I am a 39 year old married woman. I recently attended an adult party (a.k.a. pleasure party) hosted by one of my friends. I did not ask my husband's permission to attend, thinking it wasn't a big deal. I did not purchase any "toys" but nonetheless, my husband is furious at me for attending. He says I "violated" our relationship and socially embarrassed him by going. He has called me a liar, hypocrite (because I don't allow our children to swear, watch porn, etc. but I went to this party) and a whore. I don't understand what is happening. He says I must "admit my guilt" or live a lonely, sex-less life. He also doesn't think he will ever be able to have sex with me again. I want to stay with him but I don't know what I did wrong. Is it morally and ethically wrong to attend a party like this without my husband's consent?

Good heavens! Unless you both had an explicit understanding that neither would attend an adult party, it is hard to see this as a violation, and even if one did have such an agreement it is hard to see how such a "violation" warrants calling someone a whore and threaten to cut off all sexual intimacy! I am sure this matter is more a topic for a marriage therapist than a professional philosopher, but I shall hesitantly suggest three things: it might be good to shift the questioning from matters of guilt / innocence / confession... to asking what is the most loving thing to do right now....both for your husband and for you. He seems to be treating the event on a par with sustained adultery or, short of adultry, a case of grave, personal betrayal and deception. But rather than getting focussed on whether the event was innocent (from his point of view, for it does sound innocent from your point of view), maybe the focus can be on what would the most loving thing be to do now. Second, the charge of being a hypocrite coming from a so-called double standard doesn't seem obvious. For example, you may not want your children to watch pornography because they are too young, but have no objection to whether your grown son or daughter watches an adult channel at their hotel when on a business trip. A third matter might not be important at all, but if I was in that situation I would want to know what other boundaries my partner has. If she or he is going to go to extreme threats in this case, are there others (what, for example, if I bought a gift for a friend without telling the partner? What if I agree to have lunch with someone she doesn't know? etc etc). Good luck!!!!!!!

Good heavens, indeed. This isn't, as Charles said, really a question for philosophers. But just on an ordinary human level, it will strike most people that your husband is behaving pretty appallingly, in a way that probably reveals a deep fear or even horror of female sexuality. His response is that of the frightened emotional bully. In the face of his absurd reaction, it must be difficult not to feel crushed, and begin to doubt your own good sense. But of course it wasn't a big deal to go the party (with all the female banter and amused teasing and gibes at male inadequacies -- or so I'm told!); and you need to hold on to that thought in the face of the bullying, and not start to doubt your own sense of moral proportion. To echo Charles again, good luck!

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