This would be your Hump Day Brave New World update.
How far have social standards and traditional values in the country deteriorated these days? Look no further than a heartfelt appeal from Time Magazine gender and sexuality columnist Stephanie Fairyington in support of privacy rights. This is normally a subject I’m all in favor of so the piece immediately caught my attention. Privacy is important in a civilized society. But Stephanie is arguing for a very special sort of privacy which only applies within the confines of marriage. Ms. Fairyington would like everyone to stop using modern technology to go snooping around into their partner’s private affairs and find out whether or not they are cheating. Her musings were spurred by taking in a new off-Broadway play named, Privacy. (Emphasis added)
The provocative production got me thinking about renowned couple’s counselor Esther Perel’s Ted Talk, “Rethinking Infidelity.” In her eloquent lecture, she discusses the ways in which our privacy has dramatically decreased due to technological innovations, while our access to sexual possibilities has exponentially increased for the same reason, making the expectation of marital monogamy far harder to fulfill, and infidelity far easier to discover.
Despite the frightening and ever-expanding ways to electronically snoop, in order to fully modernize marriage we need to resist the degrading urge to spy on our spouses and acknowledge, in radical opposition to our times, each individual’s right to privacy within matrimony, including the right to act in our own sexual and romantic self-interests independent of our partner’s knowledge or consent. (Bear with me.)
I left in that last parenthetical bit (“Bear with me”) from this folksy entreaty because it merits the most immediate response: No thank you.
I’ve long since given up on the idea that everyone is going to hew to the traditional models of marriage and relationships. The world began changing long before I came along and moral codes shift from generation to generation anyway. I’m aware that there are people out there who believe in things such as polyamory, open marriages, plural marriages and all manner of variations on traditional themes. And while it’s not my cup of tea, this is America and we’re supposed to be free to make our own choices as long as we’re not harming others, providing we’re willing to accept responsibility for the results. If your spouse doesn’t mind you stepping out and slipping between the sheets with someone else then it’s not only none of my business, but it’s not the government’s affair either.
I bring up that last point because the author attempts to obfuscate the discussion later in the article by talking about outdated adultery laws and various other tangential issues. Some of those points I even agree with. However, her core argument is that partners who are presumably not in an open relationship deserve the privacy to be able to go out and pursue their our own sexual and romantic self-interests absent the consent of their spouse.
You, madam, are what is wrong with the world. You are clearly talking about freedom, but it’s the freedom to be evil. And while it may not be illegal (and probably shouldn’t be against the law) not all evils are forbidden in our legal codes. When you cheat on someone who is laboring under the assumption that you love them and are faithful to them, you are doing harm. And I’m not even talking about the danger of possibly passing sexually transmitted diseases to an unwitting recipient here, though that’s obviously a concern. You are violating the trust of your loved one and tarnishing your own worth by abandoning your vows. That’s not a demand for privacy. It’s a call to allow you to harm the one who is most vulnerable to your evil intents. It’s selfish in the worst possible way and it is a deliberate act of vindictive deception.
This isn’t a privacy argument at all. And if this is what you’re up to in your private life I hope you are caught up in it through any means possible, electronic or otherwise, and that you pay for your deeds before you get the chance to endanger your spouse’s health on top of breaking their heart.