“Life is short. Have an affair.”

I swear, some people are out of their freaking minds. The Charlotte Observer/Carolina Bride interviews an admitted adulteress:

Noel Biderman says he’s not encouraging anyone to have an affair – he’s just giving them a place to do it.

Since its launch in Canada in 2002 (stateside in ’07), nearly six million people have signed up to cheat on their spouses through his controversial married dating service, AshleyMadison.com. Biderman, a happily married (allegedly faithful) man and father of two children, says America’s view of marriage is too conservative: Sex, quite simply, needs to be removed as a central tenet of marriage. If all your needs are being met in every other way, he says, why dissolve your union simply because of one physical incompatibility?

Here, one woman backs up that claim. Valeria (not the name on her birth certificate), a 29-year-old resident of SouthPark and two-year member of Ashley Madison, is just one of over 500 newlywed women in Charlotte secretly seeking bliss outside their bedrooms through the site – a figure that’s nearly doubled since April 2009 (not counting this year’s post-Mother’s Day explosion). She recently spoke with me about her experiences and why she ascribes to the Ashley Madison philosophy, “Life is short. Have an affair.”

A few questions from the interview with “Valeria”:

What is your philosophy on monogamy?

I believe in emotional monogamy.

Women typically have a hard time separating emotions and sex. Have you made any emotional connections with those you’ve had affairs with?

With the first man, it was more nervous energy than true emotion. However, I do have a genuine connection with the couple I see now. I thought I could compartmentalize this aspect of my life, and to a certain degree I can. It being clandestine certainly helps in that regard. But one time, early in the affair, they had to cancel on me at the last minute, and it was then that I realized I had a deeper connection to them than just casual sex. I felt a bit wounded. I wouldn’t necessarily call it love – more like deep physical affection.

Again, why get married? Why not have a lifelong best friend and just continue casually dating, which is essentially what you’re doing – minus the big, expensive ceremony and legal documents?

I do believe that he is my life mate – we will be with each other for a very long time. I believe this affair is just a season for me, something I am exploring my way through.

Yeah. “If it feels good, do it,” right? Hey, it might even save your marriage, even the marriages of newlyweds like “Valeria,” who obviously haven’t given their marriage any time to work through the growing pains of the first years.

I suspect most men and women don’t hold these warped views but a lot more do today than they did 30 and 40 years ago, especially women. It’s estimated that up to 25% of married men and 15% of married women have had affairs, though I’ve seen scattered stats that the numbers could actually be almost double that for both sexes. MSNBC/iVillage conducted a study of 70,288 readers, 3/4ths of who were in a committed relationship, on the issue of cheating a few years ago and here are some of the disturbing things they found:

When is cheating justifiable? More than 70 percent of people say it’s never OK to cheat for any reason. Still, 26 percent of men and 9 percent of women say it’s justified if the other partner has lost interest in sex.

Have you ever cheated? Nearly half of men and women have cheated at some point in their lives. Twenty-two percent of people have cheated on their current partner, but only 4 percent are in the middle of an affair.

Do open relationships work? Half of men and women say nonmonogamy destroys a relationship. However, another third of men and women feel that while it’s not right for them, it could work for other people.

I wish I could say I didn’t understand this, but I do. Before the sexual revolution, it was frowned upon for married men AND women to have affairs, although with men if it was discovered it was sort of swept under the rug, whereas if it were a woman it was a different story altogether. She might as well have worn a Scarlet A. It was an unacceptable double standard, as cheating husbands should have been viewed upon with as much disdain as cheating wives. Then came the “free love” movement, which essentially promoted the responsibility-free, “it’s somebody else’s fault” lifestyle, and also taught women at the time that true “equality” meant being able to sleep around with whoever and whenever – whether you were married or not – without the stigma attached to it. Why not?, they asked, considering men had “been getting away with it for years.” This was their way of trying to “level the playing field.” It’s an argument I’ve heard all too often in the recent past.

Thanks in no small part to this movement, our society has “evolved” downward into celebrating TV shows like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City, in spite of the former show’s emphasis on infidelity as an acceptable instant gratification tool and the latter’s emphasis on sexual gratification with multiple partners often and penchant for instant moral judgments (scroll) that turn an unwanted “blob of cells” into a wanted “unborn baby” in a New York minute. We also see the pro-infidelity message alive and well in movies like “It’s Complicated” – now on DVD and Blu-Ray. So it’s no small wonder that more married women (or women in other committed relationships) today have gotten the impression that it’s “ok” to have an affair as long as you’re discreet about it. Our culture is filled with images of “sexually liberated” women, married or not, having fling after fling on TV, on the movie screen, in books, magazines, etc.

It’s all about insta-“happiness” regardless of the feelings of the spouse or other committed partner in the relationship. I often wonder if those like “Valeria” who advocate cheating have ever been on the flip side of that coin and have felt the utter emotional devastation that comes as a result of it?

Last year, ST reader Severian, a male, put into words the following statement that would make me sound like a female sexist had I said them myself, but he was right on the money:

I was always taught that women deserve special treatment, politeness, respect, not because they are incapable of opening their own doors, etc. but as a sign of respect. They civilize us men a great deal, and add stability and grace to our society, and are the bearers of our children and future.

Would that still be the case if a majority of women felt it was acceptable to cheat on their significant others? Would that still be the case if a majority of women felt that frequent casual sex was no big deal? Our society, in particular the left, have dumbed down standards over the years rather than elevated them. Studies have shown historically that more husbands cheat than wives, more men cheat than women, that more single men sleep around than single women. So what was and is the left’s answer to that? Instead of raising the standards for men, they have effectively tried – with some success – to lower them for women so that promiscuous single women and cheating women aren’t viewed in the same light as they used to be. And in some celebrity cases, the cheating spouse is actually looked upon with more disgust than female celebrities who initiate affairs. Sandra Bullock’s soon to be ex Jesse James has been slammed in the media for cheating on her to the point where he’s probably gone into hiding, whereas homewrecker Angeline Jolie (who admits she believes infidelity is overrated) is viewed upon as a heroine by the entertainment world. Go figure.

The bottom line is that irresponsible sexual behavior is just wrong – it doesn’t matter which sex is doing it. The standards shouldn’t be lowered simply due to the sex of offender or offendee. They should be raised so that there is no question at all as to what is right and what is wrong.

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