Are All Men And Women Destined to Cheat?

Gil Kaufman 2011/08/06 11:00:00
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Any man who has tried to convince his mate that monogamy is just not our natural state of being knows that staying faithful isn't the hard part. It's convincing your brain that going home at midnight is a better idea than sticking it out and having one more drink with that really, really interesting waitress while your wife waits for you at home.

Chances are you won't do anything, but it's that tickle in the brain making you think about cheating, that nagging sense that you might get away with it, or that you've earned it for being so good for so long. Or that this "new" sex is going to be so much better, exciting and different than the same old, same old. So, what is it that makes people cheat?

According to a recent study, one of the factors that actually may predict infidelity is sexual performance anxiety. Men who are risk-takers or who are easily sexually aroused are more likely to wander (go figure) and for women, another shocker, problems in their relationship are more likely to drive unfaithfulness.

Just ask Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger or (allegedly) Angelina Jolie. The power of power, the thrill of the new and the excitement of sneaking around is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

For both men and women, though, personality characteristics and interpersonal factors are more relevant predictors than religion, marital status, education or gender. The study followed 506 men and 412 women in monogamous relationships, and while the rates of infidelity were close (23 percent for men, 19 for women), the reasons were not.

Men who were worried about sexual performance tended to seek out high-risk situations to help them get aroused, or look for a partner outside their relationship so that if it didn't work out they wouldn't have to see their fling again.

Women, on the other hand, were searching for happiness, so if they were not enthused about their relationship they were twice as likely to cheat, and three times as likely if they didn't think they were sexually compatible with their partner.

And though the findings seem to jibe with traditional thoughts about the emotional vs. carnal needs of women and men, the authors said it wasn't that simple and that there aren't any easy rules to help predict whether someone will or won't cheat.

There are a million factors and reasons trysts occur outside the SigO -- from a man trying to fend off the ravages of age, the after-effects of coming from an adulterous home, to that intoxicating phase of infatuation and even using a fear of intimacy as a means of maintaining power dynamics in a relationship and not getting to emotionally involved with your fling.

For women it can come down to a search for more emotional connection, security and a desire to feel sexy to combat fears of aging.

I was fascinated by a recent cover story in The New York Times Sunday Magazine entitled "Married, With Infidelities," in which sex columnist Dan Savage said we may be making unrealistic demands on ourselves when we insist on making marriage an institution of fidelity.

His bottom line is that fidelity is great for a great many people, but many of us just can't, or won't, hold back our urges and our best bet is to not lie to our partners about our needs, potentially saving our marriages or relationships before infidelity happens by openly discussing our feelings, or agreeing to ground rules about affairs that both sides can live with.

Savage is actually conventionally Conservative and does not believe in promiscuity, but, the author writes, "He says that a more realistic sexual ethic would prize honesty, a little flexibility and, when necessary, forgiveness over absolute monogamy."

It may be a hard pill to swallow for anyone who has been in a long-term relationship, but could Savage have a point?

The bottom line is that men and women are almost evenly as likely to cheat (go figure, someone has to be the "other man" or "other woman), but according to the research, infidelity might happen because you're unhappy in your relationship. But not necessarily.
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  • justnotsaying (: 2011/08/24 04:48:50
    justnotsaying (:
    It happens in some form or another.
  • AtlBo 2011/08/12 17:28:41
    No comment...next question, please... : )
  • YouSirName 2011/08/10 03:16:06
    Married 32 years and not tempted yet!
  • AtlBo YouSirName 2011/08/12 17:27:16
    Curses and blinds a mask for a moat, Somebody please cast a spell for this bloat. Not a single time has he fallen from truth, may it always be him so he may keep his youth...

    Sorry, it's a man thing to spot and help a comrade who doesn't see it comin'... : )
  • MsGucciSu 2011/08/09 17:08:21
    In the natural world, all types exist from harem-having gorillas, to the breeding, but ultimately lone, tiger and the swan that mates for a lifetime. The trick is finding out who you are and picking a mate with similar drives.
  • Toots 2011/08/09 00:45:49
    I don't believe that either one cheat probably more don't then do!!!!
  • Vickie Hager 2011/08/08 19:44:39
    Vickie Hager
    Of course not!!!
  • Epistemically Justified -- BN7 2011/08/08 18:42:34
    Epistemically Justified -- BN7
    Monogamy is entirely possible -- even among the super-powerful and rich.

    It takes respect, honesty, and a measure of self-control and discipline.
  • jimrthy... Epistem... 2011/08/08 20:24:18
    jimrthy BN-0
    It also takes a suitable partner who's worth the effort and cares about monogamy.

    I gave up on finding one of those years ago.
  • Epistem... jimrthy... 2011/08/08 20:29:30
    Epistemically Justified -- BN7
    I agree, the partner does determine a lot in these cases.

    Still, I hope you find happiness with someone who respects you.
  • jimrthy... Epistem... 2011/08/18 03:50:28
    jimrthy BN-0
    I've found a few of them :-)

    Maybe someday...but thanks.
  • Johnnyknowvote 2011/08/08 18:12:56
    Only those with the sex drive and self control of a hamster are hard wired to cheat. You know, liberals and those in Hollywood.
  • jimrthy... Johnnyk... 2011/08/08 20:22:11
    jimrthy BN-0
    There's a post further down that lists several prominent Republicans who let their genitals get them into trouble.

    Glass houses and stones.
  • Johnnyk... jimrthy... 2011/08/08 21:25:49
    Dumbass! I said liberal not democrat or republican, there are plently of liberal republicans. Jesus H Christ, lern how to frick'n read!
  • Vieuphoria Johnnyk... 2011/08/08 23:49:22
    SO what makes you think conservatives don't cheat?
  • Johnnyk... Vieuphoria 2011/08/18 14:06:29
    Cheating in itself a liberal act and in so much as that is true a conservative is incapable of do so.
  • Vieuphoria Johnnyk... 2011/08/18 23:57:11
    Okay? If that's what you think then that's your opinion :)
  • Stella Johnnyk... 2011/08/28 04:22:14
    Wanna bet?
  • jimrthy... Johnnyk... 2011/08/18 03:52:04
    jimrthy BN-0
    I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the recommendation.
  • Tom Camfield 2011/08/08 18:00:34
    Tom Camfield
    Destiny has nothing to do with it. Make all the excuses you want; they don't float.
  • joe mauro 2011/08/08 17:43:11
    joe mauro
    we are human it may not be physical,but there are other ways people betray each otherstrust everyday. spouses loved ones friends partners associates all hurt each other its human nature we are not perfect its no ones fault
  • DANNY_B0i♛ 2011/08/08 17:16:30
    No, men and women have the opportunities and have doubts, impulses etc. to do things but that does not mean you have to act on them..especially if you love someone.
  • bronx 2011/08/08 17:12:22
    Only the ones with zero moral character.
  • jimrthy... bronx 2011/08/08 20:21:12
    jimrthy BN-0
    That seems a bit harsh and judgmental.

    I've known cheaters who had lots of moral character in every other part of their lives. Many of them never had another urge to cheat after they got out of the disastrous relationship that drove them to cheat in the first place.

    Life is rarely black and white.
  • bronx jimrthy... 2011/08/09 16:05:04
    Sorry, it takes a person with good moral character to stay faithful and when unhappy tells the partner before they cheat. It is easy to get out of a relationship, just tell the truth about what you are feeling. This is my opinion and if you find it harsh I cannot help you there. In my world it is black and white, cheater means one thing YOU CHEAT, and as far as I was taught a cheater has no moral character to the person they are cheating
  • jimrthy... bronx 2011/08/18 03:58:22
    jimrthy BN-0
    It's ugly.

    2 examples: I have one friend who *is* a cheater. His wife stays with him because they agree it's better for their kids. I have another who absolutely will *not* cheat, because it will lead to bad things for theirs.

    I grew up with a father I suspect was a cheater, but I don't have any evidence.

    After they divorced, he spent years paying child support. And I didn't see him again until it was long gone.

    It turns complicated quickly, especially when kids are involved. :-(
  • davyd god loving patriot 2011/08/08 17:09:48
    davyd god loving patriot
    I think it depends on love and respect for your partner
  • CODE 11 2011/08/08 16:34:37
    CODE 11
    You get tired of the same old thing every day.
  • albinolime 2011/08/08 16:33:44
  • _-T3x4S_M4D3-_ 2011/08/08 16:07:29
  • FatherLiberty 2011/08/08 16:04:37
    I dont think we are all destined to cheat... I always look at how my actions will effect others, those I personally care about and even those I dont. Honesty is key and keeping your commitment to your partner is a priceless act to maintain honor and respect. If you make a commitment, keep it. Doing otherwise is not worth the inevitable drama that will arise.
  • lisa 2011/08/08 16:01:09
    I think men and women ...
    I think someone could cheat if they are not satisified in their current relationship but I think it depends on the integrity of the person too!
  • jimrthy... lisa 2011/08/08 20:17:29
    jimrthy BN-0
    At some point, someone who is "not satisfied in their current relationship" for long enough will cheat. Or end the relationship.

    There are exceptions, of course. One of my friends comes to mind. I expect daily to hear that he's either committed suicide or murdered her, but he'll never cheat.
  • jimrthy BN-0 2011/08/08 15:59:27
    I think men and women ...
    jimrthy BN-0
    It's been my experience that those numbers are extremely low. But still...

    Obviously, some monogamous couples manage to avoid cheating. One way or another...I'm friends with one woman who tells me she probably would cheat on her husband, if she only had time. She knows that he cheats on her fairly often, and she has enough evidence to nail him with it in court. Their divorce is really just a matter of time.

    I think it's more realistic for people to realize that monogamy just isn't for everyone. Some of us just don't have a "soul mate" with whom we're destined to spend the rest of our lives happily and monogamously.

    I understand that most monogamists will scream and froth over that fact. Their opinions do not change it.
  • bob 2011/08/08 15:34:22
    Although, it's a choice. A good relationship is harder to come by than "another on the side" or a "one nighter". Relationships takes work and an investment of time and happiness with yourself. You can't love anybody else until you can come to terms with both the positive and shortcommings of yourself. For me long term monogamist relatioships fullfill me and short term relationship just leave me wanting. Also there is nothing wrong with a healthy dream life, although I choose not to act on these dreams, and I work hard to have a meaningfull relationship with my mate.
  • Terri Bogner 2011/08/08 14:44:28
    I think men and women ...
    Terri Bogner
    I don't think you are destined to cheat. Depends alot on your spouse. I'm not talking about the
    one who is suppose to move mountains for you, but everyday life and knowing what circumstances of cheating - not pretty
  • Rudy 2011/08/08 14:04:11
    Without a doubt the morals of many are on the decline. It is sad our public schools are restricted from teaching morality & the possible outcomes for those with lose morals.
  • obamabeatsmccain 2011/08/08 13:59:24
    the adaptation of species to changing environments throughout earths history depends upon gene pool size and and the spreading of that gene pool by the fittest of the species. and no, i'm not very fit any more.
  • BrennaToland 2011/08/08 13:41:55
    I don't think that all men and women are destined to cheat. Sure, there might be temptation, but we are presented with temptation nearly every day. There is such a thing as respect, both for yourself and for others, and some people don't know how to use it. If you truly love or care about the one that you're with than you shouldn't have to cheat on them in order to feel happier or to have a more exciting life.
  • concerned dude 2011/08/08 13:35:03
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