The Greek poet Stesichorus [fragment 192: the Palinode (D. Page, Poetae Melici Graeci)] once wrote about the goddess responsible for the Trojan War:
"So once, when Tyndareus made sacrifices to all the gods, he forgot one only, the giver of blessings, Aphrodite. And she in anger with the daughters of Tyndareus made them twice married and three times married and brides who deserted their husbands."
The three goddesses (Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite) asked Zeus to present the apple of discord -- a beautiful gold sphere -- to the one who deserved the title kallista 'most beautiful'. I know some of the other gods were surprised Zeus couldn't bring himself to admit the obvious, but I understood. How could he choose an adopted daughter over the product of his own body or his wife? His home life would have been unbearable. And don't give me any of that beauty is in the eye of the beholder stuff: Aphrodite was exquisite. No two ways about it. Even if she weren't, her magic girdle would have made everyone see her as such.
But honor was never Zeus' strong suit. Torturing mankind was.
He decided the task was perfect for a simple-minded prince who thought he was a shepherd. Paris would never understand the ramifications and Zeus could pretend his hands were free of bloodshed. Besides, so well did Zeus understand psychology that by this ruse he could make sure the one who really deserved the apple got it.
Aphrodite knew she deserved it, but she didn't know what her rivals were up to and she certainly didn't know how malleable the shepherd-prince was. But it didn't matter. The situation provided her with excuse for continuing to torture Tyndareus.
Remember Tyndareus? He was the repeatedly cuckolded step-father of Helen. His sin was a onetime failure to offer the proper sacrifices to Aphrodite. Every year he made generous contributions to her temples and every festival day (with the one exception), he made the most lavish sacrifices and offerings to the goddess of love.
But for that one moment of preoccupation, Aphrodite decided to use him as a warning to mankind. (And they think my natural consequence style of punishment unfair!) Her punishment was to make his daughters, shall we say, less than virtuous. Aphrodite claims she had nothing to do with his wife's carryings on, but since she's queen of adultery, I find it hard to believe.
Hephaestus, Hera's son, was the crippled laughingstock of the gods when he married Charis (Grace). His work was very skilled, though, and over time he earned respect. Achilles' mother asked him for a shield that is almost as renowned as the Iliad. Zeus sought his help in crafting the first woman of Athens.
Anyway, Hephaestus had lusted after Aphrodite for many years and finally wore her down. Putting Charis aside, he married the goddess of love.
Marriage was a bit confining to Aphrodite, so they maintained separate residents, she on Olympus, he in his forge. On Olympus she was in frequent contact with Hermes and Ares who provided handsome contrasts to her husband. It didn't take long before she and Hermes got together. As a result, Aphrodite gave birth to a boy she named, not too imaginatively, after its two parents. He was called Hermaphrodite. She didn't even pretend Hephaestus was the father.
Hephaestus was not very happy about it. Helios saw him moping and promised he'd look out for the craftsman's interests. So, when Helios, riding his sun chariot one morning, caught Ares and Aphrodite flirting with each other, he dutifully warned his friend.
Hephaestus concocted a plan and hastily crafted a net to capture the love birds when they consummated their love.
It worked, Ares and Aphrodite were startled in their love making by a net falling on them. For about a moment they were embarrassed by the eyes of all the lusting gods upon them.
Embarrassed they may have been, but they continued to have relations and produced quite a brood.
Anyway, like Athena and Hera, Aphrodite went along with Zeus' plan, but in her case, it was because she could use it to remind Tyndareus of his transgression: She promised Tyndareus' adopted daughter Helen to Paris if he would choose her.
Since Helen, my daughter, was the most beautiful woman anywhere, Paris could not and did not resist. After Paris awarded Aphrodite the apple, he and Helen eloped back to his homeland, Troy, and the Trojan War began.
The ten years of bloodshed were all Aphrodite's (and Zeus') fault, yet all she suffered was a little flesh wound when Diomedes nicked her milk white hand.