Breaching capitalism’s Infidelity taboo — “Cheating”, morality issues, deception, cuckolds, and cuckqueans

[This entry was initially posted to the original Red Keyhole blog on 24 May 2011.]

As this blog has repeatedly emphasized, “cheating” (i.e., breaching the taboo against infidelity) is undoubtedly one of the most common forms of alternative sexual behavior in modern society – and it often represents an important avenue for women in somewhat constrained relationships to achievement greater sexual fulfillment.

The following information, posted here for its educational value, has been excerpted from an entry on Infidelity in Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia (updated on 21 February 2011).

It’s important to note that the Wikipedia definition of infidelity is significantly broader than that of Red Keyhole; thus, Wikipedia includes as “cheating” actions that “are not technically sexual in nature (for example, a man being emotionally intimate with a woman who is not his girlfriend, or French-kissing her).” Leaving aside the French-kissing part, one might legitimately question whether this inclusion of “emotional intimacy” would mean that a person would therefore be “cheating” with one’s psychotherapist…?

Also worth questioning in this Wikipedia “overview” is its seemingly overzealous moralizing about “infidelity” – for instance, the warning that
breach of a monogamous commitment “induces emotional pain and problems in the relationship.” Well, yeah … but only if you get caught (so Red Keyhole and many other online Web resources try to provide lots of tips and guidelines to help keep “cheating” discreet, private, and undetected).

The moralizing continues in the admonitions:

Emotional infidelity, as compared to physical infidelity, can inflict as much, if not more, hurt, pain and suffering. To make matters worse, most infidelity involves both physical and emotional betrayal.

Again, it’s clear that “cheating” means taking some risk, the emotional betrayal in particularly can indeed be painful – but only if it’s discovered. As Red Keyhole has argued…

While “infidelity” involves deception (and certainly, honesty is to be desired), … given the realities of today’s society and cultural norms, some people (especially women) must resort to deception, mainly out of desperation – one must keep in mind that issues such as access to and custody of children, financial security, etc. are involved. As this blog has noted, “Realistically, in probably the vast majority of situations, even just suggesting an “open relationship”, polyamory, swinging, or any such behavior would trigger Armageddon for your relationship and change your life as you have known it.”

And why would “emotional infidelity” (which, the article already has hinted, includes some kind of “emotional” – but not sexual – intimacy) inflict possibly more “hurt, pain and suffering” than actual “physical infidelity”?

For many women that are married or in "committed" relationships, "cheating" can be a means to access greater sexual fulfillment – even if that means "betraying" their spouse or boyfriend.

Despite the questions, the Wikipedia overview provides useful information and lays out many of the issues of the Infidelity taboo that provide a good basis for further exploration and discussion. The excerpts, slightly edited to improve orthography and readability, are posted below.

Infidelity

Infidelity (colloquially known as cheating) is a violation of the mutually agreed-upon rules or boundaries of an intimate relationship.

What constitutes a significant-enough breach of such a relationship to be considered infidelity or cheating depends on the nature of the relationship, e.g., whether the relationship is or has been understood by the partners to be monogamous or, by contrast, whether the relationship is defined as open, in which case the question of the person having “cheated” may be open to dispute between the partners.

In general, though, by default, most committed relationships involving sex, that have not involved discussion of the permissibility of other partners, are automatically assumed monogamous, and breach of that commitment induces emotional pain and problems in the relationship.

“Cheating” is generally understood to be a blatant violation of the implicit good faith contract of a typical sexually-intimate relationship, a betrayal of core shared values with which the integrity and nature of the relationship is defined, sometimes even if the actions undertaken while “cheating” are not technically sexual in nature (for example, a man being emotionally intimate with a woman who is not his girlfriend, or French-kissing her).

There are two areas in a close relationship where infidelity mostly occurs: physical intimacy and emotional intimacy. In sexual infidelity, the impact is said to be not only about sex outside the relationship, but also about trust, betrayal, lying and disloyalty.[1] What makes infidelity so painful is the fact that it involves someone deliberately using deception to violate established expectations within a relationship.

Sexual infidelity refers to sexual activity with someone other than the partner to which one is committed. Sexual infidelity in marriage is called adultery, philandery, or an affair, while in other interpersonal relationships it may be called “cheating”. A man whose wife has committed adultery is referred to as a cuckold, while a woman whose husband has cheated on her is known as a cuckquean.

What constitutes an act of infidelity varies between and within cultures and depends on the type of relationship that exists between people. Even within an open relationship, infidelity may arise if a partner in the relationship acts outside of the understood boundaries of that relationship.

Emotional infidelity is emotional involvement with another person, a process which leads one’s partner to channel emotional resources, such as romantic love, time, and attention, to someone else.[2] With the association of multi-user dimensions the level of intimate involvement has extended from in-person involvement to online affairs. Emotional infidelity, as compared to physical infidelity, can inflict as much, if not more, hurt, pain and suffering. To make matters worse, most infidelity involves both physical and emotional betrayal. [3]

References

1. Jayson, Sharon (2008-11-17). “Getting reliable data on infidelity isn’t easy”, USA Today. Retrieved 2009-10-19.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2008-11-16-infidelity-research_N.htm

2. Close encounters: Communication in relationships. Guerrero, L.K., Anderson, P.A., & Afifi, W.A. (2007).Sage Publications.

3. Truth About Deception
http://www.truthaboutdeception.com/quizzes/public/infidelity_statistics.html