Extramarital Sexuality in Other Cultures

The Aborigines of Western Australia’s Arnhem Land openly accept extramarital sexual relationships for both wives and husbands. They welcome the variety in experience and the break in monotony offered by extramarital involvements. Many report increased appreciation of, and attachment to, their spouse as a result of such experiences.

The Polynesian Marquesans, although not open advocates of extramarital affairs, nevertheless tacitly accept such activity. A Marquesan wife often takes young boys or her husband’s friends or relatives as lovers. Conversely, her husband may have sexual rela­tions with young unmarried girls or with his sisters-in-law. Marquesan culture openly endorses the practices of partner swapping and sexual hospitality, in which unaccom­panied visitors are offered sexual access to the host of the other sex. Some Inuit groups also practiced sexual hospitality, in which a married female host had intercourse with a male visitor (Gebhard, 1971).

The Turu of central Tanzania regard marriage primarily as a cooperative economic and social bond. Affection between husband and wife is generally thought to be out of place; most members of this society believe that the marital relationship is endangered by the instability of love and affection. The Turu have evolved a system of romantic love, called Mbuya, which allows them to seek affection outside the home without threaten­ing the stability of the primary marriage. Both husband and wife actively pursue these outside relationships (Gebhard, 1971).

spouse. Affairs vary from one-night stands to deep emotional involvements (Allen & Rhoades, 2008). Nonconsensual extramarital sex has been given many labels, includ­ing cheating, adultery, infidelity, having an affair, and fooling around. These negative labels reflect the fact that more than 90% of the general U. S. public says that extramarital sex is "always" or "almost always" wrong (Treas & Giesen, 2000).