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“Deployment Sex Pacts” are a Myth (Updated)

When I married my smoking hot military man, I promised to stay faithful to him no matter what – and he promised to stay faithful to me. There were no ifs, ands or buts. There was no “unless you are bored.”

And there was definitely no deployment sex pact.

But the idea is a shocking thing to talk and think about. And so columnists, based on no actual evidence whatsoever, say disturbing things like this, which appeared on FoxNews.com yesterday:

Most civilian women would not defend their husband’s infidelity.  But for the military wife, cheating practically comes with the territory. And rather than ignore the lusty elephant in the room, some military couples have created their own defense against infidelity: the so-called deployment sex pact.

The column, written by Militay.com’s own My Wingman Diana, makes the case that deployment sex pacts are not only common, but – if you want to stay married to your servicemember – are really an inevitable part of military life.

At SpouseBuzz we know that we do not know everything. We know that while Diana, who incorrectly calls herself the “Dear Abby” of Military.com (sorry, Diana, that would be Ms. Vicki), tends to write for the he-done-me-wrong crowd, SpouseBuzz readers tend to be more in the happily-ever-after persuasion.

But we also know that in the handful of posts on infidelity we’ve done over the last several weeks and these two we ran last year, at least 500 people have commented with one overwhelming message: cheating in any marriage – deployment or otherwise – is not OK.

And those who say their marriage did include cheating? They’re talking about the past. They’re talking about their ex-husband or ex-wife.

Like Jacey, we SpouseBuzzers didn’t get married so that our spouse could be unfaithful.

Sure, just like in the rest of society there are military couples who have what some would call “more adventurous” relationship agreements. But to say that such an arrangement is an inevitable part of military marriage is 100 percent inaccurate.

Just like haters are going to hate, cheaters are going to cheat. Being in a military marriage may result in more temptation than a normal marriage, but it doesn’t change who a person is, the temptations he or she struggles with or the expectations of faithfulness a spouse has towards him.

As far as we’re concerned, “deployment sex pact” might as well be called “divorce proceedings.”

So if this whole sex pact nonsense is nothing but a myth, why is it still getting talked about?

As far as I can tell, the first recent time the deployment sex pact subject came up was early last year, when one advice columnist claimed, based on the stories told by a “handful of military members in Norfolk,” that a whole hill of military members have pacts with their spouses permitting open oral sex with other partners.  When we asked our readers about the subject, most of them told us this was the most ridiculous thing they had ever heard. Some said they knew of people who did this. No one said they did it themselves.

And thus the topic was born with Diana, who made the gigantic logical leap that because a handful of commenters on her blog supported the idea, it surely must not only be common, but the inevitable conclusion of marrying into the military.

And it really was a leap. Of the mere 49 people who commented on her post on the subject, only four thought this was a good idea. Again, none of them said they actually have this pact.

Yet Diana, who is not a military spouse and does not have any actual experience in a military marriage, seems to think that military marriages can be proclaimed as inevitably including infidelity. And so in the continuing wake of the Petreaus scandal, she resurrected the topic here.

But the fact remains that I have yet to read one comment from any reader on our blog, her blog or any Facebook post on the subject who says that “deployment sex pacts” are common or that they participate in one. There are people who have heard of other people participating. There are people whose ex-husband thought it was a good idea.

So please, find me a bunch of military spouses who say (and actively act on the belief with their spouses’ knowledge) that an open sexual relationship and deployment sex pact comes with the military marriage territory.  And then I will believe that this is not a myth.

Until then – I call shenanigans.

Editor’s note:  As an Army wife and the managing editor of this blog I took great exception to the characterizations of military marriages in Diana Falzone’s most recent op-ed at Foxnews.com (as described in this post).  But while it’s proper I might not agree with some of what was stated in her piece, it is not right that I would question her commitment to the military community by virtue of her efforts at My Wingman Diana or the nature of her professional standing as a blogger for Military.com.  I apologize on both counts.

About Amy Bushatz

Amy is the managing editor of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is an Associate Editor. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on NPR and in the New York Times. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

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