“I know it when I see it”… United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart – when unable to set clear legal guidelines for what would constitute obscenity – said this. He couldn’t quite define what was an was not obscene, but he assured the public that it would be apparent to him – and to all of us – when we came into contact.
This is clearly bullshit. We all ahem different interpretation of what we would consider obscene and socially tolerable. It turns out its the same for infidelity.
Ester Perel in her book, the State of Affairs, looks at the different perceptions people have on what would constitute cheating within a relationship. She interviewed hundreds of couples and tried to gain their appreciation what would constitute cheating within their relationships. The results are quite fascinating.
Not surprisingly, pretty much everyone would consider intercourse or oral sex with someone else to be cheating. There was no discussion of those in open relationships, but the assumption – which is fair – is that she is talking about non-consensual action throughout her study. So, yes, intercourse and oral sex are cheating.
Kissing was a little less definitive. 95% of women, but only 81% of men consider kissing someone else to be cheating. This surprised me a bit. I don’t think that slipping up and kissing someone else a bit is the worse thing you can do… but I certainly can’t imagine not considering it cheating. So, for 1 in 5 men to feel its not cheating … we’ll, that surprises me.
Another result that surprised me, but in a different way… 62% of women and 43% of men considered having dinner with someone you are attracted to as cheating. I can see this as inadvisable and can respect a spouse being upset about it, but for 62 and 43 percent of women and men to consider it cheating…. that seems a bit over the top.
Similarly, 47% of women would consider watching a cam girl to be cheating. Again, not a cool move, but cheating?? I’m not so sure.
Another interesting finding…. 94% of women and 75% of men consider sexting to be cheating. I’m not sure how I feel about that.. but I found it to be an interesting stat.
And finally – and this is interesting – in almost every category of sexual ‘micro-cheating’, more women would consider the action to be cheating that would men. Said another way, women are more likely to consider any sexual indiscretions be cheating.
Its a grey world.