cheating. I have to say the discovery he was using the KY was the last straw. I have been seriously thinking about divorce since then. Because we have talked about his “problem” so often and he will promise to quit only to work harder to hide it I haven’t said anything for a few months. I have to believe that people with regular viewing habits have a problem.

    Reply
  • thisisthedeal September 6, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Women & men desire to be different things to their significant other. While a man’s desire is to look at women, what women desire is to be looked at and admired by men. Women consider porn cheating because the ladies in porn are taking on the role they believe is rightly theirs. Porn is not the same as a romance novel. A direct comparison would be if a women was posting naked pictures of herself and or videos of herself and was getting feedback & comments from other males. Would her partner have a problem with this? I assume so, because the men viewing his woman & making comments would be taking on his role in their relationship. I hope this enables some men to see how women truly view porn.

    Reply
    • a wife September 21, 2013, 12:05 pm

      Wow ThisIsTheDeal, I think you put into words something I could never put into words. Thank you.

      Reply

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