A Brief History of Discreet Encounters
From the mythology of the Greek Gods to Lancelot and Guinevere to Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn, history and its tales have been replete with examples of adulterous loves.
More recent times saw some very indiscrete encounters, including Prince Edward, who briefly became king and then gave up his throne for Wallis Simpson. The pair met while she was married and while she did subsequently divorce her husband, their relationship prior to that point was cause for a lot of public controversy.
You would think that a celebrity or well-known public figure might be dissuaded from even a discreet encounter, for fear of the reprisals, but the reality is that they are a part of human nature. In fact, a study conducted in the 1950s by Alfred Kinsey showed that 50% of American men and 26% of American women were interested in extramarital sexual encounters. That was in the 50s! The numbers from a later survey differ, reporting that up to 18% of people had have had extramarital sex—one night stands—or affairs.
Monogamy is a social construct, one built to protect wealth and status from one generation to the next, and forged on the basis of religious doctrine. But you can’t ignore your baser, more animal nature any more than you can ignore your need to eat and sleep. Human sexual nature is designed to ensure that we procreate and to do so, for the good of the species, with more than one partner. Just because we’ve found ways to stop the procreation part doesn’t mean that the sexual urges don’t remain as part of our human nature!
Whether a series of discreet sexual encounters or a one night stand, having an affair is often not about the other person in the marriage. It’s far more complex and intricate, but nonetheless an important part of human sexual behaviour.