In his article "Fair affair?" Cohen discusses the morality of having an affair. The scenario presented, however, differs from most, because the woman's husband suffers from a disease that prevents him from having intercourse. The woman's concern, though, is not based around hurting her husband. She states, "I'm sure I can keep this [extramarital] relationship secret, so my husband will not get hurt. My devout Catholicism forbids such an affair, but does secular ethics?" Her dilemma at hand involves her need to be satisfied sexually without breaking loose from a relationship that is otherwise happy. Is this an ethical thing to do? In the eyes of the woman's religion perhaps not, but Cohen puts a spin on things through the eyes of secular ethics. "The Ethicist" suggests that maybe the husband has "tacitly acquiesced" to her starting an affair, and that it would not be so hard to hide it from him. Through innocent, though possibly accurate, assumptions he implies to her that it would not be morally wrong to continue such a relationship, based on modern secular ethics.
I personally agree with Cohen's advice to the woman. The woman and her husband married based on reasons, hopefully, other than sex. In a counterpoint, in Chapter 3: Sexual Morality, towards "Sexual Libertarianism undermines marriage" there is a valid point to take into consideration: " some marriages actually gain from being open to extramarital