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和有妇之夫发生关系教会了我什么
What Sleeping With Married Men Taught Me About Infidelity

来源:纽约时报    2018-04-13 07:42



        I’m not sure it’s possible to justify my liaisons with married men, but what I learned from having them warrants discussion. Not between the wives and me, though I would be interested to hear their side. No, this discussion should happen between wives and husbands, annually, the way we inspect the tire tread on the family car to avoid accidents.        我拿不准是否该为我与已婚男人发生关系做出辩解,但我从与他们的关系中学到的东西值得讨论。但不是在我与他们的妻子之间,尽管我很想听听她们的看法。这种讨论应该发生在妻子和丈夫之间,而且应该每年都有,就像我们要检查轮胎的胎面,以避免事故那样。
        A few years ago, while living in London, I dated married men for companionship while I processed the grief of being newly divorced. I hadn’t sought out married men specifically. When I created a profile on Tinder and OkCupid, saying I was looking for no-strings-attached encounters, plenty of single men messaged me and I got together with several of them. But many married men messaged me too.        几年前,我住在伦敦时,约会过几名已婚男人,那时我正在经历刚刚离婚的痛苦。我并没有特意去找已婚男人。当我在Tinder和OkCupid网站上建立个人档案时,我说我在寻找没有附带条件的相会,不少单身男人给我发了信息,我与他们中的几位见了面。但也有许多已婚男人给我发了信息。
        After being married for 23 years, I wanted sex but not a relationship. This is dicey because you can’t always control emotional attachments when body chemicals mix, but with the married men I guessed that the fact that they had wives, children and mortgages would keep them from going overboard with their affections. And I was right. They didn’t get overly attached, and neither did I. We were safe bets for each other.        经历了23年的婚姻之后,我想要的是性,而不是感情关系。这是有风险的,因为当发生肌肤之亲时,你不是总能控制住情感的附加;但对于已婚男人,我猜,他们有妻子、孩子和抵押贷款,这会阻止他们在感情方面做得过分。我猜对了。他们没有过多的感情附加,我也没有。我们对于彼此来说都是安全的赌注。
        I was careful about the men I met. I wanted to make sure they had no interest in leaving their wives or otherwise threatening all they had built together. In a couple of cases, the men I met were married to women who had become disabled and could no longer be sexual, but the husbands remained devoted to them.        我对我想约会的男人很小心。我想要明确知道,他们没有兴趣离开他们妻子,或者让夫妻两人共同构筑起来的一切受到威胁。有几次,我约会的男人的妻子残疾了,不再有性生活,但她们的丈夫们仍对她们全心全意。
        All told I communicated with maybe a dozen men during that time in my life, and had sex with fewer than half. Others I texted or talked with, which sometimes felt nearly as intimate.        总的来说,在那段时间里,我与大概十来个男人有过联系,与他们中的不到一半做过爱。我和其他几位通过短信或聊过天,有时那样做的感觉也挺亲密的。
        Before I met each man I would ask: “Why are you doing this?” I wanted assurance that all he desired was sex.        在约会每个男人之前,我会问:“你为什么要这样做?”我想确保他所渴望的只是性。
        What surprised me was that these husbands weren’t looking to have more sex. They were looking to have any sex.        让我吃惊的是,这些丈夫并不是想要更多的性生活,他们只是想要有性生活。
        I met one man whose wife had implicitly consented to her husband having a lover because she was no longer interested in sex, at all. They both, to some degree, got what they needed without having to give up what they wanted. But the other husbands I met would have preferred to be having sex with their wives. For whatever reason, that wasn’t happening.        我遇到过这样一个男人,他的妻子默许丈夫有情人,因为她对性已经完全没有兴趣了。在某种程度上,他们都得到了他们所需要的东西,而不必放弃他们想要的东西。但我遇到的其他丈夫都更情愿与他们的妻子做爱。无论什么原因,那已不再发生。
        I know what it feels like to go off sex, and I know what it’s like to want more than my partner. It’s also a tall order to have sex with the same person for more years than our ancestors ever hoped to live. Then, at menopause, a woman’s hormones suddenly drop and her desire can wane.        我知道没有性生活是什么感觉,也知道想要比我的伴侣得到更多的性是什么感觉。与同一个人发生性行为的年头,比我们的祖先希望活的年头还要长,这可不容易。然后还有更年期,女性的激素突然下降,欲望也会减弱。
        At 49, I was just about there myself, and terrified of losing my desire for sex. Men don’t have this drastic change. So we have an imbalance, an elephant-size problem, so burdensome and shameful we can scarcely muster the strength to talk about it.        49岁的我就在这个门槛前,我很害怕失去对性的欲望。男人没有这种急剧的变化。所以,这里有一种不平衡,有一个像大象一样大的问题,这个问题如此沉重、难以启齿,我们几乎没有勇气去谈论它。
        Maybe the reason some wives aren’t having sex with their husbands is because, as women age, we long for a different kind of sex. I know I did, which is what led me down this path of illicit encounters. After all, nearly as many women are initiating affairs as men.        也许有些妻子不再与她们的丈夫做爱的原因是,随着女性年龄变老,我们渴望一种不同的性。我知道我就是这样,这是让我走上不正当约会之路的原因。毕竟,寻找婚外情的女性人数与这样做的男人几乎一样多。
        If you read the work of Esther Perel, the author of the recently published book “State of Affairs,” you’ll learn that, for many wives, sex outside of marriage is their way of breaking free from being the responsible spouses and mothers they have to be at home. Married sex, for them, often feels obligatory. An affair is adventure.        如果你读过作者埃丝特·佩瑞尔(Esther Perel)最近写的《婚外情现状》(State of Affairs)一书的话,你会了解到,对许多妻子来说,婚外性是她们摆脱必须在家里做负责任的配偶和母亲的方式。对她们来说,婚姻中的性生活经常让她们觉得是一种责任;而外遇则是冒险。
        Meanwhile, the husbands I spent time with would have been fine with obligatory sex. For them, adventure wasn’t the main reason for their adultery.        与此同时,与我共度时光的丈夫们会满足于责任感的性行为。对他们来说,冒险不是他们发生婚外性关系的主要原因。
        The first time I saw my favorite married man pick up his pint of beer, the sleeve of his well-tailored suit pulled back from his wrist to reveal a geometric kaleidoscope of tattoos. He was cleanshaven and well mannered with a little rebel yell underneath. The night I saw the full canvas of his tattoo masterpiece, we drank prosecco, listened to ’80s music and, yes, had sex. We also talked.        我第一次看见我最喜欢的已婚男人拿起啤酒时,他考究的西服袖子从手腕处向下滑,露出几何万花筒形状的纹身。他的脸刮得很干净,举止文雅,内心似乎却有一丝叛逆的喊叫。我看到他完整的纹身杰作的那天晚上,我们喝了普罗塞克葡萄酒,听了80年代的音乐,是的,我们还做爱了。我们也交谈了。
        I asked him: “What if you said to your wife, ‘Look, I love you and the kids but I need sex in my life. Can I just have the occasional fling or a casual affair?’”        我问他:“如果你对妻子说,‘呃,我爱你和孩子们,但我的生活需要性。我能不能偶尔放纵一下,或者来一段临时的婚外情?’会怎样?”
        He sighed. “I don’t want to hurt her,” he said. “She’s been out of the work force for 10 years, raising our kids and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. If I asked her that kind of question, it would kill her.”        他叹了口气。“我不想伤害她,”他说,“她十年没有工作,养育了我们的孩子,努力弄清自己想过怎样的生活。问她那种问题会要了她的命。”
        “So you don’t want to hurt her, but you lie to her instead. Personally, I’d rather know.”        “所以,你不想伤害她,却对她撒谎。就我个人而言,我宁愿知道。”
        Well, maybe I would rather know. My own marriage had not broken up over an affair so I couldn’t easily put myself in her position.        呃,我也许宁愿知道。我自己的婚姻并不是因为外遇而破裂的,所以要站在她的立场上思考不那么容易。
        “It’s not necessarily a lie if you don’t confess the truth,” he said. “It’s kinder to stay silent.”        “不承认事实不一定意味着撒谎,”他说,“保持沉默更仁慈。”
        “I’m just saying I couldn’t do that. I don’t want to be afraid of talking honestly about my sex life with the man I’m married to, and that includes being able to at least raise the subject of sex outside of marriage.”        “我只是说我做不到。我不想害怕跟我嫁的男人坦诚地谈论性生活,包括婚外性关系这个话题,至少可以提起它。”
        “Good luck with that!” he said.        “祝你好运!”他说。
        “We go into marriage assuming we’ll be monogamous,” I said, “but then we get restless. We don’t want to split up, but we need to feel more sexually alive. Why break up the family if we could just accept the occasional affair?”        “我们结婚时认定我们只会有单一性伴侣,”我说,“但之后我们变得焦躁不安。我们不想分开,但我们需要在性方面更活跃。如果我们能接受偶尔的婚外情,那又何必要拆散这个家庭呢?”
        He laughed. “How about we stop talking about it before this affair stops being fun?”        他大笑起来。“在我们这段婚外情变得无趣之前,我们不谈这个好吗?”
        I never convinced any husband that he could be honest about what he was doing. But they were mostly good-natured about it, like a patient father responding to a child who keeps asking, “Why, why, why?”        我从来未能说服任何一个丈夫,让他们相信他们可以诚实地说出自己在做什么。但是对于这个问题,他们大都很和气,就像一个充满耐心的父亲面对一个不断追问“为什么,为什么,为什么?”的孩子。
        Maybe I was being too pragmatic about issues that are loaded with guilt, resentment and fear. After all, it’s far easier to talk theoretically about marriage than to navigate it. But my attitude is that if my spouse were to need something I couldn’t give him, I wouldn’t keep him from getting it elsewhere, as long as he did so in a way that didn’t endanger our family.        这些问题之中充满着愧疚、怨恨和恐惧,也许我的方式太过务实了。毕竟,从理论上谈论婚姻要比驾驭婚姻容易得多。但我的态度是,如果我的配偶需要某种我给不了的东西,那么,我不会阻止他从别的地方获得它,只要他获取的方式不会危及我们的家庭。
        I suppose I would hope his needs would involve fishing trips or beers with friends. But sex is basic. Physical intimacy with other human beings is essential to our health and well-being. So how do we deny such a need to the one we care about most? If our primary relationship nourishes and stabilizes us but lacks intimacy, we shouldn’t have to destroy our marriage to get that intimacy somewhere else. Should we?        我想,我会希望他只需要去钓鱼或者和朋友们喝啤酒。但性是最基本的。与其他人类身体上的亲密接触对我们的健康和幸福至关重要。所以,我们怎么能阻拦我们最在乎的人满足这种需求呢?如果我们最重要的关系滋养了我们,让我们获得稳定感,但却没能让我们获得亲密感,我们不一定非要摧毁自己的婚姻才能从其他地方获得亲密感。我们非得那样吗?
        I didn’t have a full-on affair with the tattooed husband. We slept together maybe four times over a few years. More often we talked on the phone. I never felt possessive, just curious and happy to be in his company.        我没和那个有纹身的丈夫展开彻底的婚外恋。我们在几年的时间里大概一起睡了四次。我们更多的是在电话里交谈。我对他从未有过占有欲,只是对他的陪伴感到好奇和高兴。
        After our second night together, though, I could tell this was about more than sex for him; he was desperate for affection. He said he wanted to be close to his wife but couldn’t because they were unable to get past their fundamental disconnect: lack of sex, which led to a lack of closeness, which made sex even less likely and then turned into resentment and blame.        不过,在我们一起度过第二个夜晚之后,我可以看出来,他不仅仅是为了性,他渴望得到爱。他说,他想和妻子亲近,但他做不到,因为他们无法跨越最根本的脱节之处:没有性生活,这导致他们缺乏亲密感,从而令性生活变得更不可能,最后演化为怨恨和责备。
        We all go through phases of wanting it and not wanting it. I doubt most women avoid having sex with their husbands because they lack physical desire in general; we are simply more complex sexual animals. Which is why men can get an erection from a pill but there’s no way to medically induce arousal and desire in women.        我们都会经历想要和不想要的阶段。我怀疑许多女人不与丈夫做爱不只是因为简单的一句缺少肉体的欲望,我们只不过是更加复杂的两性动物罢了。这就是为什么男性吃一粒药就能勃起,而女性却不能靠药物诱发性冲动和欲望。
        I am not saying the answer is non-monogamy, which can be rife with risks and unintended entanglements. I believe the answer is honesty and dialogue, no matter how frightening. Lack of sex in marriage is common, and it shouldn’t lead to shame and silence. By the same token, an affair doesn’t have to lead to the end of a marriage. What if an affair — or, ideally, simply the urge to have one — can be the beginning of a necessary conversation about sex and intimacy?        我并不是说非单配制就是答案,这里面有太多风险和意想不到的纠葛。我相信答案在于诚实和对话,不论这有多么可怕。缺少性爱的婚姻很普遍,它不该走向羞耻和沉默。同理,外遇也不一定要导致婚姻的终结。如果说外遇——或者更理想一些,只是想要有外遇的冲动——能开启有关性爱和亲密的必要谈话呢?
        What these husbands couldn’t do was have the difficult discussion with their wives that would force them to tackle the issues at the root of their cheating. They tried to convince me they were being kind by keeping their affairs secret. They seemed to have convinced themselves. But deception and lying are ultimately corrosive, not kind.        这些丈夫做不到的是和他们的妻子进行艰难的对话,强迫他们去面对造成外遇的根源问题。他们试图说服我,他们隐瞒外遇是出于好心。他们似乎已经说服了自己。但欺骗和谎言终究是恶,不是善。
        In the end, I had to wonder if what these men couldn’t face was something else altogether: hearing why their wives no longer wanted to have sex with them. It’s much easier, after all, to set up an account on Tinder.        最后,我不得不怀疑,这些男人无法面对的根本是另一个问题:听到他们的妻子不想再与他们做爱的原因。毕竟,在Tinder建一个账户比那容易多了。
                
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