Should Masturbation Ever Count As Cheating?

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Does Masturbation Fit The Definition Of Cheating? Answers From Reddit Relationships

I have found, in my many trips around the dating-sphere, that people have a wide variety of opinions about what should or should not be included in the definition of cheating when it comes to romantic relationships. Does watching porn count? Does watching porn for the sake of masturbation count? A kiss? Nothing but full-blown penis-in-vagina sex?

The options are limitless, frankly.

For me, personally, infidelity doesn't necessarily involve a penis going into a vagina, or even a steamy make out session between my partner and someone who is not me. Instead, what I consider to be a betrayal has always been more about someone willfully and deliberately choosing to spend their time, effort, and energy on someone else they are attracted to in a way that somehow reduces the time, effort, and energy they would otherwise put into their relationship with me. 

I know that the concept of emotional infidelity can be murky and I'm aware that it might be a particular quirk of mine for that to count most, but we're all entitled to define such things as relationship boundaries for ourselves, right? 

RELATED: 4 Things Women Do That Men Count As Cheating — And Why It Breaks Their Hearts 

So, yes, there are people out there who do believe that if their significant other masturbates, that solo sex act 100% counts as a betrayal. 

I know, right? I myself was positive that this couldn't be a real thing, but then I started doing some digging and it turns out that there are people out there who really do feel this way about about their partner indulging in the pleasures of their own flesh.

Given that I have my own specific parameters in this arena, however, I'm aware that I'm not exactly in any position to judge anyone else's relationship rules. That said, I did want to a peek further inside the minds of men to see if they. too, believe that taking care of one's own business counts as an act of adultery. 

Thankfully, I found a lively discussion on a thread over at Reddit Relationships.

"I got into my first relationship after so many years of being single. He was funny, respectful and an overall very nice attractive guy. Besides all that I thought he was really great too at first because he didn't try to jump into bed with me as fast as any other horn dog would have tried. We're in our mid-late 20s and after a couple of weeks then months he still wasn't trying to get intimate with me besides making out and the few times I tried we were unsuccessful due to him not being able to perform properly.

I later found out that he was a virgin (he lied to me about that). After talking to him that it was okay and accepting it and trying to get us to make love it still was just not happening. After so many months no matter how much I thought we loved each other, how comfortable I tried to make him feel he was just not responding to me.

Turns out, which I found out on my own, he's been masturbating and watching videos or just using his mind/imagination once to a couple times a day, just pleasuring himself while I was just left to the side yearning for us to get intimate, getting my advances turned down and left hurt and torn.

Don't get my wrong I believe that masturbation is a perfectly healthy part of life  but not when you're choosing masturbation over sex. I've told him that the fact he's getting sexual pleasures but not me felt as if he was cheating, that it really is just as bad as a 'meaningless' hookup due to the fact that he's getting sexual gratification and I am not at all. Even if it isn't with an actual human being I felt as if I was being cheated on. He doesn't agree with that at all. He believes there's no way that compares to actual cheating.

I know if he kicks his addiction we possibly could have a normal sex life (or something close to it) but until then am I crazy or wrong to think that?

(new here not sure if using this next part properly..)

tl;dr: Boyfriend masturbates but doesn't have sex with me, would you consider that a form of cheating?"

Here's what men had to say in answer to one woman's question about whether or not masturbation fits the definition of cheating.

1. Yes, if it somehow deprives your partner of intimacy.

"Cheating you out of intimacy, maybe. Masturbation isn’t a bad thing but when it replaces intimacy it is. He may have a case of ‘death grip’ going on at the very least."

2. No, but it could be a sign you're not sexually compatible.

"I don't see it as cheating at all. There's a whole other thing here to consider though, and that is sexual incompatibility."

3. No, and if your partner says it is, that should be a red flag. 

"No. And if you're with someone who says it is, you need to get out of that controlling abusive sh*t while you still have some self respect left."

4. No, unless you're receiving "assistance." 

"It's only cheating when someone else is doing it for you."

5. Maybe, depending on what you to masturbate to.

"By itself, no. But it does get into some murky areas when it comes to whatever has inspired you to masturbate. If your inspiration is old videos of an ex, old photos of an ex, or even old memories of an ex, then it may not be cheating, but it is at least nearing a point where the subject matter might hurt your significant other. Honestly, I find masturbation (excluding mutual masturbation) to be a very personal thing, and I think most relationships are best off letting it happen without delving too deeply into what might have inspired it." 

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6. No (unless you're religious?)

"No, and if you think it is, you're either really young minded or very religious."

7. No, and it's actually healthy! 

"Masturbation is definitely not cheating. It is a healthy, positive part of life. (As long as it doesn't interfere with your sex life)."

8. No, and anyone who says it is just wants to control you.

"Your girlfriend sounds very insecure, controlling, and immature. Masturbation is definitely not cheating, so if she thinks it is, then she's crazy. It's your body, and your girlfriend has no right to control your sexuality in that way. I would never let a girlfriend do that to me."

9. No, and if they say it is, you need some boundaries, friend.

"No, it could not, and if it does to the person, you are in a relationship that needs clearer boundaries."

10. No, and anyone who disagrees is just insecure. 

"Only somebody with crippling insecurity and a badly warped relationship with sex would think that was so."

11. No, it's actually a way to PREVENT cheating.

"My ex gf used to get so mad if she found porn on my phone. I think it's extremely immature. I don't WANT these people in these videos more than who I'm with. It's literally purely just to have an orgasm WITHOUT having to cheat. If the real deal is right there, yeah I'd rather be doing it in real life. This is a very silly question." 

RELATED: The Simple Reasons Why Men AND Women Cheat 

Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr