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Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist &
Chief of Microbiology (retired)
City of Cleveland, Ohio

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*Science and Adultery*

Greetings, it is good to be with you again. To be in the position in which you find yourself today, obviously you’re a pretty “sharp cookie.” But with the tools you’ve been given, (your reality) “exactly what” in life are you trying to accomplish? If you can answer that question early on, you are miles ahead of the “pack.” However, “time” is the master of us all. And none of us seem to have enough of it. And since life doesn’t hand out a lot of “second and third chances” we need to be very smart. Generally speaking, we gain wisdom as we age, but that’s not always the case. Why do so many married and relationally committed men and women find it so difficult to start and maintain sexual monogamy? What exactly seems to be the problem? We usually associate men a bit more with adulterous behavior, and women as both the cause and the victim.

As you all know, this is not necessarily true. Often it appears neither the man or woman can always be trusted to honor the (at times) “sworn” monogamous agreement. Why is that? Realistically, most have been fairly successful at the monogamy objective. But I believe that may be because the “right” (or wrong) person was not the object of temptation. I believe most secular human beings that have the opportunity to sleep with one of their dream partners” might think twice before passing on the chance. This is especially true if they thought there was no way the act would ever be discovered. Why? Well for one thing internally, we’re not entirely human!And no, I’m not kidding. This fact may contribute to why monogamy may be difficult for many, but next to impossible for others!

You may ask, “Henri, what do you mean we’re not totally human? “Of course we’re all human, but what I mean is exactly this: You see, about 90% of all our genetic information actually comes from non- human Bacterial DNA. And bacteria have an agenda, but no morals! Most of the ~2,000 (or so) bodily bacteriological species are located in the gut. We actually consist of only ~ 10% human DNA! Most of this audience is aware of the function of most bodily systems. There is also a bodily communication that goes on between the human DNA and the bacterial DNA, the host is called the Microbiome. (2-6lbs., ~10-100 trillion microbial cells harbored by each person, primarily in the gut) Our bodily molecules have “receptors” and so do the cells. Perhaps communication of some kind is made in this way. But the estimated frequency of this communication is about 10 times that from the gut to the brain than vice-versa.

The microbiome also influences Circadian Rhythms independently of other clock genes. (Bodily timers) Butyrate acid build up (produced in the microbiome) may indicate those more susceptible to influence. I further suspect complex microbiome involvement with some reproductive health levels. This may (somehow) inspire cerebrally controlled emotional mechanisms in which simple stimulation can influence basic sexual control issues beyond the point of satiety and sound judgment. In my view, this possibility deserves further study, in part because there is no other activity in the world (other than war) that has caused more joy, grief, pain, and even death than human sexuality. Perhaps further research in chronobiology could provide us with more detailed information soon.

It is also interesting to note that among these “bodily” conversations are those signals coming from the reproductive system which also includes the female egg and male sperm. These happen to be “germ cells” that originated in the primitive streak and migrated via the gut to the gonads. The results of the genetic instructions given us to reproduce have often proven to be more powerful than our abstract recently learned “morality.” For every one gene in our genome there are 100 bacterial ones. And like our natural bodily functions, the directive to reproduce can be very persuasive. Some people born with stronger emotional or “gut feelings” during sexual arousal may have a heightened tendency to engage in a random sexual opportunity. These “urges” may originate in the microbiome.

During prime years, our preprogrammed genetic reproductive instincts will not usually be denied for extended periods. And often it seems the brain wants to concur. Without “divine” or inculcated moral intervention, one may soon be relegated to acts of self-stimulation. The “germ cells” (sperm and egg) and their preprogrammed agenda are so tenacious they are the last in the body to die, and can even be viably harvested up to 36 hours after the death of the host individual. Faced with such reproductive dedication, and sexual laws being as they are, one can see how this can become a problem. This is especially true in cases of marital sexual denial.

The only way one can continually deny this system is to (somehow) mentally convince one’s brain to ignore the incoming sexual demand signals and (for men) the involuntary occurring” wet dreams.” Sexual denial is generally achievable only through religious belief, or surgery. As far as we know, outside of marriage or the “wild kingdom,” in the civilized world there are no officially recognized or judiciously sanctioned methods given for orgasmic relief. While integrally necessary for life, coitus, along with its usual “writhing, orgasmic oratory” demonstrates (to me) a universal “mammalian activity” rather than a restrained, dignified, PhD like occurrence. I sometimes wonder, if in the “Grand Scheme” of things, Man isn’t just hoping, (out of fear) we’re more than we actually are.  

Whatever the plan for your life, divorce because of adultery can throw your life’s time schedule back to day one. However, your age will not also retrogress, but continually allowing this modus operandi to accompany one’s decisions may result in unfulfilled premature time expiration! It is best not to take a divorce lightly, especially if you’ve done it before. Statistics show what didn’t work in the first place, may work even less the second or third time around. Nature has placed a sex drive in men ~ 4 times that of the average female. Why? Because without aggressive sexual programming, perhaps cosigned by the microbiome, Man could not be trusted to mate. In fact, he would be too lazy. The species would soon fail. And so nature knows nothing about morality. Herein lies the problem.

According to evolution, (not creation) originally, the human male was not designed for monogamy. When it comes to reproduction, Man may be (unrepressed) as “wild” as other primates, e.g. Chimpanzee, Gorilla, etc. So fundamentally, a recognized sexual mistake (by either party) during the life of a relationship may not be an automatic cause for psychiatric evaluation, or divorce. The extramarital sexual act is caused by unrepressed instincts. To nature, reproduction is far more important than morality. There has to be a chemical or biological reason why men and women with so much to lose, (e.g. presidents, politicians, et. al.) have failed at marital fidelity. Science knows men and women are mammals. While men are more likely to commit this offense, all of us have many unknown mechanisms that play parts of some kind in our idiosyncratic behaviors. Man’s Moral Rules cannot hope to eradicate what may be (for some) an almost automatic, but still manageable human behavior. How many essentially good people have we just “thrown away?”

At this point, no one knows or has deciphered the microbiological “cross talk” that occurs between the brain and the microbiome. But our instincts may recognize some things our heads do not. We know many of our bodily functions are automatic. (Subconscious) This would help explain some control difficulty. Progress in physics and chemistry has shown knowledge of the “unknown and unknowable” is not shrinking, but expanding almost exponentially. There may yet be a defensible scientific reason some find complete fidelity so difficult. As adultery does not require love or commitment, it is not clear that all men and women questioned in these studies are being completely truthful about compliance. But divorce is a cruel punishment for the sincerely contrite involved in an offense that records show is even more likely to reoccur (with others) during second or third marital attempts.

Are we a species that is trying to eliminate innate evolutionary tendencies with man’s recent code of ethics and morality? I’m not suggesting we’ve discovered the only cause of this problem, (certainly not in all cases) but a significant one. Our brain processes billions of bits of information per second. But we are only aware of about 2,000. And I’m not defending cruel or abusive treatment. Such behavior is not to be tolerated! But I’m talking about bad decisions. During most marital dissolutions and separations, the threat of divorce too often has become a foundation for relationship lies, tumult, and tears. Listen, adultery isn’t necessarily a “Dog & Slut” show. No one that has ever lived is responsible for their variation, (race) looks, or overall intellect. In this world, these are all attributes that can make one attractive to others. These factors can and do increase chances for critical, and constant relationship interference.

Caveat: Listen, I’m not trying to be unkind here, but you know “who you are.” If you’re a person of “modest” looks, limited finance, and you still manage to “land” one of these really dynamic “superstar” individuals, it may be prudent not to expect an undisturbed, trouble-free relationship. Be realistic. And don’t get hurt by “biting off more than you can chew.” In my view, try loving and marrying only the person you expect to keep, and stay with for life.

Misunderstood chemical and microbiological interaction combined with excessive sexual opportunity may add to individual problems. The guilty party may actually still love their mate, as guilt only occurs when one cares. Why this continues to happen globally we still can’t pinpoint for sure. But I believe it happens far more than many will admit. And to top off this tragedy, fully half of those who divorced later in life wish they hadn’t. What is the solution? History has shown, in secular life this tends to happen more frequently. And for many of these, this activity is thought of as normal. (Or inevitable)

Our society’s obsession with sex permeates the civilized world. Ultimately, I don’t believe this “life force” can be denied, only subdued. However, being the animals we all are, behind the mask of this “universal façade” (indifference) both men and women continue to recognize what they privately deem as “sexual attractiveness.” Emotional appreciation for things like beauty, music, dance, and even love may find some root in the microbiome. Its influence on brain chemistry is important to note because some decisions made in these emotional areas are not necessarily empirical, and often elude “common sense.”

Are we all still human? Have we now evolved to come up with rules and consequences so severe that many cannot comply? Adultery has existed since coupling began, and probably always will. All of our religious books are full of it, along with numerous acts of forgiveness. Short of crying out to God, the orgasmic experience so often precariously sought by billions still cannot be adequately described. Similar to food, an orgasm is the reward for copulation completion unlike any in this world. No completion, no reward. And even physical abstinence cannot control it! Microbiomic input? Perhaps, but the question is how? (By what mechanism?) No matter to what “heights” man attempts to rise, it’s as if “something” keeps trying to redirect him/her back into more base thought. This may have grounding in some legendary belief structures, e.g. demons and devils. (Implications remarkable)

Should one divorce? Think it over. But remember, time in this matter is not your friend. Being human, no one can escape the ravages of time while continually attempting to “get it right” by starting over. Too soon, “over” will no longer be available, and you may not have the same level of “choice” you once had. Even though “the accused” has caused one unbelievable, egregious pain, if they are sincerely contrite, the relationship may still be salvageable. In my research, “human attraction” often occurs between the primary person and people that are not necessarily pretty, handsome, or even “in the same league” (e.g. the maid, gardener, etc.) However, they all seem to have a “certain something” (a sexuality) at times so powerful it may attempt to diminish free will.

Depending on the level of temptation presented, situational ethics and compromised morality might become easier than first thought. Perhaps this is one reason we were given this part of The Lord’s Prayer; “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Holy Bible, Luke 11:1-4) In my view, there is more culpability in adultery than is commonly understood, and I believe reconciliation should always be considered. For the reasons we’ve discussed, if forgiven, the accused must stay completely away from all adulterous opportunity. If not, please be aware of the caveats mentioned. The sexual act is instinctual, and requires little (if any) instruction. Morality, on the other hand, (however benevolent) is a multifaceted concept that requires extensive indoctrination. This has been science. If religiously inclined, one may want to visit their local Church, Mosque, Synagogue, or Temple for equanimity.


Doctor: “Did you love this individual?” Patient: “No, it just happened.” Doctor: “Would you do it again?” Patient: “No, I would not.” Diagnosis: “Microbiomic involvement?” (To be determined)


In my view, enough cannot be said for longevity in a marriage. The inevitability of our coming decline with all of its varying needs cannot be overemphasized or defended best alone. But “cheer up!” The experience of “growing old together” after the lessening of worldly trials and the mental clarity that comes with hormonal attenuation is a wonderful prize. But listen, it’s also a “priceless part” of a loving relationship that (if at all possible) should not be missed. Good luck. Stay well

*Hatred stirreth up strife: but love covereth all sins* Holy Bible, Proverbs 10:12 KJV
“If a man could have half of his wishes, he would double his troubles” – Benjamin Franklin

All The Best,

Henri W. Tartt

Supervising Chemist, and Chief of Microbiology, (Retired)

City of Cleveland, Ohio (USA)

Email: henri@henriwtartt.com

Website: *Tartt's Scientific Approach* www.henriwtartt.com

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