• What Counts as Cheating These Days?

    what counts as cheating these days?

    In these sexually politically correct times, it’s a brave man who tried to steal a kiss under the mistletoe at the office party.

    Which is a shame because a kiss is so innocent, right? A kiss means nothing. Certainly nothing you should be going home and confessing to your partner.

    At this point, anyone reading this will have firmly stepped into one of two camps.

    The first: She’s right! A kiss is nothing to get wound up about!

    The second: Of course a kiss means something. It’s cheating!

    We all might be hyper aware of what’s OK to do and what’s not in work situations but the lines of what’s considered cheating or not, remain as blurred as ever.

    Which is why I thought it timely to revisit what most people consider cheating and what most people don’t. Here’s a (by no means exhaustible) list of possible emotional and physical betrayals - diving in at the deep end.

    Full sex:

    Have intercourse with someone else and you have well and truly cheated.

    Game over. No arguments and not even a millimetre of wiggle room to get out of this one.

    Some will fall back on the 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' line/excuse but once you're rumbled having full sex with someone other than your partner, you'll be hard pressed finding someone who thinks it's nothing.

    Receiving or giving oral sex:

    Some people (men mostly) hide behind the Bill Clinton excuse that unless there's penetration it doesn't count, but most people (91 per cent) disagree.

    It's intimate sexual contact and in some ways even more intimate than penetration.

    It's cheating alright.

    Touching the breasts or other intimate bits:

    Touching the actual genitals rates almost as high on the cheating scale as oral sex (though not quite) but - interestingly - a guy touching her breasts during a "drunken snog" was rated more a betrayal by men than women.


    Everyone's very much 'one rule for them, another for me' on this topic.

    In one study, 77 per cent of men and 89 per cent of women considered kissing cheating.

    But when it came to drunken snogs with strangers in nightclubs that "didn't mean anything", they were "harmless" - when it was you doing the snogging!

    Not so if it's your partner - that's cheating!

    The verdict on kissing very much depends on where it was done, what state you were in and who it was you were kissing. Snogging someone you've have a crush on all year is, understandably and justifiably, more of a cheating crime than a clumsy clashing of lips when you're legless in a club.


    There's a cuddle and there's a sexy cuddle and most of us know the difference.

    A friendly hug at the end of the night usually just signals affection but press your pelvises close, your breasts into their chest and snuggle your face into the nape of their neck, holding the cuddle for longer than truly necessary, and it moves into something else.

    Again, it's who it's with that's crucial.

    Few would consider this a dumpable offence but plenty wouldn't like it.

    Doing nothing but talking to one person to the exclusion of everyone else:

    This is 'emotional cheating', something women consider cheating more than men do.

    The first question women ask when they find out their partner has been unfaithful is, "Do you love her?"

    The first thing men ask is, "Did you have sex with him?"

    Women are far more threatened by men getting emotionally close to someone than men are - and the female instinct is dead right on this one.

    Getting too close to a friend of the opposite sex is incredibly threatening to a relationship and often turns into an affair.

    "Having eyes' for the same person all night is actually more potentially damaging than physical contact, even though it looks innocent.


    We're walking contradictions with this one.

    Only twenty six percent of us think sending a 'flirty sexy' text to someone is cheating but 75 per cent think it's definitely cheating if our partner does it.

    Again, telling someone you'd like to do rude things to them counts more as cheating for women; men tend to think it's only if they actually arrange to meet up to do the desired deeds that it crosses the line.

    Him going to a strip club:

    Some women consider this cheating yet class them going to a male strip act for women as 'different'.

    There is a difference - one's on stage, the other at a touchable distance, even if you're not allowed to.

    The concept is the same though - you're both looking lustfully.

    Most guys say strip club visits, especially those visited with a group of mates, are more about male bonding than anything dodgy.

    It's a place that has a bar that stays open late when all the pubs are closed - and there's a view.

    Lap-dancing clubs minus a personal lap dance, tend to be thought of the same: some women will go stark raving mad at the mere thought of their guy at one, others will shrug and not care that much.

    Having a personal lap-dance pushes it much higher up the betrayal scale.

    Some don't mind seeing it as a bit of fun; others as a complete betrayal since it's very up close and personal.

    Going home and watching porn:

    Six per cent of women consider watching porn to be cheating.

    Not surprisingly (given 99% of men watch it), I doubt there's a man on the planet who agrees.

    Porn can be a huge problem if it's too regular or being used to replace sex in real life but the odd viewing of garden variety porn once or twice a week is usual and common.

    Women watch porn too, remember. It's not just men!

    It's the level of interaction that changes how this scores on the cheating chart.

    Watching a live web cam and making comments or requests is seen as much more of a betrayal and paying someone do things purely for them wasn't OK with almost all women.

    Sixty-six per cent of women in one study consider sexually explicit online chat as cheating.

    Eighty-three per cent of men disagreed - their motto was "unless it's physical it doesn't count".

    Going home and getting the vibrator out:

    About four per cent of women think they're cheating if they masturbate with or without a vibrator.

    There are no statistics for men on this one but, surprisingly, I do get emails from men saying they've found their partner's vibrator and feel hurt and 'betrayed' that she's using it solo.

    But the majority of people believe masturbating simply relieves sexual tension and if she's come home and used her vibrator, that generally means she didn't act on any attractions.

    Having sexual fantasies about someone:

    Almost all men (98 per cent) and the vast majority of women (80 per cent) report having fantasised about someone other than their current partner at least occasionally.

    Since nearly every does it, most people don't classify it as cheating, though around 10 per cent do struggle if a partner admits to having fantasies about other people.

    The moral to this one: what happens in your head is your business.

    Keep it that way.


    You’re more likely to stray if your parents, friends or workmates do or did. Their behaviour effectively gives you the thumbs up to do the same yourself.

    Every person you sleep with before marriage increases your likelihood of cheating by one per cent. The ‘sow your wild oats’ theory turns out to be rubbish, according to one recent major study. Far from getting it out of your system, the more you slept around before you settled down, the more likely you are to have an affair.

    Narcissists are ripe for affairs. If you’re focused on yourself and your own needs, rather than what’s best for the relationship you’re in, you’re more likely to indulge yourself and have a fling.

    If you think you’re a better catch or better looking than your partner, you’re more likely to cheat, feeling you “deserve it” for staying with them.

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    Comments (2)

    • Stephanie: December 29, 2017 09:52
      PLEASE HELP ASAP!!!!!I have been with my man for 3 years were getting married in April. I never had an issue with porn really until about 7 months ago I noticed he wanted to stay home & not come with me on small errands as much. I stumbled across my google history shortly after& found hours & hours worth of him looking up pictures of other women. Looking up specific women by name, for hours at a time. Its not even porn its specific porn stars by name and just pictures. I was very hurt, our sex life has almost dissapeared & i just turned 30 & my sex drive is crazy, but once every week or two is not cutting it for me. I was highly upset after the 4th or 5th time i seen he spent hours looking at pictures. I got hysterical, told him it felt like he was cheating, hes getting off to other women , random porn videos would be different, but he looks them up by name & only pictures. He said he would stop & was sorry. Then a month or 2 later i saw them again on google activity log, he deleted the history but not activity log. Now im upset hes getting sneakier. I broke down worse but he got mad said I was spying on him & his privacy is none of my business. I explained to him it was my business when he sharing an intimate part of his life engaging in intimate actions gettibg off to other women. He said it was only one time in 6months & I explained, to me once in a while doesnt make it ok. Im not ok withit at all!! He said hes too tiredfor sex sometimes, I told him masterbatibg is one thing, doingit to other women is another. He doesnt masterbate to pictures of me?? I have 2 kids, stretch marks my stomach is not bikini body material, other then that I have nice body im onlyself conscious about my stomach, but i told him that looking at those women to me says he wants to get off to a woman that looks like them, he dont lookup naked women that look like me.he dont masterbate to pics of me! I told him last chance or im done, the hurt and betrayel breaks my heart, i try to not let it, but it does. To me its cheating. I toldhim I wouldnt mind regular porn videos of random women, but the specific names just hurts. For a few months after that our sex life got a lil more frequent it improved, & I have no doubts that I cant please my man, I rock his world everytime, I just don't understand?? Well tonight I got lucky because the past 2 weeks I can tell hes up to it again, but now he deletes activity log and everything felt this way about something, even if I didnt see it the same way but it hurt him, I could never go behind his back & continue to do it. The guilt 5would eat me alive & I wouldn't enjoy it. What do I do?? Ive read him all the facts of how porn affects relationship and sex drive, and intimacy. Ive tried it all, I told him I was done if it happened again, so if I dont stick by that thrn he will know im full of empty threats and that he can get away with whatever and I won't leave him, so he really wont stop. I know if i bring up that I know hes done it again, hes going to flip out, whenever hes caught and wrong he gets really mad at first, but o well, its not my fault im a good loyal woman and I would do Anything for him. What do I do PLEASEE HELP ASAP!!!
    • William: January 03, 2018 20:45
      Ok, hope I can help here, as a guy and as a person who watches a fair amount of porn, have been married for 10+ years, mid-forties and never cheated, with no plans to.
      Firstly, think you need to separate what he does here from being any form of ‘cheating on you’. A fair proportion of men watch a fair amount of porn (and women too). If they didn’t the internet and use of the web would not be as developed and included in peoples normal (non porn) lives to the extent it is. It’s one of those things that people either don’t realise, don’t want to talk about or like to admit really. Plus good quality porn is now available for little £ (or generally free if you know where to look), compared to the days of the poor quality VHS tapes passed from person to person years ago.
      I would go so far as to say it is healthier than not having fantasies or having them and not being able to explore them by watching movies or looking at pics. It is better than having no outlet, as I think that could actually increase the chance of someone cheating, am pretty sure it would for me.
      A person’s taste in say, which pornstar they like is quite perfunctory, they may like that one and not an other, they may know why, (or maybe not) but either way they like and dislike what they do, and to a large degree (imo) have no choice in the matter. They are not going to meet them or know anything about them (in real terms) so it is just on looks alone. Therefore I am not surprised that he is choosing certain ones and not a random selection. They are ‘his type’ as such. If you find pics of a certain person arousing and the name is available, you will naturally look for others of that person, rather than search for pictures at random from the start all over again.
      When it comes to movies I think it is even more straightforward, (but possibly surprising to hear).
      The thing is a large proportion of pornstars are tbh not that good at what they do. What I mean by that is they all say the same things, do the same things and in general follow a rather formulaic pattern told to them by directors as it is ‘what sells’. Very few come across as natural and though they are actually enjoying it, (and I am sure a fair few are not but that’s a different debate for a different time).
      When a guy finds that pornstars that fit his ‘likes’ also perform on camera in a way that excites him too, that can be quite rare (unless just anything gets him off but that is not my experience or that of those I have discussed this with).
      It is probably a poor analogy (but best I can think of) – imagine a teenager thinking about what boys / girls she / he likes in magazines; if some of them also sing and he /she also likes the music and the way they dance, the sound of their voice and how they come across on camera – then boom that will be their idol and posters on walls etc. will follow.
      I think you have to establish whether there is a connection between your partners use of porn lowering his sex drive or whether they are unconnected (and if he has looked at this level of porn for a while and you just did not know. This would be my bet). There is research that says excessive amounts of porn viewing can have an effect on sex drive but I think there are far more men viewing porn without the knowledge of their partners and it having no adverse effects, and in many cases it is actually beneficial (see above).
      From my own experience I think him being found out has raised an issue that has led to the loss in activity between the two of you - because it has not been discussed and resolved, not due to what he was actually doing.
      A lot of couples, if they can get passed these issues actually then go on to watching porn together, and exploring their individual tastes. From there it can lead to them experimenting with things they wanted to try in their own sex lives but had not felt comfortable to talk about or initiate.
      As a final comment and illustration of something I said earlier, the porn industry in general is bigger than Hollywood’s and it’s traditional movies, (and the computer gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood too), but everyone assumes it’s (or wants it to be) the other way around.
      So ask yourself who is watching it all this porn then?. Normal people that is who, if it wasn’t they would NOT need to make as much as they do, and it would not keep growing year on year. I know that one of the larger porn website alone is reportedly bigger than Dropbox, (a Cloud storage company) CNN and the New York Times combined.
      I hope this helps and you are able to discuss it, find a resolution and move on positively. You need to, as from what I remember there is a lot to get done in the final months before a wedding. Regards. (SMILEY FACE EMOTICON)
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