Does Using a Sex Toy Count as Cheating?
When writing this blog, I found myself stuck in a rut as I stubbornly held on to my own answer to this question, which is “no, absolutely not”.
But I wanted to explore it further, as I know plenty of others who’ve had experiences different to my own.
So, I asked some friends.
Every single one of them said “no, but…” and continued on with a story of an ex who felt inadequate whenever they used a sex toy, so they hid it from their partner.
This made me realise that the question has a tonne of variables, and is a lot more complex than how it first appears.
Firstly, we need to define cheating; a daunting task. I think there could be hundreds of plausible answers, but I think a recurring theme would be dishonesty.
Some well-known examples of cheating in monogamous relationships could include physical infidelity, emotional infidelity, fantasising (however, most fantasies are healthy and normal), hiding money habits and secret social media habits (i.e. sexting someone else).
Because infidelity is such a grey area, it’s really important to have a solid think about what your boundaries might be, write them down, then compare notes with your partner in an open and honest discussion.
With that out of the way, here are some reasons why I don’t think using a sex toy counts as cheating.
As a side note, this is all based on my life experience, so your answer will depend on your own life experiences.
Make sure to interrogate your intuition and ask ‘why?’ regularly.
- 1. Only I have ownership and control of what I do with my body.
- 2. Remaining independent and having sexual and emotional freedom while practicing monogamy is healthy.
- 3. Self-exploration is amazing. It helps me understand my body, explore pleasure and can help my partnered sex, astronomically.
- 4. Sexy alone time is crucial to my sanity.
- 5. I do not believe that any form of solo-play or masturbation counts as cheating, it’s a different itch that needs different scratching.
- 6. Sometimes, using a sex toy can provide non-human sensations – i.e. vibrations.
- 7. It can feel different and is used for comfort and self-love.
- 8. I can use sex toys with my partner, and it’s the best.
By interrogating why I thought how I did, I thought of a few reasons why someone might think that using a sex toy is cheating.
Pleasure and Body Ownership
Do you believe that your partner should not feel pleasure without your input? Would you feel betrayed if something that was not you touched your partner intimately?
I’m aware that this could become a bit of a sensitive topic as we consider culture and religion, so I’m not prepared to say too much on this.
Ownership could also exist in a consensual Dom/sub relationship, or Master/slave relationship. If the ‘ownership’ in your relationship has been talked about and consented to by all participants, this could be completely healthy and safe.
However, if you’re in a situation where you feel owned and you’re not okay with it, it’s important to find help outside of your relationship and get yourself out of the situation.
I totally get it, if you know that your partner is having an orgasm-party without you, you might feel a little bit left out.
However, it’s really important to acknowledge that this feeling is not your partner’s fault, and is something for you to work through and have a conversation about.
While I get a teensy bit sad that I’m not there to enjoy the fun, it makes me exponentially more happy knowing my partner is having a great time.
The idea that using a sex toy means that a partner isn’t ‘good enough’ in bed is, more often than not, a myth.
Like I said previously, solo-play and partnered play are very different and can be used for different purposes.
However, I’m aware that lots of people will still feel inadequate. Start by asking yourself what it is that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Does your partner use a toy that has a non-human function that you can’t replicate? Or do they use something realistic that makes you feel uneasy about your appearance?
Either way, communication is key.
You could also use the toy with your partner, watch them use it, or use it (safely – with a condom) on yourself with them involved. This may or may not work for you, but I can’t emphasise enough how important open and honest communication is here.
There are a few more variables that I can think of which complicate this question even further for me.
What if the sex toy in question is a sex doll or robot? What if the user personifies the toy, giving it human feelings? What if a partner pays for a sex toy to be used on someone else, like through a live cam show?
This is a huge discussion that I would love to hear your thoughts on, so please comment below!
Eleni is a health communications student from Sydney. Her favourite topics to communicate are sexual health, gender and sexuality; she spends her time smashing taboo topics everywhere she goes.
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