Thursday, June 01, 2006


I'm about to embark on an interview season and expect that somewhere along the way I will be asked about sex and my views on it. I've been thinking it through to try and come up with a better answer than:

What do you think about homosexuality?
Can we wait until after the interview please I'm not in the mood.

Perhaps I shouldn't go work at any church whose appointment committee failed to laugh at that point. It would be doomed to failure.

Anyway I digress and I must learn to stop doing that during the first paragraph. I read this in The Independent yesterday (nothing to quote from the newspapers for months and then two come along at once):

'Adultery is now a quaintly old-fashioned descriptive term used by church-men and other judgemental moralists. It is not a breach of a moral code, or even a defining constraint within marriage. Spouses who commit adultery are no longer considered to have undertaken an act that is contradictory to the spirit of their publicly celebrated relationship.

'An adulterer is no longer considered to be legally or morally at fault within a marriage.'
(Deborah Orr, The Independent 31/5/06)

This was all written in the fall-out post Deputy Prime-Minister perving his secretary's melons with his cocktail sausage, as the tabloids have helped us to understand.

But I must admit that I felt a moment of sadness at another degrading of marriage.

This blog has a range of readers, church-men, non-judgemental moralists and various points in between. Does this quote make you stop in your tracks? If I were to commit adultery (which I've spent many years trying really hard not to do) I would make my marriage vows into lies. I would be legally at fault (it's grounds for divorce after all), morally at fault and it would be contradictory to the spirit of my publicly celebrated relationship. Wouldn't it?

Views and comments really appreciated.


Chris said...

I'm sad.

Not much else to say.


Matthew McMurray said...

It is a bit sad isn't it!

Isn't this just another step nearer to saying that you can just do whatever you like?

Stewart said...

Years ago I read an article by Julie Birchill (not something I do often) where she was talking about the end of her second marriage, following her embarking on a lesbian affair. Her then-husband applied for a divorce on grounds of 'unreasonable behaviour' - which led Birchill to acerbically commment "Unreasonable? She was so gorgeous it would have been unreasonable not to have sex with her."

I thought this witticism was unintentionally a very enlightening comment on how adultery has come to be viewed by society. We are all slaves to our instincts, emotions and feelings, so why should we be held accountable when we act on those urges? What else can we possibly be expected to do?

Practise restraint? Honour commitments we've made to partners? Choose not to give in to our emotions?

Why would you want to do that when it's so easy to commit adultery then apologise profusely, claim you didn't have any choice and say it was a mistake?

Mike said...

Surely any meaningful relationship - marriage, friendship, working - need boundaries. Forsaking all others is the marriage boundary. People are free not to believe adultery is valid, in which case why get married and perjure yourself - why not just co-habit and share a few friends?

Jonathan Potts said...

If someone thinks adultery is ok then what, I would ask them, do they think is the point in marriage? I don't get it.

The thing with "sexual liberation" is it all sounds great and fun and free until children become a factor. Then adultery has a tendency to mean divorce (something else that is no longer considered a Bad Thing) which tends to mean ****ed up kids (not always, of course, but in my experience, usually). Indeed, often the route from adultery to ****ed up kids doesn't even need to go via divorce. How many friends of mine has this happened to? I can't believe that people see this as ok: part of being "free and liberated".

And then have the gall to see anyone who says "well, perhaps adultery is wrong, you know" as a judgemental moralist. Who's making a judgement here? Isn't Deborah Orr being judgemental by calling people "judgemental moralists and churchmen" simply because they have a moral viewpoint?

Peter said...

Not sure Ms Orr actually thinks this, or is suggesting it as a valid perspective; I think she is just trying to describe the place of adultery in 'modern society'. She's not saying (in this excerpt at least) that this is a good thing.

The public's reaction to Prezza's infidelity may well support her view; there was more outright moral indignation at his croquet antics than that cocktail sausage stuff, which was viewed as amusement. He wouldn't have lost his job had the affair not been with a close colleague, and conducted in his official properties.

But she may well be wrong. Being saddened by what a newspaper columnist says is a waste of emotion.

St said...

Hang on Peter. Aren't you a newspaper columnist? I love wasting my emotions on you.

Martin said...

It is a sad day. But much has been said on the adultery issue itself, so I will talk about its clash with politics.

Having said that, and being clear that adultery is morraly wrong. I still don't think it is necesarilly a thing that a politician should lose a job over, as the job isn't about morality as such, but more about managing our taxes well. I want a politician in power who manages that best. Having said that, in certain positions of cabinet, morality is important - mainly foreign secretary. Clouded judgment could lead to a bad assylum policy - and I won't have that. That was the single most important reason why I helped ensure the tories didn't get in at the last election by voting for Labour rather than the Lib Dems.

Just one thing on morality before the end. I think that admitting that their adultery is wrong is the first step in the adulterer being able to receive forgivness for it. It is sad for the adulterer when they can't make this first step. They prevent themselves getting the fresh start they don't deserve but can have and desperatley need.

Finally, didn't realise the Legends of the Whitnash State Circus had a website. This will definately be on my check out list - once I'm up to date with this blog.