Love, Heartbreak

Can Cheating Ever Be Good For A Relationship?


Pastor Ed Young belives that if you want to have an affair, you certainly should... with your own spouse.

"Primarily, [sex is] for pleasure. Secondarily, it's for procreation. And when you have a man and a woman making love, then you're going to hit on all cylinders. And when you don't, when you step out of that relationship, the result is going to be chaos." Spiritual Sex: 10 Erotic Commandments

Jenny Block, who's in an open relationship, has a completely different perspective on the whole matter. Read more from Jenny Block here.

"[My husband] wasn't so upset with my having sex with someone else, but was very upset with my lying about it. And so for me, I feel like relationships, marriage, the whole shebang is, number one, about honesty. Sex, yeah, it's a great part of a relationship. But I'm not convinced it's the cornerstone of a marriage or of any relationship." Portrait Of An Open Marriage

Debating the topic with each other on Nightline last week, Young and Block were joined by two other panelists who each brought their own unique experiences to the discussion.

Falling firmly on Block's side (that sex outside of marriage can be fine), was Noel Biderman, founder of the website, who's motto is: "Life is short. Have an affair."

"What I hear all the time is, 'Why cheat if it's not working for you, just leave.' That's the selfish act, walking away from your family to pursue your own sexual needs, that's a sexual act. And so what I hear from my members all the time is they're in sexless relationships. They've tried talking about it. And so rather than leave, they would rather do this." What Kind Of Guys Look For Affairs Online?

The final panelist was Jonathan Dougherty, a former sex addict, who aligned himself with Pastor Ed Young.

"Before was around, I was using the internet to try and find [and] set up anonymous sexual encounters. And that just started to crumble not only my own integrity, [but] it crumbled any sort of communication and trust that was in our marriage. Obviously, I'm going to come at it from the standpoint that God is the inventor of marriage. He's the inventor of sex, so he get's the prerogative to determine what the terms are. And his definition was one man and one woman for life."  Does Sex Addiction Actually Exist?

In short: four perspectives on cheating were supposedly presented on the Nightline debate, but only two really materialized. The first: God doesn't like cheating. And the second: cheating is fine (maybe even good) for a marriage.

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Honestly, the whole thing left us a little baffled. After all, aren't there about a million more perspectives in infidelity that aren't based on rationalizions ("there are worse things I could be doing than cheating") and fear of damnation ("God will be so mad if I sleep with that man who's not my husband").

For example, there are plenty of people who think cheating is awful, but don't believe in God. There are plenty of people who believe that it's a lot kinder to keep the occasional tryst secret than to disclose the full gory details of said trysts in an attempt to be "honest." There are those who cheat not because they think "it's better than leaving my family" or "I'm in a sexless marriage" but because it's fun. There are those who have never cheated and never will, but don't give a damn what other people do in their own marriages. And, of course, there are many, many perspectives we can't even begin to fathom. Why? Because every relationship is different.

It's not that we don't appreciate Nightline's attempts to explore topics concerning modern love and relationships. We believe that some of the most important parts of life hinge on precisely those topics. But we also believe there's a lot more to how we live now than God and excuses—whether it's in our bedrooms or on late-night TV.