Tiger Woods’ Vanilla Dilemma

Perhaps the problem is the premise from which we operate. 

Americans have been conditioned to equate “morality” with a lack of sexuality. We accord principle to monogamy, and we have tied the concepts together as if one relies upon the other. That premise is faulty. 

This past week Tiger Woods (no relation) found himself in the public eye for too frequent use of his “other” putter. In what is apparently a succession of extra marital affairs, my namesake has succumb to the temptation that accompanies celebrity, and done exactly what the preponderance of the married male population would have done. He had sex outside the confines of his marriage with a series of available, wanting, ridiculously attractive women. 

…And America is Aghast! 

What we all should be angry about is that upon entering the failing institution of marriage, that the vast majority of us do so under false pretenses. We start out lying to one another as to our collective ability to suppress our natural inclinations. From the moment we meet. We feel compelled to try to convince one another that we are capable of physical monogamy, when statistics, not to mention the tabloids tell us that is simply not true. Yet tradition compels us to try. 

We lie as a matter of course. 

Had Tiger been honest from the beginning, and told his wife that although he loves her, he didn’t think that he could physically forsake all others until death do them part (let alone the next couple of months) …this entire fiasco would have been avoided. Granted, if she were uncomfortable with the concept of an “open marriage” she may have balked at the prospect, but still, all that would have meant is that they came to the realization they are at right now without all of the lies, and the pain that comes with it. But in his mind he felt that having a wife meant being dishonest.

 In the circles he travels, he was probably right. 

We have been conditioned to believe that infidelity occurs when two people become involved intimately when betrothed to others… truth reveals that before two people can begin to share extra marital affection there has to be a clandestine desire, and a series of lies. The reality is that betrayal begins with all of the deceptions and omissions up to, and including the act of sex. Both Tiger and Elin Woods were party to the same series of lies. They began a pattern of dishonesty the moment they met. In that regard, they are no different from anyone else. 

The inherent pretense we are taught regarding adult interaction is often our undoing.

But the institution that is “Vanilla Marriage” would never permit candor about sexuality, rather our collective sense of denial encourages self-deception. The only difference between the wealthy and famous as opposed to their working class counterparts is the accessibility to temptation. The reality is that when given the opportunity, most of us, both male and female stray…if not physically, then emotionally. 

We can try to treat the symptoms of the epidemic of marital impropriety, but without addressing it’s foundation it will keep reoccurring. The root cause, in my opinion, is that Physical Monogamy is simply not a viable option for most people… This is why celebrity scandal is newsworthy, and why Americans feel the burning desire to judge, lest they shall be judged themselves.


About Rich Woods

Rich Woods is the author of the critically acclaimed books, UnLearn Vanilla Marriage, and Yahweh to Hell. He is also a columnist, sociologist, and satirist who has performed seminars around the country. He's also made several TV and radio appearances. Transitioning from a blue-collar background has given Mr. Woods a unique perspective --and an even more unique elocution--among his peers. Raised Catholic, Mr. Woods is now a very public atheist who champions the separation of church and state. He's an advocate for non-traditional relationships, including --but not limited to-- negotiating non-monogamy, as well as being a vocal opponent of political correctness. Throughout his career, Woods has had colorful metaphors hurled in his direction from both liberals, and conservatives. To be honest, most of the vitriol comes from the Tea Party. However, he considers one of his greatest accomplishments having been called "Harry Reid's Lapdog" , and referred to as being "just like Rush Limbaugh" from two different sources within minutes of one another. Originally from Queens, New York, and presently residing in central New Jersey, Rich Woods is madly, and hopelessly in love with his wife Jane since before they were wed in 2002, and is the proud father of two successful, brilliantly creative, young adult children. Try as he might, he can't juggle.

Posted on December 5, 2009, in Archived Posts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey Rich!

    This is a very thought provoking blog…as all of yours are. : )

  2. Well.. I have to say growing up with the same thoughts as you speak of this is refreshing. I agree with you Rich Woods that most people are not honest about there sexual ways. I know most women say it all the time.. yeah he was a player before me but I have changed him.

    Speaking from experience, I know that if men or women are inclined not to be monogomous then they will inadvertently cheat. They cannot communicate this to their other half.. so they would rather deceive them than be honest.

    I know women who have dated married guys who in turn leave their wives for them..The result is the guy ends up cheating on the girlfriend too. To me women refuse to see this. They have an inlcination that hey can change the person they are with. Yeah he used to cheat but not anymore…yeah right.. Given the opportunity most people will take a chance and risk whatthey have.

    Its obvious that Tiger Woods has that inclination and no matter how gorgeous his wife is, his natural inclination is to not be monogomous.

    Interesting topic.

  3. This is brilliant, Rich.

    If people could only be honest with each other, particularly in intimate relationships (and if a relationship were truly intimate, wouldn’t that imply honesty?), the world would be a much better place.

    Great job in your ongoing quest to improve the lives (and the integrity) of the people on this planet!!! 🙂

  4. Hey, ok, I get it, I guess – but does this really work?

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