Cheating is one of those heated topics. It’s actually one of the most ironic topics as well. No matter how much we shame and claim that cheating is “wrong” and “bad”, so many of us actually participate in the cheating itself, or even just the drama surrounding it all. Twenty two percent of adults have actually cheated in a relationship before (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17951664/ns/health-sexual_health/), and for something we consider horrendously wrong, that’s a pretty large percentage.

That’s not to say that cheating is something I’m okay with. It’s not. The actual act of having sex with another person is not the problem; the problem is the fact that we’re betraying our partner’s trust. Having sex with a third party is not a big deal if the two of you have agreed upon it beforehand. Some people actually have agreed-upon affairs just because one partner is not interested in sex, or another partner wants more sex than the married partner is willing to provide. Having an affair is not a big deal as long as it’s something that has been discussed with your partner. (Granted, that changes the definition of “affair” when it’s consensual. Since “affair” is considered as cheating outside a marriage/relationship, it still officially stays the definition, though.)

I think half of the problem of cheating is the fact that we act like relationships are this amazing, fairytale-like being. Watching movies, you’d assume that relationships are nothing to work at. The couples always seem to be happy and laughing, or some giant drama brings them closer together. At the opposite end of the spectrum, if a movie portrays a couple fighting, it’s because that couple is inherently messed up and doomed from the start. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. (Television shows portray things a little more realistically; albeit exaggerated for drama purposes.)

In reality, relationships are something you do have to work at. I can’t claim to know all of the intricacies of relationships, but I’m a book hound, and I know what I’ve read. Relationships take a lot of communication, and the aspect of our sex lives can cause a lot of conflict. After all, we expect this person to be with us 24/7, still love us, be our best friend, and watch us through some of our grossly unhygienic moments. Then at the end of the day, we want them to still find us the most sexy and exciting being on the planet, and have sex with us like we’ve just met. It’s just not a realistic expectation.

It’s no wonder that people end up cheating on their partners. It’s nearly impossible to keep the “just met sex” feeling going once we get to know, and get comfortable with, our partner. It’s part of the process of settling into a long-term relationship. We get comfortable, and we learn to love and live with our partner. We can’t expect the sex that used to be exciting when we first met, to continue to be exciting, as we continue to do the same things over and over.

The best way to fight this, of course, is to introduce variety in your sex acts. We all (myself included) get into sexual “ruts” that we end up following. It’s just easier for my partner and me to do the things that we already know are pleasurable. It’s easier for us to follow the same set “schedule”, rather than attempting to devote a couple hours on a bunch of new things that we haven’t tried. I may be a sex toy reviewer, but that still doesn’t give me an abundance of time to spend hours on end, having sex. If we just mix up our sex life, rather than let it sit stagnant, it would probably reduce the incidents of cheating. Then again, that’s easier said than done.

The thing is, I don’t like living in a society that shames cheating, while at the same time glorifies it. We shame Tiger Woods publicly and destroy his career, while at the same time offering sites like Ashley Madison, where you are encouraged to sign up for “discreet encounters”. Our society knows that most of us aren’t satisfied with just one partner, but we end up acting like it’s a horrible sin when someone is found having sex with another partner. This is even a “sin” when it’s discussed between the couple beforehand. Polyamory is considered “weird”, even though we all seem to understand the need to want another person – at least once in awhile.

You know what also pisses me off? Do a search for “why men cheat” on Google, and you’ll come up with the most misogynistic answers out there. He cheats because he “needs sex”, because she “isn’t attractive”, because “he can’t help it”, because she isn’t “fulfilling his sexual needs”. They all make it sound like males are driven to have sex with anything that has a vagina. And you know what? That’s annoying. Males have as much control over their urges as do women. Women would enjoy extramarital sex just as much as men, so why do we give the man a little “he’s just a man; he can’t help it” excuse while we consider women “homewreckers”? I’m not much of a feminist, but this reasoning just pisses me off. The double-standard is infuriating sometimes.

I also have a hard time understanding the posts here on EdenCafe that glorify cheating. I believe everyone has the right to their opinion, and if truth be told, I’d rather read the posts than have the ideas go unsaid. But at the same time, I think it’s a dangerous territory to trod into a place where we consider affairs as “good for our relationship”. Sure, something good might have come out of a horrible thing, but it’s still a horrible thing at heart. The death of a loved one is never a good thing, but at the same time, it may bring you and your partner closer together; it’s the same idea.

There are so many different facets to cheating, honestly. It’s really hard to explore everything that makes us cheat, and exactly how I feel about cheating. Really, though, when I hear about someone cheating, I just don’t understand it. I know we all get jealous sometimes, but at the same time, why don’t we consider ourselves close enough to our partners to discuss extramarital sex before it ends up happening without people’s consent? Yes, sex is nice, but I don’t ever think it’s worth destroying your marriage or hurting someone.

That’s not to say that I’m not guilty of flirting. I am. When I find someone to flirt with (which is a task in itself, by the way), I’ll flirt for a bit. However, if I find myself longing, or waiting until the next time I see that person, I know it’s time to reconnect with my partner. My partner should be my primary source of love and support. Flirting with others is great, but it should just be a confidence booster, and not a large source of my ego.

I guess that’s about as many aspects of cheating as you guys probably want to explore. I could go further in-depth on how polyamory and swinging should be considered as plausible options, but that’s probably for another time. However, if you are curious about the reasons behind affairs, how to prevent them, and how it may benefit your partner (in a consensual way), the book “Supersex for Life” by Tracey Cox provides a good, non-sexist, non-biased overview of the information. I don’t think EdenFantasys carries it, but it’s worth finding for the read. It’s one of the best, most entertaining, books that deals with sex in long-term relationships.

  • the bedroom blogger

    Ugh. This topic makes people crazy. But you’re right…we can’t condemn and glorify it at the same time. And yet we do.

  • Sarahbear

    Wow! You covered a lot of different ideas. I think you’ve made a good point about us condemning and sort of glorifying affairs at the same time. We do the same thing with sex, in general, in our society. We shame, shame, shame any woman who is sexual and sensual. We label them sluts. We beat them down for daring to enjoy sex or wear flattering and revealing clothing. Yet we plaster sex all over video games, movies, and ad campaigns. It’s so backwards.

    I think people’s moral compasses are just all over the place. The best way to live our lives would be to ask if the things we’re doing to other people are things we would want them to do to us. Then we might think twice about how our actions are affecting others.

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