Adult Dating, and Married Affairs
New York Magazine has published an interesting article by Alyssa Giacobbe that outlines how more married women are engaging in extramarital affairs without suffering the same backlash they may have experienced a generation ago. In it, Giacobbe cites data from the Kinsey Institute at the University of Indiana, as well as the National Opinion Research Centre's 2013 General Social Survey, that women are cheating at almost the same rate as men, and that reports of cheating housewives having affairs has risen almost 40%. (4)
So, let's look at a few basic reasons why these societal shifts are occurring.
Changing Face of Marriage
Historically, women married men for a variety of reasons: economic security, continuing the family lines through marriage, and in earlier times, for survival. Today, women make up almost half of our workforce and have become "breadwinners" in their own right. While there remains an inherent need for security and stability within the home, there is less emphasis on economic need to justify marriage. This is where the pleasure factor comes in. According to Perel, in this age of personal entitlement, modern couples tend to marry for companionship over economic enterprise and infidelity has become a form of self-discovery. (3)
Easier Access to Discreet Encounters
Adult dating has never been more convenient - married dating websites, social media affairs apps, online portals for the lonely housewife or neglected husband, sexting - have all become part of our daily culture and social fabric. The ability to discreetly and privately connect with like-minded souls has never been greater and will continue to proliferate in this technological age.
Generational Shift of Sexual Mores in the Western World
While North Americans may not be as sensually free-spirited as our European cousins, social trends are transforming in North America. Yes, we still place great value on the institution of marriage, but women's views on marriage and happiness are experiencing a seismic shift. According to Dr. Helen Fisher in her work, "Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage and Why We Stay" (as cited in the New York Magazine article above), "It is about choice. Women now are more aware of the alternatives to monogamy and more inclined to demand to have all their needs met. That's because happiness is such an important part of marriage. Fewer women are marrying out of need; instead, they're marrying to please themselves. But that also means when they're dissatisfied with something they feel justified to go elsewhere." With the proliferation of polyamorous relationships, women have additional means to discover the level of satisfaction they desire - without the need to stray.