Is Looking at Porn Considered Cheating in a Relationship?

Many people have asked us if we think porn is considered to be cheating when you are in a relationship. As most things, context matters and so it depends on the circumstances.

There is wide disagreement on this topic so we look to show a different perspective. Here's a couple questions to ask yourself.

Is porn getting in the way of you desiring your partner? Or do you watch porn AND have a great sex life where both of you are satisfied? Do you watch porn by yourself or together? Do you watch porn alone and lie about it to your partner?

These are all important questions to consider. But our overall take, is that watching porn can even help you make your sex life better if you look at it as an education. It can also spice up your sex life if you when things get dull.

Being on the same page and setting the rules with your partner is essential, but here's what we suggest.

Have the Conversation Before It’s Too Late

Don’t know the rules concerning porn in your own relationship? Well, if it’s not a topic that you and your partner have ever addressed, the best way to get a clear answer is to ask.

It may not be a very comfortable topic of conversation for many people, but it’s almost certain to be more comfortable than the conversation that would happen if your partner discovered you had been watching porn and felt hurt and betrayed.

For some folks, porn is not just unacceptable in the context of a relationship but in any context. They may view porn as unhealthy or exploitative, but whatever their specific points of view, they are definitely not going to be OK with their partners watching a little porn on the side.

You should also consider your own behavior when you are trying to decide whether watching porn is acceptable in your own relationship. Suppose you tell yourself that there is nothing wrong with it but are also careful to make sure that your partner never finds out about it.

Or, suppose that you are reluctant to give up watching porn yourself but are also extremely uncomfortable with the idea of your partner watching porn. These are signs that you need to either clear the air or leave porn out of your relationship altogether.

If You Cross a Known Boundary, It's Cheating

Whatever your own attitude toward pornography, your partner is perfectly justified in considering porn to be off limits and in considering any violation of this boundary to be infidelity.

If you were truly unaware of your partner’s disapproval, you might reasonably argue that your partner ought to give you another chance as long as you are willing to respect this boundary in the future. But again, it’s rare that someone is completely clueless about a partner’s attitude toward pornography and had no idea that they might cause a partner pain.

Furthermore, even a situation of true ignorance on both sides prior to the painful reveal can require a long process of healing and recovery. In addition to anger and hurt, victims of infidelity often struggle with their self-esteem and feelings of security in the relationship.

However much you may feel that you did nothing wrong, failing to support your partner during this process and to do what is necessary to help him or her regain trust, security and self-confidence is a sure way to kill off your relationship for good.

For some couples, watching pornography separately or together is a way to make a relationship more erotic and to talk about what the other finds exciting. However, it is critical to remember that not everyone feels this way, and that ultimately the boundaries that you establish with your partner have to be your guide.

If you knowingly cross those boundaries, then there is no getting away from the fact that you are committing infidelity.