The storyline of the frustrated wife having an affair has become more popular thanks to depictions in movies such as “Unfaithful” or “Desperate Housewife” Gabrielle, but what pushes married women into having an affair? “Daring Wives” sheds some light on the motives of these women. Psychologist and psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, who specializes in couples therapy, women’s issues and trauma, has plenty of colorful case studies to draw upon and gives an insight into their dilemma – after all these clients are looking for help to rescue their marriage or seeking a solution which could help them in future relationships.
As her brief history of the double standards applied to both sexes shows – women would usually risk health, lives, their children and livelihood if they dared to take a lover, while it was acceptable and ok for men to do the same. Her historical account starts with the bible and King Solomon who allegedly had 700 wives and 300 concubines, however straying wives faced the death penalty by stoning. Women in the 19th century fared little better. Women were not allowed to be sexual and simply not thought of as having sexual desires, the middle class wife was seen as pure, put on a pedestal and therefore asexual. Women diagnosed with sexual ailments like vaginism or psychological problems like hysteria risked mutilation in form of castration or the excision of the clitoris by sadistic male gynecologists.
The 20th century saw several shifts in the views on female infidelity. The prudish fifties upheld the double standards, while the invention of the pill and the sexual revolution in the sixties gave women greater freedom over their own bodies. The AIDS crisis in the 80ies made women rethink their new gained freedom and extramarital affairs were seen as potentially fatal. According to Cohen up to the 21st century the moral values of the past centuries have harmed women.
The 21st century has seen the arrival of the “third wave feminists”, women who would rebel against their feminist mothers and have a different outlook on sexuality. These women feel rather empowered by showing off cleavage, midriff and legs and using their sexuality to attain goals. They don’t view themselves as sexual objects but rather as empowered subjects who are in charge. However the new century has also seen a setback on feminism in the USA with the election of George W. Bush and his repressive politics. Despite conservative moral values female infidelity does exist in modern America (and elsewhere).
Frances Cohen Praver neither condones nor passes moral judgment on women who have affairs, instead she believes that it is simply a human reaction to a multitude of factors as her case studies show.
Among these are the bored stay-at-home wife who feels unappreciated, the exhausted working wife who is missing the romance in their marriage and the very young wife, who grew bored and restless. There is the middle-aged wife, who misses the romance and sexual desire in her life and the closet lesbian wife who has an affair with another woman.
The case studies are vividly described, full of dialogue and the psychologist’s insights and interpretation. It almost feels like being in the therapy room. While some of her clients managed to rescue their marriage, for others it meant to divorce.
A useful book for husbands in troubled marriages - especially husbands who want to be able to understand their wives’ motives better - and wives who have an affair. It does not, of course replace any therapy needed by couples faced with marital problems.
Canadian Wartime Prison Escapes: Courage & Daring Behind Enemy Lines
Author: Peter C. ConradISBN: 13:978-1-894864-64-0 10: 1-894864-64-6Inspired by true events that were garnered from extensive research, Peter Conrad’s Canadian Wartime Prison Escapes: Courage & Daring Behind Enemy Lines shares with us the hair raising accounts of several courageous Canadian soldiers and airmen who during World Wars I and II were either captured by the enemy and escaped or made their way back after getting caught behind enemy lines. The tales of these escapees are...
Wives and Sisters
Author: Natalie R. CollinsPublisher: St. Martin’s PressISBN: 0312334281Genre: Adult/Fiction/Suspense
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Author: Natalie R. CollinsPublisher: St. Martin’s PressISBN: 0312334281Adult/Fiction/Suspense
Nice Wives Finish First
Author: Patricia Anne PhillipsPublisher: Dafina Books (March 5, 2005)ISBN: 0758208324 The following review was contributed by: Jennifer Murray Jennifer Murray. Click