A recent global survey which questioned attitudes to sex found that the French were the most tolerant of the concept of having an affair, whilst countries including Ghana, the Philippines and Brazil proved to be the least tolerant. Australia came in around 12th on the list, which surveyed more than 50 countries, an increase on their placing when the last survey was conducted.
According to the pole, more than 60% of French women and 75% of French men think affairs are acceptable, whilst more than two thirds of all those questioned said they would forgive their partner for cheating. A countrywide poll perfectly demonstrated the liberal Gallic attitude to sex when thousands of people across the country were asked if they though the French Prime Minister’s recent affair should have any bearing on his resounding office. The French people returned a resounding no and attested that the premier’s job should not be harmed due to his private life.
In Australia however, couples aren’t quite matching the tolerance levels of the French, although affairs are gradually becoming more morally acceptable. The survey showed that 50% of women and 55% of Australian men felt an affair was not always a deal breaker in a long term relationship. Marriage therapist Brigine Hudson has seen a significant sea change in the way her clients deal with affairs.
‘Divorce has been a huge issue in Australia for many years, with more than half of all marriages ending in divorce – in the majority of cases, the split is the result of an affair. But in the last couple of years I’ve found that couples are more willing to use an affair as a catalyst to assess their relationship and find ways to improve it so you can continue on together. It’s never nice to be cheated on, but it doesn’t necessarily have to spell the end of a marriage either.’
Internet entrepreneur Tom King believes that the prevalence of marital affair dating sites could be responsible for softening Aussie attitudes to affairs.
‘Before the internet embarking on an affair was much harder work, but these days you can join an internet dating site and if you want to arrange to meet someone in a very short space of time. The internet makes it easy for anyone to join a marital affair site and actively seek out someone to have an affair with, whereas in the past you’d need to put in a lot more effort.
Availability and popularity generally lead to increased tolerance when it comes to matters of sexual morality. For example, when unmarried women were first allowed to take the pill there was a huge public outcry concerning morality, but today, the pill is an everyday part of many women’s lives and there’s absolutely no stigma attached to taking it whether you’re married or single. I predict that over the coming years the same softening of attitudes will be seen around infidelity, which will in turn make it more acceptable for people to have affairs.’