Dear Sirens

19 February 2022 by Emma Jane Taylor in Life

Dear Sirens,

I recently broke up with my girlfriend because she cheated on me, but now I’m second-guessing myself. She claims that what she did wasn’t cheating and that I overreacted. In my book, if it feels like cheating, then it’s cheating. But her response was that it didn’t feel like cheating to her. What kind of BS loophole is that?!

Here’s the deal: I came home from work late the other night and saw her vibra plugged into her phone on the nightstand. We hadn’t used the vibra together for at least a week, so I knew it hadn’t been with me. When I confronted her, she admitted that she’d plugged it in during a call with a guy from work, and that he hadn’t even known she was using it. (Which, hello, sounds a little rapey to me, but that’s beside the point.)

What I want to know is: How could my girlfriend possibly think this was okay? She claims it’s no different from getting off to porn, or fantasizing about someone else during masturbation — both of which we’ve always been cool with. But to me, letting some other guy’s voice control your vibrator crosses the line.

What do you think? Did she cheat, or am I just a green-eyed Luddite?

— Jealous Guy

Dear JG,

We’re not sure that what your ex-girlfriend did crosses the line, but it certainly crosses some kind of line.

You say that you’ve both always been cool with fantasizing about other people. Unless you’re a couple of psychics (hey, no judgments here), we’re assuming this means you talked the issue through. And that’s what your ex-girlfriend should have done in this case: talked to you first. Because what happened here was more than a simple technological upgrade to a sexual fantasy.

We’ll break it down for your ex, who seems a little hazy on relationship homology. Let’s say you’re both cool with each other streaming porn to your laptops. By extension, you could each easily justify watching porn on your cellphone, or on your iPad, or on the TV in a motel room during a business trip to Detroit (the latter, while almost certainly guaranteed to be depressing, would not be a relationship infraction). But you could not use this agreement to justify having a sexting session with a stranger on said laptop — not without first amending your relationship rules and regulations. And even if you did subsequently agree to sexting with strangers, this wouldn’t apply to sexting with people you know, such as colleagues, acquaintances, third cousins, etc. That would require — you guessed it! — a separate agreement.

The same applies to your ex’s vibra. If she wanted to find out what kind of good vibrations her colleague’s pitch and timbre would supply, then she should have run it by you first.

If you think your ex made an honest mistake, then you could try telling her all of the above, and giving her a second chance. And if she claims that it’s just all too much red tape (the old “rules are unsexy” defense)? Then you should tell her exactly where she can stick her vibra.

— Sirens

P.S. You’re right: vibing someone without telling them is beyond creepy.


Sirens columnist Emma Jane Taylor is the author of two novels, Love Me Like You Hate Meand Big Country House. As the Em half of the sex writing duo Em & Lo, she has also co-authored nine how-to books on sex and love.

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