You Guys Are NUTS For Telling People that On-Line Chatting and Porn-Watching is " OK" !

Dear Couch,

Sorry, you guys are NUTS to be telling people that on-line chatting (sexual) and porn-watching is ' OK' for partners to do behind each other's backs. Even if these forays into cyber space DON'T always lead to actual illicit relationships or cause relationship problems, deception in a serious relationship is always NOT ' OK.' The bottom line here is that if it were ' OK' to be doing, so many people wouldn't be HIDING it. And so many of their partners wouldn't be experiencing the harrowing emotional effects of this type of intimate betrayal. When that woman wrote in telling you that her husband's masturbation to porn ' cheapens,' in her mind, what they do as a couple, I think her intuitive feeling is keenly, intuitively, and authentically expressed, and needs to be validated rather than poo-poo'ed. Some things are still sacred lovemaking is one of them. And while I agree masturbation and fantasy are not the same as lovemaking, they can't help but influence each other profoundly.

Let's not be silly,

Dear Why Hide It,

Let's get one thing straight. If you will refer to the letter you mention we did NOT poo-poo her feelings. We advised her to stop focusing on her boyfriend's masturbation and deal with their mutual sexual relationship problems. We don't tell people to hide their chatting and/or porn watching but at the same time we don't suggest they page their partner to let them know when they're yanking it or polishing the vibrator. People masturbate! They masturbate from the day they figure out their equipment brings pleasure, to the day they're too senile to find their equipment and part of masturbation is some artificial stimulation. Thanks to this wondrous Internet which can transmit life saving patient information in an instant to emergency rooms just in case, heavens forbid, that stick gets crammed up your ass any further, it can also transmit pornographic pictures and/or erotic stories which many people find sexually stimulating.

Masturbation in a relationship can only be one of two things the result of an unaddressed, dissatisfactory sex life or a quick self focused orgasm that doesn't require paying attention to someone else. If one's masturbation is a result of the first situation then the betrayal is not due to the self pleasuring but rather in not addressing the mutual sexual problems. If one's masturbation is the result of just plain wanting to orgasm at the time without having sexual relations with one's partner ... so be it! As long as the sexual needs of the partner are not ignored then where is the betrayal? Is it not better for someone to diddle themselves rather than engage in selfish sex with their partner? Masturbation is the part of one's sexuality that remains theirs throughout their life and we think it very appropriate to keep it to ones self.

We know what you're thinking 'stick-butt', ' What about online sex chatting?! That's cheating!' . Ok. We'll grant you that this is a slippery one. Many people in relationships engage in completely anonymous, no names, no relationship, steamy sex chat. This is a fuzzy line. At what point does the other chatter cease to be simply an interactive erotic story and begin to claim a part of your partner's erotic self? We'll admit, as the book Caught In the Net documents well, online chatting has created an opportunity for unhappy people to begin affairs in cyber-land but become real-world. But if you think someone in a happy relationship is going to be lead to an affair through some hot chat room masturbation, then you don't have faith in yours or anyone else's partner. And to get you started on enjoying your own masturbation we suggest the book For Yourself, The Fullfillment of Female Sexuality. Enjoy!

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