Table of contents:
- Definition of infidelity. Should chatter be considered treason?
- Who draws the line?
- Is virtual sex real?
Video: Esther Perel. Right To Left. Part 2 - Relationships, Reviews, Sex
- Right to left. Why people cheat and can cheating be avoided
- Esther Perel
- Moscow. Bombora, 2018
We publish excerpts from the book by Esther Perel
See also: Esther Perel. Right to left. Part 1
How did the internet and smartphones affect our attitude towards cheating? Practicing psychotherapist Estelle Perel reflects on this in her new book
Esther Perel is a practicing psychotherapist, world renowned specialist in matters of love and family life. More than 18 million people have watched her TED talks.
Definition of infidelity. Should chatter be considered treason?
Everyone wants to know: "What percentage of people are cheating?" It's not easy to answer this, because first you need to deal with another question: "What is treason?"
The definition of infidelity is extremely vague, and in the digital age, the number of potentially criminal connections is growing by leaps and bounds.
Should chatter be considered treason? What about texting sexually, watching porn movies, joining a fetish community, secret dating apps, paying for sex, lap dancing, happy ending massages, girl-girl romance, keeping in touch with exes?
Since there is no universally accepted definition of infidelity, estimates of the amount of cheating vary significantly. But whatever the exact numbers, everyone agrees that they are growing. And many point out that women are responsible for this growth, quickly closing the "infidelity gap."
According to research, the rate of female infidelity has jumped 40 percent since 1990, while the rate of male cheating has remained unchanged
Gathering data is complicated by a simple fact: when it comes to sex, people lie, especially when sex is taboo. Gender stereotypes are alive even under the guise of anonymity.
Men tend to boast and overestimate their sexual victories, while women tend to underestimate or deny sexual contacts altogether (which is not surprising given that nine countries around the world still carry the death penalty for female adultery).
Sexual honesty is inseparable from sexual politics. Moreover, we are all walking contradictions.
While most people argue that it would be terrible if their partner lied about cheating, at the same time, they would do just that if they cheated
The number of positive answers to the interesting question "Would you change if you knew for sure that you would never be caught?" and goes off scale at all.
But no statistics, no matter how accurate, can give us a true understanding of infidelity today.
"In the past twelve months, have you entered into a relationship with someone who is not your regular partner?" If the definition of infidelity were as simple as answering yes or no to this question, my job would be much easier
In this digital age, the possibilities for flirting are endless. Today, many have a smartphone, which means, as comedian Aziz Ansari put it, "you carry a 24-hour singles bar in your pocket."
The Internet is a great democratizer. It gives equal access to all our forbidden desires. You no longer need to leave home to cheat on your spouse. You can have an affair lying in bed next to your partner
The Internet has made sex "available, cheap and anonymous," as researcher Al Cooper noted. All of this applies to infidelity. I would even add one more word: undefined.
When the exchange of erotic photos came to the place of kissing; when an hour in a motel room turned into a late night Snapchat conversation; when the secret dinner is replaced by a fake Facebook account, how do we know what counts as cheating?
As a result, the number of clandestine actions is off the charts, and we need to rethink our understanding of infidelity in the digital age
Who draws the line?
The definition of cheating seems both simple and complex. Couples have to set their own boundaries.
When someone confesses, "I had an affair," there is no debate about interpretation. When you catch your partner in bed with someone else or another, find incriminating letters or learn about years of parallel life, everything is also pretty obvious.
But when one partner decides that the behavior of the second can be considered a betrayal, and he replies: “You did not understand everything,” “It didn’t mean anything,” or “This is not treason,” we find ourselves in foggy territory.
Some couples immediately identify their commitments, but most prefer to follow the path of trial and error.
Relationships are a patchwork of unspoken rules and roles that we start trying on on our first date. We outline the rough boundaries, decide what is allowed and what is not. Where am I, where are you, where are we
Can we play alone or should we do everything together? Are we pooling finance? Are we expected to attend all family events?
We value our friendships and decide how important they are now that we have found each other. We sort out former lovers - are we talking about them? Do we store their photos on our phones? Do we leave as friends on Facebook?
When it comes to these external applications, we understand how much we can get away with by looking at the situation through the eyes of a partner.
- "You didn't tell me you still hang out with that college girl!"
- "We've slept ten times already, and you still haven't deleted your Hinge account."
- - "I understand that he is your best friend and you know each other from kindergarten, but does he really need to tell everything about us?"
This is how we define boundaries and enter into an implied agreement. Most often, the versions of each of the partners will differ significantly.
Is virtual sex real?
Cyberspace adds a lot of nuance. Looking at your naked ass on the screen, are you simply immersed in the temple of your imagination, or are you stepping into dangerous territory of betrayal?
For many people, the Rubicon intersects when interaction occurs - when a porn star becomes a live woman in front of a webcam, and erotic messages are not uploaded to an anonymous Tumblr account, but come to her phone from a real guy.
What about virtual reality? Consider it real or imaginary? These are important questions to which we, as a culture, cannot provide definite answers
The philosopher Aaron Ben-Zeev has reasonably argued: "The transition from passive imaginary reality to interactive virtual reality in cyberspace is much more radical than the transition from photography to cinema."