Home > links, reflection, sex, writing > The Affairs of Men: the trouble with sex and marriage

The Affairs of Men: the trouble with sex and marriage

An interesting article I read a few days ago in New York Magazine ponders the issues of cheating, marriage, and views on sexuality. Very relevant, considering I was just talking with a close friend about personal expectations regarding sexual fidelity. From a biological perspective, I argued, we were ever only meant to be socially monogamous at best. My friend argued that she would never personally be able to handle any of her partners having sex with anyone other than her, while they were together. Certainly a popular attitude; I guess I am in the minority. I agreed with many of the points brought up in the article.

Perhaps there is an element of jealousy-caused arousal for me. I would probably also be jealous thinking of what my partner might be experiencing, but it would also fuel my sexual excitement. An interesting emotional tornado, that.

Here’s an excerpt:

Susan Squire, the author of a forthcoming history of marriage called I Don’t, told me that marriage wasn’t made to handle all the sexual pressure we’re putting on it. For one thing, the average life span is far greater than it was 100 years ago; what is marriage to do with all that time? And in days gone by, marriage was a more formal institution whose purposes were breeding and family. Squire says that cultural standards of morality have changed dramatically. In ancient aristocracies, rich men had courtesans for pleasure and concubines for quick sex. In the Victorian age, prostitution was far more open than it is today. America is a special case. By the early-twentieth century, she says, the combined impact of egalitarian ideals and the movies had burdened American marriage with a new responsibility: providing romantic love forever. Squire says that the first couples therapy began cropping up in the thirties, when people found their marriages weren’t measuring up to cultural expectations.

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Categories: links, reflection, sex, writing
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