As a Clinical Sexologist and Relationship Counselor I have been asked on many occasions by individuals if I perceived watching pornography while being in a relationship is considered cheating.
My answer is based on how we define the word “cheating”.
As a counselor I have seen all too many relationships destroyed by lack of open honest communication between husband and wife. The definition that I feel is appropriate to use as cheating would be “too cheat your spouse out of having a sexual relationship with you” In the physical sense of a man watching pornography, is he cheating with another person the answer is no. If a man watches pornography and still has a wonderful sex life with his wife and she is aware of him watching pornography, than again the answer is no. If the couple enjoys watching pornography together again my answer would be no.
So when does watching pornography become cheating in a relationship?
The moment when it becomes cheating, is when a person cheats the other person out of the sexual intimacy in the relationship. A classic example would be a wife that longs to be sexual with her husband, but instead he has turned to watching pornography instead of being with her. Anything that takes away from the sexual intimacy in a marriage cheats the other person out of that intimacy. The base of the problem between the couple is not actually the pornography itself but the fact that the relationship has gotten to the point where watching a clip of two people having sex is better than having real sex with a spouse. This is a complete breakdown in the intimacy of the marriage. What brought on this situation to begin with is what needs to be addressed, so that the couple can fix the relationship.
The basic premise of most marriages starts out with sex being exciting and fun, then it can become routine and even boring at times. Other times in a relationship, there can be other stress involved, such as: Children, finances, sickness, lack of communication, anger, rejection, other problems put in front of the marriage. All of these issues, if left unresolved can be the driving force for a man to turn to pornography instead of his wife. As, for most women, they will usually turn to another man before they turn to pornography.
How to stop these events from happening in the marriage, is to understand that the marriage itself has to be taken as seriously as every other aspect in life. The marriage cannot sustain itself without two people working on it. Couples have to realize that marriage is an institution, a working relationship, a partnership, and the sex in the marriage is a huge part of that. Once married the relationship needs to continue to flourish and grow, taking time to enjoy each other, spending quality time together; open communication. The best piece of advice that I have given couples is to not take a back seat in the marriage and try to change the other person but to take charge of what they don’t like and fix it. Be proactive every day in moving in a positive direction in the marriage. Make time for each other, (date night), show appreciation, show affection, complement each other and most of all communicate with one another. Marriage is work and if you want to stay married then it is worth it!