MWT Controversy – State of Affairs

Sex Scandals that have made headlines: Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Larry Craig, Eliot Spitzer, David Petraeus, John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner…
Is the rate of infidelity among Americans Increasing?
Do women’s affairs ever make headlines?

Interesting: According to, a web site that claims to be “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters, “the nation’s capital is at the top of the list of America’s Least Faithful Cities. But it’s not just America – as of February 2015, over 1M British people have signed up. The website’s slogan is “Life is short. Have an affair.”

Esther Perel is a psychotherapist intent on changing the conversation on what it means to be in love and have a fulfilling sex life. Perel, a licensed marriage and family therapist for more than 20 years, has researched across cultures and is fluent in nine languages. She coaches and consults with organizations and families, holds a private psychotherapy practice in New York, and speaks regularly on erotic intelligence, trauma, conflict resolution and infidelity. She is the author of Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic.

95 percent of us will say that it is terribly wrong for our partner to lie about having an affair, but just about the same amount of us will say that that’s exactly what we would do if we were having one.
-Esther Perel

Thoughts & Questions for Discussion:
• Can we agree on what constitutes infidelity?
84% of Americans say affairs are morally unacceptable (PEW research 2014).
• NORC, the University of Chicago’s independent research organization, says the rate of infidelity is 21% for married men, and 10-15 % for married women.
• Is monogamy ‘normal’? Humans are among the 3 to 5 percent of mammalian species that practice monogamy.
• In the 20th century Americans evolved an understanding of marriage in which partners must meet all of each other’s needs: sexual, emotional, material.
• In 2012, one-in-five adults ages 25 and older (about 42 million people) had never been married. In 1060 it was 1 in 10.
• For some humans, is monogamy an uphill battle against biology?
• Famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung once wrote to Sigmund Freud that “The prerequisite for a good marriage, it seems to me, is the license to be unfaithful.”
• Was the old code of silence and discretion better?

Different Perspective: Monogamish
Dan Savage, is an American gay activist, author, media pundit, and journalist. As America’s leading sex-advice columnist, he has been writing his internationally syndicated column “Savage Love” since 1991. He is the co-founder of the Emmy Award-winning “It Gets Better Project,” and author of of a number of bestselling books, including American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics.

• Believes monogamy is right for many couples and acknowledges the advantages.
• Argues that monogamy is harder than we admit and advocates fora sexual ethic that honors the reality, rather than the romantic ideal, of marriage.
• Is pro-family, believing that the relationship is more important than fidelity.
• Believes that treating monogamy, rather than honesty or joy or humor, as the main indicator of a successful marriage gives people unrealistic expectations of themselves and their partners and destroys more families than it saves.
• Coined the acronym, G.G.G. – meaning lovers ought to be good, giving and game. Put another way, “If you are expected to be monogamous and have one person be all things sexually for you, then you have to be whores for each other. You have to be up for anything.”
• If a couple can not fulfill all of each other’s desires, then it may be advisable to decide to go outside the bounds of marriage if that is what it takes to make the marriage work.

“The mistake that straight people made,” Savage told me, “was imposing the monogamous expectation on men. Men were never expected to be monogamous. Men had concubines, mistresses and access to prostitutes, until everybody decided marriage had to be egalitar­ian and fairsey.” In the feminist revolution, rather than extending to women “the same latitude and license and pressure-release valve that men had always enjoyed,” we extended to men the confines women had always endured. “And it’s been a disaster for marriage.” -MARK OPPENHEIMER NYT MAGAZINE

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