Go ahead - 'sext' your spouse
June 9th, 2011
08:21 AM ET

Go ahead - 'sext' your spouse

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

Is “sexting” really cheating? Well, if, like Congressman Anthony Wiener, you’re married and sexting someone other than your spouse (and without your partner’s knowledge or approval), of course it is!

In an earlier post for The Chart, I talked about Internet infidelity and how it’s accelerating at a record pace. With its easy accessibility and novelty, the Internet enables us to easily tune out and turn off to our partners, when we should be making an effort to tune in and turn on.

The instant gratification of these technologies stimulates reward centers in the brain, and soon we find ourselves craving the quick hit of an instant connection or lamenting its absence.

Real relationships take time and patience, whereas sexting a stranger or engaging in a flirtatious Facebook friendship brings us a quick thrill and requires a lot less work. And the more technology becomes a personal accessory that renders us always on, the more likely we are to become novelty seekers in search of the next ping.

We live in an era when many consider sexual infidelity to be the ultimate personal betrayal. But there are those who believe that if infidelity doesn’t involve a physical component, it’s not really cheating—and that’s just not true.

The accessibility of the Internet means that we need to be more vigilant of emotional infidelity, and seemingly benign activities that nonetheless have a sexual and secretive component.

In her seminal book on emotional infidelity, "Not Just Friends," the late psychotherapist Shirley Glass implores readers to “maintain appropriate walls and windows. Keep the windows open at home. Put up privacy walls with others who could threaten your marriage.” She contends than an emotional affair is marked by three distinguishing qualities:

- Close friendship and emotional intimacy. An emotional affair often begins as friendship and gradually drifts into something more. While friendship alone isn’t enough to qualify as cheating, a feeling of shared closeness and understanding is the starting point for an emotional affair.

- Sexual attraction. An emotional affair is fueled by feelings of attraction between two people. 

- Secrecy. Here’s where friendship and attraction cross the line into emotional cheating. In an emotional affair, each person stops sharing certain aspects of the friendship with his or her partner, and starts confiding more in the “friend” and less in his or her partner.

We’re all living, breathing sexual beings. Attraction doesn’t end once we’re in a relationship. Even the most happily coupled people are going to feel the familiar buzz of attraction when someone catches their eye or laughs at one of their jokes. And as I discussed in another column for The Chart on negotiated monogamy, some couples are even willing to expand the boundaries of flirtation and accepted behavior within their relationship.

Relationships often start out in the “fast lane,” but eventually we find a comfortable cruising speed in the middle lane, and sometimes switch over to the slow lane.

Some relationships run out of fuel altogether, and every couple needs a jump-start every now and then. Instead of seeking that jolt of excitement from outside your relationship, make more of an effort to seek it within.

As I discuss in my book "52 Weeks of Amazing Sex," “Technology can be a powerful way to enhance a relationship: Sexting, engaging in phone sex, playing on Skype, and sending flirty emails are all great”— just do them with your partner, not with your Twitter followers.

soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Lyndsey Crislip

    I am not positive where you are getting your information, however good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thank you for great info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.


    January 21, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Hilario Adley

    I¡¦m no longer positive the place you are getting your information, however good topic. I must spend a while studying more or understanding more. Thank you for magnificent info I was on the lookout for this information for my mission.


    January 21, 2021 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Shay Bill

    Greetings from Florida! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the information you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home. I'm shocked at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, good blog!


    January 28, 2021 at 10:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Neville Economus

    Great write-up, I am regular visitor of one's site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a lengthy time.


    January 28, 2021 at 22:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Facebook Fanpage Likes

    some truly fantastic work on behalf of the owner of this site, absolutely great content material.


    February 3, 2021 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. malatya escort

    esenyurt escort bayanar bu sitede üstelik hepsi ücretsiz...


    February 4, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. fine dining Orlando

    Hello friends, its a great piece of writing concerning cultureand entirely defined, keep it up all the time.


    February 18, 2021 at 08:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Dario Bohrman

    I really like it when folks get together and share ideas. Great website, keep it up!


    February 27, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Ossie Kreissler

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written much better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he'll have a great read. I appreciate you for sharing!


    February 28, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sharie Keal

    Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It's on a completely different topic but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Superb choice of colors!


    March 3, 2021 at 05:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Gil Pomfret


    March 4, 2021 at 10:12 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Leave a Reply to Miss Harcey


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.