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Laura Perrins: So how was it for you? My wife’s year-long sex odyssey ended in divorce


There is a book out there by a woman who tells us how she ‘took a year off from her marriage to sow her wild oats.’ I am not going to link to it because I do not approve nor want to push up sales. But my sub-editor insists I admit this much: The Wild Oats Project, by Robin Rinaldi, published by Hodder & Stoughton in paperback at £14.99.

The Times interviewed her husband to get his thoughts. Wow, I thought when seeing the headline (since changed) My wife had a year-long sex odyssey. How did the marriage survive that? On closer reading it did not. The wife is very much an ex-wife, lost to one of her lovers while on odyssey.

I have no doubt that the liberal papers are lapping up this kind of stuff to throw another grenade at traditional marriage that still, I believe, includes the vow to commit oneself for life, the to exclusion of all others. In my mind this is not some optional extra one can opt out of as when one pleases.

The husband tells us, when asked “was he ever angry about what was happening? “A bit, maybe,” he says, “But when you dig beneath the anger, there’s hurt. So yes, I was hurt.” He says there were times when he cried himself to sleep at night, knowing that his wife was only a few streets away in her little rented flat, having sex with other men.” Mmm, perhaps there should have been a bit less sobbing into pillows and more banging down of doors and the whole thing would not have fallen apart.

I am guessing the liberal media want us to all be ‘grown-ups’ about this and just get on with it. What business is it of ours what this couple got up to? Well, first they made it our business by trying to flog us a book on it. But secondly, and more importantly, marriage is not just about the couple. It never was and nor it should be – society has a stake in it so it is our business.

The only reason the State has an interest in marriage over and above other relationships is because it is the best relationship in which to bring up children. This is how the social and cultural store is transferred from one generation to another. Marriage is not a private contract between two people; it has a very public dimension and is a public declaration of commitment. Hence the need for witnesses and ‘reading of banns’.

Now this couple did not have children (a point of tension) but the point holds. Ex-hubby tells us: “It’s my life and Robin’s life and she wanted to write the book and I think people should do what they want to do as long as they’re not hurting anybody else.”

If people want to ‘do just what they want to do,’ then don’t get married. The State has conferred certain benefits and privileges upon you as a couple, not because you looked great in your tux on your wedding day but because of the vows you took which included being faithful to one another. Adults don’t get to do ‘just what they want to do’. This is something I expect to hear from a stroppy teenager not a grown man but these days it can be difficult to tell the difference.

I also find myself wondering what their friends and family think of this year-long odyssey? What did they think of this premeditated journey into repeated acts of adultery. I know what I would think if it was one of my friends who I had witnessed getting married do this: pretty annoyed and wanting my wedding gift back.

When I attend a wedding I am not there just to admire the dress. I am there to see the couple joined in a life-long commitment. Do sometimes marriages fail – of course – and I am not saying I would cut someone off if they did. They need support in that devastating time. But deliberately to take a holiday from your marriage to ‘sow wild oats,’ that is a different matter entirely. This, dear reader, is what one might call ‘peak individualism’ and tells us a lot about the society we now live in, namely it is rotting from inside out.

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