The Affairs of Men

May 22nd, 2008

Here is the link to one of the best recaps of sex today in America and abroad…
Author Philip Weiss makes the case for the genetically predisposed male needs for sexual diversity and covers everything from the new form of communal living in polyamory, old issues of prostitution and infidelity and the seemingly unanswerable question about finding the junction between sexuality and long term committed relationships.

“There is no more unnatural principle of social organization than sexual exclusivity.” says one of the author’s friends who declined to be identified. After a lengthy comparison of the social mores of the more sexually relaxed European countries and our own puritanical American morality was said and done, the Europeans may have more regular and discreet affairs that are more readily accepted within the context of marriage- which is to say that the affairs are less likely to end in divorce than here in the US, but the emotional damage that the marital relationship sustains is not so different. European women endure their suffering silently, but they suffer from infidelity just the same. To say that an affair doesn’t mean anything trivializes the act and the people directly involved and the people who are left out.

The truth about sex is that what men and women both want is the freedom to deeply experience the erotic parts of ourselves. Most couples can’t even find a language to talk about their desires or fantasies, how could they ever think that the daily relationship of marriage could afford the possibility of exploring them. Our sexual lives if they have any chance of keeping us interested require a leap. The woman I am while shopping at the grocery store and preparing dinner is not the same woman who has amazing sex later that night. In my daily reasoning space, I sometimes wonder where that sexy woman lives and I know that it is a journey to find her and to let her out of the confines of the tedium and responsibilities that dominate my daily life.

Great sex is first the abandonment of reason which is why so many men find it safer to do with a stranger, even in Eliot Spitzer’s case, where he had a beautiful wife and where he risked his public life every time he picked up the phone to make another date. You have to be living in a daily relationship that loves you with all of your imperfections to feel safe enough to experience the kind of release that ecstatic orgasms bring. Sex workers of all kinds first credo is the mandate of distancing themselves from pleasure so completely that they feel nothing, even as their client is writhing with release. A brief interview with a high payed courtesan who described herself as a “highly sexual woman with a highly compartmentalized life,” hits that point home. In the book “Brothel” the single act which completely ostracizes one hooker from all the others is having an orgasm on the job.

“Studies provided to me by Kinsey researchers suggest that over the last 50 years, sex and marriage have become increasingly, well, decoupled. ” It doesn’t have to be that way, learning to love someone over time, which is different than being a companion to someone can include an amazing sex life for decades. It requires real and daily effort, but so does all that cavorting around. Really amazing sex happens when you make love. It doesn’t make you feel guilty in life, it makes you feel whole.

It is where making love is totally sustainable.

5 Responses to “The Affairs of Men”

  1. Brandy Says:

    I just wanted to say that I really love this blog and the article that inspired you. I feel that it truly hits on an issue that is important in any relationship now. I can not tell you how many friends that I have talked to living the single life because they are afraid of facing this very issue and the pain that it has caused in previous relationships. In my own relationship, I have found that the one issue that has constantly held me back from fully loving my partner has been my fear that one day the inevitable will happen, he will have an affair with someone who is not me in anyway. It was only recently that I was able to let go of this fear, and doing so cause our relationship to deepen in a way I never imagined. It has been one of the most freeing experience in my life and in the growth of my relationship. It has also spurred conversations with many of my friends who are still lost in that state of fear, and like myself when I was in that place, they can not imagine that letting go of that fear could ever happen, or that it is even possible to not find the situation an inevitable part of participating in a serious long term relationship.

  2. Leslie Ann Farrar Says:

    When I told my husband, Fred about the Phillip Weiss article in the New Yorker Magazine, I expected him to agree with the author and defend a man’s right to have numerous affairs.

    Fred said, “That’s all bullshit!” regarding the content of the New Yorker article. His point was that anyone can make a case for anything if he/she wants to rationalize their own (aberant) behavior.

    YIKES!! Gotta’ love a man like that!

  3. Denise Says:

    “European women endure their suffering silently, but they suffer from infidelity just the same. ”

    So… do men suffer like women when their wife is cheating on them? Is it the same kind of suffering? Why is it always the women who suffer when their men cheat? What about when they cheat?

    Bottom line, it’s all about living in truth. I believe couples heal from lots of betrayals. Betrayals come in all shapes and sizes. But healing does not happen w/o truth.

    I have a friend who was in a poly relationship. Her male partner was into it. (whoa, what a surprise). She called me once heartbroken because the night before he had ‘hit’ on a close friend of hers who she explicitly asked him not to ‘hit’ on. She cried and cried. I asked if the ‘poly-thing’ was working from her end. (ahem). She said she doesn’t really want another man. She loves him. So, what this came down to was her feeling betrayed and minimized.

    It just doesn’t work. At least, not for me. And, not for her either, apparently.

    This is an excellent blog. Keep up the great conversation.

  4. Reed Says:

    It takes two to tango… For Weiss to write this book he must, I make up, be married to a sexual anorexic. He is likely to be a sex and love addict (i.e. Spitzer). He and his wife are the Yin and Yang, the two opposite ends of the rainbow. Until they both explore their issues; their coupleship will not be satisfying for either one of them.

  5. Carmen Parton Says:

    Hi I am Carmen. I like your blog. Today many married men affair in their life

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