Any man who has ever been on the receiving end of that question, whether
dodging crockery or wiping away his wife’s tears, knows that some women really
want an answer. Do men who cheat really outnumber their female counterparts? Is
infidelity in marriage more natural to men than women? And do some husbands
think that “monogamy” is a board game?
Terry Waters, a former college wrestler and baseball player, loved working out. He got real pleasure out of pushing himself hard at the gym, and he liked the feeling of tired but virtuous afterwards. He figured regular physical activity and its health benefits would always be a part of his life.
Then came marriage, three kids, a demanding job as a software engineer in Boston — and a thousand and one excuses not to make it to the gym. “For a little while, you convince yourself you’re still in pretty...
“There’s no question that men cheat more than women,” says Steven Nock, PhD,
a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia who has followed the
marriages of over 6,000 men since 1979. “In the bad old days when we had to
prove why we were getting divorced, that was the leading cause.” This was
mostly because the husbands were guiltier of infidelity in marriage than their
wives — but also because, says Nock, “society is more tolerant of men’s
Men who cheat, so the conventional wisdom went, were just being men, while a
faithless wife was a true pariah. You may remember from your American
literature class, it was Hester Prynne who wore the scarlet letter, not the man
who did her wrong.
“Men and women cheat in different ways,” says Mark Epstein, MD, a
psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan and the author of Open to
Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life. “It’s more like an appetite thing for
men, more oral in a way; their partners are more disposable. And the
experiences are more disposable.”
Infidelity in men: Does the biological argument hold up?
Wives may consider their husbands disposable when they discover they’ve been
cheating, but they still wonder why. Could it be a biological imperative, as
some scientists have allowed? Cole Porter may have thought that birds who “do
it” and bees who “do it” were falling in love, but if love is what you’re
calling it, there is plenty of evidence that the animal kingdom pretty much
falls in love indiscriminately. And even we Homo sapiens have spent more
evolutionary time seeking multiple partners than we have in pursuit of romantic
matrimony and monogamy.