With virtual reality porn becoming more popular by the day, couples may need to redefine the boundaries of what is and isn’t crossing the line when it comes to being faithful.
As technology continues to evolve and spawn sexy new ways to interact with human beings that don’t involve being in the same room, the result is more and more options for bonding with someone other than your lawfully wedded partner.
In virtual reality (VR) sex you put on goggles that allow for a sensually immersive and live experience via webcam by getting a 360 view of your virtual partner’s environment. Some people also wear haptic body suits and fleshlights to feel the touch of their partner.
Writing in Vice’s Motherboard channel, Zoltan Istvan postulated that “I see a day coming when people break up over a partner’s desire to use virtual sex as an outlet, whereas in the past, porn would have been tolerated. That is because virtual sex is so much more powerful – and that could scare real-life partners off.”
Indeed, a misogynistic ‘adult entertainment’ company VR Bangers (don’t check it out if you’re on the office computer!) suggests men have sex with their spouse while wearing VR goggles that make their wife look like a porn star.
The answer to is virtual reality sex cheating depends on these factors:
Define the boundaries of what is and isn’t crossing a line
For many couples, talking about sex is extremely uncomfortable. So uncomfortable that they can’t express what they would like and not like in bed and often wind up frustrated. But that’s the subject of another article!
The point here is that there must be a conversation or conversations clarifying what feels acceptable or a betrayal when it comes to behavior outside the relationship. Is flirting ok? Watching porn? For some couples, the latter is no problem; indeed, it’s a healthy way to release sexual energy. For others, porn is behavior that can’t be tolerated.
What about sexting with a stranger? *Tami wasn’t upset that her husband liked to view online porn, but felt distraught to discover that he also regularly had cyber-contact with a woman he’d met online. She explained during a couple’s session: “What was so painful was that this was an ongoing one to one flirtation with a particular person versus watching porn sites featuring lots of nameless models and actors.” The worst part to her was that he’d never told her about this liaison; she saw a steamy text come in on his phone one day and felt “rocked to her core.”
VR sex would have felt “ten times worse” for her as it involves the senses and isn’t just words on a screen.
The point is that the number one rule to follow is to know before you indulge in forbidden virtual fruit how your partner will feel about it.
After discussing your fears, questions, and desires, it is essential to reach a compromise. This doesn’t mean bullying your partner into agreeing with what you want even though he or she admits to deep apprehensions, but coming to a middle ground that feels ok to each of you.
Whatever you do, don’t promise something, and then break the promise. That is a breach of trust and will affect the relationship.
Trust, once broken, is very difficult to rebuild.
Are you hooked?
If you or your partner is spending more time virtually hooking up or thinking about virtually hooking up than with one another, this is a huge indication that more than goggles are involved. Cheating is occurring at an emotional level. Attention and thought are being devoted to someone or something outside your marriage. *Larry admitted in a session, “I found myself avoiding sex with my wife or if we did have sex, fantasizing about my virtual sex partner while my wife was touching me. That’s when I knew I was in trouble.”
Larry came to realize that the major reason he got so attached to VR sex is that unlike porn, it felt real. In porn you are a voyeur, a mere observer, but in VR sex you are a participant actively creating the encounter. Larry said, “There was nothing passive about my virtual reality sex experiences. I was all in because it was totally vivid. I started daydreaming about what I’d be doing at night and those daydreams were not about having sex with my wife.” To Larry VR sex was ‘perfect’ – real world sex could never top it.
Another danger of VR sex: the lost in space free-floating feeling of this activity can lead participants to push the boundaries in ways they wouldn’t dream of trying with a partner they saw every day.
Larry says he “discovered exhibitionist tendencies I’d feel too weird about trying with my wife. I was so, so hooked.” The price of this addiction was the eventual loss of his marriage.
The moral here is that reasons people seek outside stimulation often stems from a lack of emotional intimacy with their partner.
The more you feel safe to open up and be real with your partner about who you are and what turns you on and off, the less you need to step into the VR sex realm.
*Names and details are changed
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW