The State of Affairs: Explorations in Infidelity and Commitment

The State of Affairs: Explorations in Infidelity and Commitment

The State of Affairs: Explorations in Infidelity and Commitment

The State of Affairs: Explorations in Infidelity and Commitment

Synopsis

The State of Affairs brings together contributions on the study of sexual affairs in committed personal relationships. Based on a range of survey data, the chapters discuss the impacts of affairs on individuals, partners and other members of the family unit.

Excerpt

This book addresses a curious paradox. Affairs are a pivotal theme in literature and soap opera, and a major focus of gossip among the public and the press. The incidence of affairs is said to be increasing, with behavior by men and women converging. Yet the scholarly investigation of affairs has not been given the same centrality that many people accord them in their personal lives. In an attempt to open up this field for academic discussion and research, the contributors in this book explore “the state of affairs” from a range of perspectives which are both international and multidisciplinary.

The relative neglect of affairs by academics is all the more strange because (as our contributors point out) the various phenomena and practices associated with affairs are of major significance for our understanding of basic social institutions like marriage. It is no accident that even in more sexually permissive times affairs should still attract disapproval and gossip. The constant fascination of full-blown affairs lies in their associations of illicit passion, risk, and the betrayal of trust. Affairs offer opportunities for individuals to explore new sexual and emotional experiences outside the normal routines of marriage and family life—yet at the same time affairs involve danger, and are a threat to the stability of personal relationships and the wider social order.

Surprisingly, the current decline in the popularity of marriage has not drained affairs—or adultery, or infidelity, or extra-marital sex, (the terms carry different meanings and emotional overtones)—of their significance and interest. This is because, as the contributors describe, the meanings of fidelity and betrayal no longer belong exclusively to marriage. They have . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.