Is It Cheating If It’s With A Camgirl?

Now that the term microcheating has gone viral, people are wondering if virtual sex counts as cheating. But maybe that's not the question we should be asking.


Meagan Drillinger |

Jessica Sage starts her day by logging into a chatroom of her followers, who can see her broadcast live over a webcam on the website Stripchat. She can’t see them. But they can see her, and usually, they’re watching her get naked.

As a cam model, Sage performs various sexual acts live on camera in exchange for tokens. She can make thousands of rands in one day from the privacy of her own bedroom. What she does isn’t exactly porn: unlike most porn performers, who make prerecorded content for an anonymous audience, Sage regularly interacts with her fans, chatting and making jokes with them. But she doesn’t converse with them outside her chatroom, nor does she ever physically touch them.

Sage has about 3,000 followers, many of whom are in committed relationships. For the most part, their partners do not know about Sage. “A lot of women feel threatened that their partner might want someone else,” says Sage. While she says that’s not the case, she does acknowledge that the relationships she builds with her fans can be quite intimate.

Related: This Is When She’s Most Likely to Start Cheating On You

“I talk to people and get to know them on a personal level,” she says. “For me, it’s more about building a connection than just taking off my clothes.”

Which begs the question: do these women have a point? Are the guys who watch Sage on webcam actually committing infidelity? or are they just getting off to a random naked woman on the internet?

The rise of technology has made lots of things more complicated, including the definition of infidelity. Does sexting count as cheating, for instance? What about leaving flirtatious comments on someone else’s Instagram posts? (There’s even a term for this: microcheating, or forms of cheating that don’t actually involve having sex.)

Related: Women Consider These 7 Acts To Be Cheating – Even If There’s No Sex Involved

The interactive nature of camming, a rapidly growing industry that generates R25 billion a year, has made that definition even blurrier: while some people think it’s no different than masturbating to porn, others disagree. In fact, when we surveyed more than 1500 Men’s Health readers on social media, 53% said that masturbating to a camgirl didn’t count as cheating, while 47% said that it did.

Men’s Health reader who responded to the poll fell in the former camp: “[Camgirls are] selling an online fantasy, much like regular porn. The extra interaction and control doesn’t constitute as cheating to me personally,” he tweeted.

Max*, 28, who’s engaged to his girlfriend of eight years, disagrees. “With camgirls, you’re seeking out a virtual partner to replace yours,” he told Men’s Health. “You’re paying her to do things, forming a semblance of a one-to-one relationship. With porn it’s like, ‘here’s a sexy video my body reacts to,’ you’re experiencing it with no human connection.”

Lacy Starz, another camgirl at Stripchat, says she doesn’t view what she does as “home-wrecking” because she provides a simple service: to get her followers off. To her, what she does is just another form of acting. “You’re a muse,” she says. “You’re there to entertain.”

Related: YouPorn Is Helping Couples Discover Their Shared Kinks

Whether virtual sex counts as cheating depends entirely on the couple, says sex therapist Angela Skurtu, author of Helping Couples Overcome Infidelity and host of the podcast About Sex.

“I work with clients who have relationships where they are allowed to date or talk to other people, go to massages with happy endings, etc. But the key is that it is consensual with both parties,” says Skurtu. “If your partner is consenting, then there’s no reason why any of this would not be fine.”

The problem arises when you have kept it a secret from your partner. “The way we define infidelity is that it’s something you are keeping from your spouse,” Skurtu said. “If you are talking to a camgirl and can’t admit it to your partner, then it’s an infidelity. Affairs can be emotional or sexual: if it’s a secret, and if it takes from part of the relationship, [it’s a problem].”

So what happens if you do tell your partner about your camgirl habit, and she reacts with jealousy or anger? You should make it clear to her that just because you are masturbating to a woman on the internet doesn’t mean you have interest in anyone but her.

In fact, says Sage, the majority of her clients are enamored with their spouses, and speak of them highly to her. What they are looking for from a camgirl is pure fantasy, no different than searching for porn.

Related: Are You Considering Cheating? You Need To Read This First.

“Partners need to be more accepting and understanding that everyone has fantasies and desires,” she says. “My husband watches plenty of porn. None of the porn stars he looks at are what I look like. I don’t take it personally because I know it’s a fantasy that I can’t fulfill.”

But even if your partner does react with anger and jealousy, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it. Be honest with your partner about what turns you on. Make it clear that your desire to masturbate to an anonymous naked woman on the internet does not lessen your attraction to her. If it would make her feel more comfortable, suggest that she watch with you. It might make her see how innocuous it is, and who knows — it might even turn her on.

Originally published on menshealth.com

READ MORE ON: cheating couples dating masturbation porn relationships

Copyright © 2019 Rodale Inc.