Here’s a brilliant plan: take the holiday about family togetherness and instead, sow the seeds (so to speak) of distrust, resentment, confusion, and isolation:
When I told my husband I was interviewing a writer who thinks men should give their wives a ‘cheat pass’ this Christmas, he understandably had some questions. “How would the wife find someone suitable for the occasion?” he wondered. (We were talking in the abstract, of course, and I deemed it safer to treat this as rhetorical.) I assured him that yes, it was all very unfeasible, and concluded he’ll more likely gift me jewellery[sic].
But Wednesday Martin, whose latest book Untrue explores “why nearly everything we believe about women and lust and infidelity” is wrong, is not being flippant. “We now know long-term relationships are harder on female desire than they are on male desire,” she says.
Wednesday Martin seems to be the new Eat Pray Love/Sex at Dawn guru, giving excuses to women to cheat on their husbands (so long as it is “consensual,” of course), covered in the guise of science. Her book Untrue makes the claim that anthropologically, humans are more like bonobos than chimpanzees, and that monogamy is actually psychologically harder on women than on men, so it is healthy to allow your wife (or yourself, if you happen to be a wife) to have a little extramarital sexual enjoyment.
After all, it’s natural.
It sounds rather convincing, on its face. After all, her points are anthropologically true. Why not just embrace our inner nature? Let “women be women,” to borrow a phrase.
The reason is the sexual asymmetry in this particular unbalanced equation. Women’s drives are not the only ones that are repressed in the compromise that is Western monogamy. There are two points to be made about male interests, where female sexual infidelity is concerned: a neglected psychological equivalent, and an effect.
First, as women have a drive for hypergamy, men have an instinct and drive for violence. The civilization that women now enjoy was built on male violence (or the threat of male violence), which established the security against outside invaders necessary to make investment in the future a worthwhile endeavor. Men like to fight, and enjoy watching others fight. I’m sure if I were to do an anthropological study, I might be able to find a case or two of men instigating violence (perhaps even… sexual violence!).
Male violence is natural, even the historical norm, ergo…
If we are to give female infidelity a “pass” because of its anthropological naturalness, I might actually be okay with it, so long as the husband is also legally permitted to kill either his wife or the other man in question. Maybe both.
Just like our anthropological ancestors.
This first point may sound a bit flippant, but the lack of empathy for men in arguments like this is truly galling. It’s as if these people think that women’s feelings are the only ones that matter, that women are the only ones sacrificing something for the benefits of modernity.
Which leads us into our second point.
If it becomes a established cultural norm for wives to periodically cheat on their husbands, what can we expect the result to be on rates of marriage? If I were a betting man, my guess would be that it would plummet. High SMV (sexual market value) men would have no need for marriage, as they could simply sleep with all the women they liked without the investment. Lower SMV men, recognizing that marriage would probably constitute a high investment on their end with a low emotional return (plus a high risk of divorce), and so they would either give up on marriage or go hunting for a decent, compassionate wife from another culture which still values men.
While married women today contemplate whether or not their marriage is 100% satisfying, they are setting up future women for a life without marriage entirely. In short, these kinds of anti-monogamous rationalizations do not benefit women as a group. They only benefit women of the current generation, at the expense of those coming up behind them.
And it doesn’t even benefit women today, at least in the long run. Quality men generally don’t want to marry libertine women (it indicates low compassion and high risk of divorce). Women might manage to be happy living the single life in their 20’s and 30’s, but around 40 (when their own SMV begins to drop), being single and childless gets downright lonely, and married women get desperate — if not for a child, then at least for companionship. And when they find out that none of the men that they want to marry are particularly interested in marrying them, the libertine joys of youth turn into the bitter cold of celibacy.
That fact is that we’re not bonobos, no matter how close we may be (just as we are not chimpanzees, however close we may be). We’re human beings, and while we can certainly learn about ourselves by delving into the past, there is a fine line between gaining understanding and trying to re-establish morays from our tree-dwelling days, and hoping that you won’t wind back up in trees.