Thursday, May 15, 2008

More From the Brave New F***ing World...

Normally, I wouldn't waste my time with the Huffington Poo, but I was reading another story that someone had linked to, and saw this lurking in the sidebar.

Sex And The American Mom: 1 In 3 Report Getting Action On The Side
Posted May 13, 2008 | 07:32 AM (EST)

You or someone you know is having an affair. We know, it sounds surprising, shocking even, but apparently that is the case. Cookie Magazine and "AOL Body" did a survey on the subject and 30,000 people responded. As far as surveys go, that is a big number, and it's even bigger when you consider that their questions were aimed solely at married women with children. Yep, lots of mommies are getting action on the side.

Oh goodie. We just have to continue to screw around with the family. Its bad enough that we took away roles, and burdened both sexes with every responsibility, and told women they could have it all, just not how. Now we have to imply that their lives aren't complete without infidelity. Lovely.

The survey, "Sex and the American Mom," revealed that 34% of these married moms is in the midst of, or has already had, an affair. Think of three married moms you know and ask yourself, "Which one is cheating?" We tried this and Colleen came up empty. Taylor could think of one or two, but not one out of three--that number seems staggering. Are we just naive? In the dark? Out of touch? Which of our friends has managed to stray without anyone knowing (and when do they find the time and where they hell do they go?)?

Sadly, they are naive about it. But then so are many husbands. To their detriment. As for the time, its called "something has to give, and it is usually time with the family. Don't take my word for it. Read any relationship message board, or go to and read up on it there.

Another somewhat mind-blowing result of this survey was that 77% of the respondents said they want more sex. That's more than three quarters of the 30,000 women asked who said they aren't getting enough. Again, we ask, who are these people? And are we to conclude that so many stray because they are not sexually satisfied?

Actually, since I have done a lot of reading on the subject, I'll chime in on it. The conventional thinking on it is that many cheaters are actually less inhibited with their lovers since there are none of the other pressures present in their marriage. No issues with children, spouses, families, or bills. They can fantasize about sex and "write their own scripts" that they can act out in their clandestine meetings. They are also less burdened by the thought of acting out their wildest fantasies with the other parent of their children. A twist on the old analysis of the male ideals of the Madonna and the Whore.

Cheating seems to be a direct result of not getting what you need, be it sex, attention, openness, what have you. If there is a void, and it can be filled by someone else, chances are it will be. Affairs used to almost guarantee a trip to divorce court. Today, however, the "cheatee" might experience a sense of betrayal, but the "cheater" is not necessarily stigmatized socially, and often both agree to at least attempt reconciliation. It has even been viewed as a "wake-up call" -- one that can actually save a marriage, with each person expressing a sense of shared blame.

This can be true. However, taking the stigma away only makes it easier to stray. The fact is that the cheating is the result of selfishness, and if a wake-up call it is, it needs to be tempered with the realization that each spouse needs to take ownership of how they contributed to the trouble in the marriage, but the cheater owns the infidelity 100%, because it is a choice, not an inevitability.

As a society, it seems as though we've become less judgmental about affairs in general. Maybe we've realized how hard marriage is and have simply gotten more realistic. But, maybe the scope of the issue is bigger, and what's happening is that we're in the midst of redefining marriage as we have known it.

Or maybe its because we have rejected time tested and proven notions of marriage and family because some people in society want not only to do whatever they want without thought to consequences or damage they cause, and they want such behavior to have at least the tacit sanction of society at large.

The stereotype, of course, is if there's someone sneaking around in a marriage, it's the guy. In general, no one is surprised to hear that men cheat on their wives. However, when it comes to wives cheating on their husbands, while not entirely new, it is much more common than we thought. When we told men that one in three married moms cheat (or have cheated) on their husbands, and that a solid majority are actually looking for more sex than they're having at home, most mens' eyes light up with surprise and certainly curiosity. Some even joked about where they might find one of these gals. But, what we didn't hear was "Yes, I can understand that. I'm not in the mood very often and I'm probably not satisfying my wife's sexual desires."

Or maybe she's lost sight of the reason she married you in the first place, or maybe she thinks she missed out on something by not sleeping around when she was younger, but I'm not surprised that the authors implied that its Harry Husband's fault that Betty Bride decided to spread her legs for someone who isn't her husband.

Could the American male be suffering from a proverbial "headache?" Maybe the insatiable male sex drive is just a myth? After hearing what Michelle Weiner-Davis, an internationally recognized relationship therapist and the Director of The Divorce Busting Center, had to say in an interview with Psychology Today, this may not be far-fetched. She thinks we don't hear a lot about the man's lack of sexual interest because, "Men are so ashamed of speaking up about [it]." Estimating that it affects, "at least 20 to 25%" of adult males," Michelle adds, "...low desire in men is America's best-kept secret."

Well, some times stress and increased participation in all other aspects of family life take their toll. I don't get randy when I lie in bed at night thinking about the bills and how to pay them all.

Please don't confuse our effort to understand what's going on here with male-bashing. When a couple's sex life changes, for better or worse, generally both parties are complicit. For the record, we love men and we're aware that sex is complicated. Let's face it, marriage is complicated, and it only becomes more so after having kids. If mom or dad feels rejected by the other, he or she may cheat. And if you're married and you've got kids, you know that sex, or lack there of, can be loaded with a lot of other emotions and agendas that don't have anything to do with lust, or even love.

This almost sounds like an excuse. I suppose this is why many therapists suggest that when your life is in this busy phase, you should strive to make time for sex, even schedule it. Like anything else, practice makes perfect, and it does go a long way toward to increasing the chemical bonding between spouses. Because things are busy and you're tired is not an excuse to betray your spouse and go get a f*** buddy.

As the Hook-Up Generation grows up and gets married, chances are affairs may even go mainstream. It's hard for us to believe that this won't lead to hurt feelings and collateral damage (remember the kids), but maybe that's because we're from a different generation.

Or simply one that doesn't buy into the belief that anything goes if it "makes you feel more fulfilled as a person"? I think we are already seeing this becoming mainstream. Websites abound where people advertise their sexual prowess, appetites, and endowments, seeking playmates whether single, married or attached. Cell phones, Text messages, IMs, and free email accounts ease the communication, aiding the betrayer in the pursuit of their fanatasies.

We understand that the person who lies just outside of the daily grind--the one who's not figuring out how to pay the mortgage that month; the one who isn't angry about spending too little time with the kids--can seem like a vacation worth taking--at least once.

Vacation? Hhhhmmm. An interesting term to apply to a purely selfish and in this day and age, dangerous, endeavor.

We're glad to hear that women want more sex, because frankly, it's good news that the female libido is alive and well. As for the affairs....If we could add one question to the poll it would be this: "Is/Was the Affair Worth It? "

I don't know. Is it worth it to betray the people closest to you who have every right to trust you not dishonor them or the marriage and family? Is it worth it to push your family and spouse aside so you can get some tail on the side? Is it worth destroying the complete trust another has naively entrusted you with? Is it worth robbing your children of the stability of a home with parents who love and respect each other and provide a safe environment for living and growing? Is it worth it to cause such financial disarray as is the typical result of divorce. Broken people for selfishness and a few moments of carefree bliss is a fools bargain, and the price is often high, especially since you are dealing with not only the trust and emotional well-being of others, but also your very health, and the health of your spouse if you are so callous that you would expose them to the same risks you decided to take. But, hey, do what you want, and don't let others judge you. As long as you are happy, that's all that matters, right?