Vanessa Bryant, wife of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, has publicly defended her husband, who is charged with raping a 19-year-old woman. At a press conference she held her husband's hand and defended him as a good man who had erred by committing adultery, but was not a rapist.
She has received a great deal of contempt from the media and public for her public defense of her husband.
The headline of Bill Williamson's NBC Sports column, for example, reads: "Vanessa Bryant shouldn't stand by her man."
"She has been made a fool of, and now must go along for the ride with her embattled husband.
"Yes, she is standing by her man. The question is why? It is not her duty. It is not her job.
"The saddest part of Friday night's made-for-TV event is how meek and willing to play along Vanessa Bryant appeared.
"Does she really think that the father of her infant daughter who, at the very least cheated on her, is a great person?"
Such sentiments can be found in papers and on radio talk shows around the country.
I disagree with these sentiments. Of course, a married person having sexual intercourse with someone other than his or her spouse has committed a serious sin. But I admire Vanessa Bryant's loyalty and hope that she stays with her husband.
The issue is an enormously important one, far more significant than the fate of any one couple. How a woman should react to the sexual infidelity of her husband is, unfortunately, an issue that millions of women have had and will have to deal with.
Many angry women and many sanctimonious men heap abuse on women who stand by their adulterous husbands. But if these women and men were to think more rationally and with more decency, they would either keep their opinions to themselves or just wish struggling couples well.
I have no idea how many men have been sexually unfaithful to their wives. And I am certain that no one knows, since people lie to pollsters about almost everything, and especially about sex. But the number is probably not small.
One reason is that for nearly all men, unlike nearly all women, the sexual drive to variety must be fought constantly. Moreover, and again utterly unlike females, males are sexually aroused by their eyes -- not only by their minds or their hearts as with nearly all women, but by sight alone. Furthermore, given the superficial nature of men's sex drive, the sex act for almost any man can be utterly devoid of any human, emotional, intellectual or romantic meaning.
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