Saturday, August 10, 2013

What You Need To Know About Infidelity and Mate Selection

Discussions about human behavior are often rife with ridiculousness.  A good example of this is with respect to infidelity.  I can't tell you how many conversations I've been a part of where someone conclusively states that all men cheat (some just don't get caught, or don't have the opportunity, or whatever).  According to these specialists, male infidelity stems from a genetic imperative to spread their seed.  Although sexual drive in and of itself is biologically programmed, this has nothing do with who we choose to sleep with (or how many).  I think a far more likely explanation for male infidelity is that sex feels good and is quite enjoyable, inclining men (some men) to pursue it unabashedly.  Some men are addicted to alcohol, and some are addicted to boobs.  Of course, some view women as sport and appear to experience an unnerving high upon "conquering" a woman, as if they had just taken the beaches of Normandy or something.  However, I think the majority of unfaithful men just like to fuck a lot.  

But here's a revelation: women have an equal propensity for infidelity.  Yes that's right - women like to fuck too!  The stereotype of men following the whims of their penis while stalwart women are immune to the compulsions of desire is quite simply false.  Ashley Madison anyone?  I believe it was Albert Einstein who proved that it takes two to tango.

Some cheat because they don't love their partner (and maybe never have).  Some cheat because their partner is about as interested in sleeping with them as with going back to work on Monday.  Some cheat for the physical sex.  Some for the intimacy.  Some for love.  But some people don't cheat…maybe because the appeal of sex with another person is outweighed by the potential hurt their partner will feel upon finding out, or because of social stigma, or because sex with a stranger is far less gratifying in reality than it is in fantasy, or because they simply don't feel the need to have intercourse with everyone.  The point is that not everything comes down to genetics.

Similarly, consider mate selection.  It is commonly believed that a woman's primary concern in life is security, and consequently, that she will seek a mate that has either wealth, status, influence, or something else along those lines - someone who will provide a safe and stable environment.  This may very well be…for some women.  And guess what?  For some men too!  All humans feel vulnerable.  Despite the adrenaline-craving junkies of the world, no one actively strives to live in an unstable, inhospitable, uncaring, or dangerous environment.  Well, maybe no one apart from those depicted in the show Mountain Men, however even they feel secure in their way of life.  But make no mistake - some women prefer the mate that makes them laugh over the mate with the stable job, some prefer the amazing lover over the wealthy businessman, and some would rather struggle on their own than suffer the banality of their secure life with the snow globe salesman.

The bottom line is, there are a lot of variables that go into a person's makeup and behavior -  their thoughts, feelings, upbringing, moral compass, life experience, the presence or lack of a conscience (4% of people apparently don't have one), their innate nature and/or genetic proclivities, and probably a bunch of other things I'm not aware of.  In short, we're not all built the same.  So let's all agree to stop generalizing each other…except for blondes, because it's been scientifically proven that people with yellow hair really are dumber.


  1. Good point. This seems pretty similar to your last post in the way that it criticizes generalizing and stereotypes. Not all men cheat. Not all Mexicans in America jumped the border. Not all British drink evening tea. It all comes down to a broader world view of equality and unity.

    If a man is cheating (and I'm not saying he is correct in doing so) then he has a reason for doing it! He's not just doing it because he's a man! Many men have better things to do than cheat on their spouse. You can't use this sort of demented circular reasoning to justify anything.

    That being said, a higher percentage of men cheat than women according to these statistics. I'm no expert in psychology or neurology, but men obviously view relationships differently than women.

    One thing is sure as hell thought: Nowhere in the statistics did it say that all men cheat.

    1. Yes, this shares the same spirit with the last post - I consider them parts of a larger piece. Of course, the conclusions reached should be completely obvious and unnecessary to speak on, but incredibly there still seem to be a disturbing amount of people who don't seem to grasp them.

      Regarding the statistics you cite, I wouldn't get carried away here. For starters, such statistics are based on voluntary accurate reporting, and in that regard I think women are less likely to honestly admit to being unfaithful than men (possibly due to the difference in how society treats male and female adulterers - women are sluts and whores, whereas men are just men who can't help themselves - and this double standard is burned into the psyche of both genders). I would bet money that if a study were done on whether or not people answer honestly on studies dealing with infidelity, that you would find a higher percentage of men claim to answer honestly compared to women. Maybe such a study already exists…?

      That aside, note that while the study you reference does indicate that more men cheat compared to women, this is certainly not by a landslide. There's a mere 3% difference regarding those who admit to having committed infidelity in a past relationship, and 6% difference on those who would have an affair if they knew they would never get caught. That's pretty negligible as far as I'm concerned, especially when the stats in question are above 50% values. Having said that, even if the difference was higher, and even if we discounted all concerns about women reporting honestly on this issue, drawing the conclusion that men are more likely to cheat would be of no practical use anyway, because such would not be helpful whatsoever in determining if this particular woman or that particular man will actually cheat! If the statistics show that both genders cheat, then the frequency therein is pretty irrelevant…unless such differences are extreme, which it turns out they are not in this case.

      So I don't think men as a whole view relationships differently. I think every category of male adulterer has a female counterpart in the world. And I think our culture has a gap in it's understanding of the issue, a partial blindness toward it's occurrence, and a bias in how it characterizes those who behave in such ways.