You’re Not Allowed To Knock Trump For Stormy Daniels If You Watch Porn

You’re Not Allowed To Knock Trump For Stormy Daniels If You Watch Porn

Our culture is so far gone that we don't consider secretly watching porn to be adulterous behavior. But even watching porn is akin to having an affair.
John Sweeney
By

Many have been quick to judge President Trump for his affair with pornography creator Stormy Daniels, and rightfully so. But Donald Trump is not the first man to cheat on his wife with an onscreen prostitute this year. Presumably, thousands of men engage in adulterous behavior with pornographers and strippers every day.

Culturally we may not believe it, but each time a married man watches pornography, he commits an act of adultery. This by no means justifies President Trump’s behavior. He slept with another woman while his wife was home caring for their son, and he deserves every second of criticism from his affair with Daniels.

To be clear, I do not intend to argue that pornography objectifies women, robs them of their dignity, treats them like commodities, and pushes them further into the bottomless pit of depravity. It most certainly does all those things and more, but that is a topic for another time. Rather, I want to focus on the fact that as an industry, pornography has created an entire generation of unwitting adulterers.

If anything can be attributed to the sexual revolution, it is the widespread popularization of pornography. It is the crowning achievement of a culture that treats sex flippantly, stripping it of its beauty and purpose, leaving only the bodily function. We have reduced sex to transactional entertainment and created a generation of pornography-addicted consumers, hiding behind the anonymity of a computer screen. But the computer screen does not confer innocence or fidelity.

Porn Is Tantamount To Cheating

Although it may be difficult to admit, we cannot continue to ignore that watching pornography while in a relationship is tantamount to cheating. I realize that some will assume this is nothing more than a puritanical, prudish screed. But when considered honestly, my conclusion about porn is unavoidable.

Instinctively, we all believe we know what cheating looks look like. Yet most would deny that watching pornography is cheating. Could it be that watching pornography is truly a victimless crime? Hardly. The truth is that no man wants to ask himself whether his porn habit is justifiable. It is far easier to go on believing that it’s harmless entertainment.

But pornography is not merely entertainment. It has far more in common with our traditional understanding of adultery than most realize. We don’t wait for our wives to leave the house to watch baseball.

No issue can be honestly settled without first establishing some common ground. This issue is surely no exception. So let’s start with a common-sense assumption regarding infidelity. If a married man cheats on his wife with another woman, it does not matter if the woman knows that he has previously bound himself in a marital promise. This seems painfully obvious, and it is, but it also reveals something important. It is only the knowledge and intent of the married man that is relevant.

Keep that in mind. Now, imagine that a woman returns home from work only to find her husband on a video chat, engaging in virtual sex with a woman he met online. Does it really matter if his paramour knows that he is married? Few, if any, would deny with a straight face that the wife would have every right to give her unfaithful husband his walking papers. Direct physical contact is sufficient, but not necessary to commit adultery.

Therefore, if we can say anything about infidelity, we can say that it does not matter if both parties intend to participate in an extramarital relationship, and that hiding behind a computer screen is nothing more than a technicality, providing neither excuse nor justification. It is easy to see, then, that watching pornography is not substantively different or uniquely innocent.

Physical Contact Isn’t a Requirement for Adultery

Imagine a woman returns home from work to find her husband once again on his commuter, only this time he is engaging with a professional live-cam performer as opposed to someone he met online. Assuming the performer has particularly odd scruples, she may not intend for this man, or for any married man to avail themselves of her services. She may not even know who the viewers are.

But this can’t possibly serve as an adequate mitigating factor, because who she intends to interact with is irrelevant. His behavior here is no different than the previous hypothetical. If a man can commit adultery through a computer connection, does it really matter who is on the other end?

Notice, then, how similar this is to watching pornography.  The only real difference is that a typical pornographic video is pre-recorded. But adultery does not have to take place in real time. If a married man and another woman are exchanging sexually explicit, pornographic videos of themselves though an app like Snapchat, are they not cheating? I find it hard to believe that anyone would honestly justify this as innocent behavior.

I think most know, whether they want to admit it or not, that watching pornography while in a relationship is cheating. Unfortunately, it appears that most men and women today are convinced that it is normal, healthy behavior. At the very least, if not accepted, it is simply expected of men, as if we do not have one ounce of self-control. We should demand more of our significant others and of ourselves.

John Sweeney writes from New Jersey.

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