Never one to shy away from uncomfortable topics, I have recently been pondering the issue of adultery. This has been brought about by my recent galavants to various watering holes, only to be accosted and confronted by married men, out on the town, and very “casually” offering casual affairs… I’ve had a married friend of mine ask if I knew of anyone he could have a little fun with…. And many Facebook flirtations from men!
Now, I don’t know if this means that there has been a steep rise in the incidents or social acceptability of such behaviour, or if I’ve just become more aware of it. But no matter what you call it; infidelity, philandering, cheating, extramarital sex… It happens. And it happens a lot. Three recent studies in the United States show that 10 – 15% women and 20 – 25% of men admitted to having engaged in extra-marital sex.
There is no question of the ethical / biblical taboo. All religious dogma from all sects discourages it, perhaps most notably the 6th Commandment of Christianity, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” I don’t think it gets more obvious than that… And even the laws of many countries forbid it. In my research I have found that many countries equate adultery with rape, and we’ve all heard horror stories of women being stoned to death if found guilty…



But the reality is that we live in a different world now. These laws are archaic, not applicable to the western world, and morality has become severely water-downed. So where does that leave us? You type the word “adultery” in your search engine and up pops some “interesting” (I say the word interesting with a definite tone of irony. You may replace it with an adjective of your own. Horrific. Shocking. Hilarious. Sad. Thrilling. It really depends on your own code of ethics at this point ….) sites. Some advertise tips and tricks on hiding an affair, some are dating sites with “married people looking for fun.”
One caught my eye – married couples looking for a third party to join into their bedroom antics. So is this how The Affair has evolved? Open marriages or swinging? I wouldn’t call either of these socially acceptable on a broad spectrum, but within various groups it is on the rise. These alternative lifestyles really do seem to work for some.

Fact is that monogamy is not a natural state for any species, and I hear you shouting at the PC as you read this, “yeah? What about the swan? And penguin?” Recent DNA analysis has found that 40% of the offspring born unto species that “mate for life” are not fathered by the male partner. So there. It isn’t natural, but it is a choice. In fact the only animals we can say, with utmost certainty, are monogamous till death they do part, is a certain worm whose body fuses with it’s partner once they mate. Talk about ball and chain!

Something I am also hearing more and more of is that when one partner is caught having an affair, the relationship does not necessarily end. There are marriage counsellors, and renewal of vows, and even rehab for sex addiction… Of course there is also the more modern issue of married couples being separated, and possibly then engaging in sexual exploits with others. And what about the monster that has been awoken by social media? We can have relationships with people we haven’t even met. Is this even cheating? It’s definitely a grey area…

So here comes my opinion. I am of the school of thought that every person has the right or ability to set their own standards and values, and as such, shouldn’t be judged, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, then your actions and the responsibility thereof, is your own. Now when it comes to adultery, there inevitably will be someone hurt. Even the long-suffering wife who turns a blind eye to the obvious misdemeanor of her spouse because her lifestyle and needs are catered for by her partner, with the obvious deficit of commitment, feels some hurt. The mistress inevitably learns that she is a side-show, and the wife, the main event.

Even if you set up a contract within your relationship that allows for alternative partners.
Open marriages are tinged with guilt and jealousy. But if you’re willing to accept this (and dare I say, work through it) in order to warm a cold bed, the choice is yours. We are free to choose but we are not free from the consequences of our actions. And some very happy marriages are NOT based on sex, and sex alone. Just tread carefully…. I’d say.

Undeniably this is what sets us apart from animals, choice. There is no wrong or right, there is just you left looking at yourself in the mirror the next morning.  While I am a liberal modern woman who does not agree with out-dated doctrine, I am a human being. I love, I feel, I hurt. Personally I think one of the most beautiful and special promises one can make to someone is monogamy. It is beautiful, BECAUSE IT’S DIFFICULT.
But, perhaps, I’m a dying breed…