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Is watching porn cheating if you’re in a relationship? There aren’t any agreed upon rules about watching pornography as a form of infidelity. So, how can you answer that question? You can start by asking yourself, “Does it feel like cheating?” If you think it’s cheating or your partner does, then it probably is — at least in your relationship.

Is Watching Porn Cheating? 

To some people, if you watch porn while in a relationship, you’re cheating. But not everyone agrees with that notion.

You and your partner should reach a consensus about watching porn. It’s an important topic to discuss when you start a new relationship. You both have to consider your feelings and thoughts carefully. Then, you can reach a consensus or compromise.

Without this discussion, porn could quickly become an issue in your relationship, especially if you lie about or keep your porn-viewing habits a secret. Also, lying or hiding porn habits could be a sign of porn addiction.  

Why Watching Porn Could Be Cheating

Porn is cheating if you or your partner think it is. Knowing your partner is watching porn causes negative feelings for many people. 

Common reasons people think watching porn is cheating include:

  • Your partner is fantasizing about someone else
  • They’re watching acts that you aren’t comfortable doing
  • Your partner is exploring their sexuality without you
  • They spend more time looking at porn than being with you
  • It feels like your partner prefers watching porn over having sex with you
  • You compare yourself to the actors in porn, leaving you feeling undesirable and self-conscious

There are many reasons watching porn may feel like cheating. Your relationship deserves an open, honest conversation about watching porn. You may even be able to reach a suitable compromise together.

When Watching Porn Becomes an Issue

If you and your partner talk about porn and set boundaries around it, you may have an issue if you don’t respect those boundaries. Hiding or lying about your porn consumption will create mistrust in your relationship. The foundation of any healthy relationship is trust. Without trust, you can’t authentically be yourself. 

If you keep overstepping boundaries around porn in your relationship, you may have a form of sex addiction. Porn and masturbation addictions are more common than you may expect. 

Signs that you may have masturbation or porn addiction include:

  • You hide or lie about your masturbation or porn habits
  • You clear your browser history so you won’t get caught
  • The type of porn you watch escalates over time
  • You start to prefer having solo-sex over partnered sex
  • You develop an expectation for your sex life to be like the porn you watch
  • Watching porn interferes with your career, social connections, or romantic life
  • You try to stop watching porn, but it feels like you can’t

Developing an addiction to pornography doesn’t happen overnight. And it may indicate a bigger emotional health concern. You may find that you need support and help to stop your porn addiction. 

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How to Move Forward

If you violated your relationship’s boundaries around porn, start the healing by telling your partner. Having a candid and vulnerable conversation may offer the fresh start you both need.

When you have this conversation, remember a few things.

Be Honest

Tell them about what happened and make a plan to move forward. Be transparent about your sexual needs and desires. If you can’t stop your porn usage immediately, you need to set new, more realistic boundaries. You also may need to seek professional help. 

Discuss Your Feelings

Porn and sex in real life are different experiences. They often have almost nothing to do with one another. Porn, as a visual stimulation medium, offers a unique experience that may feel special to you. Tell your partner about how it makes you feel and why you enjoy using it. It isn’t about preferring porn to your partner, but about varying your sexual experience. 

Reassure Your Partner

Often porn use in a relationship causes a partner’s insecurities to surface. Knowing that you’re watching someone else have sex and fantasizing about them may feel like a violation of trust. Your partner may feel like they don’t satisfy you. Remind them that porn is fantasy and they’re the reality you choose.

Keep the conversation open. Offer your partner time and space to consider their feelings as well. Don’t stop the discussion until you resolve it together.

How Begin Again Institute Can Help

Cheating and infidelity are less about the actual behavior and more about what it means in your relationship. Lies and secrets cause the foundational trust to erode and the connection to fall apart. Relationships are all about being on a team, talking about your feelings, and being honest about your needs. Work together to decide what is acceptable for you both. You’ll be more invested in your relationship when you create that structure together. 

If using pornography caused infidelity trauma for you or your partner, Begin Again Institute offers unique programs for both partners to heal. We specialize in treating sex and pornography addiction. Contact us today to start your healing journey.

  • Category: Pornography Addiction
  • By John Squires
  • February 1, 2022

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