Saturday, May 24, 2008

Shop Talk

I was toying with the concept of blogging the Bar course I'm on. Not just its miseries, but its interesting points, things I'm learning about the Law that I just didn't know (it really is remarkable that after three years and nearly $120,000 in tuition just how much practical and useful stuff about which I do not have an inkling).

But, I decided, that's a tad self-indulgent, particularly as it'd be one post after another regarding my utter hatred of the situation and how hard it is for me to be somewhere by 8.30 every morning. Ugh.

Instead, it's another post about how NY Mag is pushing my buttons, and not in a good way. This week's edition had a major feature about the fallout from Spitzergate, and the large numbers of men that cheat on their wives. I need to re-read it, but the main argument was that current morality on monogamous marriages hasn't caught up with our evolving concepts of sexual morality - experimentation, acceptability of gay relationships, single motherhood, lack of marriage all together. It seemed to be some bloke basically saying he was too scared to tell his wife he wanted to sleep with other people, and he just couldn't help himself, so we should give him a green light. It's unrealistic to expect people to be faithful for life and it doesn't really hurt anyone, just like being gay or sleeping with people before marriage.

Unsurrisingly, there were a couple of things that I really took issue with that undercut what he's saying entirely.

First, the argument that infidelity causes no harm is simply not true physically, even if it's not true or arguable or we should change how we view it morally or emotionally. Syphilis rates increased 60% between 2001 and 2006 in the USA; as did chlamydia, and only gonorrhea dropped. HIV is the biggest killer of women of ages 15-44 in NYC. Given chlamydia's effects on fertility, this is clearly not a case of no effect or harm, necessarily, unless all the unfaithful people are using condoms, which somehow, I doubt... so he should have at least acknowledged that.

Second, he talks about all these poor husbands who aren't getting any sex from their wives, who have simply lost interest. Not once did he posit that perhaps the women are bored of their relationships, too. Not once did he suggest that maybe women's lack of sex drive could be connected to their husbands' failure to satisfy them or to keep them interested. Chances are, given statistics on infidelity, women are having affairs too. They too want someone to make them feel sexy, attractive, and to have sex that's exciting and new. But that didn't fit into this story about how Spitzer's decision to have sex with prostitutes could be explained by men trapped in sexless marriages.
Third and finally, as pointed out by the RH Reality Check podcast, having sex with prostitutes is NOT the same as having an affair. Yet this story conflated the two. Paying a person to have sex with you is not the same as establishing a relationship with someone else in order to have an affair, regardless of how fleeting that is. The only thing they have in common is that Dr. Laura will blame women for both.

1 comment:

subtleknot said...

I'm sorry. I simply do not believe that you don't know everything there is to know about The Law. You will never convince me that you don't know. Never.