Adultery has always been of interest to us here at PCBYCP HQ. From a purely sociological view point. Our interest was piqued by a recent New Yorker article,“In defence of adulterers”. Unsurprisingly Ira Maine picked up the theme.
A very interesting New Yorker piece on the perennially delicious busi
ness of adultery.
Anybody, surely with a grain of sense must be of the opinion that all of that precocious sexual energy, that ‘hump anything that breathes’ drive that nature endows us with from puberty onwards, does not miraculously lessen, dissipate or disappear after we’ve been married. Certainly and initially it is damnably difficult in marriage to abandon that desire, endowed by Nature, to make every woman in sight heavy with child. It is after all, our principal function. Nature designed us, both men and women, to ensure the human race continues. Philosophy, religion and politics and all of the other reasons for existence become mere peripheral humbug when a breathlessly attractive woman, hoves into view.
The most potent, the most sexually driven period of our lives is somewhere between puberty and twenty. That drive obviously continues long after this but its intensity lessens. The odd thing about this teenaged, all-consuming sexual appetite is that although post-pubescent boys can undoubtedly make post-pubescent girls pregnant, the medical profession warns us that pregnancy at such a young age can put girls lives at risk.
So, what are we to do with this intemperate eruption of testosterone? If, as a fresh generation of the newly minted male emerges, they are, of necessity, denied access to their female peers, it follows that any compassionate, worthwhile society must surely seek to address this problem in a mature and properly positive way. For a young man, this period is both an astonishingly difficult and an astonishingly important one, a period which, in my view, is disgracefully neglected in our society.
The young man, bursting with manhood and surplus spermatozoa, is desperately in need of a helping hand. There is, as we are all aware nothing of the kind available. As a consequence, our ill-informed youth, having entered the fray and elevated his cannon, finds himself in continual danger of going off half-cocked. A refined intimate education at this time should be not just available, but absolutely de rigueur, an essential requirement which our society might so easily provide. Why on earth do we so callously leave these young men, in extremis, to deal with this problem single-handedly?
On the surface, of course, the brothel, (or ‘stew’ as Shakespeare called it) is an obvious solution, but hold hard there, hold hard. To any of us who have visited these establishments, they are, first and foremost, places of business, of a crudely manufactured cold-comfort ‘intimacy’ where, before a chap has even viewed the ‘merchandise’, cruel business steps in and demands cash in advance for ‘the pleasure of your business’. Apart from the ensuing pre-paid personal gratification, there is little here to offer the growing boy in terms of the necessary instruction. Besides, where is a twelve year old to get the hundred or so bucks to allow him to indulge in knocking-shop rumply-pumply in the first place? He would have to deliver papers by helicopter, night and day, for years, just to save the damned deposit!
But despair not, young man, despair not. There is,I feel, another way, which brings me back by circuitous means to the delicious business of adultery.
Society is swamped with brothels and adultery. There are, as we all know, as many reasons for infidelity as there are knickers behind cushions, trysts behind hedges and passionate pantings in Palladian porticos. Most of these reasons are, consciously or otherwise, attempts to recapture the breathless excitement of early passion when the delicious importunings of heart-stopping lust took precedence over all else. Marriage tends to dull this edge to the point where, as the US writer Eve Babitz cynically puts it:
‘There is a moment when a man develops enough confidence and ease in a relationship to bore you to death.’
This ‘moment’ may very well explain the emergence amongst us of the mature woman who, having fulfilled her marital responsibilities, is now possessed of confidence enough and courage enough to abandon herself to the serious pursuit of sexual satisfaction, a satisfaction perhaps denied her in the exhausting humdrum of marriage and children. She is, at last, (at least theoretically) free to enjoy those extra-marital activities her stunned and red-faced husband has been lying about for years.Sexual satisfaction, however is not guaranteed. Far from it, the woman is just as liable to experience the ‘wham, bam’ syndrome outside marriage as it surely existed within. There must be another way.
To be continued . . . . (ed).