Is Jerking Off Cheating?

Is Jerking Off Cheating?

In today's society, the topic of masturbation is often met with mixed opinions, particularly within committed relationships. While some view it as a harmless expression of sexuality, others consider it a form of cheating. This article aims to explore the complexities surrounding masturbation within relationships and the importance of addressing the concerns it may raise. By acknowledging the impact of masturbation on partnership dynamics, individuals can make informed decisions to maintain a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

In order to overcome conflict surrounding jerking off in your relationship, it’s important to be open to discussing sexual expectations, and what role sexuality plays for your partnership. If your partner — or, especially, your spouse — has come to you with concerns, it is important to listen to and thoroughly consider them. Especially in a marriage context, you are obligated to prioritize your spouse’s concerns when considering your sexual ‘needs.’

In this article, we’ll address a few different perspectives on jerking off, and help you feel better equipped to discuss this with your partner — or, if you’re working on breaking a habit, to overcome the behavior.


Is Jerking Off As Bad As An Affair?

Jerking off is not as bad as an affair—the fact that both involve sexuality is their only similarity. In an affair, an individual must find someone else attractive, go out of their way to talk to them, spend time intentionally building a relationship with that person, and then have a sexual encounter with them. Trust is violated far more in an affair than by someone who has a problem with jerking off.

However, in a serious and committed relationship, sexuality is reserved for expression within the couple, not outside of it. Sex and sexual intimacy are for the purpose of bonding and uniting the couple, not just for feeling good. Connection is what matters, more so than even orgasm. If a partner has an issue with jerking off, although it is nowhere near as serious as having an affair with another person, it is an issue that should be resolved if it is caused stress and strain.

Is Jerking Off Mental Infidelity?

Whether or not jerking off is seen as mental infidelity generally has to do with the introduction of pornography as a means of arousal. Pornography is known to be powerfully negative, damaging to relationships, and even addictive in some cases. Masturbating to pornography is wrong. It’s an issue that should be acknowledged and dealt with promptly.

If you or a loved one have been having issues with pornography, consider trying out Relay’s recovery app. With all the perks of a support group, and daily mindfulness check-ins, we’ve seen great success in our users so far.

The reason that some people see jerking off as mental infidelity is because instances where individuals find themselves jerking off are missed chances to connect sexually with their partner. In a committed relationship or a marriage, it is the job of each partner to take care of each other’s sexual needs, and jerking off is turning away from a partner to do so on one’s own.

Does Jerking Off Change Your Concept of Pleasure?

The brain is the biggest and most important sex organ, and, surprisingly, jerking off can totally change the way it perceives pleasure. Masturbation and jerking off are incredibly impactful on the ‘arousal template’ in the brain, ie, the things your brain finds appealing, and what you will or will not become aroused by.

Some individuals who have fallen into an intense habit of jerking off can have this arousal template altered to the point where real sexuality and intercourse does little for them, since their brain has become so accustomed to jerking off to pornography instead.

Jerking off can change your concept of pleasure, even if pornography is not involved. Since the individual is in control of their sexual experience when masturbating, there is a complete lack of communication with another person—the kind of communication that is vital to experiencing a vibrant and healthy sex life within a relationship or marriage.

Not only is there a lack of sexual communication, but jerking off can set unrealistic expectations for how pleasurable sex will be, how focused on the individual it will be, and how long it will last. When having sex with a partner, the individual needs to prioritize their partner’s needs in order to have the best experience. Jerking off trains the brain only to focus on itself.

Does Jerking Off Make You Wish You Had Someone Else?

It depends. If someone is using pornography in conjunction with masturbation, then maybe. Where people who struggle with jerking off stray into difficulty is more nuanced: they may start to wish their partner would behave differently in a sexual setting.

While this is something that should be easily communicated between partners, conversations surrounding sexuality can be intimidating. If one has a tendency to jerk off instead of turning to their partner to meet their needs, it is important that they vocalize what they’re thinking of and hoping for, and that each partner does their best to understand and be honest about their expectations.

Remember, in a healthy relationship or a marriage, it is taking the time to connect sexually with your partner that matters more than climaxing or having your ‘needs’ met. While each person does have sexual needs that they and their partner should take seriously, it is the connection that matters most in a relationship. (Not only that, but it’s connection with one’s partner that will lead to the most satisfying sex anyway!)


If your partner or spouse has raised concern about your jerking off habits, this is not something to brush off or take lightly. Make time to sit down with your partner, and listen honestly to their concerns. If you’re worried about your partner’s habits, remember to have an attitude of openness and nonjudgemental honesty as you bring it up with them.

It’s important to acknowledge where a habit of jerking off is stemming from. Many individuals fall into intense sexual habits as a way to cope with negative emotions and stress. It’s important for both partners to be clear about where their worries, or their jerking off, is coming from. That way, they can work together as a couple, and either modify their sex life to better accommodate each others’ needs, connecting in healthier and more uplifting ways, or they can help each other find healthier outlets for stress than jerking off and masturbation.

Show your partner that you’re going to start prioritizing them and their concerns by making a change. Although sexual issues may feel weird to discuss and talk about openly, the relationship/marriage will benefit greatly, as will each individual.

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There is help available to you if you or a loved one has a physical dependence or psychological dependence on pornography, masturbation, or sex. These urges and compulsive behaviors can control your life, but you can take back control. Relay's addiction recovery program provides a comprehensive, outpatient approach to behavioral change - at home, at your own pace. To each new program member, we provide a personalized recovery plan, a peer support group, progress tracking, journaling, and intelligent insights about your behavior patterns, all within a simple and secure mobile app Our proven approach helps program members achieve the best chance at long-term recovery without the time or expense of rehab or therapy. Try the Relay program for free here; if you need help as you get set up, contact us now at

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