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I overheard a discussion about this yesterday while at the sandbar with friends. There was a boat full of women ranting about their current relationships and their former relationships and each one of them weighed in on the subject. I’m not one to speak up to strangers, so I am responding quietly.

This and always has been a hot topic for women. What is the answer? There is no answer. Every marriage or relationship comes with it’s own set of rules. What two parties agree upon as acceptable will be the “rules of engagement.” If you meet a man who uses porn but explains it away as a method he needed within the confines of the sterile sexual relationship he just exited, 9 of 10 this will be his go to method when YOU are not satisfying him.

Porn is a topic (given its availability) requiring discussion prior to a committed relationship. Determine what the rules of engagement are with regard to viewing and “using” graphic content. Is it something you will do together, as a couple? Is it off limits all together?  If porn played an active role in your significant other’s life prior to your relationship, it is likely not going to change so taking it off the table is going to create a land mine.

Try as your partner might to “resist” the urge to view porn, it will happen and if it is deemed a no-no by you, this will lead to guilt, which will lead to resentment, which will lead to erosion of feelings. Inevitably, you will “catch” your partner, which will lead to anger, hurt, betrayal and perhaps a host of trust issues. Since men are generally the more active graphic content consumers, it might be difficult for women to understand the need or inclination.
 

I think most men engage with some form of pornography through their lives and the reasons for this is varied. Some enjoy it, some rely on the simplicity or the ease of conversion (no muss no fuss), some have a higher sex drive than their spouse or, because he doesn’t find you appealing (at all or no longer desires you). You can count on a man explaining it away if questioned, caught or challenged, but if you put your mind to it, you will know the truth.

The million dollar question … Is Porn Cheating? It is if you have agreed, as a couple not to allow pornography into your relationship. Think about it. If you have both decided you can see, date and sleep with other people, then it isn’t cheating when one of you do. However, if you’ve decided to have a monogamous relationship, then it is cheating if one of you wanders into the arms of another.

Cheating is an esoteric concept because of the many articulations. Now, in addition to sexual cheating, we have emotional affairs, work affairs … it’s hard to fathom the pitfalls of an exclusive union, so talking about it prior to can be difficult. It is not uncommon for “work” affairs to develop when one or both parties spend most of their waking time at work interacting with people who “understand” them and know what they are “going through.”

The only way to head off an out right relational disaster is by communicating. When you sense a change of routine, inquire. If you sense emotional distance, reach out. If you are feeling hurt, don’t let it fester. All distance creates the opportunity for a foreign invasion.