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8 Reasons Cosmo Is Totally Wrong About Porn

Last Updated: August 3, 2020

Matt Fradd

Matt Fradd is the author of Delivered: True Stories of Men and Woman Who Turned from Porn to Purity. After experiencing a profound conversion at World Youth Day in Rome in 2000, Matt has worked through full-time lay ministry in Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Texas. He has served as an apologist for Catholic Answers and has traveled all over the world, speaking to tens of thousands of teens and young adults. He and his wife Cameron have four children and live in North Georgia.

Cosmopolitan magazine recently put out an article called “8 Reasons Watching Porn Doesn’t Make Him a Cheater.” Let’s look at their so-called reasons.

Cosmo’s 8 Reasons

1. Cosmo says your man can acquire his own particular set of skills that he can use in bed with you. Cosmo says as long has he’s watching smart, educational porn, this will really help you both out in the bedroom.

First, the vast majority of mainstream porn is of course instructive, but instructive of what? Verbal and physical aggression, eroticizing youth, and misogynist attitudes.

Second, even if he is into high-brow educational porn, how is watching other people have sex for educational purposes not cheating? Would we say the same thing if he was masturbating in the same room where the porn was being filmed “for educational purposes”?

2. Cosmo says porn satisfies his need for fantasies safely. Cosmo says there’s nothing wrong with a man fantasizing about someone who looks nothing like you or a kind of sex you would never be into.

I would seriously question exactly where Cosmo gets the idea that men actually “need” fantasy. Many men certainly desire fantasy, but it isn’t a need. Furthermore, who exactly is it safe for? Is it safe for the women on the porn set who is being subjected to hours of abusive sex? Is it safe for the consumer to train his mind to be turned on my things that aren’t a reality in his world—even things that are degrading?

3. Cosmo says that what a man watches doesn’t define him. Watching football doesn’t make him a quarterback. Watching a cooking show doesn’t make him a chef. Why does it matter when it comes to sex?

Here’s the problem, Cosmo. Yes, watching football doesn’t make a man a quarterback, so watching porn doesn’t make a man what? A porn star. Of course this is true: no woman honestly believes that when a man watches porn it means he has changed his vocation as if he was now defined by that media.

But it is totally beside the point. The question isn’t whether he watching porn makes him a porn star, but whether it means he’s cheating in his heart with the woman he claims to love.

4. Cosmo says masturbation is good for him, even if he has a healthy sex life with you.

This is pure pseudoscientific mythology. The Journal of the American Medical Association says the reports on the health effects of masturbation are mixed at best. In reality, the health benefits of masturbation are not because of the activity itself—you can get the same exercise grating cheese. Any measurable health benefits of masturbation are from the health benefits of ejaculation.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, masturbation is actually associated with fewer health benefits and even increased health risks compared to sexual intercourse. Masturbation is actually associated with more symptoms of depression and more prostate abnormalities.

But here’s the thing: even if masturbation was a super-healthy activity, what does it have to do with cheating? Having sex is healthy too, but this doesn’t mean if your boyfriend or husband has sex with someone else, the health benefits to him mean he’s not cheating on you.

5. Cosmo says men might just be afraid to ask you to watch the porn with him. He may really want you to enjoy porn with him, so just bring porn into the bedroom means it’s no longer “the other woman.”

This is very odd logic, isn’t it? Does a man watching porn by himself in the hopes that one day he will get to watch it with his partner mean he’s not sneaking around now? Of course not. That wouldn’t be true if he was sleeping with a woman. “Oh well, sleeping with this woman isn’t cheating since I sincerely hope one day my wife will want me to invite this woman into our sex life together.”

6. Cosmo says the porn he’s watching is probably not as good as the sex you’re having anyway. Why? Because a lot of porn is poorly shot, comprehensively unbelievable, or hilariously weird.

Now, here’s where Cosmo and I agree. A lot of porn is weird and poorly made film. But again, what does this have to do with whether it’s cheating? If a man said, “Actually the porn I watch is really good and very pleasurable,” would that suddenly make it cheating? If he settles and gets off to porn he thinks is subpar, why does this determine whether it is cheating or not? If he made out with his wife’s best friend and later said, “Yes, but it wasn’t nearly as good as sex with my wife,” we would still call it cheating. What does quality or satisfaction have to do with it?

7. Cosmo says porn can be a gift for couples with mismatched sex drives. If a guy has a higher sex drive, porn is great because it respects the boundaries of your relationship so he doesn’t have to nag you for sex.

Again, what does this have to do with cheating? If I had a mistress and having sex with her means I don’t nag my wife for sex, does that somehow justify me having a mistress? Is sex with another person somehow not cheating because my wife doesn’t have to take care of my sexual desires as often?

8. Cosmo says if you’re worried that porn might be ruining your sexcapades or your relationship, perhaps they weren’t that good to begin with.

Again, here’s Cosmo’s logic: if sex is bad in your relationship and your husband or boyfriend wanders off to look at porn, it isn’t cheating. We would never apply the same logic to an actual affair.

Cosmo’s Logic

In summary, instead of staying on topic and actually trying to address the subject of cheating, in all eight points Cosmo skirts around the most basic question: what is cheating?

Simply put, cheating can be defined as breaking the rules. If you vowed to your spouse to “forsake all others” when you got married, then yes, getting off to digital prostitutes is cheating. If you promised some kind of sexual fidelity to your girlfriend and you masturbate to images of other women, you probably shouldn’t be surprised if she thinks that’s cheating.

Cheating is defined by the rules of your relationship, not whether porn is instructive, not whether masturbation is good for him, not whether he hopes his wife likes porn too, not whether the porn is subpar, and not whether his sex drive is greater than his partner’s.

On every point, Cosmo again shows a complete inability to use a little thing called “logic.”

  • Comments on: 8 Reasons Cosmo Is Totally Wrong About Porn
    1. JeremiahP on

      Bravo. Very, very well put. It breaks God’s rules, above all. “Against you, and you alone have I sinned.”

      Reply
      • Michelle on

        Exactly. Cosmo is trying to hype the idea that women who are ok with their men watching porn are “cool”. This is clearly a male perspective. Women don’t have to be “cool”, and frankly this is demeaning to women that we have to feel a certain way, (a way that men want) in order for young women to attract men.
        On top of that, it is based off the belief that is regularly promoted through various media, the idea that: “all men watch porn, they’re visual creatures, and women need to adapt to male needs”
        This is total bullshit. I have a deep desire to feel loved, cherished, and highly valued. Should I have to put my needs aside so my husband can meet his, after he made a commitment to me to be faithful? I think not.
        My husbands porn use and his secretive/sneaky use of it for the last 18 years has left me feeling unloved, not cherished, and not valuable. Apparently, he doesn’t need me to get his needs met. It has also left me feeling very alone. As if I never really knew the man I married.
        Cosmo is not a magazine that values a true woman. It is full of ideas for women to conform to standards that men set.

    2. JeremiahP on

      By the way, if Cosmo was right about porn, I would be the most adjusted person on this earth, having been inculcated with hardcore and softcore porn from the age of 4. Here I am, at the age of 44, with the ruin of a marriage lying strewn about me. My sweet wife is now bitter at the years of intimacy strangulation and having to serve sex up to a man that she doesn’t care for. She is struggling to give our marriage one last chance, stating that God will have to do a miracle in her heart to get her to care about me. Our kids have been the by-product of a worldly father that has been consistently careless about what they are exposed to, including accidental porn viewings on occasion. I once angrily confronted God for the life that He has put me through, as I’m sure that my wife has done many times, but I am realizing that God has put me through this to be a prophet that would shout from the rooftops that the way of the adulteress leads to death, just as the scriptures tell us. Porn is certainly the way of the adulteress, and when we allow our eyes, flesh, and soul to be polluted by porn, it leads to the death of all healthy relationships – with God, with your spouse, with your family, and with people in general. After all, who needs real relationships when you have pixels on the screen to make love to? Emptiness and death, people. It only leads to death of everything you once held dear.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this, Jeremiah.

      • Neil G on

        Thanks for your honesty Jeremiah may God continue to use you greatly to shout from the rooftops of the seriousness and foolishness of porn! Your post blessed me and encouraged me to fight on! Soli Deo Gloria!

      • A Realistic Woman on

        Don’t speak for all us women dear. We’re not all like you.

    3. Sorry on

      Sorry, but Cosmo is right on this one. The reality is looking at porn is not cheating. If it is cheating, then every person out there has cheated. Even the holier than thou people writing these articles, who completely ignore the fact that tens of millions of women are doing porn in some way. In some way, they are using sex to get what they want. So lets just stop it with the hypocrisy.

      By the way it is you, who is doing pseudo science because you are not explaining things completely and looking at the data completely. I will give you one example. Masturbation and depression. Well, that is easily explained but you will not do it. People, who are masturbating frequently, are not getting sex because they are either alone or feel like they are alone. Hence, the depression. So just stop it with your fundamentalist nonsense because it is nonsense. It is no wonder we once hunted witches because back in the days of Salem there were probably people who did lists like this that were not remotely based on reality or rational thought.

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        I fail to see your point. Why does it matter that “every person out there has cheated” (even if that was true)? Does this change the definition of cheating? The point is the lack of logic used by Cosmo. If they wanted to write an article about “8 reasons why you should change the rules of your relationship and allow him to watch porn,” that would be one thing. But to say “It isn’t cheating for the following 8 reasons” ignores the very definition of what cheating is: breaking the rules.

        I also fail to see why we’re guilty of pseudo science by simply reporting on what the research says. Of course people who masturbate because they are lonely are depressed, but this fact does not change the reality that masturbation only deepens their sense of depression.

        You’re accusing us of not being rational and yet you’ve not once said where our logic breaks down (we, on the other hand, provide 8 examples where Cosmo’s logic breaks down).

      • Matt Fradd on

        – Sorry, but Cosmo is right on this one. The reality is looking at porn is not cheating. If it is cheating, then every person out there has cheated.

        This isn’t a good argument. All it would show is that if pornography is cheating then all have cheated. I’m not arguing that there are not degrees of being unfaithful. There’s an obvious difference between watching porn while my wife is out of town and hiring a prostitute, but just because there is a scale of unfaithfulness, doesn’t make it unfaithful. I’d need to hear an argument for why porn doesn’t constitute being unfaithful if I’m to change my mind, and as of yet you haven’t offered me one. You did insinuate that I am a fundamentalist, but that was just a slur. Feel free to try again and I’d be happy to respond. Despite your protestations, thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • JeremiahP on

        “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matt 5:28

        You either believe God’s word or you don’t. Remember, it is Satan’s goal to get you to say, “Did God really say that?” (Genesis 3:1)

      • Pete on

        It’s NOT for us to debate this, but instead be obedient to our Fathers’ words. Live by His words and you won’t have to debate, but rather educate! My love to you all that we can see it as God wants us to, NOT the world around us!

      • Andy on

        Keep dreaming you cannot defend or justify porn.

      • Lyn on

        Yikes- I would not listen to Cosmo- but honestly this article is just as bad going the other direction. I agree- cheating is breaking rules. Have you really thought about porn? Or even your spouse fantasizing about others? Maybe this is a conversation that should be had. I personally put the line on physical activity with others that he would be hiding from me.(which to my knowledge has not happened) Ge can THINK about whatever he wants. But that is just me. Talk. Be honest. See where that takes you.

    4. Thomas Sims on

      “But l say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultry with her in his heart.” When looking at porn, whether on the printed page or in video, are men not lusting after that person? Is that not considered cheating? Hasn’t studies shown that those who watch enough porn will actually bring it to pass with someone? I wonder why America has the highest abortion rate killing 1000’s of babies every month? Where do children learn to rape other children such as a 13 year old rapes a 9 year old female at a McDonald’s playland in Columbus, Ohio? Porn does affect a man in more ways than one thinks or believes. We need to stop and look at the narcissistic society we have grown up in. History repeating itself over again and it’s Woodstock all over again. (Bible quotation taken from Matthew 5:28)

      Reply
    5. Sarah on

      I am a wife of a husband who has just come clean about his porn addiction which has lasted for 30 years, 25 of which we have spent as a married couple. I can vouch for the unhealthy mess that porn leaves in its wake. To say that watching porn does not equate to cheating is the biggest lie I’ve come across so far. I will pray for those who buy into this lie, I will also pray for their families. Our world is traumatised by the inhumane acts of terrorism and rightly so for the acts are grossly harrowing and gruesome. Can I just let you in to the trauma that had gone on in my heart, let alone in my beautiful family in the past year because of the revelation of my husband’s addiction to porn? When you next watch the news of harrowing terrorist acts, think of the effects porn has on a wife and the family…the hurt and incredulity that one feels is about the same!

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        It is sad when you see the damage it does to someone’s mind—and therefore their closest relationships. So sorry to hear about what you’ve gone through.

    6. Robert on

      Very very good write up. I have been addicted to lust and have been fighting looking at porn and listing at women in general. I want a pure mind, a pure heart and a clean conscience. I want more than anything to be right with my God, Jesus. I really appreciate your website and articles. You are making a positive impact on many souls. This is a spiritual battle. There is most certainly wickedness in high places. To see the blatant promotion of such immorality through the main stream is so disheartening. I am absolutely sick and tired of the lies being forced on us. Keep up the good work, and God bless your outreach. -Robert

      Reply
      • Luke Gilkerson on

        Thanks, Robert! Glad this was helpful to you!

    7. A Realistic Woman on

      I like porn and I don’t mind what my future husband does to “get off” so long as its not with another person. I do like to come here from time to time to read the extremists who cant differentiate between porn usage, porn addiction, and people who have ill will at heart who just happen to use porn. I certainly will (pick porn back up) if my future DH ever forces me into a sexless marriage. Got to do something to please myself while preparing for the divorce. Really sad to read that so many women think their hubby’s porn usage is all about them too. Most men laugh when women admit to “watching” porn, too bad it doesn’t go both ways.

      Reply

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