Are You An Infidelity Stat?

Infidelity_Statistics.jpg

If you need any more evidence that monogamy is a failed, non-instinctual human construct, check out the infidelity statistics above, from this study published by the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy in August, 2013.

The numbers are stunning. If monogamy was truly the way we were MEANT to be, then why are we so prone to infidelity?

Someone might protest, saying the reason infidelity is so rampant is because we are all God-less heathens. We are sinful, so what do you expect?

But maybe there is another answer. Maybe we, as a species, are naturally promiscuous. Maybe we were not meant to be monogamous.

Perhaps the most telling statistic in the entire list above is the percentage of men and/or women who say they would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught. The percentage is virtually the same for both genders, approximately 70 percent!!!

So almost three quarters of all those surveyed admitted they would be interested in having sex with others if it didn’t mean the end of their marriage. Yes, I changed the wording slightly, but that’s what people are afraid of. The same survey proves it, showing that the percentage of marriages that survive after the discovery of infidelity is only 31%. So clearly, this is the big fear. Discovered infidelity will usually mean the end of a marriage, and often, tragically, a wonderful relationship.

The survey also shows, that despite this fear of getting caught, approximately 55% of males and females admitted to committing infidelity in at least one relationship, marriage or otherwise.

AshleyMadisonScreenShot1.jpg

I took this snapshot of the Ashley Madison ‘infidelity site’ as I was writing this. Notice the over 22 million anonymous users! The founder of the site, Noel Biderman, gives an interesting TEDx talk on how he got started and why major universities are interested in their data, found HERE.

So we really don’t want monogamy, folks. We really don’t. Yes, we want love. We want partnership. There are some, of course, who have made monogamy work. But most of us, both male and female, don’t want to be limited to exploring sexuality and intimacy with only one person. This makes perfect sense on many levels. Anyone who has had more than one intimate partner in life will tell you that each intimate encounter has a different “flavor” and leads to new realizations about yourself. The variety enlarges us. The connections broaden us. There’s no argument that we all have the capacity to love—to really romantically love—more than one person in our lifetime. And if that is true, then surely we can fall romantically in love with more than one person at a time.

Yet this reality is often denied by those caught in infidelity. They say they have either fallen out of love with their old partner and into love with the new, or they only cheated for the sex. Really? Why can’t we admit that we are romantically attracted to more than one person. It’s okay.

Are you an infidelity stat? What would your confidential survey answers be? It is natural to feel loving sexual attraction to others. Lots of people in this crowded world of ours are likely to appeal to our spectrum of characteristics, each perhaps in a slightly different way.

What if we changed the some of the questions above? Would you be open to intimacy with others if your partner/spouse convinced you that they were genuinely okay with “sharing” you, and that such sharing (both ways) wouldn’t threaten your relationship? Yes or no? Even a ‘maybe’ would be a good start.

Embracing a framework that allows for a different experience of love and living than monogamy provides—a framework that shuns the cultural myths, like our problem with infidelity, which hurt, shame and bind us—begins with dialogue. That is our purpose.

The Bonobo Factor: Promiscuity

Sexy_wiring.jpg

Read the introduction to this series of posts here.

Bonobo Love Secret 05 - There’s Promise in Promiscuity

“Sex At Dawn” co-author Christopher Ryan writes:

All the casual sex among bonobos is arguably a big part of what has made them among the smartest of all primates. Until human beings came along and messed things up for them, bonobos enjoyed very high quality of life, low stress, and plenty of social interaction in hammocks. In fact, of the many species of social primates living in multi-male social groups, not a single species is sexually monogamous. Each of the arguably smartest mammals—humans, chimps, bonobos, and dolphins—is promiscuous.

What does this mean for us?

Whether said tongue in cheek or not, what Ryan is suggesting is that the bonobos show us that we can potentially enhance our ‘intelligence’ as a species by embracing a healthy multi-partner approach to sexuality. If that’s true, we have a long way to go. Most modern cultures consider women who openly sleep with multiple partners as “sluts”, or worse. And men, who seem to ‘get away with it’ more easily, do it mostly in secret, dishonoring their partners. Perhaps we humans are getting ‘dumber’ as a result.

Interestingly, Naomi Wolf, in her recent book “Vagina”, describes research that shows that women have a highly complex pelvic neural network that works with their brain to affect their consciousness, confidence, risk-taking and autonomy.

Clearly the female neural network is far more diffuse than the male and has a lot more going on: in women, there is a tangle of neural activity at the top of the uterus, at the sides of the vagina, at the top of the rectum, at the top of the bladder, at the clitoris, and along the perineum. ... [The female neural network] looks like the tangled skein of a hundred thousand golden threads that has been drawn upward.

What a beautiful description. She also notes how male pelvic neural networks are quite similar from man to man, but that “no two women are alike”. The pelvic neural network varies greatly from woman to woman. That is why each woman’s path to orgasm, and the type of orgasm she has, is so variable. It will be as unique as her wiring is.

The evidence shows that both male and female pelvic neural networks are strongly wired into our consciousness, and therefore affect our ‘intelligence’—the way we think about ourselves, about others and about our world. To have this wiring stimulated in different ways by different people, who each bring a different ‘energy’ and ‘resonance’, can only benefit us. While men can grow and learn from intimate interactions with a variety of partners, I believe women, with their far more profound and varied wiring, can benefit even more greatly from multiple, honoring, intimate interactions.

So perhaps, like the behavior of the bonobos suggests, we humans need to openly embrace the idea of healthy male and female promiscuity to continue to evolve as a “smart” species.

Neither male nor female promiscuity are currently conceived as a healthy practice, however. While male promiscuity is quietly tolerated, female promiscuity faces massive cultural barriers.  Research published this year by Zhana Vrangalova, at Cornell University, shows there is still virtually no tolerance for female promiscuity. Not even by females, who swim, like all of us, in the waters of patriarchy.

Perhaps this goes back to Ryan’s previous “sisterhood is powerful” point. The bonobos suggest that women need to rediscover the way they are naturally wired, to embrace desires they have been made to feel shameful for, to fully embrace the power of loving sexual energy, and join together to embolden a renewed, rich femininity. Change will not come by one woman acting in the face of the inevitable tidal wave of patriarchal judgment.

And enlightened men need to reassess their possessive tendencies. They need to see benefits to setting their female partners free, while still loving them deeply. And they also need to elevate their own promiscuous predispositions to a place of openness and honesty; honoring each woman they have the beautiful grace to be intimate with.

Read Part Seven HERE