It’s one of the most debated questions when it comes to pornography:

Is watching porn cheating?

It’s not an easy question, and everyone seems to have their own opinion on it based on their thoughts on porn. But are there any concrete answers? Let’s dive in.

Secrets & Lies

If you think about it, the majority of men and women aren’t proud of viewing porn. Regardless of whether or not they admit it, most feel varying amounts of guilt, shame, or awkwardness about it. Why is that?

In the words of comedian/activist Russell Brand from our viral video, he says: “There’s a general feeling isn’t there, in your core, if you look at pornography that this isn’t whats the best thing for me to be doing, this isn’t the best use of my time.”

Even if people don’t want to admit it, they know that watching porn behind their partner’s back isn’t the best thing for the relationship. Think about it: people don’t wait until their partner leaves to flip open the pages of a Nordstrom catalog to order new clothes. People don’t clear their search history because they spent too much time mapping out a road trip for a vacation with their boyfriend/girlfriend. People aren’t watching sports highlights with their door locked and their browsers set on private, right? No, of course not. It’s because they know none of these things will threaten their relationship. But with porn, it’s the exact opposite.

This is one of the main reasons that porn is cheating—because of all the damaging secrecy and hiding that goes into it. There are few things that will tear apart a relationship as much as snooping around and keeping secrets. And when that secret is that one half of the relationship is watching other people have sex and imagining themselves being with other people, how could the other half in the relationship not feel cheated on by that? All that time spent with porn is just selfish lost opportunities of being intimate with a partner.

Sex is one of the best parts of being in a relationship. It connects partners and provides a way to express the deepest emotions of love. Pornography is taking something exciting and intimate and just exaggerates and exploits it as cheap entertainment. When one half of a relationship views porn, they aren’t sharing intimate moments with their partner, but instead having them with a computer screen. Not cool.

Typical excuses

Perhaps we’ve heard or made the excuses: Nobody gets hurt. It only has to do with me. But that is just wishful thinking that is simply untrue. How about all the women in the porn industry that are being abused, drugged, and coerced into being there? What about those caught in the sex trafficking industry and have had porn made of them against their will? How about the thousands of personal stories we get from girlfriends and wives all over the world saying how pornography tore apart their once loving relationship? No matter what anybody says, the harms of porn go way beyond just one person.

What about the excuse, It’s a healthy, natural release for me! Not true either. Pornography is shown to actually rewire your brain and has been proven to be as addictive and harmful as hard drugs. The ideal that porn is a healthy sexual behavior is perhaps one of the most twisted rationalizations of our day, one that science is consistently proving otherwise.

Why watching porn is cheating

There is actual scientific proof that watching porn is cheating. When someone is viewing porn, a pleasure chemical called oxytocin is released into the brain. Oxytocin is known to increase feelings of attachment, connection, and trust. Studies show that couples in a healthy and well-adjusted relationship exhibit much higher levels of oxytocin than those in a distressed relationship. Because the hormone is naturally released during sex, watching porn triggers the release of oxytocin as well, effectively bonding the person to that experience. Over time, the bond becomes stronger and stronger until it seems unbreakable. Meaning, a porn user is literally bonding themselves to a sexual experience coming from a computer screen, not from their partner.

We don’t know your definition of cheating, but when a person is sexually bonding to something other than their own partner, we would most definitely call that cheating.

Honestly, two people in a committed relationship is sexy. One person alone in front of their computer screen? Not so much. Bottom line: cheating doesn’t have to be a physical act. It can be emotional as well. And when it comes to porn, it very easily leads to both physical and emotional cheating.

Love, sex, and intimacy is something that should be shared with no one (and nothing) else but your partner.

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What YOU Can Do

Add your voice to this conversation by spreading facts. SHARE this article to help raise awareness on the harmful effects of pornography.