What is cheating? According to Encarta Dictionary, cheating is to have a sexual relationship with somebody other than a spouse or regular sexual partner. I say bullshit! I think that this definition is too acute and suffers from a serious case of prudery (yes, that’s an actual word)…and let me tell you why! If you are in a committed relationship/marriage where the expectation; both implied and spoken is that both of you are NOT to have sex with anyone else, than one of you has sex with someone else, that IS cheating. However, if you are in a committed relationship/marriage and there is an expectation; both implied and spoken that having sex with other people is OK, and then you have sex with someone else, that is NOT cheating. Many people in this world have accepted that the desire to have sex with other people is so rooted in the DNA of human beings that they refuse to impose the rules of monogamy. More power to them! In open marriages at least everyone knows there is a party happening and everyone gets an invitation. Open marriages force communication about sexual desires and encourage couples to explore their sexual identities together. Now before you scream “sign me up” from the roof of the nearest swingers club, research has shown that the success rate of open marriages is about the same as those that are closed. According to some studies it is because outside attachments tend to form and jealousy threatens the committed relationship/marriage. This means that an open marriage doesn’t necessarily equal marriage success. It’s just a party that everyone knows about; whether they like it or not can change based on what presents the guests have wrapped.
What is NOT cheating? Whims of the mind are not a crime, nor is it cheating. Unless you are Buddhist Monk who practices the art of mediation daily, you cannot control the barrage of images, thoughts or ideas that pop into your mind. Thoughts invade you at every waking moment and seemingly out of your control. It is not fair to categorize your partners thought of having sex or wanting to have sex with someone other than you as cheating. That’s just human nature. I personally don’t feel that even when it is a conscious thought, one that you cultivate into fantasy, is cheating. I have heard girlfriends say that they actually get upset if their partners say they had a dream where they had sex with someone other than them. How ridiculous is that? I have had dreams that I snorted coke with Frank Sinatra, does that mean I’m an addict that must be admitted to a rehab clinic? Ummmm, NO! I also love my neighbors Escalade and have day dreamed of sneaking over and taking it for a spin…should I be arrested for the thought of taking his truck for a joy ride? If you are one of those who get jealous over your partners thoughts, dreams or quick glances at the opposite sex…get over it! Especially since, you know you do it, too!
This topic of cheating has once again become entertainment news with the Schwarzenegger scandal. Headlines on TMZ and other entertainment news sources have turned this into a “male” issue. Nothing could be farther than the truth. The rate of infidelity among men and women is pretty close. According to the Kinsey Institute approximately 20-25% of men and 10-15% of women engage in extramarital sex at least once during their marriage. (Laumann, 1994; Wiederman, 1997). In other parts of the world they look at the American outrage over the Terminators affair as another example of how uptight Americans are about sex. An associate of mine from Amsterdam commented when I asked his opinion on the scandal, “You Americans are so uptight about sex, come to Amsterdam sometime.” Personally, I am not outraged or surprised by the fact the ex-Governator had sex outside is marriage, nor that a child was a product of the encounter, the core of my dismay at his behavior is based on the fact he had sex with another person without his wife’s knowledge or consent. NOT COOL!
Like most people, I have personal experience with the topic. My husband had an affair during my pregnancy with our first child. I found out about his ongoing affair when my daughter was 7 months old. I had an infant, just went back to work, than found out about the affair. I was crushed, overwhelmed, and really fucking pissed off. How could he? The affair couldn’t be any more cliché, as it was with his subordinate at work who was nearly 13 years his junior, top it off with me being pregnant, it makes for a standard daytime drama scenario. The chick wasn’t even that cute…but I’ll save that for another post. The thing that contributed most to my anger about the affair wasn’t the act of sex itself, it was that it was contrary to all that he portrayed himself to be. He never talked about being complacent, bored, or dissatisfied with our marriage or sexual relations. No heads up what so ever. If he had told me he was not happy in our relationship or that he wanted to have sex with other people, I would have had the opportunity to make an informed choice of whether to stay in the marriage or not. I’m not saying I would have consented to him having sex outside the marriage, but at least I would have received an invitation to the party or at least know that there was a party happening. Discussing sexual dissatisfaction or boredom with your sex life with your committed partner isn’t easy but it’s an adult thing to do. If you’re mature enough to get in a committed relationship and the accountability that is involved with that, than as a matter of respect, take a deep breath and spell it out honestly with your partner. Who knows, they may be feeling the same way and be willing to discuss ways to put fire back into your sex. The only down side to the honesty thing, is that for some, the being bad, the being naughty, the being sneaky is part of what gets them off! Nothing is hotter than knowing what you’re doing is wrong, but it feels so good. However; having your cake and eating it too is unfair, especially if your partner is not invited to the party. I am not judging people who have cheated, I am by no means perfect. I have done things that would make it difficult for me to run for office, especially on the GOP ticket! All this girl is trying to do is encourage people to really define what cheating is to them and discuss it with the person you are in a relationship with. Discussing what cheating is within your relationship will prevent unrealistic expectations placed on either one of you and allow you RSVP for the party should you receive an invitation.
More Articles, Posts and Books That May Interest You:
The Truth About Open Marriage By Kathleen Doheny
The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures By Dossie Easton, Janet W. Hardy