Promiscuity Differs by Gender
Men and women are hard-wired for short-term sex -- but must we obey our brains?
Sex Cheating Defined
Adultery doesn't just happen. One member of a relationship has
to switch strategies. Why?
"People abandon their long-term sex strategy in favor of a
short-term strategy because of lust," Williams says. "But affairs are
very complex entities. They are always problematic and usually dangerous. When
people tell me they are having an affair, they think the most dangerous part is
getting caught. I think the most dangerous thing is to fall in love."
The least dangerous kind of an affair, he says, is the kind of
one-night stands that happen at a convention or a conference where people part
and never meet again. The most dangerous are secret, longstanding affairs that
go on for years with fantasies and hopes and dreams of building a
What makes it an affair? Williams thinks his answer will
surprise most men -- and few women.
"I think an affair occurs when two people are in a
committed relationship, and one or both has a relationship with another that
has secret content and sexual tension and they hide all of it from their
partner," he says.
"A common misconception among men is, 'I am not having an
affair because I have not slept with the other woman.' But they dream, they
fantasize, they wish they were with the other person -- that is what I call
fanning the coals."
That "other" Williams speaks of may be a friend, or a
co-worker -- or a pornographic image.
"Here's a common thing I am seeing today. Women will catch
men engaging in something pornographic on the Internet," Williams says.
"While men view this as innocent sexual arousal, women view it as a major
violation of the marriage. It is a secret sexual encounter they are excluded
from that contains arousal and ejaculation. This takes energy from the
relationship. I encourage people to keep the focus of their sexuality on their
Using Sex Programming In Your Marriage
Fortunately, men's and women's hard-wired sexual desires can be
harnessed to help, not harm, their marriages. Unfortunately, Fisher says, few
people take advantage of this.
"It is really remarkable how we absolutely know you have to
do a good job every day at work to keep your job. We know we have to eat well
and exercise regularly to keep healthy. But when it comes to marriage, for some
reason we cling to that concept of 'til death do us part," she says.
"It is quite detrimental. Because even in relationships in which people are
deeply committed, one has to work to keep one's marriage together."
Where does one begin? Fisher points to the brain. Whenever
people do something new -- or meet a new potential sex partner -- the brain
secretes a chemical messenger called dopamine. High dopamine levels are
associated with sexual arousal.