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Defining Infidelity in Pop Culture

Infidelity is often defined as a betrayal of trust. More specifically; it is a sexual or emotional betrayal of trust within a committed relationship. For women, the thought of great sex usually involves a scenario in which there is flirtation, romance, and foreplay. Men, on the other hand, usually imagine great sex as the time when there were interesting positions or long duration. These facts are well known in the publishing industry which has responded readily with such visual magazines as Playboy and books that are more story and plot-based like Harlequin Romances and 50 Shades of Grey.

But does simply reading stories about people having romantic sex or looking at pictures of the sex act qualify as infidelity? We know that infidelity involves some core conditions. For example:

  • You are keeping a relationship a secret from your partner.
  • There is a sexual chemistry between you and a friend. You notice you become aroused when you see, interact with, or think of your friend.
  • You become less aroused by your committed partner, or, you picture your friend when you are having sex with your partner.

So although you are reading and not interacting with a person, your partner may feel betrayed if the core conditions are being met. For instance:

  • You may have no problem describing your reading material to your partner (or you may even share the material with your partner) but you find you resist telling your partner the exact amount of time you spend engaged in the activity.
  • If your reading results in increased sexual arousal that leads to masturbation you may find you seek the material out more often leading to less frequent and/or less satisfying sex with your partner.

If your partner notices he or she is competing for your attention and affection, or it is discovered you are keeping the reading a secret, then feelings of betrayal and infidelity may result.

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