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Diana Athill on Sexual Fidelity in Marriage

When spouses are concerned, it seems to me that kindness and consideration should be the key words, not loyalty, and sexual infidelity does not necessarily wipe them out.

Fidelity in the sense of keeping one's word I respect, but I think it tiresome that it is tied so tightly in people's minds to the idea of sex. The belief that a wife owes absolute fidelity to her husband has deep and tangled roots, being based not only on a man's need to know himself to be the father of his wife's child, but also on the even deeper, darker feeling that man owns woman, God having made her for his convenience. It's hard to imagine the extirpation of that: think of its power in Islam!

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