Friday, July 1, 2011

Cheaters Never Prosper? Not according to Dan Savage

So before I go on July 4th drinking hiatus (unless I choose to drunk blog which may or may not be highly entertaining), I came across this article in NYT Magazine from Dan Savage about fidelity and cheating and I thought, while it's not directly related to sports and athletes only, it was worth a quick look.

"The mistake that straight people made was imposing the monogamous expectation on men. Men were never expected to be monogamous. Men had concubines, mistresses and access to prostitutes, until everybody decided marriage had to be egalitar­ian and fairsey. [Rather than granting women] the same latitude and license and pressure-release valve that men had always enjoyed, we extended to men the confines women had always endured. And it’s been a disaster for marriage."

So basically, Savage is saying that the mistake isn't coming from men cheating, it's coming from the expectations that have been put on men in recent...decades? I dunno, regarding fidelity, and what should have been done is the reverse - instead of promoting fidelity and monogamy, we should have allowed women to have the same "freedom" to cheat.

I love Dan Savage, and I love what he's done for the LGBT community, particularly with the It Gets Better campaign, but here, he and I totally disagree.

I am a girl. And as I've mentioned numerous times, I'm a pisces. And a very typical one at that. I love to be in love. And i love feeling needed. And when I am with someone, I am with them for a reason. I've cheated once in my life and it was a bad situation and a relationship that was totally built on sand. Not an excuse, but whatever. Usually when I'm with someone, I want to be with them and I don't want to be with other guys. I know the thrill of the newness of being with someone random - hello, that's what this whole blog is about basically. But I know the value of coming home to someone is far greater than that. I don't cheat.

I don't know if any of you have seen the movie Kinsey, with Liam Neeson. It's about Dr. Kinsey, who made huge strides in research regarding sexuality and sexual health during a time when sex was more taboo than killing someone. But there is a part in the movie where Kinsey, who is married to Laura Linney's character Mac, cheats on Mac with one of his research assistants (played by Peter Sarsgaard). He admits it to Mac and tries to tell her it was simply biology taking over, and then asks her after all his research and findings studying sex, would she want him to deny this "essence" in himself. Mac responds that it's more than biology. And that she could have cheated too, but she didn't. And he asks "but if society didn't have these rules, if society didn't frown on it..." and she says "maybe society has those rules in place for a reason. So people don't hurt each other."

While it seems uber conservative, in this scene, I agree with Laura Linney's character. I know there is so much biology that goes into sex. But there can be a lot of emotions too. And that's where relationships come from. Sex isn't a relationship. I've had sex with dudes and if you asked me to recall their last name, let alone something personal about them, I'd be at a loss. But if you're married, that's a choice you make. You don't HAVE to get married. No one HAS to get married. You can stay single and casual you're whole life if you want. But I don't think asking for fidelity in a marriage is wrong or too high of an expectation. A lot of people - not all, but a lot - get so much out of a marriage. You get a companion, a partner, someone who always has your back. Someone to sleep with and possibly make a family with. People give a lot of themselves when it comes to marriage. And cheating hurts. We are human, and those emotions that drive us insane on a daily basis don't give a shit about biology or animal nature. Hurt is hurt. And jealousy is jealousy. Those are things that ruin a marriage. And Savage is basically saying men who cheat aren't at fault, the women who expect them not to are. And I just can't agree.

Women have "the right" to cheat. Many women do cheat, do have affairs. Many women are the reason a marriage falls apart. It's not hat we don't have an equal right to do so - it's that whether you're a man or a woman, cheating hurts. It hurts feelings, it hurts pride and confidence and that feeling of security a healthy relationship is supposed to give you. If I am giving so much of myself to care for you and be there for you, do you really think I'm not going to be hurt when you choose to be intimate with someone who isn't me? Who isn't pulling as much weight and still getting a part of you that is special for me? I mean, emotions exist. I wish they didn't sometimes, but they do. If Dan Savage can find a way to eradicate jealousy and hurt and suspicion and self-consciousness, I'd be all for his opinion that open relationships would be the way to go. But that's not human nature. We get hurt. And it sucks. But in a relationship, the point is to try to not hurt the person you supposedly care about. It's about sacrifice. Sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. You want the comforts and love and safety and security of a relationship? It means maybe trading in your right to stick your dick in anything with a vagina. And for me that's a fair trade off. Maybe not for Dan Savage, but for me, yes. You don't want to have that ability taken away from you? Don't get married. It's very simple.

I don't know. I just think fidelity is important to relationships. I am all for random fun sex, btu not when I'm with someone. I want the random fun sex to be with the person I choose to be with.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so sick and tired of the "cheating is biological," and "monogamy is unnatural," mantras as justification for cheating. Love is a verb. If you truly love someone and monogamy is expected (I have no probs if folks decide they want to be in open relationships-to each his own), don't cheat and if you, don't try and justify it on "biology." There are plenty of people, male and female, who are committed for 30+ years and CHOOSE not to cheat. That's because love is a verb. I think serial cheaters can't admit that they're weak and rather, seek to blame it on anything but their own character.