We are designed by evolution to be titillated by erotic novelty, males and females.Given that evolutionary design, it’s completely predictable that 10 years of the same thing,whether it’s the same music or the same food or the same sex partner, is going tolead to resentment, discomfort, whatever. It\’92s going to lead to a diminishment ofpassion, certainly. So we start with that
and then we add to that the notion that we’retaught that that shouldn’t happen, that if it does happen there’s something wrongwith you or something wrong with your relationship.\’a0 And so people aren’t expecting that tohappen, and so they interpret that diminishment of passion as a failure. The point that we’re trying to get across in the book is that it’s not your fault. It’s not your partner’s fault. It’s the fault of the clash between the sort ofanimal we are and the sort of society we’ve designed. And as long as there’s thatconflict between our biology and our societies,
there are going to be these problems. So a harm reduction approach might make a lot more sense than this sort of absolutistapproach that a lot of people take where any infidelity, any, you know, my husband looksat porn, that means he doesn’t love me anymore. I mean, these sorts of responsesto very natural behaviors cause a lot more problems than they solve, I think. I think if marriage is going to survive as an institution, it’s going to certainlyhave to continue adapting to the realities of human nature as opposed to trying to shoehornhuman nature into some predetermined shape.
The point of marriage is that you want toget old with someone. You want to share your life with someone. Maybe you wantto raise children with someone. You want to have a certain stability and trust thatyou couldn’t possibly get with shortterm relationships. That’s the point ofmarriage. And by imposing this expectation of sexual exclusivity for 40, 50, 60 years,we’re cutting ourselves off from those really important things for something that’sessentially trivial. Sex really isn’t really that important. It’s not thatbig a deal. And by making it such a big deal, we sabotage things that really are important,these primary relationships.\’a0 We have children
going through divorces, victimized by thepsychological trauma of divorce, over what? Over what? That mommy or daddy had sexwith someone else? Who cares? The problem is, much like the war on drugs,the problem is that we take this absolutist approach to something that people are alwaysgoing to do. People are always going to smoke marijuana. People are always goingto drink alcohol and coffee and whatever. But we make these arbitrary judgments on what’sacceptable and what isn\’92t, that have nothing to do with the actual harm that anything ofthese things could cause to people. So
we throw people in prison for, you know, growinga marijuana plant on their windowsill. It makes no sense; it causes much more harmthan just letting people do what they want to do. And really, whose business is it if a coupledecides that they’re going to, you know, allow a little casual sexual behavior on theside, especially if, as Dan Savage argues, and I agree, it takes the pressure off therelationship. If the door’s open a little bit, you don’t feel trapped. It doesn’t mean the door has to be swung wide open, but, you know, the fact that it’sopen a little bit doesn’t mean that the