Article written by Maya Vukovska

Should I tell my BF thаt most of the times we’re having sex I imagine instead that I'm making out with that guy from the gym? Hmmm, I’d better not - he might accuse me of cheating.

What counts as cheating in a relationship? The answer depends on one’s individual view of cheating. With that said, anything can be considered cheating, really - from an innocent flirty smile in the elevator and swapping numbers with a new colleague to having virtual sex with a stranger and receiving a handjob after a workout in the gym. That’s why you need to decide what’s cheating for yourself first, and then talk openly with your partner about setting clear boundaries.

In order to make this conversation less painful, we’ll give you some ideas how to resolve the problem and decide once and for all which forms of unfaithfulness you BOTH view as totally valid and which - as less reasonable or not reasonable at all.

What’s worse - emotional or physical infidelity?

For many monogamous couples, both are unacceptable. However, for those engaged in an open relationship, the boundaries between fidelity and cheating are usually blurred. You’ve heard it in movies or probably said it yourself a couple of times - the cheaters’ number one self-defense line: “Honey, it meant nothing. It was just sex, I have no feelings for him.” This explanation, however, rarely works for the other person, because he thinks that you’re saying it just to minimize the emotional involvement so as not to offend him. Ironically, an alternative situation can occur. Say, you secretly browse through your partner’s phone and see that he’s been sending kiss-blowing emojis to some other guy. When you confront him, he brings up the exact opposite argument, “Oh come on! It’s nothing. We never got physical.” Unfortunately, it’s never that simple, and either way, people get hurt.

Masturbating to porn

You caught him jerking to gay porn, and now you’re wondering how to deal with it. People dislike their partners watching porn mainly because they believe their partners would expect themselves to be more satisfying than a simulation. On the other hand, everybody is aware of how porn videos are made, and that very few men can actually keep an erection that long. But if you get really frustrated about the fact that your partner’s been watching two random guys who keep fucking for an hour without getting even close to cumming, you’ll definitely need to see a therapist.

Hanging out in virtual sex chat rooms

Your partner’s been playing with his genitalia for the viewing pleasure of random guys on video chatting sites. Is this cheating? Again, we go back to the fundamental question how you feel about a casual physical fling - one that lasts no more than a couple of minutes, and then all is gone and forgotten. Unlike jerking to porn, however, what we have here is a real life interaction between two (or could be more) people, which is kinda problematic. And there’s another problem attached to this one - once a guy starts having cyber sex with strangers on online chat websites and obviously enjoys it, it’s possible that he becomes addicted to online sex. Which, to be honest, leaves you no other alternative but to either join him, or ditch him. So, yes, cyber sex is a strong player for the cheaters’ team. Internet technology has made the definition of "cheating" more vague. But just imagine - in a couple of years, we’ll be able to watch interactive porn and see our bodies onscreen and feel vibrations imitating the actual physical sensation during sex via teledildonic toys. In this respect, the future seems both exciting and…grim (especially for the most jealous among us!).

How innocent is an innocent handjob?

Most will agree that any mouth-to-penis action committed outside the relationship is a full-blown adulterous deed. But would you dump your BF over a casual handjob some guy sitting next to him in the movie theater gave him while watching Captain Marvel?

Truth be told, even the most minimal genital contact must be considered infidelity. And this is what experts say, too. What they also say is that intense, emotional, secret bonds with someone other than your partner can be even more problematic than any physical contact involving genitalia. As for cuddling and kissing (if it’s not too French, of course!), they both fall into the grey area of cheating.

What's considering cheating can be complicated, just the best practice is to just be always open, honest, and communicative with your partner. :)

May 15, 2020 — Andrew Christian