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An everyday affair: Deciphering the sociological significance of women's attitudes towards infidelity

van Hooff, J (2016) An everyday affair: Deciphering the sociological significance of women's attitudes towards infidelity. Sociological Review. ISSN 0038-0261 (In Press)

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Abstract

The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review.This article draws on interview material to examine the recent hardening of attitudes towards infidelity. The visibility and apparent frequency of both consensual non-monogamy, as well as more common covert experiences, would suggest a challenge to dominant mononormative assumptions about the feasibility of lifelong monogamy. However, infidelity remains the lone area of adult sexual practice that is disapproved of under any circumstances (National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, 2013). I argue that increasing hostility towards affairs is located in the discursive context of the 'specialness' of sex and the centrality of trust and communication to constructions of contemporary relationships. With the monogamous sexual couple at the centre of personal life, infidelity is regarded as a particular threat, revealing wider limitations to claims about the extent to which relationships have been detraditionalized.

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