"Adultery is a meanness and a stealing, a taking away from someone what should be theirs, a great selfishness, and surrounded and guarded by lies lest it should be found out. And out of the meanness and selfishness and lying flow love and joy and peace beyond anything that can be imagined."
Dame Rose Macauley
"Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbor's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent."
Bible Proverbs 6:27-9
"There’s nothing like a good dose of another woman to make a man appreciate his wife."
Claire Boothe Luce
"Adultery introduces spirit into what otherwise might have been the dead letter of marriage."
"The first breath of adultery is the freest; after it, constraints aping marriage develop."
"It is better to be unfaithful than faithful without wanting to be."
"Adultery is the sit-down strike of the love-takes-work ethic."
Against Love: A Polemic
"Honesty has ruined more marriages than infidelity."
-Charles McGabe (1915-1983)
"You slowly become aware of a muffled but not completely unfamiliar feeling stirring deep within, a distant rumbling getting louder and louder, like a herd of elephants massing on the bushveld.....Oh, God, it's your libido, once a well-known freedom fighter, now a sorry, shriveled thing, from swaggering outlaw to model citizen, Janis Joplin to Barry Manilow in just a few short decades."
"No man worth having is true to his wife, or can be true to his wife, or ever was, or ever will be."
Sir John Vanbrugh
"The chains of marriage are so heavy it takes two to carry them, and sometimes three."
"I don’t think there are any men who are faithful to their wives."
Jackie Kennedy Onassis
"I gave Bill a huge piece of my heart for many , many years. Now it appears the man I loved….was cheating on me too. Left and right."
"It is a natural law of man to go after women, even married women, Of course, it may be true that he has little respect for them after, But why bother your head about that? There’s something else. Women who are unfaithful should be shot."
"For most people, infidelity feels like the ultimate betrayal. Very few people can cope with the thought of their partner making love to, touching, and having candlelight dinners with somebody else."
"It is the fear of middle-age in the young, of old age in the middle-aged, which is the prime cause of infidelity, that infallible rejuvenator."
The Unquiet Grave
"The cruelest revenge of a woman is to remain faithful to a man."
Jacques Bossvet (1675-1704)
"When cheated, wife or husband feels the same."
Andromache (426 B.C.)
"Wives invariably flourish when deserted….it is the deserting male, the reckless idealist rushing about the world seeking a non-existent felicity, who often ends in disaster."
Harbours of Memory (1921)
"Adultery is an evil only inasmuch as it is a theft; but we do not steal that which is given to us."
"Infidelity is such a problem because we take monogamy for granted; we treat it as the norm. Perhaps we should take infidelity for granted, assume it with unharrassed ease. Then we would be able to think about monogamy."
"If it's clear we're not as promiscuous as chimpanzees, neither are our biologies semper fi. Indeed, lifelong monogamy appears to be as rare in us as in the animal world, at least among the so-called alpha or powerful males and females. What Bill Clinton, John Kennedy, China's Chou dynasty emperors, Augustus Caesar, Aztec king Nezahualpilli, and Egypt's Ramses II all have in common is the urge to philander and the power to do so. That urge evolved among our distant ancestors as a way to assure survival of the species, long before it became possible to prevent pregnancy with contraceptives or have abortions. Their behavior may, in today's terms, be "immoral," but as the The Moral Animal author Robert Wright has put it, it's "hard if not impossible from an evolutionary and biological standpoint for such men to resist the fawning adoration of women.....Though few men share an alpha male's opportunities for sexual addiction, any smoker who has kicked the habit rather than die young , only to fall off the wagon, knows the mighty logic that can make a presidency self-destruct."
Joann Ellison Rodgers
Sex:A Natural History
"...Every sexual anthropologist from Alfred Kinsey to Helen Fisher has concluded that given a level social playing field and an absence of severe punishment, women, not men, are the promiscuous sex, seeking variety."
Joann Ellison Rodgers
Sex:A Natural History
"Certainly, to talk about monogamy is to talk about virtually everything that might matter. Honesty, lying, risk, duty, children, excitement, blame, love, promising, care, curiosity, jealousy, rights, guilt, ecstasy, morals, punishment, money, trust, envy, peace, loneliness, home, humiliation, respect, compromise, rules, continuity, secrecy, chance, understanding, betrayal, intimacy, family. Monogamy is not simply about these things, among others; but when we talk about monogamy we cannot help but talk about these things as well. Monogamy is a kind of moral nexus, a keyhole through which we can spy on our preoccupations.
For some of us-perhaps the fortunate, or at least, the affluent-monogamy is the only serious philosophical question…..
"A woman we love rarely satisfies all our needs, and we deceive her with a woman whom we do not love."
"Each of us longs to transgress erotic conventions, exotic-taboos, to enter with rapture into the Kingdom of the Forbidden. And each of us has so little courage."
"The average man of our time and race is far more virtuous than his wife's imaginings make him out-far less schooled in sin, far less enterprising in amour. I do not say, of course, that he is pure in heart, for the chances are that he isn't; what I do say is that, in the overwhelming majority of cases, he is pure in act, even in the face of temptation. And why? For several main reasons, not to go into minor ones. One is that he lacks the courage. Another is that he lacks the money. Another is that he is fundamentally moral, and has a conscience. It takes more sinful initiative than he has to plunge into any affair save the most casual and sordid; it takes more ingenuity and intrepidity than he has to carry it off; it takes more money than he can conceal from his consort to finance it. A man may force his actual wife to share the direst poverty, but even the least vampirish woman of the third part demands to be courted in what, considering his station in life, is the grand manner, and the expenses of that grand manner scare off all save a small minority of specialists in deception. So long, indeed, as a wife knows her husband's income accurately, she has a sure means of holding him to his oaths.
Even more effective than the fiscal barrier is the barrier of poltroonery. The one character that distinguishes man from the other higher vertebrata is his excessive timorousness, his easy yielding to alarms, his incapacity for adventure without a crowd behind him.
The moment a concrete Temptress rises before him, her nose talced, her lips scarlet, her eyelashes dropping provokingly-the moment such an abandoned wench has at him, and his lack of ready funds begins to conspire with his lack of courage to assault and wobble him-at that precise moment his conscience flares into function, and so finishes his business. First he sees difficulty, then he sees danger, then he sees wrong. The result? The result is that he slinks off in trepidation, and another vampire is baffled of her prey. It is, indeed, the secret scandal of Christendom, at least in the Protestant regions, that most men are faithful to their wives. you will travel a long way before you find a married man who will admit that he is, but the facts are the facts. For one American husband who maintains a chorus girl in levantine luxury around the corner, there are hundreds who are as true to their oaths, year in and year out, as so many convicts in the death-house, and would be no more capable of any such loathsome malpractice, even in the face of free opportunity, than they would be of cutting off the ears of their young."
The Libertine (from In Defense of Women 1922)
From Ovid,The Art of Love Ovid(43B.C.-17A.D.)
So, that husband of yours is going to be at the party-
Well I hope he chokes; let him drop dead, who cares?
How am I going to act? -Just stare at the girl I'm in love with,
Be just one more guest, let someone else feel your breast,
Let someone else put his arms around you whenever he wants to.
Sit at your side, rub knees, lean on your shoulder a bit?
I can believe what they say of the brawls of the Lapiths and Centaurs
Over the fair-haired girl, after the wine went round.
I do not live in the woods, and my members are not like a horse's,
Still I'll be having a time keeping my hands to myself.
Learn what you have to do, and please pay careful attention:
Get there before he does-not that that does any good.
Anyway, get there before him, and when he reclines, you beside him,
Modestly on the couch, give my foot just a touch,
Watch me for every nod, for every facial expression,
Catch my signs and return them, never saying a word.
I can talk with my eyebrows and spell out words with my fingers,
I can make you a sign, dipping my finger in wine
When you think of the tumbles we've had in the hay together,
Touch your cheek with your hand; then I will understand.
If you're a little bit cross with the way I may be behaving,
Let your fingertip rest light on the lobe of an ear.
If, on the other hand, what I am saying should please you,
Darling, keep turning your ring; symbol enough that will be.
Fold your hands on the table, as people do when praying-
That means you wish him back luck, yes, and a lot of it, too.
When he mixes your wine, let him drink it himself; so inform him
Quietly speak to the boy, ask for the kind you enjoy.
When you pass him the cup, let me have a sip as it goes by;
Where you drank I will touch that part first with my lips.
Don't accept any food from a dish that he has first tasted;
Keep his arms from your neck; don't lay your head on his chest;
Don't let his fingers grope in the neck of your dress or your bosom;
More than everything else, don't let him kiss you at all.
Don't you kiss him either; you do, and you'll have me announcing "Hands off there! She's mine"-and then I'll reach out for my claim.
I would not dare to defend my absolute absence of morals;
I would not smother my faults under a blanket of lies.
No: I own up; I confess, if any confession can help me;
Wailing My grievous fault, how I lash out at my sins!
I hate what I am, and yet, for all my desiring,
Cannot be anything else-what a misfortune to bear!
Borne along like a ship tossed on tempestuous waters,
Out of control, I lack willpower to keep me aright.
There is no definite One whose beauty drives me to frenzy;
No: there are hundreds, almost, keeping me always in love."
The Art of Love
"We went to the council of our group-commune it was then called-and she was given me in marriage, and within a year she had borne me a son. We saw much of one another, and talked ourselves very close together. My faithful friend she became and has been always, and for a time we were passionate lovers, always she has loved me and kept my soul full of tender gratitude and love for her; always when we met our hands and eyes clasped in friendly greeting, all through our lives from that hour we have been each other's secure help and refuge, each other's un-grudging fastness of help and sweetly frank and open speech.....And after a little while my love and desire for Nettie returned as though it had never faded away.
No one will have a difficulty now in understanding how that could be, but in the evil days of the world malaria, that would been held to be the most impossible thing. I should have had to crush that second love out of my thoughts, to have kept it secret from Anna, to have lied about it to all the world. The old-world theory was there was only one love-we who float upon a sea of love find that hard to understand. The whole nature of a man was supposed to go out to the one girl or woman who possessed him, her whole nature to go out to him. Nothing was left over-it was a discreditable thing to have any overplus at all. They formed a secret secluded system of two, two and such children as she bore him. All other women he was held bound to find no beauty in, no sweetness, no interest; and she likewise, in no other man. The old-time men and women went apart in couples, into defensive little houses, like beasts into little pits, and in these "homes" they sat down purposing to love, but really coming very soon to jealous watching of this extravagant mutual proprietorship. All freshness passed very speedily out of their love, out of their conversation, all pride out of their common life. To permit each other freedom was blank dishonor. That I and Anna should love, and after our love-journey together, go about our separate lives and dine at the public tables, until the advent of her motherhood, would have seemed a terrible strain upon our unmitigable loyalty. And that I should have it in me to go on loving Nettie-who loved in different manner both Verrall and me-would have outraged the very quintessence of the old convention."
In the Days of the Comet
"It's not very hard for men to remain chaste either, in spite of what they say. They usually are, much more than they pretend to be. And it's normal. Making love the whole time, changing mistresses every day, turns one into an idiot. You spoke just now of a Mafia of initiates, a secret society of pleasure. I know people who belong to it. They are deadly bores."
The Horrors of Love
"No one knows how many people are cyberadulterers, but anecdotal reports suggest the number is large and growing. The computer makes infidelity easy: no bars, no sleazy hotels, no credit card bills or smudges to explain. You don't even need to change your clothes or brush your teeth.
But still, why risk a flesh-and-blood relationship for an electronic one? For starters, the Web fosters a degree of intimacy that's rare in real life. "People just tell all," says online columnist Deb Levine. Such soul baring can be powerfully seductive. The more an adulterer discloses, the more emotionally involved he may become-and the more violated his partner is apt to feel if she finds out.
Then there's the deniability factor cyberadulterers often equate their actions with masturbating or watching porn. "The internet lets people kid themselves." says Portland, Oregon, psychiatrist Esther Gwinnell, author of Online Seductions: Falling in Love with Strangers on the internet.
(See article Health Mag Oct 2000)
Book: "The Horrors of Love" by Jean Dutourd
Book: "Kosher Adultery" by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Book: "The Dance of Deception" by Harriet G. Lerner
Book: "Anatomy of Love: The Natural History of Monogamy, Adultery, and Divorce" by Barbara Fisher
Book: "The Myth Of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People" by D.P. Barash & J.E. Lipton
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page