A friend of mine has been with her boyfriend for over a year. They are happy and seem to be totally in love.
Recently she went through his emails – (he is very open with her and she has all of his passwords… he says he has nothing to hide and she can access whatever she wants) – and found an email to a company that allows you to access xxx content on snapchat. You pay a monthly fee and can watch pornstars on your snapchat and are given access to explicit content. The reason he emailed the company is because the credit card payment was not going through, so he emailed the help desk.
She is very upset. She doesn’t care if he watches porn, (as most men do), but this seems to be a little different. She doesn’t know if she is over exaggerating and has not confronted him yet.
What do you think? Is this a form of cheating?
-Curious… For a friend
Dear “Curious… For a friend,”
Christ! I can’t stay on top of the porn game to save my life! Lol… Paid porn on Snapchat? Well, I don’t know much about that service, but given your girlfriend’s approval of “traditional” porn, I’m going to assume that this company provides a more personal, interactive experience. (Otherwise, all he’s guilty of is stupidly paying to see boobies when many sites offer them for free. ) So, yeah, I get it. While most people have made peace with their partner using pornographic video and images to stimulate their imagination during “me time,” when it comes to the newer, private, “shouldn’t that be something only you and I do together,” interactive stuff, many gals and guys are left wondering, “Is that cheating?”
To begin with, each couple has the power to define the rules of their relationship for themselves, so cheating can only be called out by a person within the relationship when they feel the other has violated their agreement. Sure, the act of romantically being with someone other than your mate is usually considered cheating, but that’s not always the case; and if one truly wants to establish a fair playing ground it’s best to lay out all the rules up front. But as you’ve pointed out, while most may know what they consider cheating to be physically and emotionally, not everyone knows what it is pornographically. And in that case education and knowing one’s self is the key.
When considering the topic of porn, it’s important to remember that interactive experiences aren’t anything new. From the moment Eve covered herself with a fig leaf and Adam got her to flash him for a berry we’ve had strip clubs. And rumor has it that during early tests, Alexander Graham Bell rang Mrs. Bell in the other room and when she picked up asked, “So what are you wearing?” thereby inventing phone sex before the first telephone was ever sold. But since strip clubs are public and phone sex lacks visuals, partners who have made peace with them usually do so on those grounds. Now, however, we live in an age where our mate can go into the other room, look, talk and experience sexual pleasure with another via things like webcams and text messages, and feel good about it because the girl or guy on the other end is a stranger and not Becky or Jim from work.
And is that cheating? Well, it depends on one thing: How you feel about it. To be fair to fans of “the webcam” not all subscribers care to interact. Some are more fascinated by the fact that it’s live and just want to watch. So back and forth communication could be a line you draw if it’s the interacting that bothers you more than the looking.
However, if you’re uncomfortable with how the whole interactive medium easily lends itself to a more personal experience – (after all, they sometimes do lead to real-life meetups as in “The Care and Feeding of Sex Symbols“) – you can draw a line on the whole darn thing if you want. The established, more common rules of cheating that you’ve already adopted are based on your feelings anyhow, so why set them aside now? Your mate has plenty of other options, and since these are newer mediums he or she should have no trouble sticking to, or returning to, his or her original sources.
If interactive porn doesn’t bother you or your partner at all, and, like the hippy parents of a pot-smoking teen, you’re cool with whatever goes on as long as it stays in the basement, then this activity will be free of the cheating label in your relationship. It really does come down to how each person feels about it, and the decision the couple reaches as a result.
In closing, only your girlfriend can know what she’s okay with or not in a relationship, so encourage her to be honest with herself about how something makes her feel, and establish her boundaries from there. If her partner feels the same way, sweet. If he doesn’t, but decides rocking with her is more important than playing with live action porn stars, double-sweet. Either way, once she knows what she likes, she’ll have the answer as to whether or not interactive porn is, for her, cheating. Best of luck!
P.S. And for anyone interested in creating a cheat-proof relationship, feel free to check out this article!
Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to. And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.