What Do Men Get Out of Looking At Other Women? (And Why Do Men Cheat?)

What Do Men Get Out of Looking at Other Women? (And Why Do Men Cheat?)

Dear Evan,

What is it that men get out of looking/gazing at beautiful women, nude or otherwise?

I have read on other websites that men actually get a chemical “high” in their brain when they see an attractive woman and that is why they are so drawn to look at other women even when they are in love with another. I’m wondering, from your perspective, what you think it is. Are men sexually “turned on” when they see a beautiful woman naked and automatically fantasize about having sex with her or is it more of just plain old admiration for the beautiful female form with no arousal? And, if it is sexual arousal, does that happen only in seeing a naked woman (magazine, strip joint, porn) or does that happen when you see a beautiful clothed woman as well? I have always been very curious about this as I think it is very different for women. –Cat

Dear Cat,

Thoughtful and provocative question, and I’m going to attempt to tackle it even though I’m no therapist, historian or biologist.

First off, I want to acknowledge that everything you wrote, in my estimation, is true.

Men, regardless of relationship status, get a chemical high in seeing attractive women.

Men can appreciate the female form, either clothed or naked.

Men, regardless of relationship status, get a chemical high in seeing attractive women.

Men are aroused by images of clothed or naked women (but not as much as you’d think.)

What I’d like to add to all of those ideas is that none of that should affect your relationship…unless you make it affect your relationship.

In other words:

GOOD men, regardless of relationship status, get a chemical high in seeing attractive women.

GOOD men can appreciate the female form, either clothed or naked.

GOOD men are aroused by images of clothed or naked women (but not as much as you’d think.)

Without covering the entire landscape of debates about DNA or evolution or propagation of the species, here’s my take on the whole thing:

Men, since the beginning of time, were designed to spread their seed.

Because monogamy lowers the chances that our genes will survive, men are not, by nature, monogamous creatures. We choose monogamy because we deem that it’s more beneficial to have love, stability, and a nuclear family than to have lots of children running around with our eyes. But make no mistake, monogamy is a choice, not a natural state.

Men can watch porn, fantasize about other women, and still be great husbands and fathers.

Anyway, in my estimation, the male sex drive has nothing to do with kindness or personality or compatibility. It is entirely based on physical attraction, which we feel instantly with the release of dopamine, serotonin, and testosterone. This is why men can know if they would sleep with you in less than five seconds.

As far as what’s physically attractive? I think it’s largely based on societal reinforcement. Most men, for example, agree that symmetrical faces with small noses and certain hip to waist ratios (thin waist, wider hips) are considered attractive. Naturally, there are some men who like older women or heavier women or women with one leg. There’s a lid for every pot. Still, a lot of men still want to try on the same lid, who just happens to be 20-30 years old, have stunning features and is built like a Barbie doll. Moving along…

Next, I’d like to assert that a man’s sexual tastes and feelings of attraction don’t disappear because he is in love with another woman.

His intense feelings for his girlfriend may lessen his desires to look elsewhere for sex. But once those intense feelings of chemistry go away (as they usually do after 18 to 36 months – just long enough to conceive and raise a young child), his attraction will still spike every time he sees an attractive woman, in some form or another.

The more self-aware men understand this intellectually, and relegate those spikes of attraction to what they are – biologically programmed bursts of pleasure. We give ourselves doses of this pleasure when we’re walking on a beach, when we’re at an outdoor concert, when we’re at parties, and especially when we’re on the Internet. I’ve heard that 30% of the internet is porn, and if this is the case, it should be no surprise.

Men crave variety. This is normal. It’s all about whether he acts on this desire.

Men can admit attraction to favorite celebrities, and still be great husbands and fathers.

Men can watch porn, fantasize about other women, and still be great husbands and fathers.

Men can go to bachelor parties, go to a strip club, and still be great husbands and fathers.

I know this because I’ve done all of the above and I know I am not alone.

And since the value of my marriage is far greater than the value of sleeping with a stranger in Paris, I remain faithful, even though I’m attracted to other women everywhere I go. It would never even occur to me after 300 dates and nearly 10 years as a dating coach that there’s anyone out there who’d make me happier for the next forty years than my own wife.

That doesn’t mean in some alternate universe that I wouldn’t like to be able to have my cake and eat it, too. That’s essentially what alpha males do – get married and keep sleeping with other women. John Edwards, Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant – we can probably make a list of most politicians, athletes and rock stars.

Men would be perfectly content having missionary sex with a new woman every night.

So why do men cheat?

Because they’re perpetually attracted to new women.

Because they’re high profile, rich, ambitious men who are desirable to these women.

Because they’re so important that they don’t think the rules apply to them.

Because they travel a lot and are frequently exposed to temptation.

Because they don’t value their wives as much as the thrill.

Because they don’t rationally calculate the value of their losses. So Tiger sleeps with a waitress in a Denny’s parking lot and he loses a half billion dollars, his wife, his kids, and his golf mojo. Somehow, I don’t think he considered that with his pants around his ankles.

This is just a long, roundabout way of saying that, in general, men want variety.

I recall a study that said the exact same thing.

Men would be perfectly content having missionary sex with a new woman every night.

Women would be perfectly content with the same man forever, as long as he mixed it up in the bedroom a bit.

The results didn’t surprise me in the least.

Once again, I am not defending men. I am explaining men. Not every single man on the planet. Some men only have eyes for their wife. Some men are attracted to other men. Some men couldn’t conceive of having sex with a woman he didn’t love.

These are perfectly normal men, but they are also exceptions.

So even if we establish that men are driven by sex, it’s far from the whole story, as evidenced by the 50 million married men in the United States.

Simply put, men want love, too. Even if we still like to look elsewhere.

It’s far better to understand and accept these qualities in men than to shame them, insult them, or tell them that they’re wrong for being this way.

As long as he treats you well and doesn’t take action on his desires, you’ve got a good man whose desire for you is stronger than his real sexual impulse to be with someone else.

Join our conversation (895 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.

Comments:

  1. 421
    Mp

    Bull shit, women after a while also like variety, also get bored , also check out other men, we also talk about it with the girls, also fantasize, we also like porn, we just don’t expose it, and we hide it better than men… We also show respect to our men by not acting out, or making things obvious… We are just as bad… Women just don’t like to admit it, but I do

  2. 422
    Bombom

    First of all I agree that with the fact that this society have shaped the situation we are in by sexualized women. Men are been bombarded with so much of it is hard for some of them to deal with it. BUT!!

    We arent animals. we have will power and the potential to learn self control specially if we truly love our partners.

    No women or men should put up with the poor rationalization that men are men and thats what they do…looking. Ha!! Its disrespectful, rude and show lack of love and respect for your woman as well as the one you are looking at. Plain and simple. If you cant control yourself remain single. And if you both enjoy leaving the door to infidelity open by saying we both agree to it and even flirt with other people, goodluck to you, you will need it.

    I’m 44. I have wasted 16 years of my life trying to survive to domestic violence in my previous marriage that I didnt noticed this was a problem at all..LOL Now after 7  beautiful loving years in my second marriage I noticed my hubby looks at other women and it boils my blood when he does that. I know I’m pretty but sadly thats not the message I receive when he does that. I have told him previously since my self steem went to the floor after one of those experiences. For my sake I changed my wardrope, hair style and hit the gym. I did it for myself…to help my self steem and to find myself again. And in case he “slip off” I look fine enough to say NEXT!! LOL- After getting his attention back he did it again yesterday so I gave him a piece of my mind.  Hopefully he took me serious enough as he told me. I’m not putting up with that..I had enough s## in my life already. So I’m truly hope he fix it..I love him deeply but I also love myself. And dont get me wrong I understand the “high” thing..lol

    I look at attractive guys and feel the “high” thing but for a split second and pull myself off it automatically. I dont let it last minutes. I dont need noone to tell me. And if I’m with my hubby I do the same and he doesnt even noticed. Its normal. We are equipped to find a man\women and start a family. And that attraction wont stop from happening even after been married. We are alive and still have blood in our veins!….what is not normal is the continuously looking and staring.!! Ughhh

    I personally respond to two different kind of guys. Attractive ones that comes and go out of your sight in a split second. ( but I surely dont follow with eyes with or without my hubby next to me) And the ones who are attractive, intelligent with an awesome personality. (The perfect bundle.) I called those stomach flippers, lol..Those are the ones i take care myself from interacting with, specially since I know they arent inmune to me. But thats my KEY… Avoid interaction as the plague!! If I can do that anyone can do it. Its called respect for my marriage, my husband and myself. I love my husband a lot!!

    Infidelity dont always happen when 2 people have sex. It starts with the eyes then with the heart (already unfaithful) and whats left is the opportunity.

    So everything is a choice, including looking!

    Ps: my hubby doesnt know about my stomach flipping guys…lol.. I dont want to rise insecurities in him but if this continue I will. It might help him to see his perfect  wife is human after all.

     

     

  3. 423
    marie

    Women would be perfectly content with the same man forever, as long as he mixed it up in the bedroom a bit.

     

    I disagree with this statement…as a woman. But I realize that the post is written by a man rrying to help people understand most men.

     

    Every thing else was interesting and insightful.

    1. 423.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Here’s the article the man cited when saying “women would be perfectly content with a guy who mixed it up.”

      Quote: “When researchers decided to look at this issue to develop a Sexual Boredom Scale, they found that for men, sexual boredom was correlated with variety in partners (or lack thereof), while for women, it was more related to variety in activity. In other words, women were more likely to be satisfied by changes in the sexual what, while men (gay or straight) were more likely to respond to a changes in the sexual whom. It’s a simple, unavoidable truth almost everyone knows to be true, but few dare to discuss: variety and change are the necessary spice of the sex life of the male of our species.”

  4. 424
    Sandi H

    Acknowledging another woman is cute, hot, sexy, or desireable is one thing.  When a man ogles her intensely long enough that she notices, see’s he is with someone, but is still ogling her in a way that says something else, which then encourages her to return the nonverbal cue in kInd…then there’s a problem.

    I’ve experienced this with someone who pursued me hotly and was intent on marriage. When I brought up to him the over-the-top ogling, he appeared entirely unaware of It…..even though other  nearby patrons in the establishment were keenly aware of it and were shaking their heads at this assholish behavior.   He said to me, “I look, I may even say something, but I dont touch. I’m.loyal.  You can look at guys, I won’t mind.”

    Uh huh.  I have the decency to acknowledge hotness without sending explicit nonverbal invitations.

    And still….”let’s get married”?

    Uh, no thank you.

     

  5. 425
    Jan

    I think this is all rather bad advice to an extent. Please take into consideration that many men feel entitled to look at women because men and women and all of us are encouraged from birth to see females as objects and not people. Or at least objects first and THEN maybe people. The thrill comes from a rush of feeling power over the object (woman) being viewed.

    Men, being the primary procurers of objects in society, often unconsciously or consciously feel entitled to all objects. This point of view is encouraged deeply and my belief is that it is extremely misguided. The media and marketing funnel feeds it to us, and it is dually reinforced by religion. Especially (sorry to say) by the Arabic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Muslim). I was raised believing women’s primary role was to be subordinate to the male leader in the family. It has taken years to undo the damage, and I am not quite done.

    This all being said, good luck challenging a man’s sense of entitlement on that count. They typically get very defensive when it is brought up (understandably), so if you want to do so please use a gentle tone for your own sake.

    Nevertheless, what’s wrong with sexual attraction? What’s wrong with sex? The only reason I think we as women don’t typically get a vicarious thrill out of seeing a sexy man is that we have been taught to primarily value men as human beings beyond their mere appearance.

    I am proud to say that I now get a rush when I see a sexy guy. It’s extremely empowering for me to allow myself to fully experience my sexuality wherever it leads. I share my fantasies with my partner and it brings us closer.

    The reason I say that this article is bad advice “to an extent” is that the truth probably is that none of us is completely lovable. We all fall short in one way or another. Dostoevsky said to close our eyes and be good to each other, and I think that is sometimes the best advice of all.

    1. 425.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Curious, Jan, what exactly was the “bad advice” you alluded to? It was mostly just one long observation about why men look at women.

    2. 425.2
      Jeremy

      This argument is, IMHO, very deeply misguided.  The notion that men feel entitled to all objects, consciously or subconsciously?  So if I see someone else’s car, I feel entitled to it on some level?  If I see a beautiful house I feel entitled to it as a man?  And I feel more entitled to it than a woman who sees the same thing?  What sort of men have you encountered that has led you to believe this?

       

      There are men who see women primarily as objects and secondarily as people….or better to say that some men view women primarily for their sexual utility.  Just as some women view men primarily for their economic utility.  Tell me, if a man sees a woman and lusts after her while she sees him non-sexually, whose perspective is more dehumanizing?  Is it that the man can ONLY see a woman for her sexuality and not her humanity?  Or is it that the woman can only see a man for his non-sexual friendship and not his sexuality?  Could it be that, in some cases, it is the man’s view that encompasses more of the whole of a human being, just as in other cases it is the woman’s perspective that does?  Perspective is important to avoid world-views like the one you expressed.  Having said that, I liked your last 2 paragraphs and wish you joy in your newfound sexual awakening.

  6. 426
    Private

    Men aren’t built that way. Society and the brainwashing of displaying half naked or naked women EVERYWHERE, portraying them as sexual OBJECTS is what makes men the way they are! Why don’t we see a naked man in practically every movie made that’s not PG13? You ALWAYS see women, though. It’s very sad and unGodly – bottom line! God did not build men to be adulterers, nor were they taught to be adulterers! This is nothing less or short of cheating! Like porn…you say or think it’s okay? You’re not doing anything wrong, right? WRONG!! If you were watching a woman have sex and were sitting right there (maybe w/your pants down, stroking) would that be wrong? It’s no different watching it on a screen!! The Bible says lusting is the same as being unfaithful!! Very disappointing that we have very few real men left in this entire world!

  7. 427
    Angry

    I just sent my bf this link he acted like an idiot for a few months when we first met, made stupid comments about women on tv and women he knew..stayed on a dating site for a couple months.. (I found out and lost it) my self worth plummeted. To me I am clearly not what he wants. I pretty much hate him. Hate life..wow..lobe for men is I love you but I’m aroused by every other woman I See? Wow how special.

    He is generally a good guy (I sent him the link)

    Fast forward: it’s almost 9 months he stopped this behaviour about 4 months in.

    The problem is I now know he is thinking this stuff – I don’t want him around or talking to any women. I don’t want to watch tv or movies, or go do anything that gives him a chance to check out other women. Now I just don’t even want sex, clearly he wants sex with everyone else anyway. I mean I’m not going to enjoy any social outings since an attractive woman will always be there and he’ll be wanting her not me…why bother.

    I think men are all perverted disrespectful assholes who don’t deserve love. You guys want to get aroused at a box in your living room? Go cuddle with that pigs!!!

  8. 428
    pissed off

    I disagree with the Author. First off, regardless whether a man ” likes variety” or not, this does not give him the green light to Ogle over other women and fantasize about other women when he is in a relationship!

    Anyone with half a brain would know is very hurtful to the woman when her boyfriend who she is faithful to and respectful to , is ogling and getting off ( this high you speak of) to other women looking at porn looking at other women especially when it is done behind her back. It is not right to lust after other women when you have one at home,  it does not matter if you haven’t physically been with another woman.  it is still a betrayal to your woman. Your head is with another woman your head is not with the woman you love supposedly it is not okay it is hurtful to her it is demeaning to her it is very very disrespectful to her and regardless of how much “variety” men like it does not give them the right to do this to the one they love. Men  I for one will not tolerate my guy doing such Behavior I will break up with him and more women should do that& stop giving Men every excuse in the world to act like jerks! They need to have some self-control therefore, a “good guy” does not give in to their sexual desires for his own pleasure stare at other women while hurting his own!  your behavior may be harmless to you of course because you are the one getting the benefit from it but your woman is not and I guarantee you,  your woman is feeling betrayed your woman is feeling not good enough your woman self-esteem is getting lowered because of your foolish actions it is not fair you need to practice self control it is a betrayal for a man to do this how would a man like it if a woman was getting off to other men and secretly fantasizing about them in their head while he is sitting across from her think about it for one second guys think about it.  Stop being so disrespectful to your women and grow up. Use self control.

     

    it is not okay I like cake I like ice cream it is not okay I like cake I like ice cream it does not mean I can eat it everyday all day because I like it I need to have some self-control men need to practice self control and have some respect for women a man that washes porn behind a woman’s back or guess off to other women or stares at other women is not a good guy sorry a good guy practices self control.

     

    1. 428.1
      Theodora

      If my boyfriend ever told me and lectured me about what kind of fantasies I should have or not or how much and what kind of porn I should watch or not or whom I should find attractive or not I would consider him a control freak, borderline insane and dangerous, and I would dump him on the spot.

      I would advise any woman or man who deals with a control freak of such magnitude that she/he wants to control their fantasies and intimate thoughts to do the same and dump the crazy, otherwise a life of misery awaits you.

      1. 428.1.1
        Katie

        @Theodora +1

      2. 428.1.2
        Fuckyou

        It sounds like you’re not very fulfilled sexually with whoever it is your with. Either that or your single. Because if I had to fantasize about other men if I even THOUGHT about fantasizing about other men and actually got off doing so?

        I’d have to find a more sexually compatible boyfriend.

        Also your comment has nothing to do with me or my comment.

        I’ve never controlled or attempted to control anyone’s thoughts or behaviors.

        I just simply don’t date men who watch porn. Period. To each his own. I’m not willing to be intimate with a man who has desires for other women and to the point he’s having sex with himself, his hand behind closed doors only to then have no interest in sex with me cuz he got off already. Or to be some dudes masturbation tool while he fuvks someone else in his mind. I’ll pass. None of this has anything to do with controlling anyone. My boyfriend can watch all the porn he wants. He just needs to let me know, be open and honest with me that that’s what he wants to do. This way I can be aware of his intentions and make the decision whether I want to be with him or not. Fair enough. Nothing to do with controlling anyone or anything other than myself.

         

         

        1. Theodora

          Speaking about fantasies, you surely live in Fantasy Land. I can bet everything I possess that all the men in your life, supposing they have normal levels of testosterone and a normal sex drive, watch porn, fantasize and lust after other women and have their inner erotic life where you don’t have access to.

          I know because the same happens to me as a woman, though probably less frequently and intensely than the average man. Even in my most passionate and idealistic state of infatuation I still had fantasies about an actor, a musician or a man in real life and I was still turned on by certain erotic/pornigraphic images, occasionally.

          I like it the way it is – a secret corner of my being that belongs to me only. My fantasies are there along with thoughts and experiences that I don’t want to share with anybody. I would give hell to any person who tries to make me feel guilty about them.

          It is disrespectful to put down and humiliate your partner comparing him/her negatively to other people, but having fantasies and an inner life is just being a normal human being.

        2. Alicia

          Seriously I agree with you 100%

  9. 429
    Alicia

    I say we should give up and just become a sugar baby and take their money. Like seriously they can go look at other women all they want atleast I’ll Ben one of them and not the “main hopeless girl”

  10. 430
    Phuckyoo

    Evan, You need to STOP Making excuses for guys who are too self-centered and have no respect for the woman they are with.

    NEWSFLASH! Men are not the only gender who appreciate the physical attributes of the opposite sex…yes, GASP! Women happen to “get something out of” seeing a great looking man. But you don’t see article after article after Google search after complaint of women gawking at other men when they’re with their boyfriends! It’s rude, disrespectful and downright asinine to do so! Therefore, we refrain. Most of us humans were BORN with the ability to learn self control, hence we practice it.

    The blog title “what men get out of….”

    Does it really matter? If that is the only concern for you or for men what they’re “getting out” of something therefore making whatever it is ok. That’s the mentality you are trying to push on society with your narcissistic view on this asinine, piggish behavior!

    Women DON’T CARE what their boyfriend or husband is “getting out of it” because for whatever excuse you’re going to make it effects another person, the woman. You’re pushing the attitude that it’s ok to hurt your s.o. because you’re getting something out of it.

    You are the problem with society today!

    Your mentality is narcissistic and disrespectful! Women are not objects put here for men’s viewing pleasure. Women are people, humans, brains, minds, just like men so stop pushing this mentality on our children, it’s wrong.

    1. 430.1
      Tyrone

      @Phuckyoo

      Refrain? Don’t act like you’ve never checked out another man at any point in your life while you were involved with a SO. Women check out other men all the time. Men, for the most part,  just don’t write about it in magazines because they know other men won’t buy magazines about such topics, or care enough to read their blog posts, or act overly offended if we catch you doing it.

      1. 430.1.1
        Emily, the original

        Tyrone, 

        Don’t act like you’ve never checked out another man at any point in your life while you were involved with a SO. 

        Of course women check out other men. We just aren’t as obvious as men are. We don’t do things like crane our necks and completely turn around to stare. I can cruise someone all day and he’d never know it.

  11. 431
    Lana

    I understand that everyone like to look at nice things and man are more visual creatures. But i do think its very insulting when you have a girlfriend standing beside you but you are looking at other woman (to the point it looks like he’s undressing them) but yet the man says he loves you. It looks as if if she flirts with him and you are not there, he would be so ready to take her home.

    How can he love me when he cannot even be visually loyal if you know what i mean. If he needs to check out girls in that manner, it could also mean that one day he might get bored looking at me. And you can imagine how proud the girl must feel thinking that she must be something for a married man/bf to check her out while his girl is beside. I usually feel sorry for this girls because their spouse is being so disrespectful.

    I have nothing against looking but seriously do it in a more respectful way. I like looking at hot guys too but my eyes don’t follow them wherever they walk or im undressing them and sleeping with them in my mind. Seriously how do you deal with man like this even after talking still does the same. Of course it’s not so easy to just leave the relationship everytime this happens because chances are IT HAPPENS ALOT and it is also not easy to be okay with it yourself.

    I said to my boyfriend, I wish that I was enough for you and it sort off broke my heart  when I said that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *