Is Paying For Phone Sex Infidelity?

Hi Alessia,

I’ve been happily but stressfully married to my husband for 5 years. I say “stressfully” because my job takes me away from home & to other countries for weeks & even months at a time. As a result, we’ve had to really work on communication and our sex lives long distance.

Recently my husband confided that he’s been using phone sex services to help, umm, bridge the gap in sexual loneliness and frustration while I’m way.  I honestly didn’t know what to say…

I’ve got really mixed emotions — and logical reactions — to this.  On one hand, he’s not physically cheating, just masturbating; and I totally understand his needs because I certainly use a lot of batteries in my hotel rooms. I know he watches/downloads porn, and that doesn’t bother me at all. But on the other hand, he’s interacting with another (other) women.  And because phone sex is all we have for long periods of time, I feel more than a bit jealous.  But then I go back to the facts, which are that with time differences etc., there are weeks when not even that is possible…

Alessia, can you help me figure this out so that I can understand myself well enough to communicate with him?

Thanks so much!

Kate

Dear Kate,

First of all, the matter of what is or isn’t cheating is something that the two of you must decide on.  It’s one of those areas that couples think is “so obvious” that they often don’t discuss it; but then you’ve got a relationship — and in this case, because you are married, a commitment — based on assumptions.  You know what happens with those.

(At this point, the cheating guideline are the horse already out of the barn; but I have to mention this need to clearly define your idea of “cheating” and coming to an understanding & agreement with your partner about the issue for other readers.)

So now you find yourself in this ambiguous situation; so let’s deal with that.

Since you said that you don’t mind his use of adult materials, at least while you’re away, I’m going to believe that you’re not just jealous in general for his *ahem* affections.  Porn usually upsets women more than erotica… Since you’re OK with his use of porn I have to say that personally, I don’t find paying for professional phone sex providers much different than erotic stories. Other than the ability to shop for the specific character you want and the ability to “write your own stories” with an interactive person, as opposed to a static erotic text or audio story, what’s the harm?

There’s no shared fluids; and because she’s a professional, she likely isn’t at all considering running off with your man like some girl in an IM or chat room. He’s just a guy paying (or helping to pay) her bills.

That’s no different than the girl in the films & photos, right?

So I’m gathering your personal reaction of jealousy & discomfort comes from two fear-filled places.

One, a fear that because she is real (not a fictional character that only exists & remains fixed in a written or read story) that there is the potential for your husband and the phone sex girl(s) to talk about other things…

For example, if he’s calling one of these women to discuss his bad day at the office, his loneliness without you, etc., rather than telling his buddies or family members, then perhaps there is more to their relationship than “just sex.”  If he’s growing dependent upon one phone sex provider for something more akin to a relationship — and that’s at the expense of your relationship as husband & wife — then you might want to establish clear boundaries.  Remember, though, do not accuse him of such emotional dependence or infidelities out of your fear; tell him of your concerns and establish whatever boundaries you have regarding them.

The second fear is likely that of performance anxiety.

We women can be very insecure creatures.  Just as some of us take our man’s lusty delight of a swimsuit model’s figure and turn it into fear that we will never measure up to that standard, you could be feeling that you will not be able to “give good phone sex” as well as a professional phone sex operator.  Since phone sex is one of the few ways that you and your husband can remain sexually & romantically intimate while you travel, this fear is likely increased.  But remember, you have lots of things the phone sex girls don’t, including the fact that he knows (and therefore can “see”) your body (always a great asset for turning men on), you have an intimate knowledge of his body & emotions (you know the buttons to push), a history to build on (“remember that time we…”), and the power of longing (he misses you!). Phone sex girls don’t stand a chance against you!

I suggest that you consider these issues for awhile and ask yourself not only how much they apply to you, but if these issues were removed, how much of a non-issue would his use of phone sex services be?

And once you have those answers, yes, communicate your thoughts, needs, and fears to him. And listen to his.  I suggest you long distance lovers do this via email so that you have time to carefully word what you have to say so that you are asserting your concerns without being attacking and accusatory. Plus, then you can save your precious phone time for *ahem* more fun conversations.

Let me know how it goes!

Alessia

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