Recently Oscar nominated actress Mo’Nique set off alarm bells when she admitted that her husband Sid can have sex outside of their relationship in this year’s 29th – and final – Barbara Walters Oscar special.
“Could Sid have sex outside of his marriage with me? Yes. That’s not a deal-breaker. That’s not something that would make us say, ‘Pack your things and let’s end the marriage,” said the Precious star.
Is this the sign of a closet freak finally coming out? Or is this the new paradigm of relationships in the new millennium?
The old paradigm was that infidelity could destroy families, crush spirits and cause deep emotional distress.
However, is sex outside of a relationship really that drastic?
The answer to that question varies based on several factors; such as ones religious beliefs, personal and emotional security, level of tolerance and openness; the sexual prowess of both partners and the strength of the friendship undergirding the relationship.
Here are some interesting results from a recent AP poll on relationships:
• 32 % of married men have strayed at least once during their married lives.
• 24 % of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives.
• 80 % of married women and 64% of married men did not know of their spouses’ extramarital activity.
• 70 % of Americans believe adultery is morally wrong.
• 37 % of divorces in the United States are caused by infidelity.
Source: Associated Press
What is infidelity?
Infidelity is a pattern of behavior that seeks self-satisfaction at the expense of commitment to another. It strikes at the core defining characteristics of committed relationships. However, does this textbook definition apply if one partner engages in behavior that is accepted by the other?
Experts say that the main reason people seek sex outside of their relationship is because there’s an emotional disconnect or the couple’s sex life isn’t satisfying to them.
This may be true of some people. However, is it possible that one partner simply wants more excitement, needs an ego boost, or just feels entitled to have more than one sexual partner?
Casual vs. Long-Term
There are obvious differences between the nature of sexual encounters outside of one’s relationship. If it’s just casual sex then the emotional ties are limited and the relationship risks are minimal. On the other hand, if the sex is part of a long-term affair, than it’s more likely to cause damage or significant complications to the relationship.
In Mo’Nique’s case she was referring to casual consensual sex with no emotional attachment. Some may argue that she has opened up her relationship to every “gold digging”, “groupie” type “hoochie” seeking to sleep with her man and gain access to her fame and fortune. Although this may be true, it is possible that Mo’Nique has evolved to a deeper truth which is that the security and strength of her relationship trumps all. She understands that sexual exploration is an ongoing journey and does not cease at marriage, but instead gains a partner for the ride.
Over the last week, the media has challenged, supported and/ or analyzed Mo’Nique’s comments for their deeper meaning. Many people have expressed their opinions on this issue and that’s a good thing. This should be a private AND public debate given its impact on individual relationships and society as a whole.
The most important thing is that Mo’Nique should not be judged for her honesty. For in her brief words she was sharing something very profound about relationships in general. Sex is not the sum total of a committed relationship. It is only a beautiful and exciting part of it. However, there are much more important elements in relationships that should take precedence like, honesty, communication, respect, support and friendship. The fact that one partner is honest about occasional sexual urges outside of the relationship may be an issue to explore together. If you as a couple decide to allow for frequent approved indiscretions, than that’s a personal choice.
In the end, is it really that bad?