At first glance this article dangerously resembles the headline of some trashy site that’s mysteriously found its way onto your Facebook newsfeed, but please bear with me here. When the question, “Is sexting cheating?” was pitched as a suggestion for an article, I immediately grabbed it, so I could pin it down and rearrange the first two words and remove the question mark.
Not to be too melodramatic, but I feel that cheating is being increasingly normalized. It’s everywhere in the media; tabloid headlines, films, and of course on social media. And worryingly, it’s often presented in a trivial way that rids it of its hurtful reality – the heartbreaking feeling of betrayal and loss of long established trust, or in some cases, the breakdown of a family. An article on The Tab that I read last year had the disconcerting title, “Cheating on your boyfriend is the sweetest taboo there is”, which went on to talk the reader through tips on how to cheat without being caught, with inspiring quotes such as “Just keep it hidden. My lifelong motto is “out of sight, out of mind”. Maybe the comedy of this is lost on me, but surely this is a slightly unhealthy notion to nurture.
Determining what constitutes cheating depends on how someone defines a relationship. As long as both partners are on mutual terms, I suppose you could argue that anything goes. According to a recent survey by law firm Slater and Gordon, 66% of men and 51% of women don’t consider sexting another person cheating. But surely once it’s behind your partner’s back, it begs the question; why? Of course, statistics can be dubious and another survey by Huffington Post, discovered that 79% did consider sexting cheating whilst only 48% considered kissing someone else cheating.
Clearly there is no unanimous consensus on what counts as cheating, so before you decide to send an ‘innocent’ snap of your bits to the fittie in your seminar, maybe check that you and your partner are on the same page regarding your ideas on faithful behavior.