Joined: Sun Feb 16, 2003 7:29 pm
their need for
Adultery is spreading throughout the land
at a very alarming rate. Here are reasons
advanced by some women why they seek
companionship outside of their marriage
FROM the sexy appearance of the woman who came into my office a while back I’d have thought
she’d have to spend most of her time fighting off a savagely desirous husband rather than voicing
the same complaint I’ve been hearing so often lately.
'What’s a wife got to do, doctor?' she asked, after she’d talked a bit about her problem. 'I think
I’ve got what it takes, as far as physical allure is concerned. And besides enjoying sex, I’ve
certainly developed my sexual know-how from reading medical books. And, believe me, I’ve no
inhibitions as far as my husband is concerned. John’s only thirty-four, but except maybe once
every month or six weeks he couldn’t care less about sex, and even then he’s no good.'
Joan, as we’ll call her, certainly had what it takes, because she was the round-hipped, sultry-
mouthed pin-up type men regard as a walking aphrodisiac. She wore a suggestive perfume and
was all feline grace. Quite naturally, since I am a marriage counselor, I asked her if she thought
that her husband still loved her.
'He adores me, doctor! It’s not that. It’s just that he comes home dead beat all the time—
physically, emotionally, and mentally. He has an office job—he’s an advertising man—and he
gets all tensed up about everything except me. A lot of the gals in my neighborhood say the same
thing about their husbands.' She laughed suddenly, but eyed me candidly. 'You know, I think
there should be a law allowing women to have extra-marital relations— to have an outside lover
or two. We certainly aren’t getting treated right at home.'
IT wasn’t the first time I’d heard that startling suggestion lately, and I told her so. She started to
say that she had been kidding, but then realized that she had subconsciously revealed her own
wishful thinking. As we talked over her problem, it was painfully obvious that she loved her
husband, her two children, and her home, but that the lack of a healthy sex life was making a
nervous wreck of her. She needed something her husband couldn’t provide. At thirty, she was at
the age when most women achieve maximum desire, or, as some women explain it, 'feel their
Joan didn’t want a divorce, but what was she to do?
The answer, in theory, was obvious; she should talk things over with her husband quite frankly,
telling exactly how she felt and perhaps win him over to the idea of getting psychiatric help in
ameliorating a condition of sexual co-existence that was frustrating, and nerve-wracking. It’s a
logical answer in theory, but in practice it would be dynamite. Because what American male in
otherwise normal health would admit that he wasn’t 'hell on wheels' in bed? Sex expertness is
their birthright, our men believe, and to doubt it or challenge it would be like waving a red cape in
front of a fiercely proud, albeit sexually weak, bull.
WHEN I mentioned this, and the possibility that she might bring him with her so that we could
discuss the problem candidly, she threw her hands in the air. 'It would knock the props out from
under his ego,' she said. 'The one time I kidded him and said he wasn’t the man he used to be,
he got furious and told me I was over-sexed and depraved. He just said it in self-defense,
because he knows I’m normal. I don’t suggest sex—I leave it to him— though I always try to keep
myself attractive to him. And no matter how unsatisfactory the sex act is for us, I now put on an act—
and I assure you it’s sheer make-believe—that leaves him thinking he’s absolutely the
greatest since Casanova.'
It was an old story to me, for women have been coming to see me in increasing numbers with the
self- same problem. Some of them were looking for moral support—or immoral support—for their
last-resort decisions to engage in extra-marital affairs, as the sociologists would describe it, or
commit adultery, as the church would. Others, like Joan, were wondering if there wasn’t some
kind of sedative they could take to quell the quite natural desires their husbands were unable to
But more and more, as fatigue from terrific business competition, the tensions of a cold-war
world, and high-pressure living conditions beset men, some American wives have convinced
themselves that they need extra-marital relations. It isn’t that the women’s libido has become
exaggerated, but that the tense, fatigued male is only half a man, and quite incapable of
satisfying her physically. If this viewpoint receives support, the time may come when the 'single
standard,' which used to condone male promiscuity, will become woman’s prerogative, and the
husband must stop taking things for granted and begin budgeting his energy and mastering his
technique in order to get back into the competition.
MANY years ago Dr. Margaret Sanger wrote, 'The most far- reaching social development of
modern times is the revolt of woman against sex servitude.' For a couple of thousand years,
ending in the early twentieth century, woman was simply a brood animal for the male populations
of a succession of civilizations. Her function was to have babies and give pleasure to men. She
seldom got any pleasure herself, and a large percentage of women had numerous children and
never even knew what an orgasm was.
'Woman was condemned,' Dr. Sanger wrote, 'to a system under which the lawful rapes exceed
the unlawful ones a million to one.' In bed a wife was a sex object to be employed for generating
the husband’s sex gratification; she wasn’t supposed to enjoy herself. If she did have fun, her
husband eyed her askance. With marriage, she endowed her husband with the legal right to rape
her at any time.
Then things changed after World War I and women got to reading Havelock Ellis, Freud, Bertrand
Russell, and some of the more uninhibited novelists. The Jazz Age, the Roaring Twenties,
followed, and when their skirts went up women’s morals dropped a few notches. The automobile,
which took courting off the front porch and out of the parlor into the rumble seat, made women
even more adventurous sexually.
'Courting' became an expression used by squares, and 'petting' became the vogue.
With their new freedom, girls for the next couple of decades realized through their pre-marital
explorations that sex could be enjoyed. A large percentage of them didn’t 'go all the way,' since
virginity has long been deemed an admirable quality in our religions and our American culture,
but developed techniques that produced satisfying substitutes.
A lot of them found, however, that the psychological factors which made pre-marital sex so
exciting didn’t carry over into marriage. That is, the men who got so excited about the prospect of
'making' a girl before marriage and defying one of society’s taboos, were unable to get excited…
man has doubts about himself, due to unsatisfactory relations with his wife, his ego sends him
trumpeting after some young chick or prostitute. Once he’s had another woman, his doubts about
himself vanish. His ego is intact. The average man, no matter how often he’s been shown up as
inadequate, refuses to blame himself. His ideas about sexual behavior and how to have fun with
sex may have gone out with the bustle, but he’s still sure he’s right.
MARY K., a usually calm and uncomplaining housewife, told me one day that she had to do
something about her sex life or she would go crazy. 'I’m the meek type,' she said, 'and Al is a
blunt, vigorous person that his friends consider ‘a man’s man.’ He’s big, muscular, and keeps
himself fiat-stomached and fit with lots of exercise. He prides himself on his physique—but he
over-rates himself as a lover. He’s lovely to hold my arms around, and he gets me terribly excited.
But every time, he leaves me hanging—unfulfilled.
'Have you ever told him how you feel?'. I asked.
She shook her head slowly. 'Yes, I finally got up enough nerve—and you can imagine his
reaction. Funniest thing he’d heard in a long time.
‘Guess I’m just too much for you,’ he teased, and then when I suggested both of us going to see
you he blew his top and stormed out of the house. When he came back he’d had quite a few
drinks and he picked me up and carried me to the bedroom. He didn’t say anything but I could
imagine him thinking how big and manly he was. He was going to show me.' She sighed. 'He was
like a bull—and twice as clumsy. My lips were swollen and my body bruised. Then, finally, it was
all over. ‘There!’ he said. ‘What do you think of that!’ Honestly, I could have cried. I did, later. I
was still miles away from being satisfied—'her wrought-up condition the advice I gave her was
only palliative. It did her some good to talk things out, and, among other things, I suggested some
books she might bring home to try to get Al to read. I needed, of course, to discuss this with him
to get any real results.
When Mary came back a few weeks later she told me she’d solved her own problem Al had
thumbed through the books, realizing at last she was serious, but his stubborn mind refused to
accept any new ideas. She reported that some of the medico's suggestions Al regarded as bad
One of Al’s friends, who habitually dropped in for a drink a couple of a week, stopped at the
house when Al was out of town for a dinner, staying overnight. The friend, who Mary had long
known had a yen for her, took her to dinner. Afterwards he asked her to his place for a drink and
Mary, for the first time, accepted. The inevitable, since Mary was by now thoroughly desperate,
'It was a revelation to me,' she told me, 'because he was not only gentle, but terribly imaginative. I
found myself following his lead—you know, kind of like in dancing. It was completely satisfying. It
only happened a couple of times more in the next two weeks—and then—it was so strange—
when I was with Al in bed again I realized I could lead him a little—kind of suggest things without
saying them—and for the first time in years everything worked out fine.'
THAT happened here may have saved their marriage; because when her affair was over Mary
quickly solved her marital roadblock. If she had been. a blunt person and derided Al’s sexual
failings, it might have been he who went out and 'two timed.' His need for an affair would have
been a seeking for reassurance; to prove to himself that he was the great sex partner he
imagined himself to be. But his success with an— other woman wouldn’t have helped his and
Mary’s situation; he would merely squander his vitality.
In the book, 'Your Body—How. to Keep It Healthy,' John Tebbell writes: 'It is true . that a woman
who has a full and happy sex life is likely to have an appearance of glowing health, other things
being equal, while the woman who shuts herself up for years… is apt to appear withered on the vine.'
Tebbell’s comparison is one between married women and spinsters, yet considers the
number of married women who are psychically ill, nervous, grouchy, and 'withered'-appearing,
due to endless sexual frustrations. They are unable to get their husbands away from the attitude
of considering them as anything more than junior partners in the sexual relationship, and
therefore not entitled to a full share. These are the women who, when they begin to understand
what they are missing, throw caution to the winds and embrace an extra-marital lover to
experience, or to recall, some of the moments that make life worth living.
IN ancient Greece, in that rich, triumphant, and cultural civilization quite comparable to present-
day America, the Spartan women called the turn on sex. Aristotle says that they ruled their
husbands and owned two-fifths of the land, a fact which strengthens the comparison. Women
today dominate their homes in many ways, but they are still strait-jacketed by outmoded puritan
conventions regarding sexual freedom. The Spartan women had their lovers when their husbands
were away fighting wars; it is considered immoral for our women to engage in such activities even
though their husbands are debilitated by tensions, business worries, and neuroses that make
them more remote sexually than participation in any distant war could.
'I read articles in the women’s magazines,' Janet M. told me, 'written by doctors who advise me to
relax to be happy and healthy. Relax? How can I relax when my husband’s love-making leaves
me thwarted—a jumble of raggedy nerves- I scream and rant and yell at the kids—and
sometimes I think I’ll go out of my mind. I wonder if men realize why some women become such
nags.. Well, I can give them one reason. A real lousy sex-life. A little patience and some artistic
love-making and a lot of manly vigor would solve my problem.' She paused nervously. 'Well, it
isn’t there, so I have to come to you instead. It seems strange to have to ask help from outsiders
for such an intimate problem, but I’m ready to do anything to keep from becoming a nervous,
dried-out shrew of a woman.'
MEN often wonder why their wives have such 'crushes' on family doctors, and older family men
friends who give advice, as well as having strong attachments for the husband’s pals who are the
sympathetic type. Psychologist Joseph Whitney, in his syndicated newspaper column, recently
had an answer for that: 'Anyone in need of help tends to harbor warm feelings of affection for the
person who brings them comfort. Sometimes a woman, emotionally upset . . . in a period of family
distress, mistakes her gratitude, when the crisis is past, or a romantic attachment.'
If the period of distress is caused by an inadequate sex life and carried on indefinitely, it’s obvious
that the romantic attachment will grow stronger rather than wane. And when a desperate woman
imagines. the satisfaction she might achieve physically, emotionally, and mentally by projecting
the attachment into an affair, there’s little to stop her. She may fight her conscience, but unless
she’s made of stern stuff she’ll give in to her need.
The temptations are great these days; we are in an era of unrestraint when it comes to
expressing ourselves. As a consequence, perhaps of boom times, people are living it up more
and tending to be less moral. Yet a woman yielding to such temptation must pay a terrific price:
though moral barriers may be temporarily down, flouting age-old religious laws and our
sociological concepts can only lead to disaster. Increasingly, women are taking the risk.
I DON'T know how many women have come to me in recent years —and there have been a lot of
them —saying, 'I’ve finally gotten up enough courage to take a lover!'
They have misused the word; courage is what they need, but not in the way they think. It would
require true courage to avoid the affair and talk things ‘over with their husbands. It is difficult
enough for a woman to confess to her husband her need for sex sometimes, without risking
damaging his pride with the suggestion he’s not the world’s greatest lover. Such a talk would
demand not only courage, but tact, artfulness, and perception, for a great deal of self-analysis
must occur before the woman decides to speak.
The unhappy situation of a sexually incompatible marriage can often be remedied. Laymen are
not doctors, nor are they psychiatrists; people can be understandably ignorant about a subject
which has long been a conversational taboo. Therefore, before wrecking a marriage or taking off
into illicit adventures, it would be wise to clear the air and then take the matter to medical, clerical,
or psychological professionals. Doctors, clergymen, psychiatrists, and marriage counselors have
answers the unhappy couple never dream of.
Women need love and they need sex, it’s true. But what they need is not extra-marital
relationships, in the final analysis, but extra—meaning superior — marital relationships. When a
woman has decided what she needs is another man, it sometimes works out that, after a talk with
the advisory professionals, not only is her husband another man, but she is another woman.