Advice

Miss Information: Three questions on what constitutes cheating: fantasizing? watching porn? sex chatting?

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Miss Information: Three questions on what constitutes cheating: fantasizing? watching porn? sex chatting?

Dear Miss Information,

I have a special friend that I sex-cam with. We’ve never met in person. He wants to meet up and have me give him oral sex. He says it’s not cheating on his spouse. I disagree with him on that second one, but does the sex-camming itself constitute cheating? I need to know for my sake. I do not want to come between him and his wife. If it’s cheating, then I’ll stop. — Watched One

Dear Watched One,

Sex-camming with someone who’s not a professional — i.e., who’s employed through a multi-client website and getting a paycheck for displaying their naughty bits — absolutely is cheating. Not the worst kind of cheating, and nowhere near as horrific as your use of the term "special friend." (Hold on — donning surgical mask and swabbing keyboard down with multi-spectrum hospital-grade antiseptic — there, all set.) But still: not exactly relationship-appropriate behavior.

But why, Miss Info? You’re not touching the other person. How is that any different than looking at a spank movie? Well, for starters, watching clips and looking at pictures are one-way experiences. If all of a sudden Joanna Angel stops what she’s doing and invites you over to go down on her, chances are you’ve been stroking it for too long without a break. Time to unglue your fingers from your genitals and call your mom. Trim the hedges. Get some Chipotle.

This problem with this kind of relationship is that it has the opportunity to escalate. Which is what you’re seeing right now with your special friend. (BTW, can we just call him Frank?). "Frank" wants to go beyond the cyber stuff and move the party offline. It sounds like you have some serious qualms about that. I would give Frank the ol’ skeeve-ho and find a new friend to cam with. I know we’re not signing up to bring the casserole to the church social here. You’re horny, it’s not you who’s married, and sometimes it’s hard to find guys in this particular niche. Advertise up-front that you’ll only play with single men or those with informed partners. Don’t respond when rule-breakers contact you, even if they’re so hot your clit threatens to climb out of your panties and smack you in the teeth. If you do that, and diligently avoid all offline meet-ups, you should be able to camera-come until your heart’s content.

Dear Miss Information,

I am engaged to be married next year. I’m a very loving and considerate guy who has never cheated on any of his girlfriends. I would hate to hurt my fiancée. She is my best friend and a terrific match. However, even before being engaged, I’ve always checked out chicks, harmlessly flirted with girls at work and I have constant triple-X scenarios running in my head. Does that mean I should have sowed my wild oats growing up? I pretty much know the answer but I need validation. I’m already invested in a great relationship with a great girl. I don’t intend to walk away because of some foolish idea that I could make these thoughts go away by bedding someone. — Internal Shrink

Dear Internal Shrink,

You’re asking if it’s okay to be sexually aroused by women other than your girlfriend? Yes. Let me rephrase that — fuck yes. Consider this your all-access pass.

Being in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you confine your fantasies to your significant other. Sure he/she may make a cameo appearance alongside the helicopter pilot and tattooed red-headed twins, but you don’t have to be all "Ooooh baby, fuck me like you fucked me last week! Yeah, that’s right. Do exactly what I expect!" As sex columnist, I’ve seen a lot of out-there stuff in my day, but that’s just sick.

The urge to cheat is a feeling and there’s no way to inoculate against it. The oats-sowing argument is, and always will be, bullshit. There’s no magic number of partners or specific set of experiences that will, once completed, guarantee you won’t stray in the future or prevent you from feeling like you’ve missed out. Even if you made a list and checked off every last one, your sexuality will continue to grow and change. What turns you on now won’t be the same as what turns you on in twenty years. Thank God, or some of us would still be masturbating to Fonzie.

I would look seriously at how excited you are about marrying this woman (are there happy pink butterflies or cold knots of dread?) and not let guilt over something like this hamper your judgment. You sound like one of Miss Information’s most favorite creatures — a neurotic erotic, a sensitive perv.

Dear Miss Information, 

I am in a truly wonderful relationship with someone I know I’ll spend the rest of my life with. The problem: He has a large amount of porn on our shared computer. It’s not anything over the top, just normal run-of-the-mill videos of naked girls, but it hurts me like a knife to the heart. He keeps the contents password protected. I feel like he’s not sharing a part of his life. I would love to watch this stuff with him; I see it as chance to get a window into what other things he would like from me sexually — what he’d like me to look like, dress like, act out. But when I mention this (or, more frequently, cry about how it is taking a chunk of my self-esteem and flushing it down the toilet), I get a wall of silence in response. He will never allow me access to this section of the computer. Never.

He tells me it has nothing to do with me. He says I am gorgeous, that he is incredibly turned on by me, and I believe him. Still, the porn bothers me. I want to know what he gets from watching this stuff and seeing pictures of other girls. I know I should just let it go and not make a big deal of this, but I just don’t know how to go about it. —  SM 

Dear SM,

Porn isn’t for sharing. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Porn is for sharing, but it should be shared freely, not under a state of psychological duress. You can’t demand access to a personal, psychologically loaded possession and expect a cheerful handover. 

The intentions are noble, but let’s face it: there’s no way you’re going to feel good about everything that’s in that folder. I’m sure you’ll find some of it’s titillating, but the anime girls pushing mollusks up their vaginas you might regard as really fucked up. 

But it’s his fucked up. Not yours. Just because he enjoys looking at it doesn’t mean he wants to introduce it into his reality. Sure, there may be certain scenarios he’s interested in actually carrying out. But he’d rather approach it on his own terms, when he’s ready, than be prodded into it by a partner. 

Your boyfriend is a human and will occasionally have sexual thoughts that don’t involve you. I don’t know what else to say but sorry. That’s the way the boner bounces. No doubt that makes you a little freaked and jealous, and baby girl, I’m with you. Years ago I gave my ex endless grief about his porn collection. Crying jags, accusations, threats. I’d tell him I was okay with everything, then change my mind seconds later. 

I found the best way to deal with all this was to just give up. Adopt an attitude of, "Fuck it. I don’t care anymore," and stop letting it dominate your thoughts. Can’t do that? Fine, fake it. Trying is better than not trying. Keep reminding yourself that thinking about this shit is fruitless and boring. Eventually you’ll get to the point where it doesn’t bother you as much. You may even go the route I did and start a dirty library of your own. (Just in case you’re curious, I have some crazy clips of gay dudes self-fellating, but sadly, no mollusks). 

Your boyfriend’s not entirely off the hook here. It’s selfish of him to refuse to watch porn with you. Not everyone’s comfortable with it, but he owes it to you to at least try. Create a new folder on your desktop, one that contains smut the two of you searched out together. Make a deal: you will stop bugging him about his smut cache if he agrees to be an enthusiastic participant in this new venture. 

Ultimately, fearing this stuff is about as sensible as fearing killer bunny rabbits or the boogeyman. He’s not in love with these porn stars, he’s never going to meet these porn stars and he doesn’t think about these porn stars when he’s not watching them. You’re the one doing that, not him. Perhaps your guy should be jealous of you instead?