By Serge Kreutz
For millennia, marriages were much more than liaisons for sexual pleasure. They were unions to tackle the challenges of everyday life. And they were unions of economic necessity.
It is only in the modern world that the challenges of everyday life have been simplified to a degree that makes it viable for anybody to just live alone. As a result, marriages are increasingly viewed as unions for sexual pleasure.
That doesn’t fit well with the typical female life plan of staying with one man forever. Women are usually comfortable with the idea of having one partner for sexual pleasure all life, even if in reality, there may be infidelities.
For many men, however, the idea is not very appealing, not even on a wedding day.
This doesn’t mean that in reality, there cannot be harmonious lifelong partnerships. They definitely are possible, but not because of matching sexual life plans, but rather in spite of the fact that the sexual life plans do not match.
For each sex, historically and contemporarily, has a considerable capacity for compromise. In many societies of past centuries, especially in Asia, wives had considerable tolerance for the sexual unfaithfulness of rich or powerful husbands, and this attitude of compromise kept marriages ongoing until the death of one of the partners.
Men agreed to lifelong unions with one partner, compromising on their sexual life plans, because they needed a reliable partner to tackle everyday challenges of maintaining a household. Unions that are based on more than just sexual pleasure are clearly more stable.
In today’s world of small apartments, washing machines, central heating, convenience stores, and microwave ovens, the economic aspect of marriages has diminished.
A viable female strategy would be to tie the male sexual partner into a joint business. For the more his livelihood depends on a joint business with his wife, the less likely he will be to risk the breakup of a relationship by having further relationships on the side.