Am I cheating when I watch porn?

am I cheating when I watch porn

Although it is much stigmatized, many people enjoy porn – and regularly too. Our author Nadia Bokody wants to know if watching porn really is something to be worried about or if it can actually be a useful relationship tool…

When I was in college, I walked in on my boyfriend masturbating to a tacky 90s porno in his living room, on a VHS tape (I’m showing my age here).My instant reaction was indignation.

How dare he. I felt cheated, disrespected and disgusted.

Consequently, we fought for many hours afterward, and I eventually pressured him into ‘promising’ he’d never watch porn again.

Thirty-five year old me wishes I could go back and shake that girl and tell her to get a grip. I not only support my boyfriend’s porn watching habit these days – I consume it regularly myself. In fact, if anyone watches more porn in our relationship, it’s me.

Here’s what I’ve learned about porn since that awkward encounter in my college boyfriend’s living room…

You don’t own your partner

Trying to stake claim over your partner’s solo sex life is deeply unhealthy and problematic. You don’t own your partner, they are not property. The idea that you should dictate what they do – or don’t do – in their masturbatory life is ridiculous. Solo sex is healthy, and leads to more frequent, satisfying coupled sex. Attempting to regulate it can have the exact opposite effect.

It’s not cheating

If we are to believe watching porn is cheating, we must also believe every time either you or your partner gets turned on by looking at, or thinking about, another person – real or imagined – they are committing infidelity. Fantasies are healthy, natural parts of all successful intimate relationships. For many people, porn is a catalyst for exploring those fantasies. This should only be viewed as a good thing for your sex life. (Also the key word here is ‘fantasy’ – this is not real life. Your partner isn’t actually interacting with another person.)

It’s actually great for bonding

Watching porn with your partner is one of the best ways to ignite discussion around specific kinks and fantasies you might have previously been to shy to raise. You can use it as a catalyst for putting your sexual desires out there. Ie: “That looks hot. How would you feel about trying it with me?”

In short, watching porn is not cheating. It’s a healthy way to explore your sexuality alone, and with your partner. So don’t do as 21-year-old me did when I discovered my partner’s porn habit, and freak out. Instead, embrace it.

Masturbation in a relationship? Yes, of course!

Men and women can often feel threatened when their partner masturbates. That’s a perfectly normal response. The partner’s sexual gratification is not dependent on us, and this can leave us feeling excluded. But we really don’t have to feel like this. Indeed, masturbation can in fact be a positive force when accepted into an intimate relationship.

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Author

Nadia Bokody is a sex-positive journalist and media commentator with a passion for empowering women in their sexuality, relationships and mental health. She’s also a regular columnist for titles including HuffPost, Mamamia, Thought Cataloug, The Sun, News.com.au, The Washington Post and more, and a regular sexpert on TV and radio shows including Triple M’s The Grill Team and Channel 7’s The Morning Show. Her relatable, comedic sex-ed YouTube channel has exploded in growth, amassing over 110,000 subscribers in just three months. When she’s not talking about sex or trialing the latest and greatest adult toys, she can be found running global women’s website, SHESAID.com.