Relationship problems come in many forms, but one of the most ubiquitous is in the form of infidelity. An affair is a fling – sexual or emotional – with any person outside of the marriage, and we regularly hear statistics like “half of all people in a relationship have cheated” that make it seem like the problem is everywhere. However, according to research, there is infidelity in only up to 25 percent of committed relationships, but it’s much less likely to have happened in the previous year. The figure is still pretty high, and it raises many questions about the nature of human sexuality, and whether it’s really worth risking a long-term relationship by engaging in an affair.
Are Humans Supposed to Be Monogamous?
The question that’s really at the heart of this issue is whether monogamy is something we’re supposed to do as a species or whether it’s merely a sociological invention. Some psychologists like Dr. Himanshu Saxena argue that men are, by nature, polygamous, like more than 95 percent of other mammals. However, there is an important distinction to be drawn between social monogamy and sexual monogamy. Sexually monogamous animals have sex with only one partner (geese, for example, don’t mate with another partner even if their chosen one dies), whereas social monogamy only requires a bond (to raise offspring), with sexual flings still being acceptable. Under this definition, a man or woman who has an affair but returns home to fulfill familial duties is still monogamous, but only socially. (more…)