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As monogamy becomes the global norm, so does sexual betrayal. Surveys show that more than 70 per cent of married people report at least one affair. Does infidelity remedy the deficiencies of the lifetime partnership, or does it signify the destruction of any true union? Rosalind Miles recommends some reflection on the uses of adultery...

By Rosalind Miles   January 1996

What does president Clinton have in common with Paula Yates? Prince Charles with Lady Chatterley? Jeffrey Archer with the “common prostitute” Monica Coghlan (whose services, a court found, Lord A was not in fact paying for with the ?2,000 he so generously gave her)? Accounting for infidelities-real and fictional-is a challenge akin to cracking the DNA code. But our public culture makes it difficult to talk about in a useful way.

We chatter about it, of course, incessantly. Adultery is constantly in the air: the recreation of the great and the not-so-good, and hence the staple of the tabloids. This…

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