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Happily ever after? It’s probably not natural

You shouldn't be looking at thisI followed a link on Twitter today to a blog by Ron Edmondson — one of the people I like and follow — and I discovered one of the biggest loads of claptrap I’ve ever read. I’m not saying that Ron isn’t allowed to write claptrap but then neither am I prohibited from describing it as I find it.

Ron has God in a big way; well, we’ll let him off that one, he is a pastor after all. As such, he probably acts as a counsellor to many of his flock. In this instance he is talking about broken marriages – the “sin of adultery”. He thinks he sees a pattern, a man’s progression into degradation …

If a man says he can handle this area of temptation without proper discipline in his life he’s most likely lying or impotent.

He then identifies seven steps leading to “an affair”.

He says he can’t “intelligently speak to this issue from a woman’s perspective”, but he can relate with authority — presumably God-given authority — “the progression of the sin of adultery in a man’s life”. They are …

  • Glance
  • Look
  • Gaze
  • Thought
  • Lust
  • Pornography
  • Flirting
  • Affair

He goes on …

Rarely does an affair start at the glance stage. It’s true a man may not go through each of the stages. Some skip the pornography stage, for example, although well over half the time this is the case. The key here is that it is a progression. It seems to me, therefore, that where we need to get a handle on the problem is early in the progression.

And he knows who is at the root of all this misery …

Satan is the master at entering adequate temptation into this progression. He seems to know the right images and situations to tempt the man.

Pornography, it seems, is key …

I’m not saying every time a man has a lustful thought it is going to end up in an affair, but the progression is the scary part. Some of you reading this are already past the danger point in your progression. My advice is to get help now. Your family, ministry and reputation are too important not to protect it.

Okay, that’s the premise. I, as a man, am obviously cheating on my wife because Satan is tempting me with pretty girls, saucy Internet images and lust. It all makes sense, if you add an imaginary friend (or two) into the equation.

Just a side step here: given that food and sex are two of the most powerful drivers of human action (pillage, conquest, being a DJ, etc.), how come it’s fun — and a lot of fun at that — to watch two people (or indeed, 200 people) doing “what the animals do”, but not to watch people eating?

In fact, in my humble opinion, watching people eating can be one of the most annoying — nay, detestable, puke making — experiences ever! Yes, I’m talking about you Nigella! It’s not big, and it’s not clever.

Okay, at this point if my kids are reading this, STOP! Go no further. What I’m about to say might just gross you out. Same goes for my own mother, who still thinks I’m eight, though how she thinks her grandchildren came about is anyone’s guess.

Now I don’t pretend to speak with any God-given authority, or indeed any given authority aside from that given by the mind that has spent its entire existence inside my body.

I am an animal. Fact.

As such I exist to do one thing: give my selfish genes a chance to continue for another generation, albeit in a sort of chromosomal “timeshare”: the trade off is that until cloning becomes a reality I have to mix them with someone else’s DNA in a mutually agreeable 50-50 split.

Statistically, if I mix my genetic material with another human being’s (or beings’) enough times, then all of my myriad genetic combination will survive.

In reality, my genes don’t really care whose genes I mix them with. Of course they don’t. They have no consciousness. They are colour blind, politically neutral and of no religious persuasion. Although I believe they draw the line at the Cornish.

This generous mixing of genes is called reproduction — also known as sex, leading to pregnancy and birth.

Now birth can be a very risky practice, especially for a woman. Without social and medical intervention, it sometimes results in the death of mother and child. That’s enough to put a crimp in any selfish gene’s day.

But genes don’t care. S.U.M.O. – Shut Up, Move On – they would scream at me (if they could. But they can’t. They’re just genetic material. They have no feelings! Do you see the pattern emerging?)

Look at animals in the wild. (Just look at the cats on my street!) Most of them simply fuck and move on.

Another natural strategy for ensuring more genes survive is to take all the females into a “harem” and stop other lesser males from getting a look in. That’s a really selfish gene! And studies of animals in the wild show the females in a “seraglio” are just as likely to be popping off for a quick shag with an available beta male, if only to improve their offspring’s chances (and coincidentally enrich the gene pool). They’re not interested in a one-to-one relationship.

As they say it’s a wise child that knows its own father.

The more you look at it, the less natural monogamy actually appears. Even in primitive human societies, it’s the exception rather than the rule.

Polygamy on the other hand is quite common, with a bias toward one man and several women, of course. There’s even a synchronisation of estrous among the women as a result of such arrangements. That wouldn’t have come about by chance, would it?

At the heart of this “proprietorial” system is usually some sort of myth illustrating why women should be obedient to their husband’s perfectly natural desires and happy to share him with her sisters. The Judeo-Christian Bible is replete with tales of wives being “asked” to turn a blind eye to a bid of spousal “twos-up”, as long as it’s in a good cause (which it usually is), and many of the world’s great religions have a place for more than one wife.

All these stories serve to make the resulting “arrangement” nice and respectable, and also make sure that the Shamen always gets to bed the best birds. Girls like guys with a direct line to the boss, don’t they?

In truth, monogamy is either cultural or culture masquerading as religion, not “natural”. “Natural” is shagging as many people as much as possible to spread those genes around. Adultery is “natural”, for men and women. Resisting adultery is a choice, not an act of faith.

For some people, it’s actually the right choice, I’m sure.

A long time ago I knew someone who was a serial adulterer. She was a lovely lady with an immense sex drive that her husband couldn’t — and wouldn’t — fulfill. He just wasn’t “into it”. I’m certain he knew about his partner’s “dalliances” but he made no attempt to intervene. It was “don’t ask, don’t tell”.

The fact was that they loved each other dearly. Would’ve have died for each other. But sex wasn’t an interest they shared.

Then something changed. Her sister-in-law found out about the extra-marital activities and decided unilaterally that the adulteress must be exposed for the harlot that she was. For the good of her husband, you understand.

The dalliances stopped.

The result? The exposed adulteress became less vital. When she died, a year or so later, some said it was a broken heart — others a broken spirit.

And her husband? He had lost the love of his life. He too was now incomplete. All because someone else decided that their “sham of a marriage” wasn’t right.

The sister-in-law was a woman of religious faith. She at least had a clear conscience. She had done the work of the Kingdom. God’s work.

God is a cruel bastard.

And if any of you think the above story is a thinly-disguised pastiche of my own life, think again.

I have never been unfaithful to my wife all these years. I have been monogamous by choice and have enjoyed every single day of it.

But according to Ron I am on the slippery path to adultery. Why?

  • I glance at other women every day.
  • I look at other women every other hour.
  • I have even gazed at other women, with my eyes.
  • I’ve certainly thought about them (Angelina Jolie has sprung to mind just now)
  • and when I’ve thought about Angelina them — unclothed — I have certainly lusted after her them.
  • Furthermore, I’ve used pornography. I even used it today. And yesterday. And last Tuesday week. And at least once in October 1997 (maybe twice).
  • And I’ve flirted, if by flirting you mean things like complimenting women, smiling at them, joking with them, using innuendo within their earshot. Ooh missus! I’ve done all of that. And recently too.

In fact, I’ve completed all seven steps. Logically, Ron would say that I have already committed adultery in my soul. I must be bonking a beautiful brunette right now (it might explain the poor typing).

[Excuse me a minute, I just have to watch this bottle blonde cheerleader make stupid moaning noises while she is gang-banged by two scrawny, naked guys in white socks and trainers on this free porn download. I don’t have floppies any more.]

Now, where was I?

Ah yes. I have four adult-oriented apps on my iPhone (okay, one of them is the Good Beer Guide 2011, but it is pretty racy). I have a folder of pictures on my private laptop computer of ladies — unclothed and not so unclothed — in provocative poses, no less. Mind you, I even have a folder of pictures of my wife — unclothed and not so unclothed — that I look at very regularly.

I’ve been to strip clubs and Hooters‘ bars, although the sincerity of the girls there makes me cringe with embarrassment.

I have sex — regularly, with my wife — and not for the purpose of spreading my genes, either. I have even masturbated recently.

And my wife knows about all my shameful practices. She even joins in from time to time.

I’m still no adulterer, nor am I likely to be. And if that makes me not natural, then I’m happy to be that way.

I like to look at young women because in my head I’m still a young man, and I think of my wife as a young woman because she still acts (and looks) like one. I’m married, not castrated.

And speaking of my wife, she — the wanton hussy — has pictures and stories too (perhaps not so graphic because women see more with their head than their eyes) but she’s no adulteress either.

Satan has not taken either of us down the road of cuckoldry or infidelity, possibly because He doesn’t exist, but certainly because HE DOESN’T EXIST! I know I’ve said that twice but … derrr!

No, adultery is a choice, a very human choice. For some people it’s a choice that works. For others like me, it doesn’t.

But not because of Satan, or God.