What Price Camelot?


What Price Camelot?

Modern Day Myths of Infidelity

By Frank Pittman

May/June 1989


What is infidelity? This question of just what is an infidelity, and what isn't, is a surprisingly touchy one, as I discover each time I talk to either professional or nonprofessional audiences. I try to define infidelity, and describe it as best I can, and somebody will invariably come up to me anxiously and sheepishly and tell me about some experience, and ask for reassurance that this act was not an infidelity. Sometimes a bright-eyed couple seem to be asking me for my forgiveness, with the question "Was what we did all right?" or "Does so and so count?"

Then others will take issue with me, pointing out that I had no business disapproving of whatever their activity, since it was quite natural for them, and they felt no guilt about it at all. Furthermore, I was being just like their former marriage partner in trying to impose my screwed-up values on an otherwise perfectly satisfactory life.

After that I have a hard time explaining that I have not been granted whatever power it would take for me to go around approving or disapproving, forgiving or condemning other people's behavior. And I tell them that whatever I say is not said from a religious or legal posture. In fact, I firmly believe that religion's involvement in people's sexual behavior is likely to make things more difficult for everybody. It is hard enough for people to keep the faith in a marriage, without having to concern themselves with all sorts of rules from above, below, and aside. So I keep…

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