Is It Cheating If Your Mind Wanders?

I recently had a discussion with a few friends about the places your mind is allowed to go during sexual acts with a significant other. Is it cheating–or wrong in some way–for you to think about someone else?

Before you jump to your answer, I ask you this: Have you ever thought about someone else during a sexual act with a significant other? I would wager that most people have, but just in case, I’m posting a poll below.

Here’s my take on the cheating question. I think that even if you’re lucky enough to find the love of your life, you are going to be turned on by other people. Maybe they’re people you meet in real life, or maybe they’re celebrities and movies stars. You will hormonally desire other people.

But you’re committed to your significant other. So instead of seeking adulterous relationships, why not just let those people slip into your thoughts every now and then when you’re with your significant other? It will enhance the sexual experience for the two of you, and as long as your thoughts aren’t dominated by your fantasy person, you’re not betraying the one you love.

But that’s just me. What do you think? Cheating or not cheating?

14 Responses to “Is It Cheating If Your Mind Wanders?”

  1. Jamey Stegmaier says:

    No comments today! I wonder if this subject is too awkward for people to talk about in a public forum.

    At the time that I write this, 9 people have admitted they’ve thought about others during sexual acts with a significant other, while 4 have said they never have. NEVER. I find that hard to believe, but I think people have widely different sexual experiences, so it’s possible. Either than or they don’t want to admit to themselves (much less the general public) that they do such a thing.

  2. Amanda S. says:

    I’ll talk about it, I love awkwardness and all postings deserve to have at least 1 comment on them.

    I voted yes because I do think about another person sometimes when I have sexual acts. I think it’s almost normal. I mean sure the person you are physically with could be doing a wonderful job, but sometimes my mind is going to wander and think if Mr.OtherMan can do it better. I will say that my mind doesn’t wander to celebrities, but still men that I find unattainable. The hot guy at the gym, the single man in the grocery store, the dirty man who fixes my car, etc. Maybe if I had sexual acts with whoever I used to wander to then they would stop, but I can’t be sure of that.

    At least people are only thinking about someone else in a fantasy sense and not out physically cheating. Kind of reminds me of the whole wandering eye issue that some people have. It’s not actually cheating, but you have to be careful that whoever you’re with doesn’t see you getting whiplash or else you’re busted and will have the whole rest of the evening to fantasize about Mr.OtherMan because your sweetie has decided to give you the silent treatment. Keep the fantasizing to a healthy level and make sure your significant other knows you adore them most of all and everyone is happy.

  3. Jasmin says:

    *Shock* Jamey, are you trying to get some people in trouble? Thinking like that is not cheating, but it’s not good, if they know. That can decrease the significant other’s self-esteem which can lead to self-doubt and insecurity. “Why am I not good enough?” would loop in his/her mind for quite a while before any sexual activities resume. I think some people do role play to spice things up, not thinking about someone else. I would say you can keep Princess Leia, but not Lauren from next door.

    What would you do in a situation like this? How would you feel? Your significant other thinks about another guy while having naked fun with you.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Jasmin and Amanda–So it sounds like for you two, it’s okay as long as the other person doesn’t know. I partially agree. I don’t think it’s a matter of the person you’re with not being good enough. You’ve chosen to be with them physically, so they are good enough. It’s more a matter of fun and imagination.

      Now, would I want my girlfriend to explicitly say while we’re rolling around in bed, “Hey, I’m thinking about Paul Walker right now!”? No. But I’m totally fine if she thinks about someone else. Again, she’s chosen to be with ME–that’s all that matters to me.

      • Jasmin says:

        Yeah. I don’t think I can do that. My powerful mind trumps my weak body anytime. If I start thinking, I might shout out a different name. That would not be good.

        Maybe you should have another more detailed poll on this topic that your readers can select a gender, a choice of how often they have done the thinking during the sexual act, and do they think it’s cheating or not. There can be an incentive like being eligible to be in a drawing for cookies, $5, or a free bottle of beer.

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Interesting. I do have a blog coming up where I’m going to give away cookies. I need to use that power wisely, though. A new poll may be in order.

  4. EmilyRVA says:

    I truly believe that the people who said they have never thought about another person during sexual acts are lying (to themselves or others). I’m also making an assumption that the vast majority of those who voted “No” are women, or men whose partners were standing nearby. I can’t imagine there are people out there who have engaged in sexual acts and have not–at any time–thought about someone other than their partner at that exact moment. How boring! Do they think of nothing at all? Do they think ONLY of the person with whom they are having this experience at that specific moment? So once they move on to a different sexual partner, they NEVER think about a particularly awesome session with a previous sexual partner? A specific scene in a movie they quite enjoy? Never? To be a little crass–how do they finish?

    Thinking of someone during a sexual act is not cheating. Being turned on by another person is not cheating. At the most basic level, humans are animals with normal and primitive animal instincts. We cannot control who/what turns us on. An attractive man or woman catching our attention–even while with our significant others–is not a bad thing or offensive. It might be rude and/or inconsiderate of your company to turn your head and follow with your eyes as he or she walks by, but to just check them out? Not offensive. Humans are animals. What separates is our ability to choose how we act on those instincts. Is thinking of your Celebrity/Civilian Five while having relations with your partner cheating? No. Is seeking out your Celebrity/Civilian Five so that you may act on your desires cheating? Yes. You’re committed to someone not because you think they are the hottest man/woman you’ve ever seen but because in a sea of others, THIS is the man or woman with whom you want to spend your life. Are there hotter girls than me? Without a doubt. Are there hotter guys than my boyfriend? Sure. But I think he’s pretty hot and I like him the most and I’m committed to not messing that up. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think about Jensen Ackles and he doesn’t think about Kate Beckinsale sometimes…

    I can’t even agree that it’s not good if you know your partner is thinking of someone/something else. I am never under the impression that my boyfriend is thinking about me 100% of the time. If he is? Awesome (though a little obsessive). If not, I don’t think he’s thinking of them because he’d PREFER to be with them. In reality though, I like to believe he’s just thinking about baseball b/c I’m THAT awesome.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Emily–Thanks for the blunt honesty of your reply. I’m actually curious if the majority of those who answered “no” are women, but I have no way of knowing that from the poll. I guess the loophole here would be for people in committed relationships who pleasure themselves and use that time to think about other people–that would fall outside of the bounds of my poll.

      Your second paragraph is spot on. I think it touches upon what makes us human. We’re one of the few species to have committed, long-term relationships. I think it’s amazing that we can choose time after time to be with the person we love instead of the other people our loins desire (yeah, I said “loins”). But one of the perks of that level of commitment is that you can be with anyone you want in your mind even though you’re physically and emotionally with the person in your bed. Maybe that sounds naughty to some people, but I think it’s an amazing choice that we get to make.

  5. Trisha Leigh says:

    Just as food for thought for all you practicing Christians. The Bible says VERY EXPLICITLY that having adulterous thoughts is no different than commiting an adulterous act.


    See, Jamey. I upped the taboo/awkward content even further.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Trisha–That’s what the Bible thinks, but what do you think? 🙂

    • Amanda S. says:

      Eh, guess that makes me a sinner but I knew I wasn’t anywhere close to perfect to begin with. What about if I envisioned myself married to the guy in my mind at the time?

  6. Thalita says:

    If you can’t tell your partner that you think about someone else when you have sex with him/her without hurting her, it can be concluded that the same principle of not being able to tell your parents about something you did because you intrinsically know it’s wrong, applies. Nothing that will hurt someone you love should be practiced in the relationship. If sex is unsatisfying, put some effort into making it interesting. Be creative and don’t punish your partner for your own laziness. At least, that’s my opinion. I’ve found that with the roles reversed, many people admit they would be hurt too if they were in their partner’s position.

  7. […] we’re physically our committed spouse/partner. This is actually something I touched upon in a blog post a long time ago about whether or not it’s “cheating” if your mind wanders during sex. The poll in […]

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