Marriage Sanctuary

Is Viewing Porn Cheating?

The internet has brought with it many positive and negative attributes when it comes to how it affects the lives of people especially in relationships and in marriage. People tend to behave differently online than they would naturally. With the emergence of online dating services and porn sites, married couples find themselves in difficult situations when it comes to the issue of visiting these sites online.

A question I have been asked in counselling married couples is today’s title heading. Is viewing porn cheating? Usually when this kind of question is asked I know there is a problem. Firstly, viewing porn is a bad habit because you are looking at other naked people and enjoying it! In marriage, you are only supposed to enjoy the nakedness of your spouse. Viewing porn changes the perceptions and desires of the person viewing and can cause someone who would not cheat in real life, to start to engage in sexual activities outside of the marriage.

The problem with a habit like viewing porn is that it more often than not becomes an addiction. This causes a person to start to engage in addictive behaviours such as viewing porn at work, rushing through spending time with the family and spouse in order to be able to get online. It can get as bad as sneaking away from people or family in order to get online and view porn. This can cause late nights, distance in terms of communication which breaks down dialogue in marriage. It can affect the attention of the person at work, in the home and in whatever task they are supposed to perform.

Viewing porn is wrong. And yes, it does lead to cheating. How? Studies have shown that most people who view porn tend to become involved in emotional affairs or sexual affairs online. This can be deemed as cheating because you become emotionally involved with someone other than your spouse and because you now give your attention to your new and seemingly exciting activity, you spend less quality time with your spouse and it begins to affect the relationship and bring about marriage problems.

Emotional affairs can lead to actual affairs. This is because you spend time with each other online and because there is a strong connection formed, it leads to meeting offline which then leads to actual infidelity. Online sexual affairs are done by webcam, in chat rooms, or by viewing inappropriate pictures. People tend to want to live out their wildest sexual desires online. They feel they can be free and are less inhibited by society. Viewing porn and engaging in online sexual affairs can begin to cause problems in a marriage as it can start to cause dissatisfaction in the sexual relationship with the spouse who is not engaged in viewing porn.
The desire to want to view porn and be online begins to damage a marriage as the person starts to spend an excessive amount of time online and when they are offline can be irritable around the family because they want to go online. This kind of behaviour also leads to the person becoming secretive and this affects dialogue in the marriage.

The most damaging effect on marriage when it comes to viewing porn and getting involved in online affairs, is that the other spouse is usually devastated when they find out. Feelings of inadequacy and confusion overwhelm the spouse and lead them to feel that all this while, they were not able to satisfy their partner and this can cause serious self-esteem issues. Trust is also damaged and can be extremely hard to restore.

Viewing sexual material of other people when you are married is wrong. It will lead to wrong thinking and will affect your marriage negatively if this behaviour if left to continue over time. The mind is like a sponge, it will take in whatever you feed it. If you feed it long enough, the thoughts formed will be acted upon. Actions are a result of thoughts that are in the mind. Is getting addicted to porn worth losing your marriage and your spouse? Is it worth losing your children?

In a nutshell viewing porn is cheating because it causes an emotional disconnect in the relationship and causes problems in the marriage. To solve this problem, the spouse with the problem of viewing porn will need to seek counselling. Counselling might be advisable for both spouses because not only does it help the spouse with the addiction, it will help the spouse without the addiction come to terms with what is really going on, not blame themselves and keep emotional stability for their own sake, the marriage and the relationship.

This Week’s Assignment:

If you have discovered that your spouse has been viewing porn behind your back, do not react angrily. Speak to your spouse and make a commitment that both of you need and will seek counselling. It is important for you not to think there is something wrong with you or to blame yourself for not satisfying your spouse’s sexual desires. Whatever caused the problem can be discovered and resolved in and with counselling.