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Is Looking At Porn The Same Thing As Cheating?

by Eddie Capparucci on July 15th, 2016 in Men, Women, Couples, Spouses

Is looking at porn the same thing as cheating“I don’t understand,” Tim said to his wife as they sat across from me during their first counseling session. “I didn’t sleep with anyone. I was watching porn. Since when is that considered adultery?”

He shot me a look seeking my support in confirming his belief that Cheryl was overreacting to his behavior.

Unfortunately for Tim, such support was not to be found, at least not in my counseling office.

Just as I asked Tim to do, let’s take a moment and look at what’s involved with pornography and what could be the rationale that leaves Cheryl and many other women to believe it’s a form of cheating.

Is looking at porn the same thing as cheating?

Let’s think about three things we’re really doing when we’re watching porn:

1) We’re lusting.

We are becoming aroused as we watch other individuals engaging in sexual acts. When we commit adultery what are we engaging in? Lust. When we make a commitment to another person to be involved in a serious relationship or marry, we are promising to not lust after others.

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil?” Job 31:1-3

We accept the duty to honor our partner by not allowing our sexual desires to wander beyond the relationship. When we view pornography, we are wandering sexually and dishonoring our partner.

2) We’re planting seeds of doubt in our partner’s mind.

In a large majority of cases, when a woman discovers her partner watching pornography – whether she expresses it or not – she feels a sense of unworthiness. Our pornography use crushes their self-worth. She believes she can’t compete or measure up to the fantasy women we lust after, and it creates a sense of shame within her. The women we betray begin comparing themselves to the graphic images and feel they are “not enough for us.” Our pornography usage creates self-doubt in their ability to mentally and physically satisfy us. This ultimately creates a wedge in our relationship.

3) We’re engaging in solo sex.

There is no denying masturbation is heavily involved with pornography watching.

But when we do that, we are robbing our wives and our relationships of the opportunity for both emotional and physical intimacy.

Our bodies are not our own, and our desire to engage in sexual pleasure was meant to be shared with our wives and not in isolation.

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-4

Chronic masturbation also can lead to sexual dysfunctional issues including impotency, leaky erections, or retarded ejaculation. All of these conditions can cause tension and stress in a marital relationship.

We can attempt to justify our pornography use by claiming it’s harmless and that we can do what we wish with our own bodies.

Is looking at porn the same thing as cheating? The truth is: pornography is a betrayal that objectifies and dishonors women, so yes, it’s a form of cheating. And our partners deserve better than that from us.

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  • Ed

    Hi Eddie,

    A question for you:

    The gender composition of the audiences that watched the high grossing films 50 Shades of Grey, Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL was 70% – 90% overwhelmingly female. Millions of tickets were sold to these highly erotic movies and women were the primary consumers.

    Is it your position that the married women or women in relationships with boyfriends that watched these movies (and movies like it) essentially cheated on their husbands and boyfriends?

    • Tanya

      Lust is lust plain and simple. Women should be held to same standard. It is a lil different as God created men to be visually stimulated, whereas women are more emotionally and vocally stimulated.

  • effbacon

    The article exemplifies the tidy solutions offered Triple XXX church writers. This effort is much better spent understanding and addressing the physiological needs behind the addictions rather than adding more shame.

  • Mike Gannome

    Jesus in Matthew 5:28 says “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Not much room for argument there.

  • Anderson thomas

    the fastest growing porn demographics is women. as an staff member in a public school i can assure the girls are much more slutty and downright filly impure than the boys. the so called Cheryls you are counselling need to look in the mirror. then admit to the vibrator in the dresser drawer. and the verbal porn in the book rack. this constant harangue blaming men as the guilty ones is worn out. get off it females destroyed the families and morality of america.

  • Benjamin

    So, if I read erotic stories, instead of looking at porn, then I am ok? You know, just like women.

    If Christian women would stop being so sexually ignorant, then the porn epidemic wouldn’t be a problem. Do I think porn is a good thing, not really. That said, for most guys, it is a tool to help them relieve their natural sexual desires. They have been doing long before they met their wife. There may be a few exceptions, but I can’t say for sure if I have met any.

    The problem with just blanketing porn as evil doesn’t help things. It ignores the fact that many men (seem to) have higher sex drives than their wives. In many cases, the way Christian women act toward porn is really the main reason for divorce. They don’t even feel like having a rational discussion. They just look at men with disgust. Which is also against the Bible.

    Ideally, a wife should be all a husband needs to satisfy his needs. That said, we don’t live in an ideal world. Wives are not always in the mood when their husbands are. In some cases, they simply don’t want to. Some women can see it as a chore. I don’t want my wife to feel that way. I want sex between us to be special. I want it to have meaning, rather than simply just something to do because she has to.

    Have you thought about how it feels for the men? Being treated like uncontrollable horrific beasts because they choose to satisfy their needs without actually doing anything with another woman. Instead of going out and actually having sex with a real woman.

    Don’t get me wrong, couples should have sex on a regular basis. But it should be when they both enjoy it. If a man chooses porn over sex with his wife, when she wants it, then there is a problem. A man’s wife should come first. Porn should be for when his wife is away, or dead tired. Otherwise, it is addiction. As such, he should seek help, just like with any other addiction.

    Finding out when that is, is the point of honest, and clear communication. This can only happen in an environment where free communication is possible. If a guy feels threatened, he will just retreat. Most likely hiding his addiction, and not seeking effective treatment. Ultimately, love, honor, and cherish your spouse. That is the most important thing. If that isn’t possible, then there were bigger problems than porn before marriage.

    • Jonah

      I have to admit, you’re right. Not like women would understand the strength of such desires, neither will we fully understand theirs. I don’t think porn is ever the answer as it is lust for another woman to fulfill your own desires which is also selfishness. We have to be careful about rationalizing sin away with our failed reasoning. By the way, I do struggle with porn myself.

  • Teresa

    My own personal experience, having experienced sexual betrayal through both pornography and physical infidelity, my opinion is that they both hurt. They are both traumatic enough that they can lead to PTSD. In some ways the physical cheating hurt less because at least it was tangible, I understood why it hurt so much and other people had empathy for me, with the hurt I felt from my ex-husband’s porn addiction I was told I was crazy and its not that big of deal and that caused me to doubt my own feelings which probably did more damage in the long run.

  • Prisoner of the Highway

    Looking at pornography is fornication. It is adultery if you’re lusting after a woman not your wife.
    Having said that, treating porn addiction like physical cheating is wrong. I’ll explain.
    If you commit adultery, you did it on purpose. You didn’t just slip and fall one day and ended up banging someone else. You sought it out.
    I’ve cheated on my first 2 wives. I did it intentionally. It was not an accident. Wishing I hadn’t done it now does not change the fact that I wanted to do it then.
    I’ve never for one second wished, “Gee, I wanna be a porn addict!”
    Porn is poison. It’s a disease. One that can only be healed by the Great Physician. And one that is most often contracted by accident. I saw my first Playboy magazine at age 9. I’ve fought pornography for 28 years. Alone. Because the hypocrites I’ve asked for help throw me in the stocks in the public square with a big sign over my head saying
    “Adulterer”
    I’ve believed in God my whole life. I ask Him for help a lot. I just wish I could trust another person enough to ask them for help. I’m pretty sure the Great Physician could just prescribe some antibiotics for my disease. If the nurses would just stop telling me how evil I am long enough to go get Him.

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