Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 20th, 2018

What Sleeping With Married Men Taught Me About Infidelity

Why a divorced 49 woman seeks sex with married men?

I’m not sure it’s possible to justify my liaisons with married men, but what I learned from having them warrants discussion.

Not between the wives and me, though I would be interested to hear their side. No, this discussion should happen between wives and husbands, annually, the way we inspect the tire tread on the family car to avoid accidents.

A few years ago, while living in London, I dated married men for companionship while I processed the grief of being newly divorced.

I hadn’t sought out married men specifically. When I created a profile on Tinder and OkCupid, saying I was looking for no-strings-attached encounters, plenty of single men messaged me and I got together with several of them. But many married men messaged me too.

After being married for 23 years, I wanted sex but not a relationship. This is dicey because you can’t always control emotional attachments when body chemicals mix, but with the married men I guessed that the fact that they had wives, children and mortgages would keep them from going overboard with their affections.

And I was right. They didn’t get overly attached, and neither did I. We were safe bets for each other.

I was careful about the men I met. I wanted to make sure they had no interest in leaving their wives or otherwise threatening all they had built together. In a couple of cases, the men I met were married to women who had become disabled and could no longer be sexual, but the husbands remained devoted to them

All told I communicated with maybe a dozen men during that time in my life, and had sex with fewer than half. Others I texted or talked with, which sometimes felt nearly as intimate.

Before I met each man I would ask: “Why are you doing this?” I wanted assurance that all he desired was sex.

What surprised me was that these husbands weren’t looking to have more sex. They were looking to have any sex.

I met one man whose wife had implicitly consented to her husband having a lover because she was no longer interested in sex, at all. They both, to some degree, got what they needed without having to give up what they wanted.

But the other husbands I met would have preferred to be having sex with their wives. For whatever reason, that wasn’t happening.

I know what it feels like to go off sex, and I know what it’s like to want more than my partner. It’s also a tall order to have sex with the same person for more years than our ancestors ever hoped to live. Then, at menopause, a woman’s hormones suddenly drop and her desire can wane.

At 49, I was just about there myself, and terrified of losing my desire for sex. Men don’t have this drastic change. So we have an imbalance, an elephant-size problem, so burdensome and shameful we can scarcely muster the strength to talk about it. (Many men do Not necessarily want intercourse, just feeling cuddled and warm in pretty women embraces, so that they can go out together, bras dessus, bras dessous, and have fun)

Maybe the reason some wives aren’t having sex with their husbands is because, as women age, we long for a different kind of sex. I know I did, which is what led me down this path of illicit encounters. After all, nearly as many women are initiating affairs as men.

If you read the work of Esther Perel, the author of the recently published book “State of Affairs,” you’ll learn that, for many wives, sex outside of marriage is their way of breaking free from being the responsible spouses and mothers they have to be at home. Married sex, for them, often feels obligatory. An affair is adventure.

Meanwhile, the husbands I spent time with would have been fine with obligatory sex. For them, adventure wasn’t the main reason for their adultery.

The first time I saw my favorite married man pick up his pint of beer, the sleeve of his well-tailored suit pulled back from his wrist to reveal a geometric kaleidoscope of tattoos. He was cleanshaven and well mannered with a little rebel yell underneath. The night I saw the full canvas of his tattoo masterpiece, we drank prosecco, listened to ’80s music and, yes, had sex. We also talked.

I asked him: “What if you said to your wife, ‘Look, I love you and the kids but I need sex in my life. Can I just have the occasional fling or a casual affair?’”

He sighed. “I don’t want to hurt her,” he said. “She’s been out of the work force for 10 years, raising our kids and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. If I asked her that kind of question, it would kill her.”

“So you don’t want to hurt her, but you lie to her instead. Personally, I’d rather know.”

Well, maybe I would rather know. My own marriage had not broken up over an affair so I couldn’t easily put myself in her position.

It’s not necessarily a lie if you don’t confess the truth,” he said. “It’s kinder to stay silent.” (Thus, the Silent Majority don’t feel they are lying to anyone?)

“I’m just saying I couldn’t do that. I don’t want to be afraid of talking honestly about my sex life with the man I’m married to, and that includes being able to at least raise the subject of sex outside of marriage.”

“Good luck with that!” he said.

“We go into marriage assuming we’ll be monogamous,” I said, “but then we get restless. We don’t want to split up, but we need to feel more sexually alive. Why break up the family if we could just accept the occasional affair?”

He laughed. “How about we stop talking about it before this affair stops being fun?” (This is a case when women have sex as a preamble to interrogating their partners. In few instances, it is the way around for men)

I never convinced any husband that he could be honest about what he was doing. But they were mostly good-natured about it, like a patient father responding to a child who keeps asking, “Why, why, why?”

Maybe I was being too pragmatic about issues that are loaded with guilt, resentment and fear. (As in all issues?)

After all, it’s far easier to talk theoretically about marriage than to navigate it.

But my attitude is that if my spouse were to need something I couldn’t give him, I wouldn’t keep him from getting it elsewhere, as long as he did so in a way that didn’t endanger our family. (A convoluted sentence that obscure its meaning)

I suppose I would hope his needs would involve fishing trips or beers with friends. But sex is basic.

Physical intimacy with other human beings is essential to our health and well-being. So how do we deny such a need to the one we care about most? If our primary relationship nourishes and stabilizes us but lacks intimacy, we shouldn’t have to destroy our marriage to get that intimacy somewhere else. Should we? (if we state it that way that sex is basic)

I didn’t have a full-on affair with the tattooed husband. We slept together maybe four times over a few years. More often we talked on the phone. I never felt possessive, just curious and happy to be in his company.

After our second night together, though, I could tell this was about more than sex for him; he was desperate for affection. He said he wanted to be close to his wife but couldn’t because they were unable to get past their fundamental disconnect: lack of sex, which led to a lack of closeness, which made sex even less likely and then turned into resentment and blame. (the contentment after sex may last a day, but the exacerbation deepens later on)

We all go through phases of wanting it and not wanting it. I doubt most women avoid having sex with their husbands because they lack physical desire in general; we are simply more complex sexual animals.

Which is why men can get an erection from a pill but there’s no way to medically induce arousal and desire in women. (Not sure about that statement. Men have practically no physical sexual arousal places, but when a pretty woman tells him, pretty much directly, “I want you”, his brain execute what is demanded from him)

I am not saying the answer is non-monogamy, which can be rife with risks and unintended entanglements. I believe the answer is honesty and dialogue, no matter how frightening. (Dialogue with a woman is troublesome and fraught with traps?)

Lack of sex in marriage is common, and it shouldn’t lead to shame and silence. By the same token, an affair doesn’t have to lead to the end of a marriage. What if an affair — or, ideally, simply the urge to have one — can be the beginning of a necessary conversation about sex and intimacy? (Excellent with outside companions)

What these husbands couldn’t do was have the difficult discussion with their wives that would force them to tackle the issues at the root of their cheating. (Just a reminder that psychoanalysis is a fraudulent “subjective” science)

They tried to convince me they were being kind by keeping their affairs secret. They seemed to have convinced themselves. But deception and lying are ultimately corrosive, not kind. (To oneself, but Not the relationship)

In the end, I had to wonder if what these men couldn’t face was something else altogether: hearing why their wives no longer wanted to have sex with them. (Not clear. We need to confess with a stranger, and thus we select someone that has more compassion and expertise in life to comprehend our behaviors? Or to clarify what we are afraid of?)

It’s much easier, after all, to set up an account on Tinder.

Written by a Gaza-based young Palestinian, to share with us what life in Gaza looks like from the eyes of a young person living this experience.

By Abdalrahim Mohammed Alfarra • Gaza • 19 April 2018

I was born in the occupied Gaza Strip in 1993. In the same year, my family moved to the United Arab Emirates where I completed all my school grades, from primary to secondary school.

In 2011, I went back to the Gaza Strip and got enrolled in a local university.

Since then, a new chapter of my life is opened to unprecedented limits of misery and tragedy. The least is witnessing death and fear on a daily basis.

I am writing today trying to tell the world how our life in Gaza can be seen in the eyes of a young person living this experience. It is worth mentioning here that this is my first attempt to write such an article.

The blockade of Gaza imposed by Israeli occupation authorities and the Egyptian regime is a suffocating siege that we, the youth of Gaza, have had nothing to do with.

For more than a decade, this blockade has been affecting all aspects of our life. It is an ongoing dilemma we face every day. It is getting worse and worse every day with no sign of hope. It creates hardships for every single resident, impacting every part of everyone’s life.

At the very first moment of my arrival in Gaza, the electricity cuts were the first shocking thing to witness.

I have nothing to do but to change my lifestyle. Spending my childhood in a place where the such power cuts is very rare, it was really pathetic to see myself doing my homework and projects under the lights of simple candles.

At some point, some neighbors would have considered me to be luck as because of the generator my family had. However, such a seem-to-be luxury soon becomes useless when there is no available fuel to buy, or when backup batteries are drained. Soon, darkness becomes another dictator to dominate our life — stop studying; stop everything.

Things bother me. My mother is depriving herself of sleep; racing against time to exploit the few hours of electricity to complete as much of the accumulated household chores as possible. She sometimes gets up at dawn to wash clothes and do all the other tasks that require a source of power. A refrigerator with food in it became a luxury of the past.

(Try to aid in maintaining the house: You’ll find joy in alleviating your mother’s chores)

We are now forced to buy our food on the spot! Something that is not easy in a place like Gaza.

The electricity crisis has other negative impacts on the youth.

Aside from hindering our studies, it also isolates us from the outside world and leaves us with deep feeling of boredom. This suffering is doubled when we must endure Israel’s attacks, because then, we might have to survive without electricity for two or three days, and sometimes for over a week!

It is difficult to convey exactly how the lack of electricity impacts our lives, so I ask you, the international community, this: “Can you imagine living your life with only four hours of electricity each day? Imagine yourself isolated from the rest of the world for over a week, terrified; expecting to die at any moment” — for this is how my life is. (20% of Lebanese still experience this lack of electricity)

The opportunity to pursue your study abroad and to benefit from scholarships become impossible under this siege and the travel forbade. A friend of mine who managed to have a scholarship in Germany, told me that she could not get the permits that she needs in order to travel.

She lost her dream opportunity! She is not alone: so many young students are banned from traveling abroad to pursue their education — there are tens of thousands of students wishing to study abroad.

Imagine this: My friend Jamal Jabir wishes to travel outside of Gaza just for simple things. “I really want to travel, not because the outside world is prettier than Gaza, but because I have exhausted the beauty here.” He went on: “I have never seen a lake or a river throughout my entire life.

I have never seen a Bughatti, Lamborghini, or Ferrari, and I have never been on a train.

I only see them in pictures on the internet. I really want to see what they look like in the real life.” Does this tell you anything? Just imagine that the ultimate dream of a teenager is not to own a Ferrari, but to see it wandering around!

One of my fellow students, Mustafa Abu Batnain, once asked: “Does this world understand that I cannot visit another city in the same country? How could this happen in today’s world?”

I have heard a lot about Europeans being able to move freely from one country to another without being stopped at any checkpoint! Could you imagine that … other countries!

Gaza is one of the most densely-populated regions on earth. It actually has a very small geographical area of just 17 square miles, which means there are 42,600 people squashed inside every square mile! Stuck!

Why Palestinians in Gaza are denied their basic human rights to live, move, and travel? Why can’t they move freely whenever and wherever they want to, just like all other people in the world?

One of my friends has relatives in the West Bank. He has never met with them. Like all Palestinians with families in other parts of the occupied territories, they are forbidden by Israeli occupation authorities to meet their own relatives.

Unemployment here is over 40 per cent. It has one of the highest rates in the world, while youth unemployment is over 60 per cent.

Every time we are reminded of this information, the nightmare mantra returns: there is no future in Gaza; no work; no life for its young people.

This suffocating siege dictates this day-to-day reality to us. We cannot plan for our lives. We only live a day at a time, with no plan for the future.

Nevertheless, my friend’s voice interrupts these bad and frustrating thoughts. He says: “Gaza is not just misery and suffering. It is also creativity and talent.” This is true.

I have encountered many talented youngsters from all over Gaza. Despite all the suffering and pain, hardships and troubles, obstacles and disappointments, they have never surrendered. Whatever hinders their way towards success and glory, they keep moving, motivated to reach their ultimate goals.

Youssef Al Krunz was a superb footballer. He participated in the recent peaceful protests of the Great Return March at the borders of Gaza and the occupied territories of 1948. His future dream and possible career vanished when an Israeli sniper shot him down in his foot which had to be amputated. Despite this, he shocked me by saying: “I will never lose hope!”

‘Gaza’ and ‘hope’ are two words that seem to be unlinked. However, the young people here who are trying to do what’s possible to make them go hand-in-hand. We, the youth of Gaza, are like all other people of the world. We have our own dreams and creative talents. We have the necessary skills to be good to our community and to the whole world.

I hear about people committing suicide around the world, but I am sure it rarely happens here. What is our secret? Is it hope? But what kind of hope do we have? Is it that kind which transforms into determination, and then, motivation, and then, resistance, and then, Great Return March, and then Freedom. Is it?

Youssef Al-Bahtini is one of them; he wants to leave Gaza so that he can enter the Guinness Book of World Records as a contortionist. Israel’s blockade prevents his attempt from taking place. He never loses hope but keeps trying to find a way to achieve his dreams.

I established a youth club in June 2016. It works to help the young people of Gaza to practice English in order to speak out and tell the world about our struggle, suffer, and our just Palestinian Cause.

Mahmoud Ghanem, a friend and a coworker of mine in this club, is a fitness and Parkour trainer. He has been playing Parkour since 2007 even though there are no facilities for such a sport.

For practice, he usually goes to the cemeteries or to sites of destroyed houses. “I have always had a dream of playing Parkour in a room like the ones I can see in YouTube videos,” he says. “I dream of being able to play against some well-known Parkour players of the outside world.” (What is Parkour again?)

Nowadays, I am working with a team of young people, preparing to speak on behalf of Gaza’s youth, conveying our message: We, the young people of Gaza, have been suffering since the very beginning of our lives under this occupation. We have never enjoyed freedom.

However, because we love to live, we will never give up. We will do whatever is possible to disclose the Israeli apartheid, crimes, and lies, and false propaganda against us. We will tell the world the truth about Gaza’s youth and our harsh and excruciating situation.

We shall become Youth-With-Absolute-Freedom — not just Youth-Under-Occupation.

#YouthUnderOccupation #GazaUnlocked #GazaToHeartland




April 2018

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