Infidel-ity

November 8, 2006

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I am an infidel when it comes what I term a ‘modern western relationship.’ I don’t equate sex with the gravity others do and it leaves me free of a great many moral quandaries which seem to tear other people (usually nice, caring people) apart.

First, the basis for a “social infidel’s” comments on the subjects of love and infidelity.

I am not bound by religious convictions (or, fortunately, criminal convictions- I’m allergic). Brought up in Christian Apartheid South Africa I read to from the bible daily as part of school. My parents, however, were clear with their children that any religious convictions they wanted to adopt were their own. Not encouraged or discouraged. Both had been raised catholic but weren’t particularily interested and drifting somewhere between agnostic and vague feelings of a higher power. I chose no god and developed my own value system. I have a grandmother who is sweet and prays for my soul on this issue.

The value system in question was strongly influenced by the fact that I moved town/city every 2-3 years from the age of eight as my father rose rapidly in his chosen profession. Every country, province, city, suburb, school, and clique within a school has it’s own value system which is subtly different, some of which include Prada as God. You get to realise that values are supple and most make little sense.

Growing up. We do what we are told. We believe what we are told. I was told it is important to question everything. I was told to respect only those who earned respect, not those who demanded it. So I built a value system from scratch. I continue to build and question every day. I respect- but not always agree with- a great many (im)moral sources. Including (but not restricted to) Richard P. Feynman, John Fowles, Dilbert Cartoons, Aldous Huxley, The Daily Show, The Bible, Terry Pratchett, Calvin&Hobbes, Taoism and a bloke I met in the pub who can crush a beer can against his head.

And now the comments themelves.

Love (read as “in love” as opposed to “I love my dog”- not the same thing in my little world) is a big, squishy, important, irrational emotional deal. Sex is fun. When sex and love combine most western societies raise up sex to a mystical level and promote a monogomous lifestyle. Societies that have done this have done well because children raised in a family unit* are generally more successful than, say, orphans. Orphan Annie doesn’t count as she got adopted by rich people. But family units don’t have to mean monogamy.

Human beings are not designed for monogamy. We, as a species, prove this daily. There are few animals that mate for life. The number decreases the more we research. Swans, believed till recently to mate for life, do not. we are pack animals and built to e insecure and look for the security of a pack, group or society. We need affirmation in all sorts of areas to be happy and secure. Humans that do not need this are 9to the rest of us) insane. They are not bound by societal conventions. We call them psychopaths, sociopaths and, more recently, pop artists. We want to know others care about us, respect us, look up to us and we want to feel desired. These are just a few of our drives.

It is insane to believe you will find all this in one person. You may be absolutely, totally in love with someone but feel undesired, lacking in status or comfort with just them. You may need to find it somewhere else. Preferably with a human and an adult. But dogs aregood for comfort too.

The one thing that everyone can demand, though, is to be able to trust someone who says “I love you.” Trust is being able to tell someone something in confidence and allow that confidence to go to the grave. People now hire therapists who are legally bound never to repeat what they say because they trust neither their partners nor their friends to like who they really are and not repeat their secrets.

I am a good friend (when drunk), a good lover (when given the opportunity) and an empathic human being but I am not all things to all men (or women). I do not expect my best friend to have me as their only friend and I do not expect to be able to fill every single sexual or emotional desire of a woman I love. Neither can any other one person. I want her to be happy and complete. If you are in love that means you are the main person in someone’s life, not the only person. If you remove the mysticism from sex you realise sex is less important than trust. Less important than emotional support. But more important than catching the 10pm movie.

Do people really break up after 20 years of marriage because their spouse had genital contact with another human? Or because they had promised (against their nature) not to, and then couldn’t deliver? Or because they never took the time to realise how ridiculous and restrictive the rules they live their life by are?

End

*- a single dad/mom, two moms or dads, a unit that provides some sort of food support and caring. Yes, TV dinners and McDonalds count as food, but only in the same way that household plants do.

Post-scripts

This piece was inspired by a blog I visit regularily, oscarandre.wordpress.com, who has written a piece on cheating in cyberspace and someone who commented on a piece of his (mentioned in ‘ref’ below), shewalksinbeauty. Both well worth a read.
Government Health Warning (a): Finding like-minded people is hard. Thinking like this is no guarantee of happiness as finding someone who can accept, understand and go along with it after 20-30 years of alternative programming is hard. The odds of finding someone and being happy with them are probably about the same as getting away with infidelity and being happy.

Government Health Warning (b): Goverments are bad for your health.

Two of the principles I came up with which i do my best to live by:

First basic guiding principle: Be willing to question and change everything you believe based on new things you learn. To do anything else is to be subjest to dogma.

First relationship principle: It does not matter why they like/love you and want to be with you. It only matters that they do. What does matter is why you like/love them and want to be with them.

The blogs I refer to; thanks for the inspiration, folks

ref: http://shewalksinbeauty.wordpress.com/2006/11/06/comments-from-the-marriage/
ref: http://oscarandre.wordpress.com/2006/11/02/can-anyone-hear-you-cheat-in-cyberspace/

Examples of lies we are told which mess us up:

Promiscuity leads to high levels of sexual diseases

study: social factors such as poverty, mobility and gender equality may be a stronger factor in sexual ill-health than promiscuity.
ref: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=55538

Certain animals “mate for life”
Gibbon apes, wolves, termites, coyotes, barn owls, beavers, bald eagles, golden eagles, condors, swans, brolga cranes, French angel fish, sandhill cranes, pigeons, prions (a seabird), red-tailed hawks, anglerfish, ospreys, prairie voles (a rodent), and black vultures — are a few that mate for life. Of course, it depends on what you mean by “mate for life.” These creatures do mate for life in the social sense of living together in pairs but they rarely stay strictly faithful. About 90 percent of the 9,700 bird species pair, mate, and raise chicks together — some returning together to the same nest site year after year. Males, however, often raise other males’ offspring unknowingly. DNA testing reveals that the social-pair male did not father 10, 20, and sometimes 40 percent of the chicks.
ref: http://www.wonderquest.com/animal-mate-for-life.htm

Woman I would love to have met: Mae West
Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.
Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache.
Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.
It is better to be looked over than overlooked.
I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.

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4 Responses to “Infidel-ity”

  1. JustineZ Says:

    Promiscuity leads to high levels of sexual diseases

    It’s all a craps roll, but still we all know how statistics work. The more sexual partners the greater the probability. Condoms are not the ultimate barrier and they are not used during 100% of encounters. Herpes is very common among the very sexually active swinger or poly scenes. HPV is extremely prevalent and while that word will probably never mean very much to you it will to some women. Some strains of that virus is what causes cervical cancer and that can kill women.

    I’m not a prude by any means. I’ve mananged to avoid herpes and haven’t had a full blown cause of cervical cancer yet, just some precancerous cells that cleared themselves up. Guys like to think there’s no danger in playing the field, because it’s women who get pregnant or suffer the most horrorific effect of STDs. Could you please discover a vaccine for all STDs so that we can all safely screw around?

  2. Oscarandre Says:

    “If you remove the mysticism from sex you realise sex is less important than trust.” I think this is very true, Jester, and perhaps you also remove its ability to be used as an emotional weapon or the destructive desire to steal it with violence. But, this is not the world we live in. I liked Gore Vidal’s reply when asked, “Why do people lie about sex?”
    “Because,” he said, “from the time when we are children we are taught to lie about everything.”

  3. puddlejumper Says:

    Wow. You’ve really captured my philosophy. Monogamy is not natural. But isn’t it interesting how many people say they desire it? I think they actually mean they desire for their partner to be monogamous? (whilst they have the freedom to follow their instints?)

    No offence to the post above but STD’s etc as real as they are are still only a risk. The big institutions try to scare the shit out of us about everything these days. Even sex. If we all went through life never taking any risks it would be pretty dull.

  4. shewalksinbeauty Says:

    I loved reading this. A post I wish I could have other people in my life read.

    So many people have offered their opinion of my current state of “affairs,” (which, by the way it has not yet become.) I am offered such questions as: What is missing from my marriage? or: What significant piece of me was missing to find myself in another man’s arms? My answer is simple and the only reason I find conflict with it is because my husband would (probably)never understand,(how could a wife bring up the diesire for a sexually open marriage?) I had sex with another man because I thought it would be fun. And I was defiantely NOT let down. I do NOT wish it had never happened. I actually would want it to happen again. We may be on our way to becoming “friends with benefits.” Neither one of us wants a committed relationship with the other, as we both have the monogomous relationship with someone else. The hardest part is hiding it. So, I have to hide it. Hiding it is what hurts me the most. Can I live with that? Probably, eventually, for a time. But I need to vent about it somewhere.


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