I’ve heard a lot of discussion lately about monogamy. It seems that there are celebrities out there who simply believe that no one is capable of being monogamous, that it’s an unnatural state of being. Some of these celebrities have gone as far as to state that everyone cheats-so why get upset about it?
According to this logic, it’s a natural imperative for every human being to have sex with anyone at anytime, and the unnatural constructs of marriage, family and fidelity should not be affected by this natural imperative. So-in another context, everyone poops-so why get upset if someone poops in another bathroom aside from the one you and your mate usually poop in. Because according to this logic, you shouldn’t be penalized for pooping somewhere else, because you just can’t hold that in! Right?
Well here is my personal opinion on the matter- it isn’t about the act of sex or the natural imperative to have sex, it’s about the values we place on it that cause the upset. In other words, you can poop anywhere you want, as long as you aren’t betraying any agreement you’ve made with me not to poop where you’ve said you’d never poop.
I understand that sex is a natural imperative. I understand that some people don’t feel they should have to control their urges, some people feel that multiple partners is more satisfying, some people are only comfortable with one partner. I’m not expecting anyone to curtail their natural tendencies, if what turns you on is acceptable to your partner and it doesn’t cause anyone else harm-go for it!
Here is the part that I think most people misunderstand about cheating… it’s not just about the sex. For me adultery, it’s no more about sex than rape is about sex. Adultery, like rape, is about one person controlling another. Maybe for some people it is about the sex, the idea of their partner being with anyone other than them is one they can’t tolerate. I have a more practical approach.
I’m comfortable with my partner being involved sexually with another person-until they promise monogamy. Once that promise is made, anything other than sex with me and only me is a betrayal of that promise. If my partner came to me and said-I’m interested in being sexual with this person, and we discussed how that would affect our relationship deciding as a couple the outcome of it, I could see myself continuing a relationship with my partner if we determined together that our relationship could survive-before it happens not after. I don’t subscribe to the school of “Better to ask forgiveness rather than permission.” For me it isn’t the sex that would cause me harm, it’s the sex that is lied about, hidden and destructive to the trust we’ve built as a couple, that causes harm. So when a celebrity says something stupid like, “Everyone cheats, why get upset about it?” They’re obviously the ones doing the cheating and expecting a free pass.
When you enter a relationship, as a couple you come to terms with the parameters of that relationship. If you and your partner make decisions concerning your sexual relationship, it’s nobody’s business but your own. If you betray the parameters of that relationship you can’t dismiss it with a simple- “Everybody cheats.” Not everybody does, some people feel that trust, fidelity and honesty are more important than the urge to have illicit sexual affairs.
So for me, adultery isn’t about sex, it’s about the lack of communication between partners, and that comes from one partner having a lack of skills. If you can’t express your needs to a partner who is willing to accommodate them within their own needs, then you don’t deserve that partner to begin with.