Question and Answer

So, today is question and answer day. I'll answer a question that someone has asked me in the past about my religion, philosophy, or even politics. I don't know how often I'll do this, as this one wasn't planned at all. The questioner is someone with whom I am not close, but the question she asked is very very common these days, and her reaction (and the reaction of her friends and family) showed me that either I'm completely out of it, or they're stuck in the Bronze Age. The conversation came up almost a month ago, maybe a little more, but it's been banging around in my head all day today. I decided to explore it a little bit.

The Question (it's a two-fer): Is cyber-sex cheating? Well, is porn cheating?

My Answer: Nope. Not in the slightest.

OK, that's all for today, I hope you all---

What? You expected more? Shit. All right, I'll explain what I meant. Fuck me, you're a demanding audience in my head... probably that's just my peanut gallery screaming at me, but you know how that goes.

When I was asked the question is was on Facebook. The woman asking is married. I do not know if she's cybering someone, or if her husband is. I am presuming he's the one, and she's pissed as fuck about it. I also don't know if he's “addicted” to porn in the “oh my god I'm an evangelical and get a boner seeing naked women” or if he's just randomly looking at titties on the internet and that means he's addicted*. I know my ideas on this are wildly unpopular; I don't, however, believe people are really thinking this whole thing through-- if they did, there'd be more grey and less black and white.

I suppose I ought to break it down into the two questions. So starting with cyber-sex, and whether or not it is cheating/adultery.

I say no. I shouldn't have been completely cut and dried, with it, I know. There are nuances with cheating, as well as the various shades of infidelity. My idea on the matter, is, plainly: I say it isn't cheating if both parties are in the know.

You can have raucous cyber-sex with your partner sitting right there next to you, participating! Would that be cheating? A cyber-three-way? Group sex?

How about if your partner is the other participant? Would that be cheating?

Does this include phone sex with your partner? Or just if you call a 1-900 number? What if your partner knows you called the 1-900 number?

What if you're tired, but your spouse has a mad case of the sexy-time itch? I'd say if s/he's taking it online to a chat and gets off that way, it's just another kind of porn and masturbation. No one is being harmed? No one is being led on, lied to or in any way taken advantage of? Then there's not a damned thing wrong with it.

Now, I can concede that I would indeed be cheating if the participants were hiding it from their spouses/partners, became emotionally involved, and/or it became more than words on a computer screen. That would be bad. People would be hurt, and so no one should do that. That my dear readers is an affair.

The questions showed that she knew, however, so I doubt it was a case of “sneaking behind her back to fuck someone and then having sexy-computer time later.”

If you're being open with your partner, it can be merely another facet to a healthy sex life. Of course, this is leaving out our poly- and open-relationship groups-- they tend to be so very much better at negotiating these things than your average straight couple.

Her reaction to my “no, it's just like porn” led into a completely different discussion-- complete with “ewww porn is evil” and “masturbation is like cheating too. What if he's thinking of someone else?!”

First off, I hope masturbation isn't cheating. If it is, my Love and I have some talking to do, as I've been encouraging my kids to consider it legitimate sexual activity and well... would that mean mutual masturbation in bed with my spouse means we're both cheating? [Frankly, if it is, I hope he jerks regularly, as opposed to going out and bringing something home. I know he feels the same way! Surely I'm not the only woman who would feel that way.] Also, women masturbate too! And it's fun! And we totally like it! Fuck, the way people act men are the only ones who rub one out, and that's a total and complete lie.

Secondly, porn is a fantasy just like strip clubs [I know that's a hellova can of worms right there, but I think there's nothing wrong with strip clubs. The ladies dance, entertain and then send the men home. Period. Those women are not prostitutes]. Anyone who claims they don't have fantasies is a fucking liar! A completely bald faced liar. Everyone fantasises about something-- even if it's just a naughty thought at random, it's a fantasy and it's completely normal. My own, well, I'm a kinky motherfucker, so I like me some whips and chains. My Love, however, isn't so much into that whole pain thing, so I keep that in my head, where no one is discomfited. Not everyone likes being switched, and I understand that.

Thirdly, if you are so uncomfortable with sex, sexuality and the various ways they intersect with life, perhaps you ought not have intercourse or sex of any kind-- at all! I mean that. No sex, no romantic flower shit, no fantasies, no bodice-rippers, nothing.

Wait, wait, wait, no sex at all?

Yes. It's safer for your little ego and mindlessness. No thinking that way. No reasoning about what's OK and what's not, and absolutely no accidental pleasure to fuck shit up. No one can make you uncomfortable doing something that doesn't fit into your narrow definition of “Acceptable Sexual Behaviour”.

Simply put, the women and men I have met who are the most anti-porn, aren't usually your radical feminists. They're your radical sex-negative people. You know the ones, the “no sex until you're married or you're a dirty slut” and “porn is evil and addicting and will turn you into a Satanist” and “being comfortable naked is bad” and my personal favourite, “sluts [any woman who relishes her sexuality] deserve what happens to them” kind of people. Not being able to admit to their own fetishes, be they domination, feet, or even “romantic gestures from some lame ass novel” means they can't admit that sex is more than penis-in-vagina with the lights off.

For some people, the questioner being one, porn is a sin. Some how looking at a pair of surgically enhanced breasts and finding them pleasing to your eyes is the exact same thing as fucking the hell out of the women they sit on. It's that whole “lust is bad, m'kay?” thing. For the record: I have never looked at a porn and wanted to fuck the people in them. They don't give me that gut-butterfly feeling, they're just nice to look at-- and yes, some are very very sexy-- I just don't want to fuck them.

I've always wanted to ask, if finding a painting pretty, or liking the colour of a car, or finding beauty in a flower also means I'm lusting for those things. I don't think they count, only people. And not every one, just the naked ones, or the ones you think would be nice naked? But not the clothed ones walking down the street-- maybe? I mean, if she's completely your type, and has an ass that makes you drool, then probably yeah, you're cheating, but if she's just kinda pretty you're ok? I think that's how it goes. I think. [I fully admit, even hearing this over and over growing up, I'm still not sure how it works. I just shrug and if they get in my face about my clothing I whip out the “Piss off!” card.]

For the same reason that cyber-sex is not cheating, porn is also not cheating. In fact, porn might be safer than cybering. In cybering, there's another person, right there, participating, whereas in porn, that participation took place ages ago when the movie was filmed, or the photographs were taken. Even in the case of live action (ie webcams) the actors are not interacting with the viewer in the same way that two or more cyber-sex participants are interacting.

I guess what it comes down to, is that in my not-so-humble opinion sex is what you make of it.

It can be cute and trite and boringly safe and something safe for Cinemax. Or it can be rough and dirty and loud and real. You have to decide if you need to “make love” every time you get in bed, or if you're going to embrace the animal you really are, and just fuck every once in a while. Sex is amazing, if you let it be; however far too many people are so caught up in the “what if it's not OK” ideals taught to them from the cradle to really explore the full extent of that amazing. Finding your kinks can be stimulating, in more ways than just getting off. I know what I like, and I know why I like it. I'm OK with the dichotomy that my kinks present to me, as a person, and how they contrast with the rest of myself.

I don't go around smacking people. I'm not violent at all. I do however, get a huge rise out of switching a sexy woman as she's bound over a chair or kneeling at my feet. It's one of my kinks, and probably the only one I'll talk about in public. I think it's ultimately sexy! I find men getting beaten with a crop to be delicious! Those stripes on the behind--something about it gets me going. I don't like pain, however, so am not a masochist as well as a slight sadist.

Would I ever do this outside of a well-negotiated scene with completely willing partners? Not just no, but Fuck no! I wouldn't dream of it! It's a horrible thought, and it's assault. Inside the room, in the scene, though, it's perfectly acceptable, and ever so satisfying for everyone involved.

Figuring out what kinks you have means digging into the darkest part of you. Not everyone can handle that, I know. You have to be completely comfortable with yourself, or at the very least, getting to that place of comfort. You have to know that pleasure can come in a multitude of forms, and that as long as you're being safe, sane and consensual, you're doing it right.

But if you think porn is Eee-vile and anything sexy with the lights on is bad, then you need a therapist more than I do-- and I'm a depressive, remember? In that case, you are absolutely doing it wrong.

I told the questioner what I thought of it. She, not unexpectedly, freaked the fuck out. When I told her that if she didn't like my answer, why ask in the first place? Why the public forum if she didn't really want to know? If her mind was made up, why waste the digital space asking? I decided she was asking for proof of her rightness, not for any real answer. She certainly got it, from almost everyone who replied to her.

Everyone except my Love and I. We told her how wrong we felt they were being, and why.

I told her the same thing I'm preaching to my children, Safe, Sane and Enthusiastically Consensual! Period. No exceptions.

I think she needs to find her consensual-- Maybe just her enthusiasm?

*I do know there is an actual mental illness that can be called sexual addiction. I do not know if viewing porn a few times a week, or even every day can be considered an addiction. Every time I have seen “porn addiction” anywhere, online, or in the media, the information presented makes it appear that anyone looking at porn ever is a porn addict. Always always always see a medical professional if you feel you need help, not a minister. Preachers are fine if you need someone to tell you how you've sinned. Doctors, therapists and Psychologists are necessary when you need someone to help you heal your heart and mind.

If looking at porn takes up all your time, or you can't get aroused without it, or you're paying so much to look at the pay-sites that you can't pay your bills, then I would say you're an addict and need to get some help.

If you look at tits every day, for shits and giggles or randomly watch the silly movies (come on! Some of them are fucking hilarious, have you seen Pirates XXX?!) Then you're probably not an addict.

If this bothers you, that I've taken away your addict status: Loosen your tie, it's a little too tight, and get some oxygen to your brains. Then I recommend you see a therapist and leave the church-- let your brain grow and thrive, and deal with the cult-like brainwashing you've endured. You have my sympathy.


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