It's an adulterous world out there. Russian husbands and wives don't believe that beach-resort flings violate their marital vows. Japanese businessmen, armed with the aphorism "If you pay, it's not cheating," flock to sex clubs where the extramarital services on offer include "getting oral sex without showering first." South Africans may be the masters of creative accounting: Pollsters there had to create separate categories for men who cheat, and men who only cheat while drunk.
In America, however, there is never a free pass when it comes to infidelity. According to our national moral compass, cheating is abominable no matter what the circumstances. But do we actually behave differently than everyone else? Pamela Druckerman, a former foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, decided to delve into this incredibly taboo topic. She interviews people all over the world, from retirees in South Florida to Muslim polygamists in Indonesia; from Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn to the men who keep their mistresses in a "concubine village" outside Hong Kong.
Druckerman talks to psychologists, sex researchers, marriage counselors, and most of all, cheaters and the people they've cheated on, and concludes that Americans are the least adept at having affairs, have the most trouble enjoying them, and suffer the most in their aftermath.
Lust in Translation is a voyeuristic, statistics-packed, sometimes shocking, often hysterical, worldwide glimpse into the endlessly intriguing world of extramarital sex. It may be politically incorrect to say so, but who knew infidelity could be this fascinating?
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.26(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.14(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Pamela Druckerman is a former staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal, where she covered foreign affairs. She has also written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, and appeared on the Today Show and NPR's Morning Edition, among many other outlets. She is the author of the international bestseller, Bringing up Bébé , and Lust in Translation, which was translated into eight languages. She has a master's degree in international affairs from Columbia, and lives in Paris.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Lust in Translation 1
Welcome to America 11
Lies, Damn Lies, and Adultery 37
Sexual Cultures 65
The Marriage-Industrial Complex 91
Death of the "Five to Seven" 111
The Obligatory Affair 145
Mystery of the Single Futon 169
We Must Have a Spare One at Least 197
God in the Bedroom 223
A Sexual Revolution 251
Conclusion: Home Sweet Home 271
What People are Saying About This
This is a wonderful book -- highly readable and filled with provocative insights drawn from the author's own keenly observed experiences and the scholarly literature. Lust in Translation gives us fascinating glimpses into how different cultures approach the concept of fidelity. Ultimately, Druckerman forces us to acknowledge that, while there may well be an 'international language of love', it seems to have many dialects. (Hella Winston, author of Unchosen)
Deliciously entertaining. In her witty and eye-opening debut, Druckerman takes the reader on a global romp that breezily punctures American sanctimony while dishing up cultural secrets. All the fun of an illicit affair with none of the guilt. (Elisabeth Eaves, author of Bare: The Naked Truth About Stripping)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The subject was so interesting that it was a bit disappointing that it came out as a list of facts and numbers at times. The actual statistics made it hard to read and it was a bit disappointing that she didn't do more with it. Interesting none the less, but when you're reading about sex and adultery that's not hard.
A comprehensive look at infidelity across cultures, this was one rollicking good read. While infidelity occurs everywhere, only in America, it seems (and likely by extension in Canada) is it accompanied by the histrionics and hand-wringing. In most other cultures, it's "don't ask, don't tell". To be sure, the cuckolded spouse is hurt when faced with definitive proof of infidelity, but generally that's not the way the game is played. I was left, however, after reading this book, with a feeling that the world would be a better place if men could just learn to keep it in their pants...but that's perhaps uncharitable.
I read a small blurb about this book when it was first published in hardcover and for whatever reason, I actually marked down the date that it would come out in paperback so I could be sure to get it and read it. Whatever the driving force for acquiring the book, I've been reading it off and on (mostly off)... To the point where the book has a rather noticeable pen shaped bulge dividing the book almost in half where my pen rested for most of the three months that it sat on my bookshelf under a couple of other books.That being said, it's a rather quick read (when you are actually reading it) and Druckerman's fairly genial tone speeds you through. She keeps a brisk pace and doesn't involve herself in the topic beyond certain amusing interactions with the interviewees (like when she's slightly miffed that one Lothario has ruled her out as one of his potential wives based on age and weight)... And what's she's come up with is an interesting, slightly detached look at infidelity in various countries and cultures.Now, you have to keep in mind that given the subject matter, the people she's speaking to are people whose lives have probably been affected by infidelity... People who are engaged in affairs, have been engaged in affairs, dealt with a significant other's affair, have multiple wives, keep mistresses, are mistresses, enjoy occasional flings, encourage occasional flings, are gigolos, visit prostitutes, are prostitutes (either full or part time), run support groups for infidelity, are private detectives specializing in proving infidelity, are people employed to put an end to a spouse's infidelity, or study any or all of these items above. Given this litany of interviews, you start feeling like everyone is cheating on everyone -- or at least most of the world is. The people who were the worst at dealing with it were, unsurprisingly, the Americans. In one horror couple, the husband made the wife recount every meeting, every message exchanged, every look... And will demand this recount on a frequent basis... And years later, still hadn't gotten over it while his wife lived in constant terror and regret. These folks seemed like great candidates for divorce IMHO. Some marriages aren't worth saving and I think God would agree on that one.It's a relatively fascinating topic, particularly because this dealt with it in a rather sterile, conceptual form. There were few accounts like the American psychos. Most people didn't have multiple wives or sleep with new people every night. Lots of these people had an affair every now and again (or had one or two in their lives), and no one (again, except Americans) talked about how they were worried for their immortal souls as a result. No one seemed to think twice about an omnipotent God being aware of their every move... Most people were just hoping their families didn't know and that their spouse was kept in the dark, thus shielded from harm. Whether or not they were shielded from harm is debatable, but really, most people in this book weren't necessarily bad people... Though I suppose that's debatable too, isn't it?In any case, I'm glad that I read the book and I think Druckerman did a fine job with it. With limited (reliable) data on infidelity, she provided thought-provoking portraits of individuals in different cultures that might be somewhat stereotyping, but she was careful to try and keep discussion balanced. But yeah... You do kind of wonder, after reading a book like this, if human beings were ever meant to be faithful and if we're doing ourselves any favors by strictly adhering to such a plan.
A really interesting read on how infidelity varies around the world. I especially liked her conception of the marriage-industrial complex in the US, and her theory as to why the spread of AIDS has not been slowed in Africa. It's readable and well-researched; I just wish there were more quotable statistics/research on different aspects of infidelity.
Interesting multi-cultural look at marriage, and infidelity. What is accepted, what is repressed, and what is taboo. Very entertaining read.
This was basically a breezy Cosmo article expanded (unnecessarily) into a book. The author covers infidelity in the USA, France, Russia, Japan, China and Africa. There were some interesting tidbits of information ( I provide a few below for your next cocktail party), but this was essentially the nonfiction equivalent of a "beach book." (I'm not saying it was dreadful -- I did read the entire thing, after all.)According to the author: 1. Traditional Japanese marriages are apparently so loveless and sexless that husbands pay attractive "professional conversationalists" to engage in light, interesting banter with them after they leave work in the evening. Japanese wives are more than happy to be rid of their husbands for as many hours of the day as possible ("As long as they are safe, it is better that they are away.") The saddest day in a married woman's life is the day her husband retires. Retired husbands are referred to as "sodaigomi," which translates roughly into "bulky trash." 2. Russia is rife with adultery, and one of the reasons is that the average life expectancy of Russian men is 58, due primarily to alcoholism, cigarettes, and car accidents. By the time that women and men reach 65, there only 46 men left for every 100 women. Any Russian man with a heartbeat and a blood alcohol level below 2.0 has a sporting chance at a romp in the sheets. 3. The French are not any more likely to engage in extramarital affairs than Americans are, but when they do, they don't agonize endlessly over it like we do. French wives are more likely to wait the situation out with a "don't ask, don't tell" strategy. The offended spouse is not happy about the situation, but it's not the end of the world. In the USA, on the other hand, it is not unusual to find couples still going to therapy for years after the affair has ended, endlessly hashing over every detail of the offending spouse's prior behavior, and attending 12-step programs as if they were codependent drug addicts. 4. The nations of Togo, Cameroon, and the Ivory Coast have the highest infidelity rates for men, and the nations of Australia (who would have thought it?), Kazakhstan (no "sexy times" for Borat), and Bangladesh have the lowest rates of male infidelity. Norway and Great Britain take the honors for the highest rates of female infidelity.