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On whether porn is cheating

A friend of mine (who knows damn well how to wind me up) sent me a link to a forum on which they were discussing the question “Is watching porn cheating?” to which the answer any sane human being would give is very obviously ‘no.’ On the thread women (and some men who are recovering porn addicts) argue that perhaps it is, and that it certainly feels like it is when a lady accidentally stumbles across her boyfriend’s internet history.

After a brief Google around the subject I discovered that rather than being a mockable minority, the people who believe porn is cheating are not only serious, but worryingly numerous.

I’m presumably preaching to the choir here, but I’d like someone to disagree with me so I can form my argument more fully than I have in this post, which essentially consists of me going “What the ACTUAL MENTAL FUCK ARE YOU ON ABOUT” over and over again.

My boyfriend watches porn and it’s like he’s fucking someone else

No. It’s not at all like he’s fucking someone else because it’s just some pictures on a fucking screen. You’re no more cheating when you watch porn than you’re a vampire when you read Twilight, or a member of the Secret Seven when you crack out the childhood Enid Blyton books.

You sometimes put yourself in the place of people acting in scenes in order to enhance your enjoyment of the material, but that does not mean you are actually there. It doesn’t even mean that were these people performing a live show right in your living room and getting their awesome porny juices all over your sofa, you would join in.

But it’s cheating in the mind, right?

No. Because what you’re describing there is a thought crime. If watching porn is cheating then writing slashfic is a form of rape.

I think this comes from female (and it is usually female – I’d like to see how men react to the idea that their girl watching porn is ‘cheating’) worries about not being adequate, and their partner being sexually interested in other people and things. It’s ‘cheating’ because he’s getting off to something that isn’t you, and that taps into a fairly primitive female jealousy about boys leaving their girlfriends for younger/prettier/thinner/more-willing-to-do-anal models.

Well, it probably sucks for these girls to hear this but he is interested in other people. Sexually. No matter how stunning or sexually adventurous you are, you are not the only thing that makes your man’s dick hard. Nice though you might think that would be, it’s not practical, nor even desirable. Many of his best moves have probably come from things he’s seen while doing some one-handed browsing during an idle moment.

But what he watches is so disgusting and degrading

Hahahaha.

Haha.

No, seriously, stop it – you’re killing me.

It’s so much easier to demonise men for the porn they watch because men tend to require more visual stimulation than women do to get off. In short – you can watch theirs too whereas yours is probably locked away inside your head. Saying that their fantasies are ‘degrading’ and ‘disgusting’ is really easy to do when your own fantasies aren’t exposed for all to see, at the click of a mouse on the 3 a.m. section of your Chrome history.

SECRET ALERT: Women’s fantasies can be disgusting and degrading too.

While John’s beating one out to a video of someone getting beaten on YouPorn, Jane might be having just as much fun imaginingĀ biting into her partner’s abdomen until she draws blood and he whimpers and comes into her red and ready lips. Or thinking aboutĀ her old Geordie history teacher reaching into her open shirt while she finishes off her homework, squeezing her nipples and calling her a ‘good girl’ then dragging her to the front of class to finish the rest while sitting on his lap. Ahem.

I’ve never been as degraded, humiliated, used and spat upon as I am in my own fantasies. It’s extremely lucky for me that most exist only in my head and not on an easily accessible hard drive.

Porn and sexual fantasy is by its nature degrading because the people in it are there for one purpose – to get you off. Even if you’re rubbing one out to the thought of your ex (who you’re still hopelessly in love with, and have a deep and abiding respect for) touching you up until his cock throbs, at the moment you’re fantasising you don’t give a fuck if he’s real or unreal, alive or dead – all you care is that his fictional dick is hard and his fictional fingers are fumbling at your fictional crotch through your pretty, fictional, soaking wet knickers.

But it’s a violation – it just feels disgusting

Porn is disgusting. Your fantasies are disgusting. But that’s OK. We can wallow in gallons of misery and shame during frantic solo sessions and no one gets hurt – our relationships don’t get a fucking look in. You imagine some things in private that you wouldn’t dream of in real life, because it’s unreal – and the unreality of it is what allows you to abandon yourself.

Your wanking is your wanking – it has little to do with your partner or your ex-partners or the guy who delivers you pizza – it has everything to do with the things you think inside your head, or the things that happen inside your head when you’re watching the teeny screen people frig each other off for your delectation.

Wanking (whether to porn or to your own imagined depravity) is usually a solo sport – it wouldn’t work if we allowed others to scrutinise it properly.

If we start giving that the ‘cheating’ label to our personal fantasy life then monogamy is not just dead but hung, drawn, quartered, burned, then fired out into space to make sure it’s gone forever.

If wanking is cheating then no one is faithful.