Well, I’ve been in this same situation, and have thought about it a lot. A whole lot.
TLDR: Talk with your partner, be honest, and decide together what’s okay, what’s cheating, and what will be a betrayal that ends your marriage.
My wife had health issues that sucked, and wiped out her libido for years. We are monogamous, and I will not cheat. She was always fine with me masturbating, and I did it a lot. But it wasn’t enough. One gets bored, and goes a bit crazy. My actions as I tried to address this did cause real issues in our marriage, including after she got better.
My sincere advice: first, define for yourself what constitutes cheating. Next, ask yourself what you want to do. It’s a sort of a continuum: jerk off, porn, online chats, strip clubs, watching cam models, happy ending massages, live sex shows, hookers, a fwb, anonymous hookups, an affair. Decide where you draw the line. For me, it was letting anyone else touch my cock. Then, have a real conversation with her –which could be very, very hard– of what you need, what you’re not getting, and what you want to do.
The conversation might be difficult and emotional, and she may not like it, but the key thing is that you’re being honest. And relationships can recover from infidelity, but less likely dishonesty.
For us, I fucked up by deciding by myself what was okay and what wasn’t. I felt virtuous because I wasn’t cheating on her, despite my sex starvation. But I was afraid of the conflict, and hurting her, and probably also her possible objections. In fairness to myself, she was defensive and fragile. But that doesn’t excuse my actions.
I consider myself an honest person, and I never hid my porn use, usually sitting next to her on the couch while I watched xhamster or chatted on Literotica or FetLife.
Anyway… I always thought of cam models as just live amateur porn. Didn’t watch a lot, but when she was better I suggested we watch together. She felt shocked I had been interacting 1:1, and felt betrayed, totally felt it was cheating. I still don’t. We disagreed, as people will. But if we had spoken ahead of time, I could have prevented a real crisis in our marriage. Maybe I could have even said I disagree, and I’m doing it anyway. But it became me cheating on her behind her back.
Had other fuck ups as well. But the key thing is to use your words. And come to an agreement. And you may have to have multiple conversations. But if you want to stay married, you have to stay honest. And if you’re going to be frustrated and resentful, you’re heading for misery and/or divorce anyway. Better to work things out. I’ve been talking to a therapist since, and he says he sees this all the time, and has seen couples even negotiate open marriages, or marriages end during discussions. But when there’s lying, they always end.
Comment below if you have thoughts or want to discuss: I’m always happy to share my hard-earned wisdom of what NOT to do. 😀