Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee” as Want to Read:
Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  685 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
An irreverent and hilarious journey around the world to examine how and why people cheat on their spouses; this global look at infidelity reveals that Americans are uniquely mixed up about being faithful.

It's an adulterous world out there. Russian husbands and wives don't believe that beach-resort flings violate their marital vows. Japanese businessmen, armed with the ap
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 19th 2007 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lust in Translation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lust in Translation

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Jul 18, 2012 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it liked it
Shelves: truthiness
Don't read the first paragraph of this review if you're already drowsy.

However far this book may stray from presenting solid statistical evidence or refraining from stereotypes and sweeping generalizations--all admittedly somewhat unavoidable given such a murky, taboo subject as cheating--it is at the very least extremely thought-provoking. Druckerman travels to a number of different countries in order to examine the mores (or lack thereof) and laws governing marriage fidelity, the disparity be
Nov 11, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008-reads
If, as an American, you've despaired of ever feeling comfortable with the sexual norms of your culture as compared to those of other cultures, this is the book for you. I'm so excited about our skeeved-out Puritan heritage, I could just give Jonathan Edwards a great big hug (at which point he'd have me stoned or similar). In comparison with sexless marriages sustained by groups of men snickering their way through evenings at "hostess clubs" (Japan), rampant gender-skewed infidelity taken as a gi ...more
Jan 08, 2008 Barbara rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone married person who laspes into daydreams occasionally ;-)
Not a bad book if you read it with an understanding of its limits -- it is not meant to be a definitive academic resource, but a good, somewhat thought-provoking read about relationships, fidelity and guilt. The author does frame the book as a compare/contrast study of infidelity in the United States and the rest of the world, but the author definitely goes beyond an "us and them" tone in the main body of the work.

I'm still left wondering where Canada lands between the US and "the rest of the wo
Jul 23, 2008 Jamie rated it liked it
Shelves: just-for-fun
This is my kind of book - a readable non-fiction on one narrow topic. Even though her research seems largely anecdotal, i enjoyed the differing takes from the various countries and the rationalizations people gave. The Sarkozy stuff was dishy - and that was before Carla Bruni even! When can I read HIS bio?
Dec 10, 2008 David rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
At times it can seem that globalization of the marketplace and the U.S. dominance of entertainment media worldwide are conspiring to erode cultural differences across the globe. Books like this one, in which Druckerman examines differences in cultural attitudes towards infidelity around the world, or Eric Weiner's recent investigation of happiness by country ("The Geography of Bliss": show us that cultural heterogeneity is still alive and thriving.

Jan 20, 2014 Bookworm rated it really liked it
Shelves: men-women, marriage, sex
An interesting take on infidelity around the world, which might be eye-opening to some. Druckerman takes a look at why people have affairs, how they deal with them, what are the consequences in various countries such as Indonesia, South Africa, China, Russia, Japan and France. I thought it was was overall enjoyable read without slogging along or becoming too academic. It goes into very interesting details such as sex as being one of the few outlets in Russia as a leftover from the Soviet Union t ...more
Aug 06, 2011 Rodrigo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great! Fun! Interesting! Easy to read and yet full of information, facts and numbers that change the way we see the world, not only referring to sex and infidelity, but also in terms of stereotypes and prejudices. Only one thing: after reading what it says in the cover one could expect a wider point of view, but again we find an american-centered mentality. Every fact, every info she offers is compared to behavior in the US. Yes, I know she's american, but if you write a book about (as she says) ...more
Hà Nguyễn
Feb 05, 2017 Hà Nguyễn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
Không có gì đặc sắc ngoài vài điểm nhỏ có thể thu lượm! Nếu bạn trông đợi được thưởng thức một công trình nghiên cứu xã hội học về ngọai tình mà tựa đề to tát "Giải mã dục vọng" mang lại thì bạn sẽ thất vọng. Tác giả, một nhà báo, chỉ cung cấp cho chúng ta những ký sự góp nhặt về chuyện gối chăn ở vài nước cô ghé thăm và nghe ngóng, hỏi han được. Trong khi tính xác thực của những thông tin ghi chép được này khó có thể kiểm chứng, người đọc lại có cảm giác ngòi bút tác giả mang nặng thành kiến kh ...more
Less a review than a quick link to follow up. One of the countries covered by Pamela Druckerman in the book is China, and its huge mistress population. They even have entire luxury apartment blocks where most of the residents are mistresses of rich and powerful men. Anyway, Foreign Policy just did a piece on the mistress problem in China, linking it to its pervasive culture of corruption: "The Mistress-Industrial Complex". It was an interesting "follow-up read" to this book.
Oct 23, 2008 Marrick rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book and a good read for the comparison between how cultures react to and view marital infidelity.
Apr 06, 2008 Alana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are not about to embark on monogamous lifelong commitments to other people
I read a small blurb about this book when it was first published in hardcover and for whatever reason, I actually marked down the date that it would come out in paperback so I could be sure to get it and read it. Whatever the driving force for acquiring the book, I've been reading it off and on (mostly off) since April... To the point where the book has a rather noticeable pen shaped bulge dividing the book almost in half where my pen rested for most of the three months that it sat on my bookshe ...more
Kirsten Johanson
Mar 05, 2017 Kirsten Johanson rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Pamela's anthropologic writing style in Brining up Bebe, so I thought I would check this out. Infidelity is a bit of a daunting topic to read about for a few weeks. The book is a great insight into our American minds versus the rest of the world.
Angelina Singson
Dec 16, 2013 Angelina Singson rated it it was amazing
I found this book in one of Indigo, Chapters and Coles "sale books". If I want a giggle, then I would scan few pages that makes me laugh, and buy the book. I usually scan for amusing lines and I burst out laughing to this line page 59. " Women in Nepal, the Philippines and Mali appear to be almost magically monogamous. ZERO percent report having had two or more partners in the previous year. ".
Who answers this survey material anyway?

This reminds me of my final exams last Friday. One of the last
Feb 25, 2017 Elise rated it really liked it
Fascinating. Americans seem to be the most hung up about infidelity, and only in modern times. Not sure it's something helping our collective psyches to be this way.
Aug 14, 2008 James rated it really liked it
I have a belligerent faith in books because they provide an extended, crafted argument in a world increasingly dominated by passing headlines, talking points, blurbs, pundits, scandal, and hype.

In many major news stories affecting our lives, books have become the final say.

So it was with distinct pleasure that I found myself reading Pamela Druckerman’s Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee when John Edwards admitted to having an affair. If only I had picked it up d
Melanie Wagner Banfield
Highly recommend. Druckerman is a terrific writer and columnist. She asks insightful questions surrounding love, marriage, commitment, fidelity, and what we think we know about other cultures. This book is part memoir and part exploratory as she was in-between jobs when she decided to research and write about the question of cultural fidelity. A question that continued to come up during her single years as a foreign correspondent. I only wish that she was able to gather a bit more research and i ...more
Apr 15, 2012 Annalisa rated it liked it
I wanted this book to be much more than it was; I had to keep reminding myself that while it was well researched, it was not even attempting to be critical or theoretical, and so the fact that Druckerman started from a host of assumptions and accepted so many things as given was par for the course.

Still, it would have been nice if, in 300+ pages (maybe in a final chapter), she had at least considered the fact that there is something other than monogamy and infidelity, or questioned marriage as a
Dec 07, 2010 Janie rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
"Americans are uniquely mixed up about being faithful."

This is an easy read full of stories and statistics. This is not a scientific cross-cultural comparison; the stats are used for non-replicable non-predictive illustration or speculation.

I don't usually read descriptions of American culture and feel as though they match me, but that happened twice in this book. She says dozens of things about American culture, so seeing myself in it twice is almost inevitable (like seeing oneself in a horosco
Erika Nerdypants
Okay book, not ground breaking for me, but I learned a few things. First off, cheating is as old as time and happens the world over. I won't bore you with statistics, especially since they don't seem very reliable anyway, but it's safe to assume that very few marriages are affair prove, given the right circumstances. What does differ globally, is the attitude toward infidelity. In Russia, marriage therapists think that an extramarital dalliance will help your marriage, in France, as long as ever ...more
Sep 02, 2007 Virginia marked it as to-read
From Publishers Weekly
Former foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal now living in Paris, Druckerman offers an anecdotal rather than a scholarly exploration of the international etiquette of adultery. From American prudishness about the subject to French discretion, and from Russian vehemence about the obligatory affair to Japanese adherence to the single marital futon, one factor rings true in all cases: people lie about sex. Druckerman interviews numerous adulterers, starting with th
I'd spotted this book in a bookstore. The blurb looked interesting enough but I wasn't sure I was prepared to fork out close to 30 dollars for a book that looked vaguely intriguing and would probably not merit a second reading. (Bless the National Library for taking up my suggestion to purchase the book for its collection.) An investment of three days showed me that my original assessment was spot on. Lust in Translation has the lofty ambition of exploring infidelity around the globe - in Americ ...more
William Irvine
Nov 18, 2016 William Irvine rated it it was amazing
Search the web for the figures on male and female infidelity and you'll get numbers like '50% of males and 25% of females with the women fast catching up on the back of rising economic independence'. I had often wondered how much credence could be given to such claims. Now I know just how little.

I read non-fiction in the hope of learning something and I was not disappointed by Lust in Translation. The downside of non-fiction is that 'academic rigour' can force many a good researcher into produci
Erika Palmquist Smith
Dec 12, 2012 Erika Palmquist Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This is not an academic tome on infidelity. But it's not a silly romp either. Because the world of sex research is fraught with embarrassed participants (or way too eager ones), and sex itself tends to become politicized, hard data on infidelity is hard to come by. But this book, written by the same author who penned "Bringing Up Bebe", provides a glimpse into the world of monogamy and infidelity in several different cultures. After an introductory chapter reviewing the data that is available, s ...more
Nov 09, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok
One thing I couldn’t figure out about this book was the cover - ok, you have two people under the sheets of a map - however, both feet are those of a MALE. I pray to GOD that no woman has such man-nish feet. This book was okay, but not the most thrilling. It is a scientific book about cheating and the author attempts to add anecdotal evidence to her findings. Believe it or not, America has a low cheating rate compared to many other countries, but Americans tend to go more insane if their spouse ...more
Daniel Noventa
Aug 09, 2011 Daniel Noventa rated it really liked it
SEX! Its everywhere. There's no person in this world that hasn't heard or even acknowledge sexuality. Even those that are severely mentally ill have these urges. So... What? What leads to infidelity? I've been sure of it, its insecurity in yourself and in your partner. If you are unable to trust your own actions you may project them into your partners, which give the sense that if you would do it so would they.

Where do you start? How about this book, if you're an American, you'd be please to fin
Mary Karpel-Jergic
Oct 29, 2015 Mary Karpel-Jergic rated it really liked it
Shelves: relationships
Pamela Druckerman does a good job here of pulling together available research (which is notoriously inaccurate and hardly definitive) from across different cultures with a narrative that examines the human behaviour and feelings that accompany adultery.

It does not romanticise or condone the activities discussed and provides a concise and readable account of the different infidelities found across the globe. The responses to adultery, especially the puritanical ones common in America make for dep
Feb 02, 2008 doreen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: degree-holders in anthropology, anyone who's been in a relationship, anyone who's curious
This book truly gave me insight into the perspective of other cultures on something as old as culture itself. It goes by many names: cheating, infidelity, adultery, gettin' some on the side. In any case, it's something that goes on everywhere, yet how people treat it differs from place to place. It gave me some surprises, and some worries, on how infidelity is commenced, and the author herself gave us good enough distance on the subject, while at the same time providing her own thoughts in a gen ...more
C.A. Wittman
Sep 01, 2013 C.A. Wittman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-reviews
This was a fast read for me, a light, chatty tour of infidelity through various countries and how the ever prevalent act of cheating is dealt with culturally. Pamela takes a look at America and our no tolerance attitude in regard to the subject, to Japan where business men commonly seek out a variety of sex services from mild flirting in hostess bars to full blown enacted sexual fantasies of every stripe. We visit Russia where a blind eye is turned and France where infidelity is, surprise, no mo ...more
Nov 26, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it
The beginning of the book is weak, reading like a Gail Sheehy pop sociology tome: "And then my other girlfriend had a relationship with a policeman after a night of drinking..."

But it improves after her long introduction to American mores, contrasting social attitudes between the U.S., France, Japan, China, South Africa and Russia. Perhaps the most-interesting is China because of the rapid change in culture since Maoist days. "People don't just have more money now. They also expect a kind of per
Brian DiMattia
Jun 12, 2015 Brian DiMattia rated it liked it
An interesting book. Druckerman explains early on that data is scarce and so presents more of an anecdotal exploration. The result is a fascinating swing (no pun intended) from chapter to chapter. The description of the American approach reads like an emotional clubbing, whereas the Japanese approach is intriguing. The Russian chapter is depressing, but the South African chapter is downright heartbreaking.

Of course, Druckerman's anecdotes can't tell the entire story of any culture, and they can'
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Monogamy
  • Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage
  • Unhitched: Love, Marriage, and Family Values from West Hollywood to Western China
  • What Is Marriage For?: The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution
  • I Do But I Don't: Why the Way We Marry Matters
  • Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women
  • The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People
  • Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
  • The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction
  • America's War on Sex: The Attack on Law, Lust and Liberty
  • Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray
  • Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance
  • Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex
  • Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Love and Desire
  • I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage
  • Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined
  • Against Love: A Polemic
  • A History Of Celibacy
Pamela Druckerman is an American journalist and the author of Bringing Up Bébé (The Penguin Press: 2012); the U.K. version of the same book - French Children Don’t Throw Food (Doubleday UK: 2012); and Lust In Translation (The Penguin Press: 2007).

From 1997 to 2002 she was a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, based in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and New York. Her Op-eds and articles have since
More about Pamela Druckerman...

Share This Book

“People's youthful quirks can harden into adult pathologies. What's adorable at 20 can be worrisome at 30 and dangerous at 40.” 0 likes
“At dinner parties other women's husbands and boyfriends hold my gaze a bit longer than all but the most lecherous American men would dare. I never find out whether these approaches might lead to something more, but they don't have to. Flirting with someone else's partner isn't a betrayal of your spouse or a gateway to extramarital sex. It's a harmless way to have fun.” 0 likes
More quotes…