Have you accidentally created an avatar for yourself? More specifically, have you created a life in the online universe — on social media, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok — that has nothing to do with you in your real life?
I think about this all the time when I examine how women behave online. The essential question being, would they do this if they were actually face to face with somebody?
Consider Emily Ratajkowski — an American model — who alleges that her husband is cheating on her, that he is a “dog,” and that she’s going to leave him.
As I’ve pointed out before, Emily posts naked photos of herself all the time for men and women who don’t know her. Whenever there’s an article or anything about her online, she’s revealing herself in some way. This is what she does for a living.
If someone like Emily Ratajkowski, who exposes herself to individuals online, were to physically enter a room full of men while topless — would she consider that cheating? Hopefully the answer is resoundingly yes. Yet, if she does the same act on Instagram, sharing topless pictures of herself — she, and the culture with her, perceives no fault.
Take another celebrity example in Madonna, who I believe is facing a very real mental health crisis. She recently posted a few pictures on her personal Instagram, in what I think was supposed to be a seductive post.
She’s wearing fishnet tights. She has her boob out. She is in leather and she is biting the end of her metal bed. She’s half naked.
I look at these photos and I ask myself, would she do this in real life? Imagine you’re looking to buy a mattress and you’re going through the mattress store. Suddenly, you see a 63-year-old on top of one of the beds, in fishnets and moving her hips, gyrating in “sexy poses.”
This topic comes to mind because it came up on Daily Wire’s backstage, where all the hosts, including myself, sit down and discuss various topics in long form. The conversation continues behind the paywall on Daily Wire+. It was here that my point above — about online behavior and behavior in real life — came up. I think it was one of the most interesting discussions of the night.
Some of the hosts considered the online world to be different, in that it varied in its level of sin. In other words, watching pornography online is not the same as engaging in a real-life affair.
I didn’t necessarily agree with that, and neither did my colleague Matt Walsh. To quote him, “if you found out that your husband went to a motel room and was the third party in some sort of sexual dalliance, but he didn’t do anything; he just kind of sat there in the hotel room watching it. I think we’d all agree that that is cheating.”
This is the crux of my argument. Most people online make a differentiation between actions in life and online. But how? In pornography, you’re watching two people — neither of which are your spouse — have sex. What makes it so different through a screen versus without a screen in life?
Virtual reality only furthers my point. I tried on VR glasses once and I was shocked at how real they felt. I was on the edge of a precipice, and I was unable to jump because my physical body felt that it was too real to jump. I felt that I would have been actually falling off a 50-story building.
Now imagine watching pornography in that situation. You’re now able to put yourself in a situation, where it feels real, and you can be surrounded by and have virtual sex with naked women and men. Would it be considered — by Emily, by the culture, by you — an act of infidelity to engage in such behavior in VR?
Many may say no. I say yes.
We keep lowering the bar on expectations in relationships and behaviors because we create a weird mental separation between the online and the real. It’s morally acceptable to post revealing photos of yourself for likes, but you can’t do the same in real life. You can watch whatever porn you like, but you can’t watch two people having sex in real life. You can engage in sexual activities in VR and have that feeling of doing it for real, but you are only culpable for it if you do it in an actual bedroom.
Again, I ask — what’s the difference?
If you haven’t already been forced to answer the question in your relationships, with the way things are progressing, you will eventually have to.