10 Historic Times That Saw a Rise in Adultery and Why 01/04/12
Finding accurate statistics on adultery rates is very difficult. The most accurate way to get data is through face to face interviews and most people are unwilling to disclose extramarital affairs when they know their identity will be known. However, throughout history, there have been markers that indicate probable increases in infidelity. We’ve listed a few of those times below.
- Ancient Greece – Ancient Greeks did not view human sexuality the same as we do now. There seems to have been a lot more freedom. As women became land owners and their position in society increased, sexual freedoms became more acceptable as it was considered a gift from the Gods.
- The dawning of Christianity – There are scholars who have interpreted certain parts of the Scripture to indicate that some of the earliest Christians felt that because their sins were forgiven they had the freedom to commit all kinds of sexual immorality that had previously been denied them. The Apostle Paul addressed this issue several times in the Epistles admonishing early believers that they were to emulate Christ and abstain from sexual immorality and all other acts that were not in alignment with the teachings of Christ.
- Middle Ages – During the Middle Ages adultery was seen as a diversion for the upper classes. Men were expected to marry a virgin and marry well. However, before doing so, there was the expectation that they would have proven their virility on several occasions.
- Early U.S. History – At this time there were no divorces because there was no legal way for a couple to end their marriage. However in 1701, if you lived in Maryland, you were able to get a divorce. Divorces were only granted for adultery.
- Early 1900’s – Divorce rates were still relatively low, but higher for women than men, which would indicate a rise in adultery since that was the only reason one could get divorced.
- 1930’s – During the great depression divorce rates more than quadrupled for both men and women. Most likely the stress of the times caused an increase in adultery and the fact that during the 1920’s there was a much looser lifestyle on the rise than had been seen before.
- World War II – This period of time saw another spike in the divorce rate, presumably due to the many wartime marriages that took place where people did not really know each other that well. Many marriages were the result of young people feeling that they had to get married since the males were going off to war.
- 1950’s – This period of time saw the steady increase of divorce rates, over twice the rates of the Great Depression era. At this time divorce was still only granted on grounds of adultery.
- 1960’s and 70’s – During this time of history, society was going through some major changes. This was the era of “free love,” the Vietnam War was in full swing, Civil Rights and Women’s rights were also being fought for. Once again the divorce rate spiked, this time, it is thought that the advent of no fault divorce played a part in the spike. Even so, history tells us that sexual exploitation was rampant.
- 21st Century – Once again, society has gone through some serious changes. People are viewing marriage and relationships differently. Statistically it looks like adultery is still on the rise and the disillusionment of marriage and our disposable mentality seems to be at the root of it.
Adultery still tears people and families apart and causes damage to the psyche and the emotional wellbeing of those involved. Children are the biggest losers when families disintegrate due to infidelity.