1. Who has affairs?
2. Why do people have affairs?
3. How prevalent are affairs?
4. Is monogamy "natural?"
5. How can affairs be prevented?
So, Who Has Affairs?
People think that only bad people have affairs or only people that have bad relationships. But in reality no one is immune from an affair. Monogamy is something most people believe in and want for themselves. According to Emily Brown every survey ever done on this question shows a high percentage of people think monogamy is important to marriage and that affairs are wrong. The belief that monogamy is ideal doesn't prevent large numbers of people from having extramarital affairs. Most people don't intend to have an affair and most people don't think it will happen to them—but it does. So, Why Do People Have Affairs?
The first question most people ask is Why? And the answers they come up with are usually based on personal blame. They blame themselves, their partner, their relationship, or the third party. They see it as a personal problem, a personal failure of the people involved. This is a very simple explanation for a very complex question. According to Peggy Vaughan, author of "The Monogamy Myth," there are three different kinds of forces that are working together: Forces within the individual that pull them toward affairs AND Forces within the individual that push them toward affairs Societal factors Forces within the individual that pull them toward affairs:
Attraction: sex, companionship, admiration, power, Novelty, Excitement, risk, or challenge ,Curiosity Enhanced self-image, Falling in love, Forces within the individual that push them toward affairs:
Desire to escape or find relief from a painful relationship, Boredom, Desire to fill gaps in an existing relationship, Desire to punish one's partner, Need to prove one's attractiveness or worth, Desire for attention Societal factors
Affairs are glamorized in movies, soap operas, romance novels, and TV shows of all kinds. Public disclosure of public figures having affairs is headline news because we are fascinated and titillated by hearing of others' affairs. People are bombarded with images of women as sex objects in advertising and marketing campaigns. Over and over, the message to men is that the good life includes a parade of sexy women in their lives. Women inadvertently buy into this image and strive to achieve it. The lack of good sex education and the existence of sexual taboos combine to make it difficult for most partners to talk honestly about sex. As teenagers we get conditioned in deception when it comes to sex—engaging in sexual activity while hiding it from our parents. The code of secrecy is a major factor in affairs because it provides protection for the person having affairs and leads them to believe they won't get caught. Bottom Line: There is no ONE single reason a person has an affair. There are usuallymany reasons, including some of the forces that pull them toward affairs and some of the forces that push them toward affairs, combined with the influence of the general factors in society that contribute to affairs.
3. How Prevalent are Affairs?
Conservative estimates are that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair. These figures are even more significant when we consider the total number of marriages involved—since it's unlikely that all the men and women having affairs happen to be married to each other. If even half of the women having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the 60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages. But we need to take a closer look at the statistics on affairs to determine...