Sunday, May 6, 2007

Views On Adultery From Around the World

In a new book, Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee, author Pamela Druckerman takes a non-judgmental look at how different cultures around the world view adultery.

On a large scale, for the most part, infidelity is most common in poorer countries and those with political upheaval.

Men in South Africa are more likely to have affairs, instead of divorcing and engaging in serial monogamy, the Japanese believe that it isn't adultery if you pay for it, Russians don't believe that having flings while on vacations count as adultery, to cite a few examples. The French view it as a part of life and, accordingly, handle their affairs with discretion, feeling that some truths are better left unspoken.

Interestingly, the rate of American adultery is higher than that of the French, but Americans don't handle it with the same level of common sense sophistication. Though Americans are as likely to engage in extramarital sex as those in other countries, there is never a free pass when it comes to infidelity. According to our national moral compass, adultery is generally considered to be abominable no matter the circumstances. Druckerman concludes that Americans are the least adept at having affairs, have the most trouble enjoying them, and suffer the most in their aftermath.

Perhaps Americans could learn something from our more matter of fact European brethren.

I've not read this book yet, but I've put it on my list of books to read.

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