More than 70% of married men cheat at least once. Does that surprise you?
Perhaps it shouldn’t. I mean, let’s be honest. If so many men are cheating, affairs should come as no shock. Disappointment, sadness, anger, maybe. But they should never catch you unawares. So, the idea of a loyal man who never cheats should be more unexpected to you!
70%! How can the number be that high? Are so many relationships falling apart? And if so, why is the divorce rate still under 50%?
We’re all consumed by the belief that infidelity marks the end of a relationship. But with the above statistics, we should consider whether that has to be the case.
The first question we need to answer is why do men cheat?
Why Men Cheat More than Women?
Firstly, it’s important to remember that women cheat too. They just do it on a smaller scale. They’re more likely to have an emotional affair than a physical affair. The domain of extramarital sex is, however, dominated by men.
There’s a simple biological explanation for this. It’s in our evolutionary nature.
Evolutionary science tells us that the ingrained purpose of every living being is made up of 2 things:
- survival of the individual
- survival of the species
The first is why we do everything we can to stay alive no matter what. The second is what compels us to procreate. We are driven by sex because it’s in our nature to ensure our species grows and thrives.
Now, women have the biological imperative of procreating. They’re no different to men, in that they’re intrinsically driven to ensure the survival of humanity.
However, this imperative presents differently in men than in women and for a very simple reason: women can only have one child at a time. Once a woman is pregnant, she’s incapable of doing anything further to procreate. Which is why, biologically, monogamy makes sense for a woman. She only needs one man to fulfil her inner drive.
Men, on the other hand, can impregnate multiple women. In terms of survival of the species, it makes no sense to stick with just one woman. The more women a man sleeps with, the higher the amount of offspring he will create.
This rationale happens internally
The thing with evolutionary science is that our ability for logical thought cannot change our inner drives. So in this day and age, men are generally not having sex in order to procreate. When men sleep with multiple women, they are trying to satisfy a drive, not have as many kids as possible. However, the source of that drive is the deeply embedded desire to proliferate our seed, and no amount of logical thought can change that.
Possession and power
Another thing we need to remember is that sex for men is often not about intimacy (or procreation) at all. It’s about insecurity. It’s about a man’s need to possess a woman. It’s about power.
These aren’t good things, by the way. Fucking multiple women because you feel insecure is pretty shit. Trying to possess women and show your power over them is even worse.
But it’s part of who a man is. The urge to fuck any woman who walks by is there whether we like it or not. You might have idealistic ideas of what a man should be and how he should act, but that’s not going to change how he feels deep down. The carnal need is there, and that has nothing to do with love.
Does cheating mean the end of a relationship?
Ask this question to 10 different friends, and you’ll probably get the same answer from 8 or 9 of them. Yes, cheating means the end of a relationship. Anyone who tries to make it work after an affair is a dupe. Someone who is strong enough will leave without a second word.
But in reality, strong relationships have a relatively good chance of surviving infidelity. To reference the greatest pop culture example today: Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
We learned from 2016’s Lemonade that Jay had cheated on Queen Bey. What was he thinking? I mean, he is married to one of the most beautiful women on Earth. Most men would swear off any other women in a second if they had the chance to be with her.
But he cheated, because it’s his biological imperative.
And Beyoncé, the definition of the independent woman who won’t let a man walk over her, decided they could get past the affair. Now, you can claim that she was weak to do so, but the reality is not that clear cut.
Why would she stay?
Most relationships survive infidelity. But why would a woman (or man) stay in a relationship after the man cheats?
Well, let’s just think about what’s so bad about cheating. There is, of course, the belief that if a man cheats he must no longer love his girl. Then there’s the insecurity – she’ll feel like she’s not enough for him. And, most of all, there’s the betrayal. She’s been lied to, her trust has been broken. She’s been taken for a fool.
Now, let’s put all this in the context of why men cheat. If it truly is man’s biological imperative to have more than one sexual partner, then cheating definitely does not mean he doesn’t love her anymore. It does not mean he doesn’t find her attractive enough.
There’s still the matter of broken trust. This is the hardest part to get over. But if a woman can see that he cheated because of an urge that really had nothing to do with her, she can begin to forgive him.
Is monogamy at fault?
If we take the element of betrayal out of the equation, cheating is no longer cheating. It is simply sleeping with other partners. Which has led to an increase of open relationships, otherwise known as polyamory.
Many are quick to call open relationships immoral. But why? In biblical times, it was the norm for a man to have multiple wives and even concubines. Most of the religious figures Christians and Jews hold sacred had sex with way more than one woman. (Incidentally, if anything is immoral about it, it’s that women weren’t allowed to have sex with more than one man!).
Monogamy did serve a purpose at some point. It helped keep family systems together, giving children more stability. But now that we have birth control, and can separate sex from marriage, monogamy only sets us up for failure.
Spread your seed!
In my opinion, open relationships are the future. If you’re allowed to be with other sexual partners, there will be no more betrayal. You can learn to separate sex from love, and move past petty jealousy and possessiveness.
Not everyone can handle it, and there are definitely those who would be shocked that you even brought it up. But if we can learn anything from the crazy amount of cheating that goes on, it’s that we need to stop taking sex so seriously. It leads to frustration, hurt, and failed relationships.