The BBC blurb for Wanderlust (9pm Tuesday nights) runs as follows:
“After years of happy marriage, Joy and Alan Richards find themselves in a sexual rut. A car crash and injury to Joy has put their sex life on hold, and now they really aren’t clicking romantically at all. Suddenly both Joy and Alan find themselves drawn to new people and both are tempted to make the ultimate indiscretion. With their marriage in crisis, Joy comes up with an audacious, unorthodox but potentially brilliant proposal that will have huge ramifications for the future.”
This unorthodox activity is simply sex with other people, which delivers them both a thrill. If that’s what they want to do, in my personal view it’s entirely up to them.
Yet there is collateral damage: we’ve already seen Alan having casual sex with two women, only one of whom he explained his situation to (although at least he had the decency to use a condom); and Joy’s chosen target is horrified when he finds out she’s married and just using him for sex.
I imagine the true emotional complexity of this situation will emerge over the six weeks of the series, but the partners were regarded as somewhat throwaway by the parties to their titivating scheme.
My concern is that this first episode will set the idea of playing away as ‘OK’, as a bit of extramarital sex as being exciting. I can’t help but wonder whether sign up rates on Tinder have shot up as bored marrieds look for titivation elsewhere rather than work on sorting their own relationships.
I further wonder how many brow-beaten partners will now be bullied into accepting this as an exciting option to save their relationship/sex life.
What couple’s do in their own relationships has to be up to them. My plea here is for honesty with potential partners. ‘Just sex’ is just that….. until it’s not – until emotions get muddled in and the waters muddy. Without honesty, people will get hurt, expect more. They may come to the point of muddle anyway. Emotions are unpredictable things. (And, of course, if only one partner is playing away, that’s not titivating for your relationship, that’s just plain cheating.)
Luring someone into a relationship under false pretences is just a step away from grooming them into a relationship .
We’ve discussed this on the campaign Facebook page this week. My own experiences of men who try and date despite being married, and the cold grooming I experienced were so very different that I had a relatively ‘my look out’ attitude.
This ‘buyer beware’ attitude has been challenged. It was pointed out that as a society we seem to accept this deception, yet unfaithfulness hurtful and dishonest, and damages the lives of adults and often of children.
Is it time we stopped viewing extra marital affairs as inevitable? Acceptable?
Let’s hope the programme offers up the opportunity to start THIS discussion as well as the ‘can we try that?’ one.