Extramarital sex is usually unrewarding: it is too self-conscious and pervaded by a sense of unreality which can be so powerful that, although the mind is made up, the body doesn’t recognise the situation as sexual and won’t co-operate. In fact we don’t really do it for the sex because that’s not the real point – there is never much sex in adultery anyway. Escape from the trap of marriage is the real point though we might fraudulently justify it to ourselves as romance Real sex is the combination of excitement and familiarity and mutual gratification that can only be achieved in long loving relationship such as marriage. In loving sex there is no question of the body not cooperating – it often responds to the opportunity before we become aware of it. The things which affect our lives most memorably took up very little time: the car-crash took only a couple of seconds, saying the wrong thing only a couple of minutes, infidelity only a couple of hours. No time at all compared with many unmemorable years we spent working and building relationships. Demolition is much more dramatic and abrupt than construction. (is this too sententious? I’ll probably modify it later) An interview with Donald Hall here: www.theparisreview.org The movie still is from Baisers Volés (1968) (Stolen Kisses) by Truffaut.