Virtual Voices

'Infidelity keeps us together'

Marriage

Those were the words in bold, black type printed over a bright red heart on the cover of the most recent Sunday New York Times Magazine. Inside, the cover story was titled "Married, With Infidelities." It was a lengthy article (six-and-a-half pages with some illustrations), written by Mark Oppenheimer, who writes the Beliefs column for the Times.

In it, Oppenheimer proffers the views of Dan Savage, the homosexual activist and sex columnist responsible for the "It Gets Better" campaign I wrote about last month. That the Times chose to devote a magazine cover story to the pro-adultery arguments espoused by a gay sex advice columnist perhaps should come as no surprise. Nonetheless, it is an alarming sign of the times in which we live.

Oppenheimer writes that Savage "inveighs against the American obsession with strict fidelity. In its place he proposes a sensibility that we might call American Gay Male, after that community's tolerance for pornography, fetishes and a variety of partnered arrangements, from strict monogamy to wide openness."

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Savage believes that some people need more than one partner, and that, as Oppenheimer writes, we can't help our urges. After all, monogamy can lead to "boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death, and being taken for granted."

So let me get this straight. Not only should we redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, we should rethink marriage to include adultery?

For the record, we've been down this road before. Authors Nema and George O'Neill wrote their seminal book, Open Marriage, in 1972, prompted by the fraudulent research of Alfred Kinsey. In it they tried to sell Americans on adultery as a "restyled and updated type of monogamy." Years later, Nema interviewed couples who had tried "open marriage," finding few who had stayed married.

Pied Pipers like Dan Savage, Alfred Kinsey, and the O'Neills abound, all too often provided credence by media outlets happy to oblige.

Marcia Segelstein
Marcia Segelstein

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