Adultery Unfolded – Have We Really Understood Infidelity?

This article in no manner takes side or offers to justify or condemn the act of adultery. It’s sole purpose is look at it from research perspective and to deliver the undiscussed and uncommon notions and aspects of the action

In the age of Tinder and easy sexual accessibility, itโ€™s important to clarify how you define monogamy and infidelity. Also, out of all the properties of romantic love this longing of sexual exclusivity is perhaps most interesting.

ADULTERY – Understanding The Pastย 

From a Darwinian perspective, it is easy to explain why men are by nature interested in sexual variety. If an ancestral man bore children with one woman, he had, genetically speaking, โ€œreproducedโ€ himself. But if he also engaged in dalliances with another woman and, by chance, sired another child, he doubled his contribution to the next generation. So those men who sought sexual variety throughout deep history also tended to have more children.

On other hand, a woman cannot bear another child each time she sneaks into bed with an extra lover. She could get pregnant only at certain times of her menstrual cycle and it took her nine months to bear a child, whereafter making it difficult to conceive again for several months or years. Moreover, ancestral women most likely needed a partner to protect and provision them as they brought up their childrens. So anthropologists have long reasoned that our female forebears were more inclined to be sexually faithful to a partner.

Besides, sexual variety adultery probably served ancestral females as an insurance policy. If a โ€œhusbandโ€ died or deserted her, she had other males as an option to help with parental chores.In a scenario, when an ancestral woman was โ€œmarriedโ€ to a poor hunter with bad eyesight and an angry, unsupportive temperament, she might upgrade her genetic line by having healthier and more attractive offspring with another manโ€”Mr. Good Genes.ย 

Considering survival instinct , if an ancestral woman had offspring with an array of fathers, each child would be somewhat different.This genetic variability increased the likelihood that some from among her young would survive unpredictable fluctuations in the environment.

As long as prehistoric females were secretive about their extramarital affairs, they could garner extra resources, life insurance, better genes, and more varied DNA for their future lineage because the conservative ideology suggested that when it comes to sex the pressure for men was to boast and to exaggerate but the pressure for women was to hide, minimize and deny.

However, moving forward in time, infidelity was no longer about man’s sexual desire to father multiple offsprings or survival instincts. Infidelity took a psychological toll too. When marriage was an economic enterprise infidelity threatened the economic security of the spouse. Now that marriage was a romantic arrangement, infidelity threatened emotional security.

Adultery or Infidelity In Today’s Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary defines adultery as sexual intercourse by a married person with someone other than the personโ€™s spouse.

The definition of infidelity keeps on expanding – sexting, watching porn, staying secretly active on dating apps, an emotional connection to degree or another, sexual alchemy and so on, because there is no universally agreed-upon definition of what constitutes an infidelity. The list is long: Visual Energetic, Mental, Spiritual and Emotional adultery among some. A common act so poorly understood.ย 

Throughout history infidelity has always been painful but in today’s world it is often reported to be traumatic to the extent of threatening one’s own self of sense. Infidelity gives out the idea of being unique, irreplaceable and indispensable to someone. It’s the ultimate betrayal and shatters the grand ambition of love. One single act of transgression that can rob a couple from their relationship, their happiness and their very identity..ย 

Adultery: Crime,Sin,Taboo

Adultery has existed since marriage and so the Taboo against it. Extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Historically, many cultures have considered adultery to be a very serious crime. Adultery often incurred severe punishment, usually for the woman and sometimes for the man, with penalties including capital punishment, mutilation, or torture. Such punishments have gradually fallen. Adultery itself is no longer a criminal offense, but may still have legal consequences, particularly in divorce cases. Surprisingly, adultery is the only commandment that is repeated twice in the bible. Once for doing it and the other time for just thinking about doing it. In muslim countries that follow Sharia law for criminal justice, the punishment for adultery may be stoning.

Universally Forbidden, yet Universally Practiced

ADULTERY – Biologically Explained

Human beings have three primary brain systems related to love.

1) The sex drive evolved to motivate individuals to seek intimate relation with a range of partners;ย 

2) romantic love evolved to motivate individuals to focus their mating energy on specific partners, thereby conserving courtship time and metabolic energy

3) partner attachment evolved to motivate mating individuals to remain together at least long enough to rear a single child through infancy together.ย 

These three basic neural systems interact with one another and other brain systems in patterns to provide the range of motivations, emotions and behaviors necessary to bring us about to get involved in such a forbidden act.

This brain architecture makes it biologically possible to express deep feelings of attachment for one partner, while one feels intense romantic love for another individual, while one feels the sex drive for even more extra-dyadic partners.


Conversation about monogamy is not the same as conversation with infidelity. Monogamy is only part of the human reproductive strategy. In her book,ย Why We Loveย by Helen Fisher, explains this. It probably evolved for two essential reasons to protect ancestral men from being cuckolded and raising another’s child and to protect ancestral women from losing to rivals, a potential husband and father to her children.

The craving for sexual exclusivity enabled our forebear to protect their precious DNA and they expended almost all their time and energy courtingย  someone they adored. In words of relationship therapist Esther Perel, ‘the fact is that Monogamy had nothing to do with love. Men relied on women’s fidelity in order to know whose children there are.’

Most people who commit the act of Adultery are often people who are deeply monogamous in the beliefs and at least for their partners, but they find themselves in a conflict between their values and their behaviour.

Another aspect that explains how the equation between monogamy and adultery is solely a strategic move of the society is people accepting the idea ofย Open Marriageย andย Polyamory. Involving in intimate relationships with more than one partner with the consent and transparency in the relationship.

Viewpoints Justifying the Act of Adultery By People during Different Study, Therapies, Talk Sessionย  and Researches that were Conducted.ย 

95% of people would say that it is wrong for their partner to lie about having an affair but just about the same amount will say that itโ€™s exactly what they would do if they were having one.

“For emotional connection and freedom, for intimacy and in attempt to recapture lost part of ourselves”

“Sometimes when we seek the gaze of another, it isn’t always our partner that we are turning away from, and it isn’t so much that we are looking for another person as much as looking for another self.”

“Desire for attention,to feel special and important. The incompleteness, the ambiguity keeps one wanting what they can’t have.”

“We live in an era where we feel we are entitled to pursue our desire, because it makes you happy. Staying is the new shame.”

Loss of close one made them think about certain aspects of their lives differently. Perhaps, death and morality often live in the shadow of an affair, because they raise questions.ย 

Big Question : Why do People indulge in the act of Adultery rather than opting for Separation ?

Here is a possible answer that might be a part of the bigger answer to the question.ย 

Their commitment to the relationship, including self-perceived ability to do without the relationship,and the tendency to place higher value on family and positive communication within the primary relationship. The benefits that might be lost if the relationship ends, including possessions, friends and connections.ย 

The logic perhaps goes like : If you have everything at home there is no need to go looking elsewhere except another partner.




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