Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cyber Fidelity

The Internet has become an important part of most people’s lives, but apart from being a useful tool it also could have a dark side that could threaten relationships. With social networking sites, pornography and chat sites a thin and blurred line has been drawn between what is considered to be faithful behavior in relationships and what is not. Recent conversations and some shared experiences on the Internet by my friends and I, and debating the issue of fidelity with reference to the Internet it repeatedly raised the question - Is cyber flirtation and cybersex or browsing pornography cheating?
Like so many people, I spend a good couple of hours everyday on social networking sites chatting to my friends, reading my message and participating in discussions. Every now and again the inevitable message from a stranger pops up asking “ASL”. Being blond I needed a friend to explain to me “ASL” stands for “Age Sex Location”. Usually my first though is “Haven’t you read my profile?” Usually I responded and the next question that follows is “Are you gay & single?” Which brought me back to my previous question combined with wondering whether this person is illiterate, retarded or just lazy? A number of times I fell into the trap of pursuing these kinds of chats and most times they always ended up with some kind of proposition for cybersex, reference to penis size and/or other forms of cyber sexual behavior –it annoys me especially when I am actually in the middle of doing something important! So now I just snub these kinds of messages.
I have never quite understood cybersex or what people get from it - even having a lively imagination myself! I just don’t comprehend how sexually charged discourse typed on a cold keyboard between 2 strangers can culminate in an orgasm. Besides, on the Internet people can create a whole new persona for themselves, and you never can really be sure whether you are chatting to a hot young sex god or whether it’s a vile sex crazed predator. A psychopathic killer who in the basement of his house has a pit, a bucket, some lotion and a white poodle and once he has lured and trapped you there utters the ominous words “It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again” – the lambs will never not stop screaming for neither Clarice nor you!
In my opinion a distinction should be made between cybersex and cyber flirting. To me flirting, like in real live, can be an innocent act of being friendly in a sexy way without crossing the line. However, once flirting advances into action it can be considered cheating. My foolproof rule relating to both are when in doubt just ask yourself 1 simple question “How would I feel if my partner were doing this and I found out?” The other good way at preventing being solicited into cyber flirting or coerced into cybersex is not accepting chats or friend requests from people whose profile pictures are of their genitals – duh?! That too I learned the hard way and have since either deleted them from my friend list or blocked them! As all of them tend to favor the cybersex.

When it comes to pornography, the issue becomes a thorny one. Different people have different views on the issue. My personal view of porn is that I am more concerned about the people that star in them: I always wonder whether they grew up wanting to be porn stars, whether their parents know and if they are proud of their careers… But I digress… Some heterosexual women I have known are fervently opposed to having their partners even having pornography in their homes, and would not allow their partners to watch or read it. Many of my gay friends who are in new relationships also indicated that catching their partners watching or surfing porn on the Internet behind their backs troubles them. Is this due to insecurity or is it a form of cheating?
One of my old lecturers (a Prof of Criminology) did a research study on pornography and the exploitation of woman. She was in her early 60’s, married and had to watch a lot of porn as part of her research. We always joked behind her back that her husband probably couldn’t wait for her to bring her work home and we were all perturbed at imagining their sex life. I remembered asking her this question years ago and her answer was fascinating. She said that men and women who are bothered by their partners watching porn may feel that way due to insecurity, as they feel they have to live up to expectations created by the images in the pornographic material, it provokes self-image issues and it challenges their inhibitions. Especially women ends up feeling inferior as they perceive themselves as not being sexually arousing and sexually not being good enough for their partners; they could also feel insulted that the partners have to watch porn to get aroused. I think many gay people may feel the same way – it’s a human thing!

When it comes to pornography, in my opinion, it will depend on the 2 individuals in the relationship to make up their own minds on the issue. If your partner watching or wanting to watch porn makes you feel insecure, or uncomfortable the best advice would be to talk about it. Many couple use porn to spice up their sex life which can be healthy and good for their relationship. When one person in a relationship has to do it in secret and actively hides it, then it could be construed as cheating and damaging to the relationship.

The Internet is a great resource that we all have come to rely on. We have access to a magnitude of information; it’s made the world seem smaller and made our life more convenient. With the good also comes the bad. The Internet can also complicate relationships as new ways of interacting with people can now also compromise your relationship as a whole new spectrum of infidelity has been born from it. One can now have a passionate affair with some sitting on another continent and have passionate sex with that person without uttering a single moan or breaking a sweat. Whether this will have or has caused many relationships to break up, I don’t know, but as technology and we as a society evolve we have to adapt to all the challenges and opportunities. So is having a cyber flirtation and cybersex or browsing pornography cheating? This was my opinion, what is yours?

Till next time!



Meet my Gay Boys by Julia Stretch

13 comments:

Clarissa said...

"heterosexual women I have known are fervently opposed to having their partners even having pornography in their homes, and would not allow their partners to watch or read it."

- It is curious how it never occurs to you that heterosexual women watch porn too. I am a hetero woman and I watch porn, while my boyfriend has no interest in it. I can't think of any female friends who don't like porn and watch it on a regular basis.

As to people "not allowing" something to their partners, it sounds extremely weird that grown people would have to be "allowed" things. I believe that as soon as this kind of language appears in a relationship you should just run away from it as soon as possible.

Pierre said...

Hi Clarissa

Thanks for the comment.

I know that heterosexual women watch porn too, but like I mentioned there are some who are not as secure with their sexual side as others. I guess it may also have to do with conservative vs liberal! In any case I am glad to hear that you and your female friends are comfortable with it.

I agree with you that once 1 person in a relationship is prohibited from exploring sides of themselves or desires, the issue at hand should be looked at and the relationship and the merit of restrictions should be evaluated.

BTW: I always love to get different perspectives from my readers, thanks C!

itellyoutruths said...

Cybersex is definitely cheating if you have to hide about it. As far as fidelity is concerned, there is just no way anybody can be okay when one's partner gets his/her fun from this.

Of course, there is some truth in what your professor says, about insecurity of the persons whose partners love to watch porn. If both enjoy it, it's great. But if it is only one sided and one partner feels bothered by this, then that relationship must be reassessed.

For a relationship to work at all level, cybersex has got to go. That is all I can say. Think of it this way, if in reality, your partner goes out and starts to have sex with a bunch of strangers, you're NOT GOING TO BE OKAY WITH IT. (unless you find that very sexy of course, but who does?)

So treat cybersex the same way! Thats what I personally think :)

Shanaz AL

Pierre said...

Hi Shanaz

Thanks for your comment and opinion.

I agree that Cybersex is not ok. Like I said in my post the only thing you have to do is ask yourself one question when in doubt if what you are doing is wrong

“How would I feel if my partner were doing this and I found out?”

If you'd be upset then what you are doing is not ok.

I'd love to hear some of the other readers opinion or experiences about this topic, please feel free to post them. Remember that you can stay anonymous if you want to.

Crazeebee747 said...

Hi Pierre,

Thanks for the mind probe. I feel that porn really is a fantasy thing and for me personally, there is a definite correlation to the security you have within yourself as an individual. The bigger question for me is what the mutual view of sex within the relationship?!?!

I guess for me, when sex is viewed as something deeply connecting between two people and when the intimacy is a reality, porn does take on its rightful place (a fantasy but empty when compared to the real deal) So with the mutual view of sex aligned it is like comparing apples and oranges. My opinion though.

I just discovered a new form of porn which was rather huge in Europe on my last visit and apparently quite a popular pass time. Cyber sex between two consenting adults within the comforts of their webcams! My jury is still out on whether that is cheating or merely interactive porn! I am still feeling that I would probably not be happy if I knew my man was doing that on webcam!

But yeah, that is my view for now.......till next post

Take Care

Pierre said...

Hi Crazeebee747

I 100% agree with you on the porn thing. I have heard about the interactive porn trend and that is basically just cyber sex with a webcam from what I understand. I too must say would not be happy if my man was doing that on cam.

From all the comments on both my blog and blog fan page on Facebook, I have come to realize that their are some diverse schools of thought on the issues I addressed in this post. It is also interesting so read people's opinions on the issue of Cyber Fidelity and their rationalization for their opinions.

Thanks for sharing your opinion.

Rebel said...

I see how for some relationships porn and other aspects of the cyber world could be harmful. I am glad that this is not the case for me. I have been with my partner for 8 years now, we met when I was 24. I like watching porn and enjoy the interaction with myself when he is not around. We have never had fidelity issues and I certainly don't see me liking porn leading to any other issues which could harm our relationship. For me porn is a fantasy, something I can live out or possibly use to spice up my relationship.

Pierre said...

Hi Rebel

I totally agree with you on the porn aspect, as it can spice up a couple's sex life. After 8 years together your relationship should also have become strong enough for you to be able to openly communicate your needs and desires.

What I found with comments about my blog post on Facebook is that when it comes to things like cybersex the picture changes quite significantly. As it seems the boundary between fantasy and reality gets distorted.

I am interested in your opinion on the aspect of cybersex. Would you or partner consider that as cheating?

Rebel said...

I have an heterosexual couple who I am friends with and they crank up their web cam and get freaky with other people on the internet. It sounds fun. My partner and I would consider that cheating if say either one of us did cybersex without the other. However as much as it sounds fun. I would never do that; neither would my partner because we would be worried about the images/video being distributed on the internet.

We would probably prefer a threesome or foursome over that; even though we haven't done any of that yet. We figure we are still young and have talked about such things in the possible future if we ever needed to spice things up. But for now everything seems erotic and interesting enough to do without any such interaction.

Anji said...

I've been approving blogs for Blogexplosion and i've come across some porn, though not as much as I thought there would be. As a mother of two sons what worries me is the aggresive attitude towards women. I worry about teenagers picking this idea up. I do realise that it can help to spice up things. Perhaps it depends who's watching and why? Young adults need to learn about love and caring in relationships too.

Cybersex is fine as long as everyone is happy, if it's done in secret behind a partners back, perhaps some talking needs to be done.

DavidinEYW said...

I appreciate your post. My ex-partner and I had been together for over 15 years... Then he met someone while "social networking." Before I realized what was happening I lost my life-partner and he was moving in with this ass.

I asked the other guy to please back away and give us some time to try to sort things through, of course, he refused.

After 6 months I am still reeling. Hoping I will awake from this nightmare. It's difficult to accept what happened and just "move on" as so many have told me I need to do.

Thanks again for your post. It is thought provoking and hopefully it will save a relationship by making someone think before they play.

Pierre said...

Anji I agree that porn can create a negative image on young impressionable minds and I think straight porn is very degrading towards women.

DavidinEYW I am sorry to hear about your relationship and the way things ended. I also hope my post will make people think before they do something stupid, and take greater care in considering the consequences of their actions as it impacts on their relationships.

Anonymous said...

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