There we were in Jenny’s backyard gazebo Jacuzzi. Her husband had been in France for over a month – supposedly he was visiting family. A few days before he left they had another big fight and he gave her a black eye. The black eye had almost gone away and I was at jenny’s house getting instructions. She was leaving for Europe to join her husband the next morning, and asked me dog and house sit for a month or so. It helped me too. I needed a place to stay while I looked for a new, more permanent cribtuation.
We were enjoying Jenny’s Jacuzzi one last time before she showed me how to drain it. Our shoulders were touching, my hand was resting on her leg and she had an elbow resting on mine – she gave my knee a friendly squeeze. I wasn’t going to go any further without her making a move. Soon her hand found my crotch and I responded – started kissing her. Before we were done with it all – she told me that she hadn’t had sex in a year – with her obese and abusive, albeit rich husband. Jenny was beautiful and had a promising modeling career before a near fatal car accident (courtesy of her previous boyfriend) put her in a coma for weeks and changed the course of her life. Her husband had let himself go – weighed around 300lbs – which isn’t a good weight for a short man who’s an asshole.
I’ve been planning on posting some arguments in support of infidelity to keep the discussion balanced. Due to feedback from a few readers – that the series has been too harsh or negative about infidelity and those involved in it, I’ve decided that now is the time to begin some cheating-positive posting.
I will keep the confidence of those who shared their thoughts in private – you know who you are and I immensely appreciate your input. I was relieved to hear the feedback – I’ve actually been concerned that this series has not been severe enough – that I’ve been normalizing cheating too much. I’ll probably get readers shaming me for “my glorification” of cheating after this post, and I’ll be happy to listen to those concerns too.
There are times when infidelity is understandable – where cheating is justified. There are some who’d argue that sleeping with whomever you wish, whenever you want, is always justified. As we’ve discussed throughout the series, more times than not the answer is grey and fuzzy – cheating is often not clearly wrong and not exactly right; however, some cases seem much more understandable than others. Opportunity and special circumstances are among a handful of features that change the equation. And, more abstractly, unique predispositions for monogamy should not be discounted.
Suppose you were Brad Pitt or Emilia Clarke who plays Daenerys Targaryen in the Game of Thrones.
These two have got hella opportunity; in fact, we could argue that they can practically, and literally, sleep with anyone they wish. Also, because of their profession, they have frequent contact with other extremely attractive people – often while away from home – outside their home countries even.
If I was working with Daenerys Targaryen in some far away country, and one evening after the day’s shooting she came to my trailer and said, “Duncan, do you want to grab a drink and then have really nasty sex in my presidential suite at the Ritz Carlton?” I don’t care how perfect of marriage I had with Jennifer Lopez, I’d sign up for miss Targaryen’s offer and worry about the consequences and moral issues later.
Isn’t there at least one person in the world that you’d betray your marriage for – especially if the opportunity fell in your lap? I suspect that those who answer no, are probably not having much sex with their partner – probably not interested in sex with anybody.
Few of us have the beauty, job, fame and wealth of those mentioned, but if we have such blessings to a larger degree than the norm – or by some other factor have more than the usual access to highly desirable people, should some extra understanding be afforded – judgement suspended?
I opened this post with a story about a friend who cheated on her husband. There were several factors that in combination gave Jenny what I think should be a “special circumstances” exception. Jenny’s husband was physically and emotionally abusive, obese, gone half the time and hadn’t fucked her in over a year. But, Jenny had a young daughter, social standing and financial security. It may be easy for some to blame her for not getting a divorce instead of cheating – they should try going from wealthy to poor, moving into a tiny apartment, disrupting a child’s life and losing half their circle of friends. In certain circumstances, infidelity is practically essential and not so immoral.
Some do not find satisfaction in monogamy. Some argue that most of us have a predisposition for polyamory. When did we begin having monogamous relationships? Was it due to religion, or did we evolve towards monogamy for some reason more intrinsic or instinctual? If monogamy is a social construct, did some of us evolve into it or have we all been socialized against our instincts?
Only 5% of the 4,000 or so mammal species stick with just one mate. The leading theory is “that males began balancing the need to spread their gene pool against the need to protect their young from being killed by other non-related males.” [Time magazine: What Drove Man to Monogamy: It Wasn’t Love]
If such evolution-logic ever applied, it doesn’t seem relevant today. In more modern times, there may have been other advantages to monogamy – perhaps it has increased the probability that our children succeeded and became able to find a healthy mate, procreate; these days, at least in western culture, even the educated, successful and monogamous couples are reproducing in much smaller numbers than those who are not restricting themselves to a traditional nuclear family arrangement. Perhaps monogamy has put certain types of people on a path to extinction?
If we’re not ready to condemn monogamy as completely antithetical to survival, should society at least be more accommodating of polyamorous inclinations or lifestyle choices? In western culture, we’ve reached an age that celebrates individual choices and defends minority dispositions. We accept – even fight to protect, alternative sexual preferences: gay, bisexual, and others. We even appreciate a person’s gender inclinations, and frown upon those who’d deny a person the gender identity they feel most comfortable with. But a nice young bride who’s natural inclination is to get fucked by a good variety of men enjoys no such institutional support or defense. Even if she’s outstanding and traditional in every other way, we’ve got issues with polyamory. Even if both partners are on bored with a poly-amorous marriage, it’s not even close to being something they can be open about and expect social acceptance on par with LGBT sympathies.
Because of societies harsh attitude towards polyamory, it isn’t surprising that many who are compelled, or even predisposed to have sex outside their marriage, choose to keep it secret. When we hear of someone cheating, we jump to negative assumptions: there must be something terribly wrong with their marriage – or something fundamentally wrong with them or their spouse. How many of us cheat even though our marriage is fine and our spouse is as good as they come, because, we just aren’t satisfied with monogamy?
If, as a society, we’re not going to support and condone polyamorous behavior, to what degree should we at least suspend our judgement of those who cheat out of fundamental need for variety? With all of today’s social progress, there’s an undo lack of support for those who only cheat because they can’t follow their preference openly, without being ostracized. How many of us would opt out of monogamy if there was no cultural shame in doing so, and, no risk of losing other, perhaps more traditional, aspects of our lives?
For a more informed and in-depth perspective on polyamory, I highly recommend reading A.C. Anderson’s essay and blog here Essay: Monogamy Unnatural?
Cheating 9: The Other Side of The Sex Coin, in Defense of Those Who Partake
Cheating 8: Is it Really Sex or affection we Want or is Cheating a Settlement?
Cheating: Issues, Questions & Implications of shifting attitudes towards marital infidelity.
Cheating Part II: How much flirtation is healthy and when does it become infidelity?
Cheating III: Sex in Head, Mental Infidelity
Cheating IV: Anatomy of Infidelity
Cheating Part V: Loopholes, Free Zones and Grey Areas.
Cheating VII: Time Warp Infidelity – Sex After or Before the Relationship?
Cheating 7: When You Stumble Upon Much Better Sex Outside Your Relationship