"Journalist Pamela Druckerman didn’t think it would be hard to discuss sex issues with Alain Giami of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research.[...]
“What do you call ‘infidelity’? I don’t know what ‘infidelity’ is,” he said, in what the former Wall Street Journal correspondent later described as a “rant.”
“I don’t share this view of things, so I would not use this word,” he added, and then delivered the coup de grace. “It implies religious values.”
While she didn’t set out to write a book about sex and religion, Druckerman found that in large parts of the world — from Bible Belt cities to Orthodox Jewish enclaves, from Islamic nations to post-Soviet Russia — it’s hard to talk about infidelity without talking about sin, guilt, confession, healing and a flock of other religious topics.
However, she also reached a conclusion that many clergy would find disturbing. When push comes to shove, cheaters are going to do what they’re going to do — whether God is watching or not.
Recent studies offer a vivid contrast[to the Kinsey report]. In the early 1990s, she noted, 21 percent of American men and 10 percent of women said they had cheated while married. In 2004, 21 percent of men and 12 percent of women said they had strayed at least once.
Meanwhile, 3.8 percent of married French men and 2 percent of married French women say they’ve had an affair during the past year — in one of the world’s most secular nations. And in highly religious America? The parallel figures are 3.9 percent of the married men and 3.1 percent of the women.
“Even when I talked to religious people about adultery, they weren’t really worried about God, about God striking them down for their sins,” concluded Druckerman. “Americans just don’t think that way now. Even the religious people were more worried about what their families, or perhaps the people in their religious communities, would think of them. ...
“When it comes to matters of infidelity, Christian Americans act more like Americans than they do like Christians.”
The Daily Dispatch, Sunday, February 24, 2008