Last Update: 18 Mar 00

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(R) I have read your essay on Adultery and would agree with you for the most part. I have been involved on all sides of the Adultery fence and would agree that it is a strictly moral and not a legal issue.
(MB) I think that most people would agree with that -- at least in private -- since most studies have indicated that upwards of 70% of married people have had at least one extramarital affair.

(R) I also think that it is possible for a spouse to be considered adulterous for having a relationship outside their marriage that may or may not be of a sexual nature.
(MB) Agreed. It's hard for most people to conceive of any extramarital relationship that does not include sex. Yet, it certainly happens quite often. Being married to one person does not mean that one must forsake all good friendships with everybody else.

(R) By far the most hurtfull thing for the "victimized spouse" to deal with is the fact there has been an emotional involvement and not the sexual one. It is one thing for someone to seek sex outside their marriage because they have physical needs that they feel compelled to fulfill it is an entirely different thing for a person to seek to have their emotional needs fulfilled elsewhere.
(MB) Quite true. Both cases indicate that the marital relationship is lacking in one or more vital qualities. To my way of thinking, marriage is an implied contract where the partners agree to fulfill each other's needs in return for fidelity and exclusivity. If that fulfillment is not happening -- especially if something is being voluntarily withheld -- the contract could well be considered to have been breached.

(R) I believe that it is possible to have an other sex partner for whatever reason and have no emotional meaning in the relationship...The problem is of course that although things may initially be of a sexual nature they often develop into an emotional one.
(MB) That's how many relationships develop into marriages, too. Unfortunately, relationships based primarily on sex are the ones which are most likely doomed to eventual failure when the initial fire dies away and there's little or nothing else on which to maintain that relationship.

(R) I think people place too much importance on sex. After all it is just a thing that we do to make ourselves feel eating a chocolate bar or having a laugh at our favorite sitcom. Why do we get all bent out of shape about sex??
(MB) Sex is among the most basic of human instincts and needs. Combine that with the artificial moralities of social and religious beliefs which often put a stranglehold on those instincts and you have a recipe for stress and conflict. If society ever progresses to the point where sex is not a stigmatizing subject, we'll likely see a rapid decline in the number of problems currently associated with it.

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