A book called The New Rules: Internet Dating, Playfairs And Erotic Power by Catherine Hakim reheats the well-known argument that human beings were not ‘meant’ to be monogamous, and cites plenty of examples from other species. I’ve got news for her. Human beings were not ‘meant’ to be anything. They evolved. And the point to which they’ve evolved is one of massively more sensitivity, empathy and intelligence than any other species in the known universe. This is surely the direction in which we want to continue evolving. More sensitivity, more empathy, more intelligence, more love, not less.
An argument I strongly disagree with, whatever the subject, is that human beings should behave as they were ‘meant’ to. If we followed that line we wouldn’t dive under the sea, fly in planes, wear clothes or cut our hair. When it comes to sex we’ve already subverted Nature in various cunning ways so we can enjoy lengthy, euphoric sex sessions day after day without producing offspring. But it would be a pity to use that ability to take the human race backwards into selfishness rather than forwards into enlightenment.
If two unattached people who have only just met decide they want to have sex and then go their separate ways, that’s up to them. Cheating on someone you’ve led to believe you love and will be faithful to is quite a different issue. There’s no such thing as a playfair (‘play affair’). In the end there are only painfairs.