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Sydney Leathers would like to teach you how to sext

This is the worst, most link-baity thing on the internet today, so of course I am biting: Syndney Leathers of Anthony Weiner sexting fame is on xoJane (where else?) teaching you how to sext a politician.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with sexting. There’s nothing wrong with having sex. Even discussing this stuff can quickly segue into slut-shaming territory and I’d like to avoid that, in this post and in the comments. However! Sex is not a magical separate area of life where you get to do whatever you want as long as you’re enjoying it, no matter what the impact on other people. I mean, I am in the camp of “eating is awesome,” but if I steal the cheese I want from the little mom-and-pop cheese store on the corner just because it’s delicious, that’s not ok (or if I partake in the eating of the cheese I know someone else stole). I’m also pretty firmly in the camp of “sex is awesome,” but that doesn’t mean that sex is always awesome for every single person at all times in all circumstances, or that it’s not possible to do unethical sexual things. And cheating is an unethical sexual thing. Partaking in cheating is an unethical sexual thing, even if you aren’t the one who’s married or partnered. Also, if you put the facts of your unethical behavior on the internet people are going to be like, “Hmmm, that’s kind of uncool” or “Wow you are terrible!” There is no “right” to be free of internet criticism. There is no right to do whatever you want, no matter how damaging to other people, and remain free of judgment.

There’s also apparently no right to an editor when contributing to xoJane:

I know a lot of people judge me (shout-out to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts who went on air and called me “batshit crazy”), but I don’t think it is their right to judge — just as it is not my right to judge them. We all have what we want to do in life and what our own personal standards are.

Why does having a sexting affair with a married man or even doing porn make someone a “bad person”? Give me a break. I’m not a war criminal. I’m a human being who has made certain choices, some of which involve my sexuality.

Yes, I’ve made thousands of dollars from sugar daddies.

So?

No, you are not a war criminal. And you’re probably not a “bad person.” But you are a person who has done some bad things, and the fact that you apparently totally lack any sort of moral compass to lead you to conclude that those things were unkind and unethical even if they felt good is… troubling. And sad. And not worthy of a “break.” Yes, you made choices that involve your sexuality. But involving sexuality isn’t a “get out of judgment free” card. Involving sex doesn’t excuse unethical, selfish and narcissistic behavior. And it’s not slut-shaming or unfair judgment to point out that.


229 thoughts on Sydney Leathers would like to teach you how to sext

  1. This is my first time reading the transcripts at all, so it’s hard for me to even focus on her enough to make a comment on her moral compass. I can only say that Weiner comes across as such a vain, narcissistic, pathetic, Elvis Costello quoting shithead, it makes me seriously worry that I have voted for similar shitheads in the past.

    What makes it even worse is the Elvis C quote has been mangled.

  2. And cheating is an unethical sexual thing.

    Entirely agreed. But

    Partaking in cheating is an unethical sexual thing, even if you aren’t the one who’s married or partnered.

    what makes someone else the Marriage Police for some cheating scumbag who can’t keep it in their belowthings of choice? Particularly in the case of internet hookups/bar hookups where there’s no real way to tell?

      1. Honestly, I don’t care to blame a non-partnered person who (accidentally or knowingly) enables a cheater. Cheating is treason against the construct of the relationship (whatever cheating has been negotiated to be, anyway), so it feels like deciding to blame the other person for being the vehicle of a betrayal, instead of the traitor for being, well, a treacherous shit. Like I said, I don’t rely on the rest of the world to be the Marriage Police for me; I rely on my wife to not cheat. And yes, cheating is a total dealbreaker for me, but it’s not for others, so…eh.

        1. I guess I don’t see why you have to pick one or the other. Yes, blame the cheater (and blame the cheater more). But the person who also participated in a situation they knew was damaging to innocent parties is not blameless. It’s not a perfect comparison, but it’s like knowingly accepting stolen property. Sure, you didn’t steal it yourself, but you know someone did, and by taking it and benefiting from it you’re also doing something wrong. The thief is doing MORE wrong and should be punished more harshly, but you’re not making an ethically or morally neutral choice.

        2. That’s fair; one doesn’t have to pick one or the other. I guess I just see a really gendered landscape in the blame language of cheating, where it’s either the woman’s fault for being the Other Woman, or for turning an innocent man into a cuckold. And I guess I’m pushing back against that trend that I perceive. Also, maybe it’s just my prejudice against people who cheat, who I frankly think are acting like scum (not counting people with DADT agreements etc where their partners might not know, but it’s not cheating either), but I really just see the cheating-enabler as a stage prop.

        3. I mean, if Val chucked a vase at my head, I wouldn’t be mad at the vase even if it were giggling evilly the entire time, you know? That said, I fully agree that I was creating a false either-or.

          1. Well sure — but a vase has no agency. If Val stole your credit card and went on a shopping spree with a friend who knew the credit card was stolen but let Val buy a bunch of stuff for her anyway, would you be mad at the friend?

            Anyway, yeah, I agree that an accessory to cheating is not as responsible. And I agree that women are much more socially punished for being “the other woman” or a home-wrecker, and that’s sexist and unfair. But doing something you know is hurtful to someone else is not a good or ok thing.

        4. I call this “bear-trapping”. Bear trapping is when you see a bear trap in the middle of the street, and say, “there’s no reason for a bear trap there” and walk right into it, then sob and scream about how terrible the pain is.

          I’ve known too many “outside partners” that fake shock when when the cheated partner hate them and their friends tell them they’re bad people. I had a woman deliberately and repeatedly try to sleep with my boyfriend and usurp my place in his life. I used my words, I got mean, and finally I threatened her to stop putting her tits in his face and she couldn’t understand whyyyyyy.

          I love my SO. I don’t love you. If you died in an accident, I’d buy a cigar to celebrate. Don’t walk into someone else’s fucked-up relationship and pretend the shit isn’t going to hit you too. I am the bear trap.

        5. But doing something you know is hurtful to someone else is not a good or ok thing.

          This statement in itself is meaningless. We have to hurt people all the time simply to have agency over our own lives. I’m sure a lot of the guys I’ve rejected were hurt, some of them quite badly.

          My wishes and plans are not trumped by their pain.

          The same goes for a lot of actions. No, we shouldn’t go around beating (nonconsensually) on people or causing pain for no reason, but that doesn’t mean we’re obligated to make all our decisions based on whether or not someone else will be upset/hurt over them.

        6. So what moral consideration do you give to other people’s pain, Barnacle Strumpet? I asked something a little bit similar down the thread – if you know that your actions will hurt someone, at what point might that dissuade you from acting? You’re absolutely right, we act in ways we know will cause other people pain all the time, and we need to, because people’s preferences diverge. But if I do not want or need to act in a way that will hurt a person, typically I will not do something that hurts people, and sometimes other people’s preferences win out over my own when determining my behavior.

          Typically this is where it is useful to have some larger moral framework to guide one’s actions. I am not suggesting that we suddenly flee for the refuge of fundamentalist Christianity, but there have been other moral systems proposed before that do attempt to deal with the fact that we must all live with other people… I am not a moral relativist, though I also wouldn’t say I am confident that I know I am doing the right thing all the time, or that I think I have all the answers.

        7. Karak, I sincerely don’t understand what your comment has to do with anything I said. Sure, people blame the cheat-enabler…? I know they do. Though honestly when I read this:

          Bear trapping is when you see a bear trap in the middle of the street, and say, “there’s no reason for a bear trap there” and walk right into it, then sob and scream about how terrible the pain is.

          It sounds more to me like the cheat-enabler is the bear trap, and the poor innocent cheater is the one sobbing about how these awful awful sluts won’t get their legs out of his vision/tits out of his face/vaginas off his penis/etc. It’s on people in relationships to shut down people who are trying to shoehorn their way into it. If someone’s commitment to a relationship is wobbly enough that the mere existence of a hot person’s tits/abs/arms/bellybutton is enough to wreck the relationship, well… what can I say, that there’s some wobbly commitment.

    1. Well sure. If you don’t know, you don’t know — that’s different. But if you know someone is partnered/married (and not in an open relationship), and you know that cheating would be very hurtful to that person’s partner, then I have a hard time being like, “Well it’s not your problem.” Yes of course the more responsible party is the party who’s married. But I don’t think the unmarried, knowledgable partner is entirely off the hook for their own choices.

    2. I once slept with a man who I knew was married, in his home, in a room where there were pictures of his kids on the wall. I have never stopped feeling bad about it – because even though I likely wasn’t the first or the last, I still did something that I knew would hurt a totally innocent party if she found out. It wasn’t a good time in my life, and I don’t wallow in guilt because I know that now, I would make very different choices. But while the greatest share of blame falls on the partnered person when that person cheats, I certainly feel I deserve some blame.

    3. The way I put it to the woman my ex cheated on me with… Yeah, our marriage had problems.. Many problems. Those weren’t her problems… We would have probably broken up, regardless of him cheating on me.. But it’s like putting a bullet in a coma victim. They may have recovered one day, but now we’ll never know.

      And maybe that’s not accurate.. Maybe she didn’t fire the gun, he did.. But her role was that of someone going “oh, here, let me steady your aim for you.”

  3. I find this idea of a “right to judge” to be very silly. I think a “capability to judge” is much more relevant to the way people assert their morality into other people’s lives.

    Society places some people in a position to judge others, both in the legal system, and through social reinforcement of whose moral authority bears weight and is encouraged. Those whose ideals fit in with common narratives of morality have a greater capability to bring their judgment to bear.

    I think it is important to inspect which narratives I’m leveraging if I am trying to disseminate my moral opinion of other people’s actions.

    For example, in the United States, a country with a long history of Protestant ethics, making unexplained statements of what is and isn’t ethical in the realm of women’s sexual involvement with men and attributing this ethical failure to some innate lack of a mythical moral compass leverages christian narratives of innate souls, essential moral natures, and “objective” and “fair” moral standards that exist external to the particularities of people’s lives to which all people should be subject.

  4. I only read the first part of the article and I don’t know about transcripts.

    The first draft of the Weiner’s weiner story suggested that the recipients of Mr. Weiner’s raunch were unconsenting victims. This article leaves one with the impression that Ms. Leathers, at least, was not only consenting, but eager to participate. The interaction now seems icky and unprofessional (on both sides), but does not sound like harrassment.

    I still don’t think he belongs in public office. He’s not in my district (and I don’t live in NYC), so I can’t vote for his opponent, but I would if I could.

  5. For me, Anthony Weiner was a weird science experiment. I wanted to see how far it could go. How far could I push it?

    I had a roommate who did this to me and others around him all the time. It was absolutely disgusting.

    The whole article reads like a bizarro female PUA guide.

    1. This is what struck me about it–much more than the cheating aspect–it was apparently just a game for her and she didn’t even like him. All of her tips are about how to be dishonest and manipulate people.

    2. Between that experience and a really ugly breakup (4 week overlap between me and my formerly best friend) as much as I love debating the ethical underpinnings of this stuff it’s all just way too painful. Especially given the apparent understanding from some quarters that helping someone lie, cheat, and steal from a third party is perfectly fine.

  6. The first draft of the Weiner’s weiner story suggested that the recipients of Mr. Weiner’s raunch were unconsenting victims. This article leaves one with the impression that Ms. Leathers, at least, was not only consenting, but eager to participate. The interaction now seems icky and unprofessional (on both sides), but does not sound like harrassment.

    The first recipients were unconsenting!

    This particular instance has not been classified as ‘harassment,’ and merely as icky and unprofessional – but not , as you say, ‘on both sides,’ 100% totally on Weiner’s side. I don’t know how you’d gauge her ‘professionalism,’ she’s not the one who is the professional politician. In fact, she is a professional tabloid celebrity, so in a way she is fulfilling the duties of her profession. And I don’t think she comes across as ‘icky’ in the interaction, though it could be argued that the comments she’s made post-interaction, don’t show her in the best possible light.

  7. And cheating is an unethical sexual thing. Partaking in cheating is an unethical sexual thing, even if you aren’t the one who’s married or partnered.

    Sorry, I call bullshit. My body is *my* body, and I don’t agree that it’s unethical for me to do consensual sexual things with it with another consenting adult.

    My body does not belong to someone’s spouse. Someone’s spouse does not get say over what I do with my body, or declare it immoral or unethical.

    I don’t think society should either.

    1. So there are no sexual ethics beyond “the two of us are consenting”?

      What if you’re engaging in, say, BDSM acts in public with another consenting adult in a way that you know is probably triggering to certain people? Fuck ’em, because it’s *your* body and both adults are consenting?

      Part of being an adult is realizing that you don’t live on an island, and actions that hurt other people should be taken with careful consideration. No one is suggesting that someone else’s spouse gets “say” over what you do with your body (what?). I am suggesting that even a basic understanding of the term “ethics” includes a realization that actions impact more people than just yourself, and even if you’re not directly physically harming someone, you could still be doing something that is unethical. Such as knowingly fucking a married person. I’ll still think the married person is scummier than you, but you’re scummy too. And if you write a whole blog post on it and your conclusion is “DON’T JUDGE!,” I’ll think you’re not only scummy, but also unintelligent and not particularly thoughtful.

      1. People write blogs about buying and wearing clothes, but buying and wearing clothes directly contributes to the exploitation of workers in foreign countries and support unethical labor practices.

        Are they also scummy?

        How directly must one’s actions affect another person to be unethical and scummy?

        What about if I write a blog denouncing belief in God, and it offends and hurts religious folk who devote their lives to charity and helping the less fortunate. Am I scummy for acting on beliefs contrary to someone else’s morality?

        When does someone else’s hurt feelings count as my unethical behavior and when does it count as a difference in social mores?

        I ask because you seem to think your definition of ethical is obvious, but I really don’t think it is.

        1. A1, there are pretty substantial, and I think obvious, moral distinctions to be drawn between buying clothing and knowingly sleeping with a married person if you know or have good reason to suspect that the married person’s spouse would object.

          For one thing, buying and wearing clothes is a necessity in a way that having sex with married people isn’t. Often, people don’t have the luxury of choice or the kind of complete knowledge necessary to make distinctions between one clothing manufacturer/retailer and another. There are things you can do to mitigate how much you participate in economic exploitation, like buying your clothes used, but that’s not really a solution; it’s just decreasing your own personal participation.

          On the other hand, for most (though not all) people, enabling other people’s affairs is not a necessity in the same way, and our ability to obtain and act on good information is much better. It is comparatively easy to find out whether or not someone is married, whether by asking them or by checking for a mark where a wedding ring might be. There are still going to be gaps in one’s knowledge – people lie, after all – but you’re not trying to scrutinize factories half a globe away.

          The major exception, here, is going to be with sex work. I don’t think the moral problem goes away entirely, but the problem begins to resemble much more closely the problem of buying clothes, or food.

        2. @Alexandra

          You only addressed one of my examples.

          @Kitteh

          As far as I can tell, your primary sexual partner is a long dead historical figure. I don’t think you have much grounds for being astonished by my comparison.

      2. Jill, you’re talking about making people take part in a sex act. Voyeurism/watching is part of sex too. It can be consented to or not consented to.

        It is not the same thing, so don’t even try to act like it is. If my partner wants to take their body and engage in consensual sexual pleasure with someone else for a little while, no, they aren’t being unethical.

        It would be unethical if we’d made some kind of pact to monogamy, yes, but that would be because said partner was breaking an agreement, however arbitrary.

        The other person they’re having sex with is not in any kind of an agreement or pact with me. They have no obligation to make me a part of their sex life or what they do with their body.

        Do I think people should be honest with their partners if they want to have more than one sexual partner? Fuck yes, unless the partner has deliberately said they don’t want to know.

        But this whole “dirty scummy cheaters” bullcrap is a big part of why people don’t feel like they can be honest. And not everyone is wired for monogamy, just like a lot of people literally cannot be wired for anything other than monogamy. I’ve seen plenty of people who, despite their asexual partner’s urgings, cannot have sex with someone else.

        Yes, you are talking about my body. You’re saying that if I use MY body to give ME pleasure with a consenting married adult, I’m a scumbag. You are trying to dictate what I can do with my body. That’s what slut-shaming is all about, after all. And that is what you’re doing, in my opinion. Trying to shame people (“you’re scummy if you do this”) for consensual sexual behaviors.

        1. Do I think people should be honest with their partners if they want to have more than one sexual partner? Fuck yes, unless the partner has deliberately said they don’t want to know.

          How does this work, exactly? You’re saying you would prefer if people were honest and kind, but you don’t think people have a duty rising to the level of a moral obligation to behave in this way? How strongly do you hold this belief, if you think Jill is overstating it? Is this like preferring chocolate over vanilla for you?

          I guess it sounds to me like you are articulating a sort of sexual libertarianism, where people are free to engage in as many sexual “contracts” (consensual activities) as they like, provided that both parties agree, regardless of the consequences for others. If we define consequence for others in the narrowest possible sense, then yes, nobody else is affected by two (or more) people’s consensual sexual activity. If we broaden our notion of consequences a little bit, then we enter again into a world where there is more than one standard for ethical sexual behavior – where simply obtaining consent is not enough to ensure that what you’re doing is the kind and decent thing to do.

          Am I understanding you? I don’t mean to be hostile, I just want to make sure I know what it is that you are saying.

        2. I thought slut-shaming was when people judged women for sexual decisions that they wouldn’t do against guys. I don’t see anyone using Leather’s gender as a reason why she is wrong

          Personally, i don’t think anyone should be sexual with someone they know is in a relationship(Not counting Open relationships and the like here.Those are a whole different deal) male or female. Now,i don’t think its the worst thing someone can do, but i definitely don’t think its something people should be doing and i don’t think that makes me a slut-shamer

        3. You’re saying you would prefer if people were honest and kind, but you don’t think people have a duty rising to the level of a moral obligation to behave in this way?

          Behave in what way? I’m not sure I’m understanding you either. Of course it’s best to be honest with your partners. Honestly is almost always the best policy.

          Weiner should have been honest with his wife that he wasn’t a one-woman man. That’s it pretty much, finito. That’s the wrong that was done here.

          It wasn’t that there were other women, or that the other women were “immoral, unethical scum” it was that he lied to/mislead his partner.

          And the S-shaming like Jill and the rest of society does on people that have/need multiple partners or have adulterous relationships (some of which *are* that married person’s one, monogamous sexual relationship) contributes to that dishonesty, IMO, by shaming, by making people out to be abnormal for their sexual needs (sex-negativity), misogyny, by making it a part of women’s pride to “keep her man”, and by making her feel ashamed that he’s having sex with other women…

        4. Behave in what way? I’m not sure I’m understanding you either. Of course it’s best to be honest with your partners. Honestly is almost always the best policy.

          Weiner should have been honest with his wife that he wasn’t a one-woman man. That’s it pretty much, finito. That’s the wrong that was done here.

          Okay, so you’re making the claim that married people have an ethical burden to be honest? I mean, this is a little odd to me because you’re using phrases like “of course” and “almost always the best policy”, but you were annoyed at Jill for making assumptions about a point of ethics (whether or not people should sleep with other people who are in monogamous relationships). I can come up with a long list of instances in which honesty is not, in fact, the obvious best policy, or at least where there’s room for debate.

          What I’m trying to get at is that it’s not clear to me what you’re really saying about sexual ethics. It’s true that shaming women for what they do sexually has all sorts of bad consequences. It’s not clear to me that shaming people is 100% a bad idea all the time, though. The low-hanging fruit would be consent: I am 100% okay with shaming people who do not care about consent, and who act in ways where they might violate someone’s consent. I do not have problems with that.

          I guess what I’m trying to say is, just because it’s bad to shame women for having sex generally doesn’t mean that there aren’t some ways a person could behave sexually where that person ought to feel ashamed. The difficulty is sorting it out – it’s hard work, and I don’t think there are easy universals here.

        5. But this whole “dirty scummy cheaters” bullcrap is a big part of why people don’t feel like they can be honest.

          If someone isn’t wired for monogamy and they discuss it clearly going into the relationship (and don’t pretend they’ve “changed” or whatever), they are by definition not a dirty scummy cheater, whether it’s that their SO participates, watches, doesn’t care, doesn’t like to know it’s happening or whatever their arrangement is. I know whereof I speak, having had someone turn down my offer for an open relationship in order to cheat on me (because wow, was that a depth of assholery or what), as well as currently being in a non-monogamous relationship that’s giving me all the happies I could ever want.

        6. Okay, so you’re making the claim that married people have an ethical burden to be honest?

          I suppose. I think honestly is generally a good thing in relationships. I don’t think an extra heap of lying would help any of mine. I say “of course” because I have met very few people that would want their partners to lie to them. The exceptions I can think of are people wanting to keep their eyes from seeing sexual abuse going on, but that’s an unethical behavior in itself by almost anyone’s reckoning.

          What I’m trying to get at is that it’s not clear to me what you’re really saying about sexual ethics.

          I think what is making this unclear is talking about both the men and ‘other women’ and their ethics at the same time.

          Married people and their contracts aside, I see nothing wrong with a man and a woman having a good time together. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. If there’s any guilt/immorality to be assigned, it’s on the married person’s part and tied up in their contract.

          There is nothing wrong with a woman seeing a man she likes and having a good time with him for a while. She is not violating any agreed-upon contract of sexual exclusivity, so why should she be considered “unethical scum”?

          Because someone else has the (highly morally relative) opinion that sexual exclusivity is a good thing?

          I don’t think sexual exclusivity is an inherently good thing. Why should I have to abstain from sexual pleasure because someone else thinks sexual exclusivity is important? Clearly my married sexual partner wouldn’t agree with it either.

          It’s ridiculous. It’s forcing highly subjective moral standards on other people. Why should other people’s sexual preferences affect my consenting relationships?

          I know whereof I speak, having had someone turn down my offer for an open relationship in order to cheat on me (because wow, was that a depth of assholery or what

          Do you feel that the other party, the third person, was unethical scum? I mean, it sounds like you had a problem with your partner’s dishonesty, not any problem with sexual inexclusivity in the first place. So, do you think that person was ethically obligated to turn down your partner?

          I don’t mean to be rude/prying by answering that. I just think that, in terms of morality re: extramarital sex, the unethicalness is rooted in the adultering partner’s dishonesty, not in their extra partner.

        7. I mean, it sounds like you had a problem with your partner’s dishonesty, not any problem with sexual inexclusivity in the first place. So, do you think that person was ethically obligated to turn down your partner?

          I had a problem only with the fact that my ex didn’t give enough of a shit about me not to violate the terms of our relationship. I don’t think he was ethically obligated to turn her down on my behalf, though he was cheating too, so I don’t exempt him from scum status on that basis. To change what I said above, I feel that if I need random third parties to be my Relationship Integrity Police, I’ve hooked up with an asshole and shouldn’t be staying anyway. I mean, it’s not up to the world to carefully coddle anyone’s dishonest jackassery, you know?

        8. That said, given the points made on this thread, I don’t think there’s a total lack of blame attached to the cheat-enabler, depending on the situation; I’ll have to think about it.

        9. No inherent good to sexual exclusivity? Certainly the desire to minimize one’s risk of contracting an STI would be a strong incentive to sexual exclusivity? Or do you disagree with that?

          I’m honestly not trying to be confrontational here, but I’m surprised to see someone taking such a strong position that sexual exclusivity is not beneficial or good for those agreeing to it. It’s certainly been a prerequisite to unprotected sex in those relationships I’ve been in, and plenty of other people out there as well.

          Which leads to possibly one of the most damaging aspects to partner not respecting a previously agreed upon sexually exclusive relationship and exposes their partner to an STI. You bet I’d be pissed if my partner did that to me, and I’m not going to look askance at others who would take the same dim view of their partner doing something similar.

        10. Granted, this whole Weiner thing only involved sexting. So, no apparent risk of STI transmission was in play. But as the conversation veered off into discussing sexual exclusivity, that is the only reason I followed this line of logic down to its logical conclusion.

        11. No inherent good to sexual exclusivity? Certainly the desire to minimize one’s risk of contracting an STI would be a strong incentive to sexual exclusivity? Or do you disagree with that?

          No, I do not accept lower STI risk as proof that certain sexual behaviors are inherently good. That’s dangerous territory, and it’s exactly what the fundies use to push abstinence. Its another thing used to fuel asexual elitism as well as the idea that celibacy is superior. I am not going to say “celibacy is inherently good” so why would I say “less sexual partners is inherently good”? Lower STI risk is a nice side-effect, sure, but I am not going to make value judgement on people’s sexuality based on the unfortunate existence of diseases.

          And as you pointed out, sexting, web chats, phone sex, various kinky acts, masturbation, certain kinds of frottage, etc don’t involve swapping body fluids or have a significant STI risk (and since people here are often inclined to be hung up on the details, yes, I am aware HPV is transmitted through means other than body fluids, and there are other case exceptions as well).

          So while we can’t deny there’s a correlation between having more partners and a higher incidence of STIs, there is not causation. In other words, if I have had 60 partners who I had suck my feet while I masturbate, I’m probably still less likely to have an STI than the person who’s had condom-using penetrative sex with one partner.

        12. That said, given the points made on this thread, I don’t think there’s a total lack of blame attached to the cheat-enabler, depending on the situation; I’ll have to think about it.

          I don’t think the demise of the relationship/harm to the relationship caused by cheating is the cheat-enablers fault or that the cheat-enabler deserves blame. That seems like a misdirection. But it’s definitely an asshole thing to do, and they can’t really be mad if someone else thinks they’re an asshole.

        13. You’re saying that if I use MY body to give ME pleasure with a consenting married adult, I’m a scumbag.

          You’re not a scumbag for using your body for your pleasure. You’re a scumbag for not considering the repercussions of your actions in someone else’s life. Someone who is not an asshole can say to themselves “maybe I don’t need to get my pleasure here because it stands to hurt people and even if they stand to get hurt anyway, I don’t need to be a part of that.”

        14. Barnacle, this isn’t a causation versus correlation thing.

          Two partners, both clean of STIs (and in my particular, personal case, both tested thoroughly for STIs) agree to monogamous and condom-less sex. As long as both parties hold to the monogamy, there is zero risk of either of us exposing the ther to an STI.

          But if one of us does not hold to that explicit agreement and goes out and has sexual encounters with another person? Yes, that is increasing the risk of the unknowing partner being exposed to whatever STIs the straying partner may have been exposed to in their extra-sexual encounters. That isn’t a correlation thing, that is you went out and got gonorhea or whatever and then gave it to me without me having the opportunity to say our agreement is now null and void and no more sexy times with you.

        15. But if one of us does not hold to that explicit agreement and goes out and has sexual encounters with another person? Yes, that is increasing the risk of the unknowing partner being exposed to whatever STIs the straying partner may have been exposed to in their extra-sexual encounters.

          Okay…you are insisting on applying an incredibly narrow, heteronoramitive to the idea of what sex is, are you?

          Because as I pointed out, there are a lot of sex acts that have zero risk of STI transmission. For you to insist that “having sexual encounters is increasing the risk of STIs” is yet another oh-so-common denial that various non-penetrative sex acts actually being sex.

          I don’t know if that’s what you’re going for, but that’s what it looks like. Do not sit there and act as though non-penetrative sex acts aren’t really sex.

        16. Heteronormative? I don’t think so.

          I agree that we seem to be talking past each other at this point.

          It appeared earlier in this discussion that we were separating out sexy stuff that didn’t involve swapping fluids and sharing intimate bodily contact in way that can transmit STIs for the stuff that can lead to STI transmission. I conceded that the stuff that doesn’t lead to STI transmission is in a separate category altogether.

          But the stuff that can lead to STI transmission? Yes, that is absolutely different, because risk of STI transmission.

          How is this so controversial? I really don’t get it.

          You agree to monogamous sexy times of the STI giving kind with someone, and then break that agreement, without advising your agreement having partner? That’s shitty. Even more shitty if you give your unwitting, under the continuing misapprehension that you are monogamous partner, an STI as a result of your non-monogamous sexing with someone else.

        17. I don’t think the demise of the relationship/harm to the relationship caused by cheating is the cheat-enablers fault or that the cheat-enabler deserves blame. That seems like a misdirection. But it’s definitely an asshole thing to do, and they can’t really be mad if someone else thinks they’re an asshole.

          On reflection, this is my viewpoint as well. It’s an asshole thing, it’s just not responsible for marital issues or whatever.

    2. As long as your partner gets to use the “my body is my own, not yours” excuse when they dump you for being a cheating asshole, then cool.

  8. I agree with you Jill but there’s a couple of mitigating factors here. One is that Weiner’s been texting with so many women that if Leathers had ignored him it wouldn’t have changed a thing in terms of his faithfulness. The locus of the problem is clearly with the one in the committed relationship, which isn’t true in all cheating situations.

    Secondly, I think she did the public a great service by exposing this politician while voters (including Democratic primary voters) still have time to evaluate the alternatives. That may have been incidental to her motives but it’s a big deal nonetheless. I can’t imagine the nightmare if this had come out while he was Mayor. We’d be stuck with the guy for years.

  9. I think the worst thing about the article is the comment about Maureen Dowd/feminism. I’m not up on the full extent of Dowd’s comments, but Leathers positioning herself as the arbiter of what is feminist reeks of “I CHOOSE MY CHOICE”-ism.

  10. I don’t really care if you think it’s A ok to have an affair with my husband. Neither of you are going to like my response. And you will get a dish of it too, I don’t really give a shit how unfair you think it may be. Whine to someone who will care, because it ain’t me.

    1. thank you for this.
      I can’t wrap my head around “If I sleep with your monogamous partner/husband/wife [and know they’re partnered], you can’t think I’m an asshole because that’s slut-shaming and infringing upon my bodily autonomy!”
      if you *know* you’re messing around with someone else’s spouse without the other spouse’s consent, you’re a ginormous asshole. if you don’t want people to think you’re a ginormous asshole, don’t sleep with people you know are committed to someone (or someones) else.

      1. Ding ding ding we have a winner!

        This whole “no responsibility for the effect of my actions on my lover’s spouse” attitude is just mind-bogglingly bad. Hell, why not just do a Thatcher and say there’s no such thing as society, or admit to not giving a shit about other people, innocent parties, when getting one’s jollies is SO much more important?

        It’s the sort of thing where I find myself hoping that someone doing this becomes the next spouse, then waxes indignant when Cheater McCheaterson cheats on them.

        1. The ” I’m not responsible” answer will get you about as far as I can throw you. I don’t care. You and the piece of crap cheater didn’t care how I felt about it, prepare to have that reciprocated 10 fold. I can’t hold you partially to blame? Watch me in surprise then, because I’m going to. And I’m going to make sure everyone you know sees it too. Your friends, your family, your co-workers, your boss, random people standing by you at the mall, everyone. They’ll all get to see the show.

        2. Watch me in surprise then, because I’m going to. And I’m going to make sure everyone you know sees it too. Your friends, your family, your co-workers, your boss, random people standing by you at the mall, everyone. They’ll all get to see the show.

          Well this is exactly my point above about how it’s important to understand which narratives of morality you are leveraging.

          Because that mob you are so eager to gather is not going to stick you your Feminist Approved reasons for blaming the third party. They’re going to pull out a lot of misogyny at the same time, but I guess you’re cool with that.

        3. I didn’t enter into any agreements with her, so any fallout isn’t my problem. Remember? See how that works? Oh, but it works against you so it sucks, right?

          oops.

        4. Yeah Pheeno, you have to interrogate the narrative of morality you’re using, unless you use A4’s. Then you better not question or disagree. Because reasons.

        5. Yup. I’m not the Monogamy Police, unless I’m saying it’s awesome to prioritize orgasms over people. Then it’s cool. Because, orgasms.

        6. I didn’t enter into any agreements with her, so any fallout isn’t my problem. Remember? See how that works? Oh, but it works against you so it sucks, right?

          Using justifications for your actions that you at the same time strongly reject is pretty messed up. I guess you don’t care about perpetuating misogyny when it serves your righteous anger.

        7. Please pheeno, your shtick is not very complicated, and I’ve had a pretty firm handle on it since you started commenting at I Blame The Patriarchy way back when.

        8. since you started commenting at I Blame The Patriarchy way back when.

          Are you implying that pheeno is transphobic, as a number of people who used to post there were? If so, perhaps you should actually say so. Because I’m not sure what other point you would be trying to make by mentioning that fact.

        9. You just want to get laid. Like all the other people whining about being called scum. Poor things. No one respects your orgasms enough.

          Well this just proves once and for all that you’re completely full fo shit pheeno. I’m a sexually anhedonic non-libidoist asexual The idea that I “just want to get laid” is hilarious.

          As is your attempt to paint one person in a relationship as an innocent saint, and the other party as some lustful, selfish evildoer.

        10. As is your attempt to paint one person in a relationship as an innocent saint, and the other party as some lustful, selfish evildoer.

          Not an innocent saint, just not a lying sneaking sack of shit who puts fucking over people. Like some do, because not believing in monogamy means you get to shit on people who do.

        11. Pheeno, you’re projecting your own feelings and biases all over the place. Seriously. And you’re making all kinds of ridiculous assumptions about people that are laughable.

          I already pointed out how an extramarital affair worked out great for one couple, despite it beginning dishonestly. Your insistence on seeing nothing but the negatives of things, and the negative outcomes, is just…bizarre.

          You have honestly stated, in perfect seriousness, that everyone who doesn’t think the 3rd-party is scum “just wants to get laid” and “wants respect for their orgasms”.

          Despite it being pointed out that yeah, some people don’t have orgasms, don’t enjoy orgasms, and don’t want to get laid. And that, shockingly enough, those people can enter into extramarital affairs.

          I honestly don’t know what you think you’re accomplishing by posting such frankly offensive and erasing things, but I for one, would like an apology.

          I also don’t appreciate how you assume A4 and I are arguing out of our lusts and experiences as adulterers. As far as I know, only one person on the post has said they were a party to adultery, and it wasn’t A4 or myself.

          In any relationship with a married person, I would expect their spouse to be made aware of it, if not a participating party in it. That’s my personal preference. Do not make assumptions about what behaviors I practice until I tell you them.

        12. Despite it being pointed out that yeah, some people don’t have orgasms, don’t enjoy orgasms, and don’t want to get laid. And that, shockingly enough, those people can enter into extramarital affairs.

          I’m curious. If someone doesn’t ever want to have sex and has no interest in sex, but they have a sexual affair with a married person, how could that be attributed to anything but an amazing intensity of douchebaggery on the part of the asexual in question?

        13. In any relationship with a married person, I would expect their spouse to be made aware of it, if not a participating party in it. That’s my personal preference. Do not make assumptions about what behaviors I practice until I tell you them.

          A personal preference based on what? Risk/harm reduction? That it is the right thing to do?

        14. Ha! I’m projecting my feelings, but you, who proclaim to believe monogamy is just made up bs by people with oh so oppressive sexual mores are what…being objective? Ok. Sure. You go with that, then. You’ll just have to gripe about how unfairly I treat anyone who fucks my husband if he ever has an affair to you’re yourself because your opinion on it won’t factor in one bit. Mine will. Because it’s my marriage .

        15. I’m curious. If someone doesn’t ever want to have sex and has no interest in sex, but they have a sexual affair with a married person, how could that be attributed to anything but an amazing intensity of douchebaggery on the part of the asexual in question?

          Haha, good question. I know I said “sexual relationships” and “extramarital sex” quite a bit, but I really shouldn’t have been conflating cheating with having sex.

          Ace relationships sometimes involve exclusive cuddle rights, kissing rights, things like that, as well as less obvious activities you choose to do only with your partner. Even if some non-asexuals wouldn’t get as angry over their partner kissing someone else as they would over their partner deep-dicking someone, it’s usually considered cheating and people treat it as as much of a betrayal as sex.

          And a fair amount of asexuals actually do enjoy cuddling, kissing, etc and could be interested in doing that with someone’s married partner.

          Even that aside, an asexual could just as easily fall in love with a married person as a non-asexual does. And even some asexuals that loathe sex have sex with people because they love them, and want to be around them, and make them happy.

          There’ s a lot of talk of cheating as simply bumping uglies in this post (which I am as guilty of as anyone) when a lot of cheating people legitimately love each other and have a relationship that is more than just sex.

          Of course, I’m sure there are some douchebag asexuals that would sleep with married people just for the thrill of cheating. I’d actually be really interested into some insight into those kinds of cheater’s heads. I know you mentioned one, and there was the guy that was the subject of the deception=rape post a while back, people that seem to have a particular kink for cheating on people.

        16. And a fair amount of asexuals actually do enjoy cuddling, kissing, etc

          A fair amount = 100% of the ones I personally know.

        17. Pheeno, be sarcastic and dismissive if you like. I wasn’t trying to be. I’m not going to continue repeating what I said because I don’t want to come across as concern trolling you or gaslighting you.

          You can be as angry as you like. You can call me ******* ***** if you like.

          You still don’t get to erase other people’s sexual orientations by insisting that people who are non-libidoist asexuals are acting out of a desire to get laid, and motivated by their orgasms.

          Apologize for erasing asexual’s orientations. Regardless of your feelings about adultery or your marriage, they do not give you a right to erase minority sexual orientations.

        18. A personal preference based on what? Risk/harm reduction? That it is the right thing to do?

          A personal preference based on, I like to be a part of my partner’s life, and if they have another person important to them, I’d like to know them too. And I’m far too lazy to keep up some big lie/deception, especially when there’s no point in doing so.

        19. Ace relationships sometimes involve exclusive cuddle rights, kissing rights, things like that, as well as less obvious activities you choose to do only with your partner.

          So do non-monogamous sexual relationships, ftr. Just because X activity is on the table for others doesn’t mean they get to run the A-W spectrum as well.

          There’ s a lot of talk of cheating as simply bumping uglies in this post (which I am as guilty of as anyone) when a lot of cheating people legitimately love each other and have a relationship that is more than just sex.

          I reckon that’s mostly because the cheater being (indirectly) discussed is pretty much just in it for kicks.

          Though, interestingly, the ex who cheated on me did it, afaik, out of love; she’s still with the person she cheated on me with, again afaik, since we’re not in contact anymore.

          I do see your point re: asexuals having sex to please their partner, and tbh it just makes me think even less of the cheater. I didn’t consider cuddling etc because your comments seemed pretty focused on explicitly/exclusively sexy activities (I cuddle platonically with people I wouldn’t dream of fucking, so…).

        20. Nope. Not when you’re aware I’ve been talking about fucking and have explicitly stated fucking several times. Emotional affairs are another kettle of fish. Don’t act like you didn’t know what I was talking about.

        21. Nope. Not when you’re aware I’ve been talking about fucking and have explicitly stated fucking several times. Emotional affairs are another kettle of fish. Don’t act like you didn’t know what I was talking about.

          “Nope” what, pheeno? No, you’re not going to apologize for the erasure? No, you’re going to make up bullshit excuses to avoid doing so?

          Asexuals can be the third partner via fucking or emotional affairs. Even if you’re not talking about emotional affairs, you still don’t get to erase asexuals.

          You do not get to insist that, I a self-confessed non-libidoist sexually anhedonic asexual, have “getting laid” as my reason for defending the third parties.

          You do not get to erase my sexual orientation, which states that I don’t have a sex drive, don’t enjoy orgasms, and don’t want sex.

          I don’t need your apology that bad pheeno. It was just a way you could make yourself look like less of a shithead to the asexuals reading this, and mitigate the harm and erasure they go through constantly, but hey.

          But hey. Pheeno angry. Some woman out there might think about having sex with pheeno’s husband! So pheeno gets to shit all over all the sexual minorities she likes, right?

        22. You were having the same conversation I was barnacle. You went on and on about your body and getting your rocks off was mentioned. So nope. Not buying what you’re now trying to sell. If it’s not about the orgasm, you sure had me fooled with that getting your rocks off stuff. Yup. That was me totally erasing you.

        1. And for someone so “concerned” about cultural narratives that display sexism towards “homewreckers”, you forgot to mention the cultural narrative that blames the cheated upon wife for being a fat shrew who drove her husband into the arms of another woman.

          You and the other screw monogamy people don’t care about the perpetuated misogyny surrounding that, just the misogyny surrounding the extramarital lover. Once again, the innocent party gets spit on by you.

          And you sure don’t like it when your own BS justifications are used to make you feel the way your affair made an innocent person feel.

          So, why the fuck should I care about some woman when she didn’t care about me? Why the fuck should I police the misogyny to protect her when she sure as shit didn’t bother for me? Why on earth would I give more credence to her and her feelings?

          Don’t give me that “perpetuating misogyny” crap. You just want to get laid. Like all the other people whining about being called scum. Poor things. No one respects your orgasms enough.

      2. Are you implying that pheeno is transphobic, as a number of people who used to post there were? If so, perhaps you should actually say so. Because I’m not sure what other point you would be trying to make by mentioning that fact

        Probably. I’m not Christian or stuck in the only cultural narrative A4 seems to think exists so now this is being thrown to see if it sticks. I guess he missed the discussion you and I were involved in when I fully admitted to having been stuck in a very transphobic radfem mindset before grasping what it was that was so problematic and ugly about that line of thought.

      3. But, I mean, how often are marriages between powerful/public-figure type people mostly just political arrangements, with a tacit understanding that these people aren’t being exclusive to each other?

  11. I don’t, personally, believe in monogamy. But I do believe that the people who do believe in it can be profoundly hurt by the violation of it. I believe that people who want to be non-monogamous should be up front about it and seek a partner who feels the same, just like a gay person should seek out a gay or bi partner of their own sex and not a person of the opposite sex who does not know that they’re gay. I understand that at many points in society this was impossible to do, but both for gayness and non-monogamy that’s not really true in the US anymore (can’t speak for anywhere else.)

    If you have sex with a married person who has an agreement with their spouse to be non-monogamous, fine. As long as everyone was consenting, there was no harm done. But I do think that you are doing something wrong if you have sex with a married person who has a *monogamous* agreement with their spouse. No, you are not as bad as the person who’s breaking their agreement, but you are aiding and abetting them for your own selfish wants. It’s like, if your friend is a recovering alcoholic and you wheedle him into the bar, yeah, it was his decision to do it and his decision to fall off the wagon, but you totally bear some culpability for trying to get him to drink with you, even though you never stood up at an AA meeting and said you weren’t going to drink anymore. If you talk your friend into shoplifting because you really want the thing they are going to lift, they are the criminal and they are the one who will be punished and they’re morally culpable for the crime, but you have some culpability as well for persuading them into it.

    You have no legal obligation not to sleep with a monogamous-agreement spouse, and if you don’t know that that’s what they are, you have no moral obligation not to sleep with them. But if you know they have a monogamous agreement and you aid and abet them in breaking that agreement, you’re contributing your part to their committing harm to someone else, the spouse they made an agreement with. And I don’t see how this is a gender thing — male lovers of married women are more likely to be killed than female lovers of married men, so you know maybe our society says some nasty shit about women who sleep with married men, but society also turns a damn near blind eye to the murder of men who sleep with married women, which says something about the high esteem we obviously hold them in. (And, for the record, anyone who kills *anyone* because their spouse was not monogamous is a disgusting waste of human protoplasm and I have nothing but utter contempt for them… I’m talking about societal perception.) I don’t see a lot of evidence that we *don’t* consider men who sleep with married women to be as scummy as we consider women who sleep with married men.

    If you’re not monogamous and your spouse is not monogamous, great! No one has the right to tell either of you who to sleep with or who not to sleep with. And it’s entirely possible that a person who assumes a monogamous spousal relationship might make the wrong call and assume that there’s “cheating” going on when there is not. But if you haven’t personally talked to their spouse and confirmed the non-monogamy, given that monogamy is the societal default… yeah, I am going to consider you the equivalent of the person who gets their friend to shoplift. No, you’re not a war criminal or an evil person, but yeah, you did a bad thing and you’re fooling yourself if you think you didn’t just because *you’re* not the one who made the agreement. Getting someone else to break their promises because you feel like it, or participating in their breaking of their promise to a third party because it’s fun, is mean. It’s not as bad as breaking the promise in the first place was, but it is definitely not a morally neutral act.

    And other people that you made no agreement with absolutely have the right to tell you who not to sleep with. You can’t sleep with them unless they consent. You can’t sleep with your students without getting fired, if you’re a professor. You can’t sleep with young teenagers even if they throw themselves at you. There are all kinds of rules that people you don’t know made about who you’re *not* allowed to sleep with. The idea that you should not sleep with a married person who made a monogamous agreement is not a *rule*, not a law, but you cannot reject it on the grounds that people you don’t know can’t tell you who not to sleep with, because they totally can. No one can tell you who *to* sleep with, but everyone has the power to tell you you can’t sleep with someone, namely them, if they don’t want you to. So the moral right to tell you you are not allowed to sleep with someone is not actually an alien concept in our society, nor is it embedded in problematic constructs like slut-shaming.

    Now, if you made no agreement with someone, you can argue that you have no obligation to not hurt them by avoiding sleeping with the person they have a monogamous agreement with. And you’re right in the strictly legalistic sense. But damn, you’re an asshole. And I say this as a person who has no use whatsoever for the construct of monogamy. If it’s going to utterly devastate Dave’s wife if you sleep with Dave, don’t sleep with Dave. Why be a shit if you don’t have to? Hell, if it’s going to utterly devastate Dave’s wife if you paint Dave’s car paisley, and Dave asks you to paint his car paisley, and you know it will utterly devastate his wife, how about not painting his car? He’s not gonna die if his car isn’t paisley.

    Again. This is not applicable if you don’t know Dave is married or that his wife is terrified of paisley patterns. This is not applicable if Dave’s wife has agreed that he can have a paisley car if he wants one. I’m talking specifically about the situation where you know Dave is married and you know his wife will be hurt if you do this. If you know Dave is married and you know his wife will be hurt if you do this, and you do it anyway, you’re a shit. Dave’s a bigger shit but that doesn’t make you not a shit. Don’t encourage other people in hurting the ones they supposedly love. It’s just a shitty thing to do.

    1. I don’t, personally, believe in monogamy.

      I don’t, personally, believe in polyamory. Or sex before marriage.

      …see, it sounds ridiculous both ways!

      1. It doesn’t sound ridiculous. It’s a statement of personal preference. You seem to be having trouble with using context to compensate for the the semantic indeterminacy of human language. That must be hard for you 🙁

        1. Nice try, but no. Your personal preference would be “I’m not (wired to be) monogamous.” “I don’t believe in monogamy” sounds far too much like “I don’t believe in bisexuality” or similar things, by which people mean they don’t think that thing (whether bisexuality, polyamory, etc.) exists.

    2. No one can tell you who *to* sleep with, but everyone has the power to tell you you can’t sleep with someone, namely them, if they don’t want you to. So the moral right to tell you you are not allowed to sleep with someone is not actually an alien concept in our society, nor is it embedded in problematic constructs like slut-shaming.

      Every rule you listed is a rule because of consent. I have a right to tell people they can’t sleep with me. Yeah. That is not the same as me telling Sue down the street she can’t sleep with X married guy.

      One has to do with my basic right to not be a victim of violence and coercion. The other is about nosing into other people’s mutually consensual sexual choices and judging them.

      I’m not going to lie, the fact that you’re even comparing these things creeps me the hell out.

      1. Am I right in assuming that for this purpose X married guy you are (or aren’t) telling sue not to sleep with is not married to you?

        1. No. I mean, in this example, X married guy isn’t married to me, but still, even if he was…

          I find the idea that I have some sort of “right” tell another person what they can and cannot do, consensually, with their body, just becaus they’re married to me, to be completely hysterically funny and ridiculous.

  12. The way I think about it is this: A great number of people condition their continuing sexual relationship with their partner(s) on the promise that a particular partner will not engage in a sexual relationships outside of certain parameters.

    Knowingly violating that condition is undermining their consent and doing so without some overriding imperative is unethical.

    Of course, life is never that simple or that easy. Sometimes people don’t know, sometimes they fool themselves into believing that the other person knows. Sometimes people make poor decisions and do unethical things. It doesn’t make them the worst people ever. And far too often women who make poor decisions get far more grief than men who make those same decisions.

  13. To me the most truly awful and unethical thing about someone who chooses to have a sexual affair with a married person is they have no regard for the partner who doesn’t know. You could have any sort of diseases, or STD’s, pass them on to the married person your sleeping with and then he/she passes it on to their unaware partner.

    Yes you both are consenting adults, but there’s no reason to possibly harm the innocent partner as well.

    1. Yep, this about sums it up for me too.

      I have a few friends who had this happen to them (straying partner, who had previously and explicitly agreed to monogamy, didn’t hold to the agreement and gave the the unwitting partner an STI) and it’s shitty, no way way around it.

      And it could have been prevented, if the unwitting partner had known about the straying and been given the opportunity to no longer consent to continuing that sexual contact.

  14. What about having premarital sex with the adult daughter of a Christian fundamentalist who you know would strenuously object and feel very hurt and betrayed by your actions? Lets say she promised him she wouldn’t do that and doing so would expose him to public scandal and ruin his reputation in the community and you know this to be true?

    Many people here seem to think declared monogamy is some sort of sacred bond that all of society must respect or be labeled scum. The arguments about STIs are a smokescreen, as Barnacle has pointed out that sex and STIs are not inextricably linked and the ethics of the two issues are separate. The original article is not about STIs, it’s about the HOLY SACRED BOND OF MONOGAMY and how everyone must uphold and worship it.

    It’s about constructing you own religious ethics of sex and demanding that everyone prioritize those ethics because your feelings will be hurt if they don’t.

    However, everyone here de-prioritizes the sexual ethics of other people they don’t agree with. It just happens that this community has a lot of monogamous sexual conservatives who are blind to the subjective nature of their Sacred Relationship Contracts because they’re used to everyone agreeing with them and those who don’t receiving quick public censure.

    Jill’s article is just another example of religious preaching on the intrinsic holiness of the Monogamous Relationship without any explanation for blanket declarations of what is ethical.

    1. Ok, you want to put words into people’s mouths and ascribe motives to the, that they don’t hold? How about this? Being a lying liar who lies make you a bad person.

      Because ultimately, this discussion about breaking a mutual agreement of monomgamy IS about being a lying liar who lies. The end. If you agree to specific, mutually agreed upon, ground rules in a relationship, and then don’t break those rules, and continue to mislead the other person(s) in that relationship that you are adhering to those ground rules, you are a lying liar who lies.

      Why some folks want to insist that no, you aren’t a lying liar who lies if the lying is about sex puzzles me. By which I mean it is utter and total bullshit to say that it is not about being a lying liar who lies if you are lying about sex. As opposed to being a lying liar who lies when it isn’t sex about which you are lying.

      1. This conversation, and my comment, is about the third party, not that person who is breaking their agreement of monogamy with their partner.

        1. Ok. That wasn’t clear from what you wrote above, which is why I responded the way I did. You were making some pretty wide open, blanket statements about monogamy, and they didn’t appear to be limited to people outside if that monogamous relationship. Especially the part where you said the concerns about STIs were a smoke screen, because the fuck they are a smoke screen. My right to tell a partner I won’t have unprotected sexual contact with them if they aren’t monogamous isn’t a smoke screen. It’s a legitimate right to want to keep my body safe and healthy.

    2. Pretty much. This is why I don’t feel solidarity toward people that share my political beliefs. Most of them aren’t capable of any real objective examination of ethics, they just pick what suits them and their lives and wants. I find it pretty fucking terrifying that the majority of people are this way, even pretty decent, intelligent people.

      I’m sure someone will come in with some bullshit “but that’s different” for your example when no, it’s really not. It’s all about prioritizing the pain someone feels over some bullshit made-up value about what kind of consensual sex people should be having.

    3. the HOLY SACRED BOND OF MONOGAMY and how everyone must uphold and worship it.

      You mean the holy sacred bond of “I said I’d do a thing”, right? Because, I mean, without that you would be implying that if a person is non-monogamous it is literally impossible to cheat on them.

      I don’t think a cheat-enabler’s at fault for any relationship issues before/after the cheating, but I don’t think it’s monogamy being referred to here as the violated principle, it’s the contract of a marriage. that, unlike being born as the daughter of a fundamentalist, was presumably freely entered into. (If it wasn’t, then obviously that’s different.)

      1. Except I’m talking about Jill’s imperative that I respect the holiness and sacredness of OTHER people’s agreements of monogamy that I did not make, and are not subject to. The problem is not saying “you need to stick your agreements with your partner”, it’s saying “EVERYONE needs to stick to your agreements with your partner”, as if there is somethign sacred and special about sexual exclusivity.

        But sexual exclusivity is just another type of sexual ethics, and the only sexual ethics that are important to me are the ethics of consent, and the only consent I need when engaging in sex with an adult is their consent. i don’t need their father’s consent, or their mother’s consent, or their brother’s consent, or their friend’s consent, or their partner’s consent. Even if one of those people does think they have some sort of ownership over my sexual partner’s body, I don’t need to respect that. That doesn’t make me scum. Sexual assault makes me scum. Coercing consent makes me scum. Not informing my partner of my STI status makes me scum.

        Not checking up on the proper societally approved sexual ownership of my sexual partner’s body is not unethical because of, to use one of your favorite phrases: “hurt fee fees”

        1. The problem is not saying “you need to stick your agreements with your partner”, it’s saying “EVERYONE needs to stick to your agreements with your partner”, as if there is somethign sacred and special about sexual exclusivity.

          Then argue clearer. It sounded like you were saying that even a person who agrees to monogamy isn’t bound to it.

        2. A4, I also pointed out that you seemed to be making a much broader argument than the one you apparently intended to make. That isn’t about reading comprehension or lack thereof. And maybe a be a bit of talking past one another as well.

        3. Since you and Mac openly and loudly proclaim how awful and stupid I am every chance you get, forgive me if I don’t care about your willful misunderstanding of my point so you can have another chance to direct biting and sarcastic comments at me.

        4. Stupid? Talk about willfully misunderstanding, A4!

          I wasn’t willfully misunderstanding you. Where did you ever clarify that you serenely talking about 3rd parties sexing with a cheater? Oh, that’s right, you didn’t. FFS, back down, already.

        5. Since you and Mac openly and loudly proclaim how awful and stupid I am every chance you get, forgive me if I don’t care about your willful misunderstanding of my point so you can have another chance to direct biting and sarcastic comments at me.

          Point me to any declaration of awfulness or stupidity in my comments to you here. And by the way, thanks for telling the third-world chick to work on her reading comprehension. That’s not a racist microaggression at all.

        6. A4, what makes you think that there is willful misunderstanding going on? I read what you had wrote the way they did, until you clarified it.

        7. It seemed pretty clear to me that A4 was talking about 3rd parties and not saying people who agreed to monogamy didn’t have to abide by that agreement.

        8. Yeah, the only indication in A4 post about who is it about is the first paragraph, which is clearly about 3rd person. To interpret it differently, you basically have to insert your own thoughts into it.

    4. However, everyone here de-prioritizes the sexual ethics of other people they don’t agree with

      Duh?

      That I disagree with some people’s ethical codes, and therefore do not take them into serious consideration, doesn’t mean that I then have no ethics of my own, or duties toward my fellow human beings. Total moral relativism is a pretty childish game.

  15. I know a woman who hasn’t spoken to her father since she was 13, and found about about his affair.

    But her trust issues and pain is just her being selfish over some made up concept and she’s actually the bad for one prioritizing her feelings (and those of her siblings) over your genitals getting rubbed.

    1. People can be angry when their loved ones betray them. I don’t think anyone here would disagree with that.

      No one here is taking issue with being upset at a loved ones betrayal. The issue I see is blanket ethical statements regarding the requirements of all people in society to adhere to a particular set of standards for ethical sexual behavior that go far beyond consent and into territories of Christian sexual ethics and claims of general sexual ownership over other people’s bodies.

      The issue is trying to setup an objective ethical schema that safeguards monogamy for all of society by saying “Everyone must respect everyone else’s agreements of monogamy so we can all retain proper ownership over our partner’s bodies”

      I’m not that kind of possessive over my partner’s bodies, and I don’t have any stake in upholding that social contract. Just like I don’t think all of society must work together to safeguard the virginity of unmarried women, and don’t respect those who demand that those ethical standards be adopted by all of society through abstinence only education and restrictions of birth control.

      1. I’m not Christian, nor do I hold particularly to colonized, western ideals of sexuality. So no dice for that argument.

        The person having an affair with a married person isn’t free from judgement. Unless you’re trying to say that they are always upfront about their affair, and that includes being honest with the cheated upon spouse instead of agreeing to lie to them (examples- only text/call during certain hours, never show up at the house for a cup of coffee or visit, no pictures posted on Facebook of outings with married spouse etc), because all those actions? Those are lies. And not agreeing to not lying to a person doesn’t suddenly make you not a liar. You’re no different than anyone else who will lie so they can have an orgasm.

        1. No, you don’t understand. Anyone arguing for any kind of moral compass is doing so from a Christian base. That’s just how it works in A4’s world. The alternative, of course, is that A4 believes that only Christians would bother considering issues of sexual ethics, thus meaning that all people debating sexual ethics who don’t agree 100% with A4 are being very Christian. I’m very fascinated, really.

        2. Oh, my goodness, thanks you two. I’m a life-long atheist who got interested in morality by way of ancient greek ethics, and I was trying to find some way of saying what you just said without sounding like a pretentious jerk.

        3. You’re no different than anyone else who will lie so they can have an orgasm.

          Nope. Some lies are much much worse.

          “I’m totally clean” when you’re HIV+

          “I’m wearing a condom” when you’re not

          Just because you’re not Christian does not mean you aren’t drawing on the moral narratives of the US and Canada which are heavily based on Christian morality. Engaging with modern US or Canadian society means engaging heavily with protestant narratives of belief and virtuousness. They are the same tropes of objective ethics and the True Moral Perspective of God, and top down constructions of moral value, except couched in secular terms.

          That is my point about making blanket unexamined claims of ethics. You will reflect the mainstream ethical narrative, which in the US and Canada is mostly Protestant Christianity. These religious traditions mediate the interpretation of things like moral cause and effect, “right to judge”, and the proper assignment of blame.

        4. This is like some sort of bizarro world mirror image of discussions I’ve had with fundie Christians about how can I know right from wrong if I don’t believe in god/Jesus.

          I don’t need god or Jesus to know right from wrong. Likewise, I disagree that my opinions on the subject of right v wrong is some sort of brainwash job left over from my Catholic upbringing. My golden rule is to do no harm to others, whenever possible. Period. Don’t be an asshole seems like a pretty good premise from which to start here in Atheistlandia.

        5. Just because you’re not Christian does not mean you aren’t drawing on the moral narratives of the US and Canada which are heavily based on Christian morality.

          Doesn’t mean I AM, either. Just so you know, I’m drawing on my own cultures narrative surrounding sexual ethics, and those existed long before Turtle Island was the US, and long before those Puritans ever stepped so much as a toe on this island.

          And THIS comes from a cultural belief that used to define divorce as ” moved your shit in with another person”.

          So not quite what you’re trying to force it into. Sorry there are other cultures and narratives that also consider you an asshole. Maybe it’s not us.

        6. Okay Lolagirl, you are a special snowflake who is totally unaffected by the traditions of thought around you and have no need to examine the structure of your own moral reactions and how they align with widespread traditions of morality. All of your thoughts and judgements come from the magical and pure land of Atheistlandia.

        7. Nope. Some lies are much much worse.

          The lies can be worse. The liars delivering them all hold something in common.

        8. A4, can you find non-North American countries on a map, or is literally everyone on this site magically transported back in time and immersed in Christian North American culture from birth if they dare to disagree with you on anything?

        9. Mac, You live in Canada right now correct? And Lolagirl lives in The US right now correct? And Weiner and Leathers both live in the US right now correct? And Jill also lives in the US right now correct? And the mainstream moral standards for the general conversation are therefore the US then correct? And your current context for your engagement in mainstream ethics of monogamous relationships is Canada right now correct?

          Lolagirl herself said she was raised Catholic.

          if you want to talk about the specifics of how your upbringing in a non-Christian context is informing your current ethical standards, I’d be very interested.

          You are actually one of the people in this thread who originally did not see everyone as having a duty to uphold the sexual standards of a particular relationship as sacred and good:

          Like I said, I don’t rely on the rest of the world to be the Marriage Police for me

          But you just seem to really enjoy making exaggerated and sarcastic about what I must be like, so full steam ahead if that’s what you enjoy.

        10. Mac, You live in Canada right now correct?

          So two years is the limit until your outlook magically changes to suit whatever your current environment is? So, if you were to not attend a synagogue for two years, would you be magically not-Jewish? I’m curious how this works.

          if you want to talk about the specifics of how your upbringing in a non-Christian context is informing your current ethical standards, I’d be very interested.

          Okay, so here goes: the karmaphalan-based logic of Hinduism would suggest that there is an objective duty to do as little harm as possible to others, but that harm is judged by the intent of the doer as well as the effect of the actions. Thus, someone engaging in cheating for cheating’s sake – like Leather – would be doing a great wrong, but someone who meets a guy on the internet and thinks he’s single would be doing no wrong, and someone who has that one affair with a married guy for emotional reasons would be doing wrong, but less wrong than Leather, because of the seeking of emotional well-being implicit in it. However, no one has the duty to maintain the health of a relationship in which they are not involved, since they are not included in the contract of that marriage. Thus, the squaring of

          Like I said, I don’t rely on the rest of the world to be the Marriage Police for me

          with the idea that extramarital affairs can still be an act of harm. The ill effect of that harm rebounds solely on the cheat-enabler – they are NOT at fault for the marriage’s breakup or whatever relationship problems the pair suffers, nor can they be held to be the cause of a home-wrecking or whatever by anyone. However, they do not have a right to demand a lack of emotional consequences in the betrayed partner, by saying that it’s not their actions that caused the betrayal so the cheated partner can’t be angry, think they’re an asshole, etc.

          Does that make sense?

      2. The issue is trying to setup an objective ethical schema that safeguards monogamy for all of society by saying “Everyone must respect everyone else’s agreements of monogamy so we can all retain proper ownership over our partner’s bodies”

        It’s not about setting up an ethical schema so much as just recognizing that crappy thing to do is crappy thing to do.

        No one’s saying you don’t have the right to be an asshole.

      3. I don’t require or even ask for monogamy from my partner (or my historical partners). I do *require* as a continuing condition of my relationship with them that they use protection if they are going to have sex that may result in an STI. That’s not me controlling their bodies, that’s me setting the terms around my own sexual choices. If someone knows those facts and has sex with Mr. Kristen…I don’t care. If someone knows those facts and has unprotected sex with Mr. Kristen without telling me about it, then yes…they are both assholes. That’s not about monogamy or Christian ethics or any other bullshit.

    2. right?
      and I totally should have stayed with my gross cheater ex because by assuming he was monogamous meant I was CONTROLLING his BODY, and if I’d just been so much cooler and laid-back about the whole thing the fact that he was breaking his word just wouldn’t matter anymore!
      for pete’s sake.

    3. Her pain is her pain. She has a right to feel that way. She does not have a right to ask society to shame other peole based on the fact that she places importance on a relativistic sexual norm.

      My father also had affairs. He’s dead now. I chose to accept that he was a human being, with a limited human life span, and make the best of our time together without getting hung up on the fact that he was a non-monogamy oriented person who fell in love with a monogamy-oriented person.

      You think my dad’s scum? You think *I* am scum, for not looking down my nose on him and his partners?

      Well go ahead and sit on your high horse, I guess. I won’t be a bit sad if you get saddle sore.

      1. But it’s all relative, Barnacle. That seems to be the biggest disconnect going on in this discussion.

        My grandfather had numerous affairs, to the extent of having an entire second family with his paramour. That exploded my mother’s family irretrievably, and as children she and her brother had no say in any of that. I guess they’re just collateral damage, eh? Oh, and the spouse’s family also split up after his dad cheated. Also collateral damage, him and his sister as little kids trying to figure out why dad didn’t want to be around anymore and wanting to be with his girlfriend instead?

        It’s ridiculously over-simplistic to write this stuff off as puritanical social mores ruining everyone’s happiness and freedom to pursue their fun times however they choose. Especially once you drag others, such as an unwitting and trusting partner and/or kids into your shit show? Yeah, I’ve got no compunction in thinking you might just be an asshole.

        1. And when I came out as gay to my family, it exploded. Lots of fighting, drama, over those who wanted to beat my ass and make me homeless, and keep everyone in the family from talking to me, and those who thought that was some bullshit.

          Gee, I’m so awful for thinking of their pain and disgust at having a gay in the family as simply “collateral damage” of me being born gay. Causing harm to other human beings? What scum I was! How dare I look down on their puritanical homophobic mores?

          I should have had more respect for their relativistic sexual mores.

        2. Huh? You’re coming out to your family is analogous to having an extramarital affair?

          I’m gobsmacked. Seriously. WTF.

          Neither of these things is anything like the other. Being a cheater and liar is nothing like one’s sexual orientation. Do I or anyone else really gotta tell you that?

          Or are you just trying to shut down the discussion by coming up with something so completely over the top that folks won’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole?

        3. What scum I was!

          Absolutely. When I left the community into which I was born, I caused massive collateral damage. Enough that I was blamed for my grandmother’s death, and nobody I am related to is allowed to try to contact me. I was pretty evil for thinking about my own desires rather than trying to fit into the (their, as it was no longer my) community.

        4. Gee, I’m so awful for thinking of their pain and disgust at having a gay in the family as simply “collateral damage” of me being born gay.

          That’s fucking offensive, Barnacle. That’s really fucking offensive.

        5. Or are you just trying to shut down the discussion by coming up with something so completely over the top that folks won’t want to touch it with a ten foot pole?

          Accusing me of playing the gay card? How cute.

          Neither of these things is anything like the other. Being a cheater and liar is nothing like one’s sexual orientation.

          No, but my behavior is, and I could have (and should have, in some of my relative’s eyes) simply married a man and played straight. None of the fighting or the drama or people Never Talkling to Each Other Again would have happened if I had did that.

          As it is, I’m responsible for all the pain of my relative’s over my sexual/romantic behavior, according to most of the people in this thread. And I’m a scumbag for not prioritizing their feelings of pain over my own life choices.

        6. according to most of the people in this thread

          Most of the people in this thread see a difference between coming out as gay and engaging in an affair. I really think you’re misreading some people here.

        7. Playing the gay card?

          Fuck you, seriously.

          These are still not the same thing, you being who you are is nothing like being a liar and a cheater. And stop trying to put words in my mouth. I did not say you should have married a man and played straight (your words, not mine, just for the record.). Because I would never say that. How outrageously offensive that you would try to push me into a corner and paint me as a homophobe because I disagree with you on the issue of infidelity. I was explicit in my previous comment that issue of one’s sexual identity has nothing to do with the issue of sexual morality or fidelity.

          Knock it off.

        8. Mac, how is that offensive? It’s selfish, but I think I’m missing something on how it is offensive.

          Because sexual orientation is an aspect of identity, and cheating is an aspect of behaviour. It’s comparing apples to kumquats. And I really fucking resent the idea that coming out about something that could get me jail time in my home country if I was in the wrong place is being compared to deciding to deep-dick some married guy as an equal rights issue. The harm of not fucking a married guy =/= the harm of enduring decades of rape due to being in the closet.

        9. Lolagirl, you’re one of my relatives? Guess I shouldn’t be surprised, we are a huge family after all. Are you from the West Coast branch of the family?

          These are still not the same thing, you being who you are is nothing like being a liar and a cheater.

          Yeah, they aren’t the same thing. The difference is you think gay relationships are okay, so the people in them shouldn’t be judged by everyone, or shamed, but you think extramarital relationships are bad, so the people in them should be judged everyone, and shamed.

          Who I get my rocks off with, married, man, or women, is really none of your damned business if they aren’t your spouse, and we’re consenting.

          You knock it off. I’m not the one judging and shaming consensting adults.

        10. Mac, you’re misreading me, which may be my fault, I don’t know.

          I am not comparing sexual orientation with a sexual behavior (extramarital sex). I am comparing my sexual behavior of being out and engaging in relationships with the same sex.

          And I’m not making this an equal rights issue. I’m making this one about shaming people’s sexual behaviors. There’s some overlap between the two issues, but they are not one and the same.

        11. Mac, I hope I didn’t upset you with my question, and thank you for answering (which you are absolutely not obliged to do).

        12. Who I get my rocks off with, married, man, or women, is really none of your damned business if they aren’t your spouse, and we’re consenting.

          Barnacle Strumpet, but is it/should it be my business if they are my spouse? I think that’s what is being talked about. (Sorry I keep asking you questions, feel free to ignore me).

        13. Who I get my rocks off with, married, man, or women, is really none of your damned business if they aren’t your spouse, and we’re consenting.

          I’m down with that. But what if they are my spouse?

        14. Barnacle Strumpet, but is it/should it be my business if they are my spouse? I think that’s what is being talked about. (Sorry I keep asking you questions, feel free to ignore me).

          Maybe? If my partner had another partner, I would love to know about it and by extension, them, since they’re probably a major part of partner’s life as well. This goes for most things with an SO’s life though. I liked to be clued in on what’s going on with them. This isn’t, to me, exclusive to sex and relationships; I’d be pretty disturbed if they’d been sailing every weekend and for some reason kept me in the dark on it.

          I think keeping each other up on the events and people in each other’s lives is a pretty standard expectation in a relationship, and people have a right to ask for that of their SO.

          I’m down with that. But what if they are my spouse?

          If you’ve agreed to share your life with someone, then I think you have a right to be kept abreast of what’s going on, since that is part of sharing one’s life. If your spouse comes home and tells you that they need more than one lover in their life though, and that they’re going to be having sex every Thursday with someone else, I don’t think that that someone else is responsible for the pain or anger you feel over your SO’s need to be with other people, or for any impending break-up if you’re not down with that.

          I don’t know that I would even assign shame and blame to the spouse, especially if they didn’t realize they were unable to live monogamously when they married.

          Sometimes relationships don’t work out. Sometimes people feel pain. I don’t know why there always has to be an evil-doer in the relationships; sometimes everyone is getting fucked over.

        15. If your spouse comes home and tells you that they need more than one lover in their life though, and that they’re going to be having sex every Thursday with someone else, I don’t think that that someone else is responsible for the pain or anger you feel over your SO’s need to be with other people, or for any impending break-up if you’re not down with that.

          You are describing non-monogamy and conflating it with cheating, though. I consider someone who has informed their SO that they will be fucking someone else on Thursday to be openly and honestly non-monogamous (and shortly thereafter single should the SO have a problem, but that’s not their fault, is it?). I consider someone who’s fucking around without letting their SO know to be cheating.

        16. You are describing non-monogamy and conflating it with cheating, though.

          If they didn’t tell you, I think you have a right to be pissed at them for dishonesty/keeping you in the dark about things.

          I still don’t think though, that you have any right to lay any shame or blame at my door. Monogamy is not something I value, and I’ve never lead anyone to believe that or expect me to adhere to it or respect it.

          If your wife is off platonically sailing on Lake Michigan with me while you think she’s in Tokyo on a business trip, you can be pissed at her for lying to you. Why you would get to assign some kind of moral evil on me for sailing with her though, is beyond me.

          Yeah, if you and I were best buds I might be expected to call you up and let you know what’s going on. Otherwise? Do I really deserve to be considerd “unethical scum” for sailing?

        17. I still don’t think though, that you have any right to lay any shame or blame at my door.

          I don’t, though. Well, not for anything that has to do with my relationship, anyway. The way I see it is, there are two different equations:

          1) Assisting in breach of contract

          2) Being at fault for the relationship’s problems/the cheater being a cheaty cheating cheater

          I am saying that the cheat-enabler is exactly that; an enabler. As such, they’re not responsible for 2), because 2) is entirely the problem of the douchebag who agreed to monogamy and then lied. If you aren’t said douchebag (i.e. you are not breaking an agreement of monogamy/condition within a context of non-monogamy in engaging in a sex act), how is the cheat-enabler at fault? Clearly, they’re not.

          However, to the extent that the cheat-enabler enables a breach of contract, they are independently doing a harmful act. Therefore, they are not AT FAULT, but nonetheless have participated in enabling an act of betrayal. I’d compare it to driving a getaway car. Sure, the driver isn’t remotely to blame for the sixteen people the bank robber shot in the face, and I would never stand for the driver being put on trial along with (or, as in the case of most FAAB folk, in place of) the shooter, but they nonetheless assisted in the harm in question.

          If your wife is off platonically sailing on Lake Michigan with me while you think she’s in Tokyo on a business trip

          This actually made me giggle, because given the conditions of my marriage contract, that would be objectively far more objectionable to me than if you two were fucking the entire time.

        18. Monogamy is not something I value, and I’ve never lead anyone to believe that or expect me to adhere to it or respect it.

          Jesus jumped up christ. No one is telling you to value monogamy. It’s PEOPLE. PEOPLE you should value. Human beings. And like it or not, real human people are hurt, in part, by actions YOU are willingly choosing to engage in. I’m not a sacrificial lamb at your anti-monogamy alter. No one is. And you cannot reasonably expect someone who has been sacrificed to have warm fuzzy feelings towards you.

          I don’t value or respect baptism, but I don’t go shit in the water over it.

        19. pheenobarbidoll, I’m not sure that everyone here is a real human being. I suspect that some might be sentient computer programs.

      2. She isn’t asking anyone to shame the other woman. SHE shames her, every chance she gets.

        Too bad for the other woman.

        1. Also- I never entered into any agreement saying I wouldn’t shame/detest/think badly of my spouses extra marital sex partner.

          And it feels good! And it’s what I want! No one gets to be the thought police!

          So suck it up buttercup and eat the meal you just tried to serve me.

      3. I still don’t think though, that you have any right to lay any shame or blame at my door. Monogamy is not something I value, and I’ve never lead anyone to believe that or expect me to adhere to it or respect it.

        Eh. I’m not monogamous, either, but would you not feel uncomfortable about having a relationship with someone you knew was married and kept their s/o in the dark? There’s a whole area between ‘it’s a completely fine/ethical thing to do’ and ‘the person s/he is at fault/to blame.’

        I don’t think cheaters are scum. A particular cheater might be, that’s individual. To make it personal, my mom was a cheater and it was a big family bust-up slash drama. But even at 13, when I found out, I understood why she did it. My father is a pretty closed book emotionally and I knew that she was lonely and unhappy. I was pretty furious with her but also/probably mostly with my father for not being able to love her ‘properly,’ whatever that meant to me at the time. That was a million years ago so it’s hard to remember. And I knew that the guy she had an affair with had his own life and probably his own emotional reasons for involving himself with my mother. This doesn’t even have anything to do with your comment, really, I’m just thinking ~aloud. But there’s definitely a difference between cheaters/cheat-enablers are scummy shitlords across the board/evil bastardy bastards and boffing someone who is in a monogamous agreement in full knowledge of that is ethical behavior, I understand why this is being treated as an either/or

      4. However, to the extent that the cheat-enabler enables a breach of contract, they are independently doing a harmful act. Therefore, they are not AT FAULT, but nonetheless have participated in enabling an act of betrayal.

        We might just have to agree to disagree on this. I understand what you’re getting at, it’s just the two things [extramarital sex] and [feelings of betrayal/hurt] are not inevitably linked enough together in my mind for me to label the enabler as bad. In other words, though there is a technical betrayal of an agreement, there may no actual harm done or negative consequences.

        For instance, one of my grandfather’s had a secret mistress. His wife did find out about it, but instead of the family exploding like someone else mentioned, she didn’t feel outraged/hurt/betrayed, and they all moved in together and raised their children together, and lived together till they died. The two women loved each other.

        I can’t see his other wife as an enabler of pain/betrayal because such a thing never occured. Not everyone reacts negatively to finding out about a secret extramarital affair.

        People can need polyamory without ever being given the information or understanding to ask for it, negotatiate for it, or think it could ever be acceptable. And other people can be compatible with polyamory, but having only ever been shown extra partners as “cheating/embarrassing/hurtful” would reject it as an option.

        For all the hurt and betrayed out there, there’s people that will be “meh” and won’t have any emotional response to finding out their partner cheated. There will be people that don’t like sex or aren’t attracted to their partner who will say a silent prayer of thanks to the other person. And there will even be the happy ones that stumple upon a legitimately happy polyamorous relationship with all parties.

        This actually made me giggle, because given the conditions of my marriage contract, that would be objectively far more objectionable to me than if you two were fucking the entire time.

        pffft. The worst part is the secret sailing is way, way more likely than clandestine sex.

        Jesus jumped up christ. No one is telling you to value monogamy. And like it or not, real human people are hurt, in part, by actions YOU are willingly choosing to engage in. I’m not a sacrificial lamb at your anti-monogamy alter. No one is. And you cannot reasonably expect someone who has been sacrificed to have warm fuzzy feelings towards you.

        Pheeno, I think I am allowed to share details that are not direct responses to other people’s commands. In other words, if I feel my lack of value for monogamy is relevent to my point, i will share it.

        I have said time and time again that there is a necessary balance between avoiding hurting others and retaining one’s own agency. If I say some racist shit and calling me on it would cause me to have a panic attack (which is very physically painful for me) I do not get a “get out of callouts free” card because of my potential pain.

        A somewhat abstract metaphor to be sure, but I have already given examples several times on this post about actual sexual behavior choices I have had to make (rejecting people, engaging in consensual same-sex relationships) that have hurt people, but which apparently do not get it through to you that PAIN/HARM DOES NOT ALWAYS TRUMP AGENCY.

        Perhaps all caps will help you see my point. I doubt it.

        1. that PAIN/HARM DOES NOT ALWAYS TRUMP AGENCY.

          BUT YOU HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING THE HARM UNTIL IT’S DONE. If you’re cheating with someone who is lying to their spouse, THEY’RE NOT LYING BECAUSE THE SPOUSE IS FINE WITH IT.

          How bout them caps?

        2. In other words, though there is a technical betrayal of an agreement, there may no actual harm done or negative consequences.

          Okay, to take a different example: I’m a vegetarian, but not for reasons of allergies or anything. Now, I highly doubt I would notice if someone slipped a finely minced teaspoonful of ham into my big bowl of otherwise vegetarian stew, nor would it cause me physical harm. Assuming that I have no personal connection to the chef, does that make it ethical for them to do this in the absence of knowing whether or not I have allergies/would be hurt/would feel tainted because religious reasons?

        3. BUT YOU HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING THE HARM UNTIL IT’S DONE. If you’re cheating with someone who is lying to their spouse, THEY’RE NOT LYING BECAUSE THE SPOUSE IS FINE WITH IT.

          How bout them caps?

          What’s your point, pheeno? I have no idea how much pain I will inflict on any person when I reject their offer of a relationship. Some people brush it off with a shrug and a laugh. Other people end their lives over it.

          I had no idea who was going to be hurt over my decision to engage in same-sex relationships. Surprisingly, some of the liberal, pro-gay-marriage relatives who I assumed would have my back, were the most disgusted.

          And as I pointed out earlier, yeah, my grandfather actually was lying to his wife about the affair, and she turned out to be fine with it. The Ethical **** and other poly literature didn’t exist back then. Information on poly relationships is still not widely-available or visible today.

          And as Mac pointed out early, she offered an open relationship to someone who went on to cheat on her. Some people cheat out of their own issues, not out of any disapproval of their spouse’s.

        4. Mac, in that case the spouse would be the chef, not the third party. The chef is the one braking the contract to “not to add meat to your food”.

        5. Mac, in that case the spouse would be the chef, not the third party. The chef is the one braking the contract to “not to add meat to your food”.

          Well, no. The waiter’s the person who said I’d be getting vegetarian stew. The chef didn’t enter into any contract with me. So, if the chef doesn’t believe in vegetarianism…

        6. Okay, to take a different example: I’m a vegetarian, but not for reasons of allergies or anything. Now, I highly doubt I would notice if someone slipped a finely minced teaspoonful of ham into my big bowl of otherwise vegetarian stew, nor would it cause me physical harm. Assuming that I have no personal connection to the chef, does that make it ethical for them to do this in the absence of knowing whether or not I have allergies/would be hurt/would feel tainted because religious reasons?

          I would agree it’s unethical, but it would be because of the right to bodily autonomy ethical framework A4 mentioned earlier. It’s one of the few frameworks I solidly adhere to. You have a right to control your body and what goes into as much as possible.

          I could define a partner missing out on the details of a huge part of their partner’s life as possible “harm” but this could be extended to keeping any secrets from your partner. And we (most societies that I know of) don’t assign this shame and blame on someone who keeps a secret sewing circle from their partner.

        7. You have a right to control your body and what goes into as much as possible.

          And if I am sleeping with a man, and he is, unknown to me, sleeping with someone else, do I still have autonomy?

        8. You have a right to control your body and what goes into as much as possible.

          So…undesired ham is terribad, but unexpected herpes is just peachy? o_O

          And no, almost no one gets angry about secret knitting circles. Why? Because almost no one enters into a no-knitting-ever-because-I-hate-knitting relationship contract. I guarantee you that if anyone were passionate enough about ending the plague of knitting in the world to include a no-knitting clause in their relationship negotiations, they’d be righteously – and rightfully – pissed if they found out about that secret knitting circle.

        9. So…undesired ham is terribad, but unexpected herpes is just peachy? o_O

          I went over the whole STI thing with Lolagirl. Extramarital sex does not necessarily mean a person is engaging in an act that risks an STI.

          And no, almost no one gets angry about secret knitting circles. Why? Because almost no one enters into a no-knitting-ever-because-I-hate-knitting relationship contract.

          Maybe a real life example would be better. A person I was in a relationship once forbid me from buying a Nintendo 3DS. I wanted one, and had the money for it that was my own money, but they thought that was a “stupid” thing to spend my money on, and they told me that they would break it and throw it in the trash if I bought one.

          Well, that’s obviously creepy inexcusable behavior, but I would still be being dishonest if I bought the 3DS and hid it, and enjoyed playing Pokemon with it with a friend who knew that I had been forbidden to buy a 3DS.

          By the ethics praised here, I should have told them to fuck off and that I was buying the 3DS and they could kiss my ass and take a hike if they didn’t like it, instead of being dishonest and keeping secrets. But then, I was living in the real world, where they had the house and the car and I had the extreme social anxiety and no one else who gave a shit about me.

        10. Extramarital sex does not necessarily mean a person is engaging in an act that risks an STI.

          OK and to continue with your example of foot-sucking, what makes you think I want warts any more than I want herpes?

          Well, that’s obviously creepy inexcusable behavior, but I would still be being dishonest if I bought the 3DS and hid it, and enjoyed playing Pokemon with it with a friend who knew that I had been forbidden to buy a 3DS.

          And if a non-monogamous person is being held hostage by an abusive monogamous creep, and they decide to have an affair, I’d go with “eh, not a scumbag”. Enforced and coerced monogamy isn’t monogamy, it’s a hostage situation tailored to your netherbits.

          Again, by my standards, anyone being open about non-monogamy prior to engaging in non-monogamous behaviour is clear for the non-monogamy they have outlined. (IE if they said “only unprotected intercourse with you” and did just that, it’s all good, but if they fuck others bare, it’s cheating again.) Your ex knew you wanted the 3DS, and (assuming a non-creepy relationship, which that oh so very clearly wasn’t) they should have refrained from interfering or broken up with you, if they felt so strongly. It wasn’t their place to threaten your stuff any more than it’d be my place to tell my SO I’d beat them if they fucked someone else.

        11. And I highly doubt that any of the monogamous people here would look at “act on your non-monogamous wiring and I’ll take an axe to your nethers, but I won’t break up with you over it, don’t worry” as a model of healthy monogamous relationships.

  16. This whole comments thread has given me a headache. I am going to take the risk that someone will accuse me of having been brainwashed by the Christian right and say that the negative consequences of moral relativism are fully on display in the conversations here. I don’t understand, fundamentally, how a person can simultaneously claim that violating a person’s consent is incredibly bad, but that there are no other ethical considerations when engaging in a sexual relationship with another person. I mean, we consider violating consent to be bad because feminists generally have at least some sort of shared ethical framework.

    I want to push back here against the idea that it is impossible to make ethical claims about sexuality without defaulting to the dominant Christian framework present in the US. While it’s certainly true that everybody living in the US (and other parts of North America, I guess) ought to scrutinize our belief systems, there are plenty of us out there whose ethical intuitions aren’t primarily derived from Christianity – as Mac and Pheeno have been arguing here, and as Donna has argued on other threads. Then, too, it’s also possible that those of us raised atheist, or who have become atheist later in life, might in fact have done the difficult work of examining how Christian morality has influenced our lives.

    It is not shocking to me that people can disagree about standards of sexual ethics. I think that’s a good thing. I think it is a very good thing when the beliefs which seem most natural and intuitive to us get challenged, because that’s when really interesting things happen, when we can really start to see the world in a new way. But I also think that claims that there are no real rules to sexual behavior aside from “don’t assault people” is a good way to end a conversation, and is also a cop-out. The world is full of competing moral codes. Just because there are a whole lot of moral codes to ascribe to, though, doesn’t mean that some of them aren’t more correct than others, or that we should just throw up our hands and say, “I’m going to get mine.”

    1. Fun with line by line replies! Please take everything below as genuine. There is no sarcasm contained herein:

      This whole comments thread has given me a headache.

      I am sorry about your headache.

      I am going to take the risk that someone will accuse me of having been brainwashed by the Christian right

      I don’t think people here are brainwashed by the Christian right. The traditions of Christianity that I’m talking about go all the way back to the violent colonization of North America and are built into our government, legal system, school system, higher education system, news media, and corporate work environments. it is the idea that there should exist one set of ethics that everyone must adopt and strive to adhere to. It is the idea that there is one true objective perspective of reality that we should all worship and attempt to convert others to worship. The implication is that we should behave in a fashion that will allow us to defend our essential goodness when subject to judgment by that objective perspective once we are dead.

      and say that the negative consequences of moral relativism are fully on display in the conversations here.

      Is your headache the negative consequence?

      I don’t understand, fundamentally, how a person can simultaneously claim that violating a person’s consent is incredibly bad, but that there are no other ethical considerations when engaging in a sexual relationship with another person. I mean, we consider violating consent to be bad because feminists generally have at least some sort of shared ethical framework.

      That shared framework, in my view, is bodily autonomy. Everyone has a body, and everyone wants to control what happens to it as much as they can. The shared ethical framework, in my view, is that we work together to preserve people’s ability to control their own body.

      I want to push back here against the idea that it is impossible to make ethical claims about sexuality without defaulting to the dominant Christian framework present in the US. While it’s certainly true that everybody living in the US (and other parts of North America, I guess) ought to scrutinize our belief systems, there are plenty of us out there whose ethical intuitions aren’t primarily derived from Christianity – as Mac and Pheeno have been arguing here, and as Donna has argued on other threads.

      I agree, but the problem with a dominant framework is that it is implicit unless it is specifically denied. Mac was generous enough above to explain how her point of view is stemming from a Hindu perspective. Jill’s original article just made some basic claims about moral compasses and basic ethics that totally totally bought into the dominant framework of Christian sexual ethics. The original article was mostly a series of ethical declarations that apparently did not need any explanation or justification, and this is exactly how an implicit dominant narrative of morality is used to easily cast judgment on those who violate it.

      Then, too, it’s also possible that those of us raised atheist, or who have become atheist later in life, might in fact have done the difficult work of examining how Christian morality has influenced our lives.

      For sure, but again, you have to show it. I don’t think Jill made that clear in her condemnation of Leathers at all. I think you’ve made it clear in your discussion though.

      It is not shocking to me that people can disagree about standards of sexual ethics. I think that’s a good thing. I think it is a very good thing when the beliefs which seem most natural and intuitive to us get challenged, because that’s when really interesting things happen, when we can really start to see the world in a new way.

      But I also think that claims that there are no real rules to sexual behavior aside from “don’t assault people” is a good way to end a conversation, and is also a cop-out.

      I think it’s fairly clear in this thread that it’s not at all a good way to end conversation.

      The world is full of competing moral codes. Just because there are a whole lot of moral codes to ascribe to, though, doesn’t mean that some of them aren’t more correct than others, or that we should just throw up our hands and say, “I’m going to get mine.”

      Okay, but I think that’s why I’m pushing back against all the unexplained statements of who is and isn’t an asshole. There’s a lot of attitude here that these things don’t need to be examined, and expressions of incredulity or anger that anyone would even DARE to question them, or compare them to other situations that seem to have similar issues of sexual possessiveness and bodily autonomy.

  17. The person who is in a supposedly monogamous relationship and has sex with someone else is a) violating an agreement and b) being dishonest (assuming she keeps it to herself instead of “confessing”). The person she’s cheating with is not doing (a), unless she’s sleeping with a friend’s husband or something, but she is usually doing (b). Having sex with someone who’s cheating on their partner usually implies some covering up and the readiness to lie if it becomes necessary. If think the dishonesty is the real issue, not so much that you might hurt someone.

  18. A4, this comment seems to be directed at the thread in general, so I’ll just respond even though I know it was a response to Alexandra.

    There’s a lot of attitude here that these things don’t need to be examined, and expressions of incredulity or anger that anyone would even DARE to question them, or compare them to other situations that seem to have similar issues of sexual possessiveness and bodily autonomy.

    Ok, let’s compare, using some of the examples that have been brought up. Having sex with the adult daughter of a Christian conservative, or coming out as a gay to your family, even if it causes people deep hurt, doesn’t bother me because I don’t consider the reasons why this hurt was caused to be worthy or legitimate. Why I don’t consider that is a whole other question. But I don’t.

    On the other hand, let’s say that someone actively pursues a person who was in a monogamous relationship and exploits their personal weaknesses to get them to leave their family, including a couple of dependent children. I consider the children’s hurt and the spouse’s hurt to be real and legitimate. Similarly, I consider people’s expectations for honesty in all social situations, but especially in personal ones, to be real and legitimate.

    Yes, these considerations seem somewhat arbitrary when I just list them out. But that doesn’t mean they are arbitrary. It just means that to examine them, you have to get into the meat- the substance of what’s going on:

    Why do people have an expectation to honesty? Why is that more fair than a conservative family’s expectation that their children be straight?

    If you can’t convince me that those two expectations are both equally legitimate, then you’re not going to convince me that being complicit in helping upset them are equally wrong.

    Bodily autonomy as an analytic framework to break these things down doesn’t seem like enough. It’s more of an instrumental concept. It doesn’t say anything directly about the content of a person’s actions in terms of how they affect themselves or others, it only talks about the mechanisms through which people act.

    That seems to be a very Western-centric model– the advantage is its flexibility, its very blindness– but I don’t think it’s sufficient to capture the complexity of life or why people make different judgments in particular cases.

    1. On the other hand, let’s say that someone actively pursues a person who was in a monogamous relationship and exploits their personal weaknesses to get them to leave their family, including a couple of dependent children.

      Way to pick the most extreme example you can imagine. It’s not like there’s an actual real world example that is the subject of the original article and the original subject of condemnation in this thread.

      Similarly, I consider people’s expectations for honesty in all social situations, but especially in personal ones, to be real and legitimate.

      I don’t agree. I don’t think people actually expect 100% honesty all the time. In fact, I think being totally honest often results in accusations of moral bankruptcy and lack of human empathy. For example, my being honest about my views of Kitteh’s claims [redacted by mods: made in another thread, deeply personal and off-topic for this thread] are being used to justify my diagnosis as a narcissist and having no human empathy.

      That seems to be a very Western-centric model– the advantage is its flexibility, its very blindness– but I don’t think it’s sufficient to capture the complexity of life or why people make different judgments in particular cases.

      People care about the feelings of those around them, and the less they feel connected or identify with someone, the less they give a shit about their feelings. Boom. That is all.

      1. I don’t agree. I don’t think people actually expect 100% honesty all the time. In fact, I think being totally honest often results in accusations of moral bankruptcy and lack of human empathy. For example, my being honest about my views of Kitteh’s claims [redacted by mods: made in another thread, deeply personal and off-topic for this thread] are being used to justify my diagnosis as a narcissist and having no human empathy.

        Feel like that is not so much about honesty and more about how you brought in shit from outside and reached into her personal life for insults. Then again, kitteh’s initial comment was kinda shit-stirring and unnecessary. This whole thread is pretty bogus really

  19. Sometimes you look at a post, then you look at the number of comments and you know exactly what sort of conversation has happened.

    The thing about misogyny, is that just about anything can molded to fit its aim, that’s one of the reasons why it’s so pernicious.

    So yes, the “Blame the Wife for the Husband’s Infidelity” trope is Misogynist.

    The “Woman the Husband Cheated with Lured him Away, the Homewrecker!” – that’s misogynist too.

    But I also think “You Shouldn’t Have Negative Feelings Towards the Woman your Husband Cheated with because That’s Judgmental and Slut-Shaming” is incredibly misogynist too.

    Why? Because women are constantly forbidden and shamed about angry.

    “No anger for you lady! You need to smile sweetly and suck up whatever shit people do to you” – that is misogyny, and stuff dressing it up in some “being judgmental is The Worst” sugar coating.

    And let’s be clear, sleeping with someone you know to married IS doing something shit to their spouse, no “Consenting adults/Orgasms over everything else” trumps that.

    So yes, if someone treats you poorly, you have every right to be angry at them and and I’m not having some faux liberalism being deployed into telling women otherwise.

    1. This comment hits it out of the park.

      I find it frustrating, because (a) it’s very common for people to be more angry at the person who’s not their monogamous partner (understandable but unhealthy IMO), which is my starting perspective, (b) it seems almost impossible to talk about without strong overtones/actually stated opinions that monogamy is superior and mostly in this thread (c) no nuance.

      There are people who actively seek out relationships with partnered people, people who don’t but don’t care, people who don’t but get deeply involved before they find out – there is also a big difference between maintaining a relationship with someone behind their partner’s back and sleeping with them once.

      They’re not all the same.

      But you cut to the heart of the matter, and I like it a lot.

    2. YES!!! Thank you! I was part of a community for a very brief spell who characterized women who wanted monogamy or were upset by non-consensual non-monogamy (you know, cheating) as clingy, unenlightened, abusive, suffocating, and so forth. It was a rhetoric that, I think, pushed a lot of young women into poly situations that they didn’t want–just so that they didn’t come off as an evil selfish prude.

    3. I agree with everything written above me here. Monogamy or non-monogamy as a personal preference or inclination is fine either way. I don’t take issue with those who aren’t into monogamy or feel they aren’t wired for it. But I think that respect needs to be reciprocated, and some of those here arguing against monogamy seem to be missing this bit of reasoning.

      And I strenuously agree with the point Miranda makes about people being pushed into non-monogamy even if it isn’t what they want of feel comfortable with. One’s personal comfort level with what they will or will not agree to romantically or sexually deserve to be respected, even if you think they are being a prude, or not sufficiently open minded, or whatever. I said it before here and I’ll say it again for emphasis: there is nothing wrong with having ground rules with one’s sexual partners that negotiate boundaries and comfort levels. That needs to be an open and honest discussion, and if either party isn’t down with monogamy that needs to be spelled out and if it doesn’t work for both parties than either agree upon non-monogamy or split up.

      But agreeing to monogamy and not respecting that agreement makes you a lying liar who lies. The end. That status of being a lying liar who lies doesn’t change be use you’re lying about sex outside your relationship. And the person to who you are lying about your monogamy is entitled to feel whatever negative emotions the feel about your being a lying liar who lies about not remaining monogamous. And if you cause them actual physical harm as a result of your being a lying non-monogamous liar who lies about monogamy that may very well make you an asshole.

      1. YES YES YES YES YES YES

        DID I MENTION YES

        BECAUSE YES.

        People who try to enforce either monogamy or non-monogamy strike me as creepy (though people enforcing non-monogamy are probably more rapey in general). The lack of respect a lot of “progressive” types have for monogamy is pretty baffling to me, because it seems fairly obvious that people are wired in all sorts of ways re: partnering/fucking, and “just one” is one of those settings, right alongside all those fancy numbers that put the poly in polynomial.

        And I swear to fuck nothing annoys me like the “I don’t believe in monogamy/polygamy” structure. Always makes me want to go “Well, it believes in you! You can do it!”

        1. Why than you, Mac!

          And what’s kinda funny to me (not funny haha, but you know, funny like how about that funny) is that I can absolutely see both sides of the monogamy non-monogamy thing. I’ve usually been inclined towards towards monogamy and been hurt by a partner lying to me about their respecting our monogamous relationship (not to mention, fuh-reaking the hell out about potential consequences to my health.). But I’ve also been in a place in my life in the past where I was open to non-monogamy and was fine with going with the flow

          So I honestly don’t judge and don’t give any fucks about how others approach monogamy. As long as its mutually agreed upon and mutually respectful, may the force be with you and alla that.

      2. Oh, and I think it’s incredibly disingenuous to ignore the ways in which women here in the U.S. and elsewhere have so little sexual capital or personal agency to use as a place of power from which to negotiate personal relationships. Either they are supposed to remain good girls who don’t do sexy stuff, or they are supposed to be the sexual playthings of men, or they are supposed to give sex to men without getting anything sexually gratifying as a reciprocation of that sexual encounter, and so on.

        Lets not pretend that context is absent when having this discussion.

        1. Yes. I’ve also–not going to say where, but this group is known for it–encountered the phenomena of “mono-poly”–the guy gets to be poly no strings attached, while the girl is confined to monogamy or can only date other guys with the permission of her primary. In some circles, this is sometimes considered a default position, even. I guess if some people want it that way, fine. On the other hand, my “bullshit designed to further disempower women” alarm is ringing wildly.

        2. Miranda, that’s some Class A bullshit right there.

          I don’t necessarily have an issue with polyamory, but here in the good old U.S. that stuff is still too often comes with a heaping side of misogyny to the effect of, men need lots of sexing, because they can’t control their sexual urges and must have an outlet for them, that’s what women are for. And Jesus/John Smith said so, so be a good help meet, woman, and quit your whining.

          I would be totally down with a poly setup that wasn’t informed by or otherwise influenced by the F/LDS nonsense. Hey, it even sounds like it could be fun, given the right set of ground rules and mutual respect. But you know, the Sister Wives are still the prevailing narrative around here, you know? Lets not forget that.

        3. Miranda
          August 8, 2013 at 11:35 am | Permalink
          Yes. I’ve also–not going to say where, but this group is known for it–encountered the phenomena of “mono-poly”–the guy gets to be poly no strings attached, while the girl is confined to monogamy or can only date other guys with the permission of her primary.

          What Mac said (complete with octopus!) 🙁

          Can definitely go the other way though (with some of the same patriarchal bullshit supporting it as the stronger support of male-poly/female-mono): when I was quite young I saw a documentary on polyamory that despite my inexperience struck me as bullshit because there were exactly zero happy couples (all straight, all one person pushing the other into it).

          But anyway, what I always remember is this young woman being all effusive while her male partner said he was happy because she was happy, but just looked like he was in the ongoing process of having his heart ripped out of his chest. I couldn’t understand how she could tell herself he was happy with this? Makes me sad to remember.

          Of course, my first sexual relationship I was all “let’s be open!” and my male partner wouldn’t admit to not being OK with it until someone pointed out that he looked unhappy and I really pushed him on it. I’d like to think I get a pass on being 16 and him being a better faker. :/

  20. So, who wins the prize for Douchecanoe Who Doesn’t Give A Shit Whether They Hurt Innocent Third Parties here – A4 or Barnacle Strumpet? Seems to be a tie at the moment.

    Trotting out “but misogyny!!!eleventy!!1” in defence of adulterous relationships doesn’t cut it. You know someone’s in a monogamous relationship – and ffs, that’s the base assumption with marriage, whether it has the piece of paper or not – you DON’T GO THERE. What part of “do not enable cheaters” is so hard to understand?

    1. I honestly don’t think Barnacle Strumpet “doesn’t give a shit”. I don’t agree with them on certain aspects, but I don’t think that they are arguing from a place devoid of empathy, and only caring about getting off.

    2. I’ve already said I would almost never* keep an extramarital relationship a secret from someone’s spouse.

      That does not mean I feel like I am entitled to judge other people’s consensual relationships. And I don’t think I ever brought up misogyny. It’s been a long thread though, who knows.

      (*There are cases of extenuating circumstances, and of spouses who really do not want to know, or ever meet the other person, but are okay with their spouse having sex with other people. )

      1. A4 was on about misogyny, but your indifference to the effect you would have on the other person’s partner in this hypothetical affair is assholish. Doesn’t matter if you keep it a secret or not, it’s adultery and unless that person – the partner – was already happy to be in an open relationship, it’s wrong (assuming we’re not talking about abusive situations, which I am not).

        The woman who my cheating father cheated with didn’t give a flying fuck about the effect of her actions – yes, hers, as well as his – on my mother, and on the rest of the family. I’m not sorry he left, but don’t, don’t, talk as if such actions are all fucking morally neutral and no harm, no foul.

    3. Let’s not do this, please. That I disagree with people on this thread doesn’t mean they’re assholes. A4 has already been piled on this week.

      1. That I disagree with people on this thread doesn’t mean they’re assholes.

        Well, judging by A4’s comment immediately below yours, I don’t think it’s a case of thinking people are assholes for disagreeing as much as disagreeing with assholes.

    4. the head of a giraffe against a bright blue sky: its mouth is pursed sidewaysh My Gd, rlly.

      Ktth, tll s mr bt yr 400 yr ld dd hsbnd wh y hv sx wth n Sprt. Pls. D y wrry tht h mght cht n y wth smn ls wh fnds hs prtrt n hstry bk?

      [This comment has been disemvoweled by the moderator team]

      1. A4, you are nothing but a narcissist. Everything you have said is self-serving. You respect no person’s opinion except your own, and you have absolutely no human empathy.

        1. Sorry if this is out of line, but I don’t think anything but the full phrase triggers mod attention, so, on behalf of Xtina:

          We need a giraffe here.

          [Thank you for sending a giraffe alert]

      2. So Kitteh insulted you, and now you insulted her again (for the second time, in that particular way). Great. So you’re ahead now? Except her insults were based on things you said in this thread, whereas yours are personal attacks on aspects of her private life which she didn’t bring up on this thread, and which are none of your business anyway.

        Can’t you see the difference?

        I didn’t say anything the first time, but now that you’ve done it again, I have to say that that was really disproportionate and entirely unnecessary. Come on. Nobody likes to be ganged up on, and I’m sure you see it that way, but where do you think this is going to get you? Your bad habit of “going nuclear” has gotten you banned once before, and close to that a second time. Is that what you want?

        1. “going nuclear” is pretty insensitive to people who were victims of actual decisions to go nuclear, and should not be appropriated by you for lecturey purposes.

        2. The war on metaphor continues!

          Raining cats and dogs is insensitive to actual cats and dogs which have fallen from high places.

    5. Kitteh – if someone is married but is looking to shag someone else, can that person truly be considered monogamous? I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a third party to think not.

      I also didn’t get the idea that A4 or Barnacle were themselves insensitive to other people’s feelings (including the spouse who is being cheated on).

      I think the main thing they are railing against is the judgment of the third party by other people (4th parties!) rather than judgment by the spouse who is being cheated on. Though they also consider the third party to have no ethical obligation to consider any contract between the spouse and the cheater, they express a preference for the cheater being open with the spouse.

      Alexandra is the only person in this thread to have admitted to being the third party, and her subsequent discomfort (regret?) is one possible outcome. She might also have been indifferent to what she did. Are you saying that she should be shamed into feeling unethical for enabling her married partner to violate his agreement with his spouse? It turns out she did feel bad, so her ethics happen to coincide with the prevalent view in our society, but I’m not sure I disagree with A4’s perspective that it really didn’t have to turn out that way.

      1. I think the main thing they are railing against is the judgment of the third party by other people (4th parties!) rather than judgment by the spouse who is being cheated on. Though they also consider the third party to have no ethical obligation to consider any contract between the spouse and the cheater, they express a preference for the cheater being open with the spouse.

        ding ding ding ding ding

      2. Kitteh – if someone is married but is looking to shag someone else, can that person truly be considered monogamous? I don’t think it’s unreasonable for a third party to think not

        Without getting into the meat of this discussion, may I say here that this is the problem with not defining terms explicitly? There is social monogamy, there is sexual monogamy, there are very many variations between and around these. If one partner in a married couple has sex with a person to whom they are not married one time and one time only, is that partner now and forevermore non-monogamous, or is that partner basically monogamous with one slip-up? Do the words of the marriage contract matter, or is marriage assumed to be a sexually monogamous relationship unless otherwise specified?

      3. I do. If they’re married or otherwise in a partnership where monogamy is the understanding (or rather, an open relationshipl has not been agreed to), then looking elsewhere is cheating. I’d also think someone that person approaches for sex/an affair would be naive, or wilfully blind, to see it as if the partnered-but-cheating person were really a free agent. I’m not having a go at them in this sense, I’m saying they’re being deceived or playing a part in deceit. A friend of mine years ago had a relationship with a man who claimed he was divorced. He wasn’t, and she found out when his wife rang her. (My friend ended the relationship with Mr Lying Adulterer.)

        My take’s basically that unless you know from BOTH parties that they’re in an open relationship, you don’t go there.

        Dunno if we’re allowed to mention things post-giraffe [only if you can move things back on topic and de-escalate stoush/derailing that has already been giraffed ~ mods].

  21. I will say this, as someone who was once in a relationship with a married person who was still living with their spouse: sometimes, the “third party” only becomes so because the married person assures them — swears up and down, in fact, and continues to do so throughout the relationship — that the marriage is “over” in all but name, they haven’t had sex in years, and the spouse has had their own relationships on the side, and they’re not yet separated or divorced for practical reasons (children, finances), and still sleep in the same bed because where else are they going to sleep, and besides it’s a big bed, and let’s keep this all a secret, OK?

    And as absurd as all that may seem, and despite the fact that not one person I told about the situation thought I was being told the truth, I still kind of believe it. You had to be there. And besides, the person’s spouse did end up moving out — immediately before the person broke up with me, ironically enought, so we never did have a “public” relationship.

    And no, I never thought for a minute that it was my responsibility to check with the person’s spouse (who really was kind of an asshole) to make sure that any of this was true.

    1. And with that, I think I’m going to bow out of this discussion, not that I’ve played a part in it until now. What a truly unpleasant thread this has been to read. And it’s not entirely any one person’s fault.

  22. I am reminded of the whole “freedom of speech” issue, wherein you have the freedom to say what you want, but you still have to deal with the consequences of what you said.

    Call this issue “freedom of action”. Yes, you are free to do whatever you want (which in this case is carry on an affair with a married person) however just because you can do something does not mean you get to do so without any consequences whatsoever. You need to own your actions, and part of owning your actions is accepting the consequences of your actions (which in this case might be judgement from 3rd and 4th parties, social shunning, etc). And arguing that it should be otherwise seems pretty disingenuous.

  23. Do prostitutes have a moral obligation not to provide their services to people they know are married? Seems like it would cut into to their livelihood quite a bit. What about prostitutes who could still easily support themselves without married clients but could make significantly more money if they also serviced married clients? Is someone who is engaging in sex for money more or less obligated to turn down a married person than someone who is engaging in sex for sex? If you think they are less obligated, why is money considered a good reason to behave in that manner and sexual pleasure is not?

    If a woman who is not an Orthodox Jew sits down next to a man who is an Orthodox Jew on a bus knowing their morals preclude non-related and non-married men and women fraternizing, that the entire community he is from will be outraged and knowing that his wife will feel significant anger and hurt, does she have the obligation to move to the back of the bus? It won’t kill her to move to the back of the bus, it isn’t a huge sacrifice, it is something easily done. Since Orthodox Jews feel very strongly about keeping men and women away from each other, is it her obligation to help them uphold their values? She does not share them, but she is fully aware of them. Would you place any blame on her or consider her an asshole if she did not move to the back of the bus? What if Orthodox Jews were a majority of the population? In that case, should women move to the back of the bus?

  24. Cheating situations, to me, generally fall into the Complicated and Uncomplicated category. I don’t think either category is something to justify – it’s just that shit happens every once in a while. As I mentioned on a different thread, some cheating situations can occur when people have been through trauma and aren’t coping with it very well.

    Sometimes, in a relationship, feelings of resentment and abandonment can just overwhelm a person – it happened to a friend of mine after her father died from a horrible illness. She cheated on her husband because she felt that he hadn’t been there for her emotionally (and he did later admit that she was right), and she was just this total mess, angry and in pain, and making impulsive decisions. Obviously, the cheating didn’t solve anything, but whatever. I’m not going to say her actions were OK, but I will say that whole thing was complicated as hell.

    Sydney Leathers’ situation strikes me as pretty uncomplicated. She very obviously became the Other Woman for the fame and couldn’t care less about who she ended up hurting as the result. I would warn her that what goes around comes around – i.e., when you’re all about using people, people will also end up using you – but I don’t think she’s at that point in her life when a warning like that would even register.

    It’s interesting to me, though, how a person’s self-professed lack of belief in monogamy can be used to justify betrayal. When I was younger, there was once a man in my life who cheated on his pregnant wife with me, lying to both of us, and then said, “But I don’t believe in monogamy!!!” – when I confronted him about it.

    “Monogamy is just the standard! It’s what women expect! It’s what she expects!” He said. “And I sincerely hope she cheats on me too! I mean, we all have our secrets, right?”

    He’s not a good person, I have no doubts about that (I used to! When I first started finding out about his deceptions, I went into full-on denial mode!). I think people like him enjoy cheating – it’s all about the thrill of it, the notion of being the Bad Boy – and having a clueless, devoted partner at home is part of the package. I think he would, actually, be extremely upset if the tables were turned – because it would mean that he is not the one in control.

    But the entire scenario also made me think about how many people simply take the path of least resistance – i.e., it’s easier for them to simply pretend to be monogamous for as long as they’re not found out, as opposed to negotiating a different arrangement from the outset.

    I think our society is stuck on the idea that True Love is something out of a greeting card or a bad Katherine Heigl movie – there’s fireworks and roses and you will never, EVER agree to see other people every once in a while, or whatever, because only sluts do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It’s why you won’t be seeing a politician and their spouse going, “Yeah, we have an open marriage. So what?”

    Obviously, in saying all of this, I in no way want to minimize what Anthony Weiner did to his family. Or to minimize cheating in general.

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