Toby and I had an excellent conversation last night over some Thai food at Rice. It was about cheating and the internet. Basically, the question was this, is it considered cheating if you’re on AIM or in a chat room, repeatedly talking to someone about sex, involving yourself in the fantasy, and pleasuring yourself at the same time?

I realize this is a cliche topic, but I found myself curious anyway. At what point does an act become an act of cheating, online or not? At what point have the rules been broken? Let’s say the person knows the person they are chatting with, let’s say they were at one time romantically involved, is that an act of cheating?

Everyone has their own personal commandments. I know that I have mine, they’re self-written and oddly refined. I’m curious to hear from others.

(btw – there was no reason for this conversation. neither of us in hanging out in some toaster fetish chat room or anything.)


  1. Please direct me to the toaster fetish chat rooms immediately, I thought I was the only one.

    Cheating is doing something you suspect or know would make your partner uncomfortable. Basically, if you have to hide it, it’s cheating.


  2. Ben, I’m sort of in agreement with you. But Toby brought up some excellent counter points. While I would be so ok with my partner watching porn on the TeeVeee (in fact, I might encourage this), I would not be super pleased with him sitting on the internet pleasuring himself while chatting with someone he has or hasn’t met. I’m weird like that. He pointed that out, the inconstancy. His line is a bit futher away than mine.


  3. I think it’s cheating. If the assumption is that you are in a committed and exclusive relationship, then engaging in cybersex with another person is a betrayal of that commitment. It may be anonymous, and the contact may only be masturbatory, but it still involves another sentient person. One would have to ask, why do you need this form of (non)contact?

    As for cyber with an ex, that seems (to me at least) a clear act of cheating/betrayal. To strictly define cheating as a physical act requiring geographical proximity diminishes what most of us would consider a “real” relationship to be. Is a marriage/relationship strictly defined by physical proximity and sex?

    I don’t think anyone would consider sexual fantasies about other people to be cheating (even if they are indulged during masturbation), nor do I think masturbation and pornography are cheating. Your partner may have political/ideological/ethical problems with the porn industry, but I don’t think watching porn would not be adulterous. It would be more like voting Republican if you partner thinks you’re a Democrat.


  4. I’ve had this problem before with a previous relationship. For me, if you are looking at porn 24/7 then yay for you. But as soon as you start talking to them (porn chics, and/or normal girls and espically local girls), having conversations with them, telling little sex stories to one another, then yes to me, it is cheating. not the same kind as affair cheating though, more of a “i’m to big of a pussy to actually cheat on you, so i’ll do it this way….but if i had any balls, i’d cheat on you in a second..and one day i probably will” kind of cheat.

    my ex liked to impersonate women, and even though it was unlikely he’d meet them (as he was a guy), i still viewed it as a passive-aggressive way of cheating. eventually i found it impossible to trust him, regardless of what he said or did, and it ended..there were also other reasons, but this had a big part in it.


  5. The problem is that we aren’t looking at the purpose of the term. To “cheat” is to break the rules of your relationship. There is no ideal relationship somewhere up in the sky, no matter what Plato might wish. We determine the rules and we accept or we don’t. Some couples swing, for instance. They aren’t cheating on each other if it’s something they’ve agreed is allowed.

    This becomes a very simple matter when we have clear definitions. For michele, anything having to do with another actual person in a 1-1 situation is not allowed. She doesn’t mind, though, things which are impersonal, such as pr0n. She even said last night that she doesn’t so much mind a community discussion where someone happens to get off. It’s all about the bonding with another person over intimate matters for her, it seems. But that doesn’t mean that the same is true for any and all relationships.

    A sad point is that couples don’t often discuss their boundaries explicity and don’t draw lines. Operating by assumption leaves nasty arguments when someone feels the other has crossed a line.

    I’ve known a girl who would become furious not if her boy looked at another girl in public, but if someone NOTICED her boy looking at another girl. For her, it was all about some sort of control and embarrassment. He accepted the terms, so being caught checking out some gal’s tush would be cheating—for their particular relationship.

    I do NOT ALLOW toaster fetishes, for instance.

    Ben, that means we need to have a talk. It’s not me, it’s you…


  6. I agree, Toby, that “cheating” is a violation of the terms of a relationship, and those terms are negotiable, and I could certainly envision a relationship where chatting is allowed. I do not judge cybersex as inherently aberrant or adulterous.


  7. i might want to reword what i said earlier sort of…i’m not sure if i feel that chatting it up with someone online is nessasarily cheating, as it is just something that throws up a giant red flag and can make me really uncomfertable and unhappy. i have gone back and forth on it frequently in the past. wether it is cheating or not, if it’s going on, i’d like it to stop.

    i agree with toby. it’s something that probably needs to be disucussed, becuase there are things that i’m ok with, and not ok with, that don’t really make sense.


  8. basically, andrea, anything nifkin does is perverted. trust me.


  9. well, thats the thing. i like it when he wraps himself up in cabbage and sits in a tub full of italian dressing, but i hate it when he uses french. i don’t know why. it just is.


  10. omg … i think i just cheated.


  11. it’s okay, gotjesus, that kind of thing happens to all guys at some time in their lives.


  12. calvo wears a sailor suit when he rows.


  13. Ahoy, matey! Need a cockswain?


  14. All too often it seems that when someone engages in this sort of act-online or at the local hooker-juice joint-there are seemingly a plethora of brewing problems that should have been (should be) discussed with ones partner before things get way way out of hand and someone loses a dick.

    Perhaps the couple shouldn’t be together to begin with? If it takes that much work to stay together, so much work you’re actually seeking stimulation elsewhere, what’s the point really?

    I’m the type of gal who is open and willing to try new things. If Toby were seeking stimulation suddenly elsewhere, knowing what he has at home, I know that I would begin to lose faith in our relationship. And even if said feeling of loss were at first an unconscious one, ultimately it would fester and things would eventually go sour. He can get the goods at home, in person. Anything you want, husband of mine. (But he knows this).

    That’s just me. However, I am always looking to be swayed. :]


  15. “Perhaps the couple shouldn’t be together to begin with? If it takes that much work to stay together, so much work you’re actually seeking stimulation elsewhere, what’s the point really?”

    Not all people want the same thing. Some couples are together because they both enjoy external stimulation. Being in a relationship isn’t just a way to enforce monogamy—it’s about partnership, support, love. Sex is just one part of it. People all vary widely where that part is concerned.


  16. I was assuming that they had agreed on a partnership of that sort—that being a monogamous one. Sorry ‘bout that.


  17. they didn’t. they agreed to hump toasters dressed in sailor suits made of cabbage. so there.


  18. toby: quit spreading nasty rumors…you know I save the sailor suit for outside of the boat.

    gotjesus: they spell it coxswain. almost makes it less sexual, until you start to use it in context. you have people coxing boats, and using the little microphone/rating dealie they call the cox box.

    …and, yes, we’re always on the prowl for new coxes.



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