“Is using the ‘highlight reel’ during sex considered cheating?”
This question is discussed among the lead male characters from the film Couple’s Retreat, and I suspect that their answer (“No”) is accepted by a majority of American men. For those of you that don’t know, a ‘highlight reel’ is a person’s memory of sexual partners or favorite pornographic scenes which are recalled during sexual intercourse. The purpose of the ‘highlight reel’ is ostensibly to make sex more exciting in order to aid in reaching climax.
Pornography users are infamous users of ‘highlight reels’. The images users view are seared into their brains and are associated with sex (what else?) so that whenever a person engages in sex, that person’s brain is triggered into recalling pornographic images. Many pornography users find that over time an increasing amount of stimulation is required to reach climax during sex with their partners. Just like drug users who need more and more of their drug of choice to get high, pornography users need more stimulation during sex to reach climax; enter the ‘highlight reel’. If your significant other is using pornography, the two of you are not alone in the bedroom.
From a biblical perspective we know using the ‘highlight reel’ is cheating. Matthew 5:28 says, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” I believe the ‘highlight reel’ is a perfect example of what Jesus is speaking to here. If you profess Jesus as Lord, this should be enough to convince you that using the ‘highlight reel’ is adultery.
But what about non-Christians? Trying to determine whether the ‘highlight reel’ is cheating from a secular perspective can become an exercise in hair-splitting, but let’s try anyway.
If you believe that cheating is strictly limited to physical, sexual contact with a person who is not your partner, then no, the ‘highlight reel’ is not cheating. (Note: This was the interpretation of adultery in 1st century Palestine, which is why Jesus had to set the people straight in the verse quoted above.)
On the other hand, if you believe that cheating is more about the nature and quality of a relationship than a physical act, a series of questions must be answered:
- Is honesty a critical element of your relationship?
- What about sex?
- Is honesty about your sexuality a critical element of your relationship?
- Does your partner know you use a ‘highlight reel’ during sex?
- Is it OK if your partner uses the ‘highlight reel’ while she has sex with you?
- How does it make you feel to think about your partner using the ‘highlight reel’ this way?
- How do you think your partner would feel about your use of a ‘highlight reel’?
If you agreed that sex, honesty, and honesty about your sexuality are important in your relationship, but your partner doesn’t know you use a ‘highlight reel’ (and you suspect that if she found out she would be upset), it doesn’t seem that using a ‘highlight reel’ improves the quality of your relationship. In fact, it might be violating some of the core characteristics of your relationship. If that is the case I think we’ve discovered that using the ‘highlight reel’ can be considered cheating for non-Christians as well.
What are your thoughts on the ‘highlight reel’?