Is Playing The Highlight Reel Cheating?
Romantic relationships have always been an interest of mine, more than likely stemming from all the childhood Disney cartoons depicting a princess falling in love with her prince. Such a perception of romantic relationships is of course quickly dispelled when one finds him or herself in a relationship of their own.
We quickly come to realize that love is not as simple as it is portrayed in movies and that such fairytale endings only belong in fairytales. The reason for this discrepancy between portrayal and reality lies in the lack of sex; Disney is more than happy to portray the strong, loving, emotional connection between two individuals, but when it comes to sexual intercourse, they'd rather skip ahead to the part when the stork delivers the baby to the parents' doorstep — no exchange of bodily fluid necessary. So much for seeing the dwarves gangbang Snow White.
Sex adds an entirely novel dynamic to a relationship. In a sense, it makes things much more complicated — albeit much more fun. However, when a relationship truly is filled with love, the sex part of it comes easily. There isn't a more euphoric feeling in the world than making love to a woman who holds your heart. Unfortunately, as all things do, this feeling fades.
Sexual intercourse with your partner will inevitably begin to lose its excitement. This is of no fault of either person — unless of course either you or your partner are especially lazy and uncreative in the sack — it happens because of the familiarity and comfort the two of you develop. The more sex that you have, the more familiar your movements, positions, sounds, smells and tastes become.
This will initially make the sex more interesting — your curiosity will continue to burn and you will continue to study your lover's body and sexual prowess. But alas, sooner or later you will learn all there is to learn of him and the curiosity that drove your sexual desire will begin to fade — and with it the intensity of sexual intercourse.
This is when couples resort to their imagination. Human beings have the unique cognitive ability to replay memories and to create entirely novel experiences in their minds. In this cognitive playground we create for ourselves, we have the ability to customize each of the smallest details to our liking. We can pick the place, the time, the person or person(s) and even the props involved.
In a sense, we can sleep with whomever we want, wherever we wish to have them and under any circumstances we could possibly imagine. Being the chronic masturbators that we are, human beings use this sort of mental imagery regularly (some more than others) and do so to climactic success.
To a large degree, orgasm is the point of sexual intercourse. Of course, there is much more to be had and countless pleasures that may be experienced during sex that do not necessitate orgasm. For men, however, ejaculation is crucial for the simple fact that it is required for reproduction. Unfortunately for women, no matter whether or not they get off, they still may end up with a 9-month long traveling companion.
And let's be honest, if we are sexing ourselves up, the one and only end we are looking for is a happy one. The question that I am looking to answer is not whether or not sex must end in orgasm, nor whether or not we ought to use mental imagery or rather a magazine when we find ourselves cold and lonely on a Saturday night. I am more interested in whether or not it is acceptable to imagine a person during intercourse other than the person present with you in the moment.
Most people have a tendency of grouping together love and sex — as if the two come hand-in-hand and are inseparable. All will agree that you can have sex without love, but I believe that you can also love without sex. Or so I hope, otherwise our 80s and 90s will be rather depressing. What more, I believe that there is nothing wrong with imagining different sexual partners while having sex with your one partner.
I will agree that wanting to imagine a different partner during the first couple of years or so of the relationship may be a sign that your sexual relationship with your lover may need some work. After a decade though, you may have to accept the fact that although you love your woman with all your heart, you are still a man and want to stick it to some other beauty — it's only natural.
Sex is sex. People are attracted to other people sexually on a physical level. While being attracted to another's mind is where love stems from, sex remains a separate beast entirely. You may love your husband, but still want to mount the postman. So where is the harm in imagining sleeping with a celebrity as long as you don't actually sleep with them? What is wrong with allowing your imagination to wander and to get creative?
Before being able to bring creativity into your actual sexual relationship with your lover, you will need to get creative on your own. In the end it is your wife's body that you are caressing and kissing and her pleasure that you are sharing in.
I feel that the fear of such imaginative wandering is a result of the belief that such is a form of cheating or unfaithfulness. Wanting to imagine sexual intercourse with another while with your husband may cause you to question whether or not you still love them. This is the sort of thinking that must be avoided. As I have said many times before, love is a decision — more than an emotion or physical urge.
This understanding is the reason why many couples decide to be in an open relationship or to become swingers. For the more conservative, such lifestyles are not an option. For this reason we ought to imagine ourselves in various exciting situations with different people. We should try to then bring this creative sexual thinking to physical form, possibly by role-play and games.
As long as we are clear on the love that we have for our partner and clear on the future we wish to have with them, sex is left to what it is: just sex. There is something almost poetic about two people making love to each other while at the same time imagining themselves in completely different scenarios with different people.
It goes beyond the jealousy associated with the thought of ownership or belonging and creates a love that is at the same time free and boundless and within bounds that both parties are comfortable with.