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.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Quinn

    @susan 24
    If that’s your take on men and porn how are you ever going to find ‘the guy for you’?  I’d venture to say, either a man watches porn or he lies and says he doesn’t.  What’s the big deal?  Why limit yourself to such an unrealistic and rigid standard?

  2. 32
    Nicole

    @Sarahetc…
    Both Psychology Today and the field of Evolutionary Psychology have a lot of problems and their credibility is questionable.  

    Find a study in a medical journal the properly vets its sources and their methods, and that only accepts studies that have been peer reviewed.  That would exclude Psychology Today.   

    What you linked to is not a peer reviewed study.  It smacks of the same kind of garbage written by the doctor who claimed that vaccines caused autism. 

  3. 33
    Ruby

    Elaine #
     
    You wrote, “Every single man who cheated on me came across as the most honest, sincere, sweet, wonderful human being…sent me flowers, left me little notes, swore he’d NEVER do that to me, blah blah blah,” and later you said, “Would it KILL you to tell me you appreciate the effort I went to to look nice for you? I’ve never even had a BF ”like” something I’ve posted on Facebook let alone tell me they think I’m pretty.” You also stated that these same “nice” men have blatantly ogled other women, but told you that you couldn’t look at other men?
     
    I’m wondering how the same men can be so sweet and sincere, yet never even tell you that you’re pretty, and then cheat on you. I don’t deny that there are cheaters and that they can be manipulative and sleazy, but most of the men you’ve dated?
     
    Mia #16
     
    I’ve got a news flash for you: middle-aged men can let themselves get plenty dumpy, and they can work long hours leaving their wives alone, and feeling unappreciated. But even if someone doesn’t look exactly the way they did 20 years ago, when you first married them, whatever happened to “until death do us part?” Good thing you finally realized that those married/LTR men were blatantly lying to you because they saw you as an easy mark.

  4. 34
    Karl R

    susan said: (#24)
    “As for the comment about men who enjoy porn can still be great fathers and husbands.  Yeah well, maybe, but for me that is a total dealbreaker.  A guy who wants to get off on porn is not the guy for me.”

    Good luck finding a man.

    At a stadium event held by Promise Keepers (a conservative Christian men’s group), 53% of the men had viewed porn in the previous week.

    Over half of evangelical pastors admit to viewing porn in the previous year.

    I suspect these conservative Christian men don’t openly share this information with their girlfriends and wives. Your odds of getting someone who doesn’t watch porn is worse than your odds of getting someone who is willing to lie to you about it.

    For the rest of the men, the likelihood of them watching porn is higher.

    Heather asked: (#27)
    “It makes me wonder well gee, what am I to you, chopped liver?”

    I can’t speak for the men you date, but I can give you my own perspective. My fiancée doesn’t care whether I watch porn. However, I would rather have sex than watch sex. If we’re having sex often enough, I don’t watch porn at all.

    Heather asked: (#27)
    “I don’t ogle men in front of him, so he cannot ogle women in front of me.  No double standards allowed in this establishment…”

    You and I view “double standards” very differently. You choose not to ogle men in front of him, but you require him to not ogle women.

    My fiancée is allowed to watch porn. I am allowed to watch porn. There is no double standard. She chooses not to. If she decides she wants to, I am quite willing to direct her to websites with large supplies of free porn.

    If a woman feels that it’s okay for her to ogle men, but it’s not okay for her boyfriend to ogle women, that’s an example of a double standard. (The same is true if you reverse the sexes.)

    Elaine said: (#28)
    “Every single man who cheated on me came across as the most honest, sincere, sweet, wonderful human being…sent me flowers, left me little notes, swore he’d NEVER do that to me, blah blah blah.”

    The examples you gave are completely unrelated to honesty, loyalty and integrity.

    How does giving flowers imply that a man won’t cheat?
    How does sending love notes imply that a man won’t cheat?
    How does swearing to be faithful imply that a man won’t cheat?

    Some traits which distinguish faithful partners from cheaters:
    Integrity
    Empathy
    Forethought
    Self-respect
    Respect for others
    Honesty
    etc.

    I agree with Evan (#29). You have horrible radar for determining whether a man is a quality individual or not.

    Elaine asked: (#32)
    “Where are you getting your statistics?”

    Evan’s statistics are consistent with the “American Sexual Behavior” study, a survey of 10,000 people. It’s also consistent with a more recent survey.

    Unlike your number (which attempts to predict future behavior over a lifetime), his statistics reflect what has occurred. I haven’t been able to find any information how they calculated future behavior.

    Elaine said: (#32)
    “In my personal experience I’d have to say it was closer to 90% with the men I have dated, suggesting that survey respondents do indeed fib on this subject.”

    Your dates aren’t a randomly distributed sample from the population. They’re the men you chose as boyfriends. It’s very strong evidence that you tend to choose poorly.

    Cheating won’t get you better boyfriends. Choosing better boyfriends will.

  5. 35
    Mia

    Sarah- it’s not that the cheaters came right out and said that , but it’s a common refrain you hear from married men in general. Also, if you simply take a look around, very few married women look good past 40 – it’s like they’re actively trying to look like bad, getting butch haircuts, packing on 50 pounds, wearing frumpy clothes. You can’t complain that your guy is looking at other women if you make no effort to look fit and decent. And while I wouldn’t do it again, nor have I done it recently , I never felt bad about the affairs I had when younger. I had faced a lot of rejection from single men my own age and it was nice to get attention and compliments and love letters from older married guys. I felt angry that their wives were no better than me, yet I was forced to live a lonely life of always going home to an empty apartment. It was and is grossly unfair.  Evans fidelity stats sound way too low, based on all my friends’ and acqaintances’ tales of misbehaving attached guys. 

  6. 36
    Kenya

    I totally agree, Not only is it “normal” for men to look at porn, so many men look at it that what would qualify as deviant behavior would be not looking at it. 

    Actually, according to the link below, Scientists at the University of Montreal launched a search for men in their 20s who had never looked at pornography – but couldn’t find any: 

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/relationships/6709646/All-men-watch-porn-scientists-find.html

    :) Not a big deal.  I don’t get why some women would even care whether or not men watch porn.  I am sure a large percentage of women does it too. 

  7. 37
    Goldie

    @ Mia #38, yeah, I, too, have been propositioned by married guys, I mean who hasn’t? My experience has been that most of these men had really cool, great-looking wives that took good care of themselves. Of course the guy would come out and give a woman he’s hitting on all the right BS: my wife doesn’t understand me, we haven’t had sex in years (gee if I had a nickel for each time I heard that last one…) “This is actually good for your husband if you sleep with me, because then you’ll go home to him happy, which will make him happy in turn”… Everyone recycles the same old ridiculous lines that do not make any sense. So, no, I would absolutely NOT make this the wife’s fault. One hundred percent of the time, it’s the guy. Just like some people physically cannot steal and others can, some people can easily physically cheat, but the majority cannot. For most guys, cheating will never cross their minds no matter how bad their marriage is, they just aren’t wired that way. My ex had many flaws, but cheating just wasn’t one of them. It was something that just never occurred to him, period. A lot of men are like that. And for those that are not — that think nothing of physical infidelity — it’s not their wives’ fault. It is those men’s character flaw. Some people abuse alcohol and or drugs, some people abuse their wives, these guys screw around. That’s what they do. if they leave their wife and marry a hot younger woman, a few years down the road they’ll cheat on that hot younger woman too. I really have no tolerance for guys like that. Being propositioned by them mostly made me mad because I really dislike being used, it just gets my hackles up. Scumbags :(

  8. 38
    Helen

    Mia 38: “I never felt bad about the affairs I had when younger. I had faced a lot of rejection from single men my own age and it was nice to get attention and compliments and love letters from older married guys. I felt angry that their wives were no better than me, yet I was forced to live a lonely life of always going home to an empty apartment. It was an is grossly unfair.”
     
    Hmm. Where to even start here…
     
    1. I’ll try very hard not to be judgmental about your affairs, because different cultures have different viewpoints on affairs (e.g., the French, and Dan Savage’s points that Evan highlighted on his blog once). But if you want to go down that road, you have to recognize that an affair is an affair, okay? So there is no point in your being angry and ranting about how ugly the wife is. He is NOT going to choose you over her. Face it.
     
    2. We live in America, not France. Much as you may wish it to be otherwise, affairs can ruin marriages and families here, and cause a huge amount of heartbreak to all involved. Ask yourself how comfortable you feel causing THAT to other human beings.
     
    3. How do you know that you’re better than the wives of the men you cheated with? Do you know them personally? It seems that the only way you judge women, based on all your remarks, is by their looks. For the record, men do value character as well. And I’m almost certain that these wives are better than YOU in one key way: they are not nearly as disdainful toward other women, especially married and older ones.
     
    4. You’re going to need to improve your self-esteem so that you don’t have to depend on men complimenting you to get your “fix.” It starts by being happy with who you are. Here’s a hint: you’ll start feeling better when you stop comparing yourself to others. Believe it or not, judging yourself as better than others (because you’re beautiful and everyone else is a dog) is not a sign of self-esteem. A happy and assured woman doesn’t feel the need to compare herself to others, whether for better or for worse.
     
    5. You’re going to need to learn how to be happy living on your own. Everyone has had the experience of living alone in an apartment before. Make it a good experience. I’m sure you have the means to decorate it as you want and to fill it with the things you enjoy.
     
    I do think you’re going to need to radically change your thought patterns in order to be happy with yourself and your relationships. Now, you’re only causing pain to yourself and potentially to others.
     

  9. 39
    Tom

    Fair enough Sarahrahrah I set myself up there for claiming that all men watch porn, however, I suspect the enlightened men you know who claim not to watch it know your opinion and told you a few porkies (so you’d think they’re enlightened!).
    I think it’s reasonable to say that excessive porn consumption can have negative effects but as others have said Susan is probably deluding herself if she thinks she’ll find a man who never looks at it. Most of us use it like fast food; it’s ok now and again if used as part of a balanced diet :)
     

    1. 39.1
      karen

      I like your analogy Tom!

  10. 40
    DinaStrange

    Perhaps, what i am about to say is going to be disliked by the majority of the readers of this blog, but as a woman looking at “market” evaluations of human relationships i came to a conclusion that being a high end escort makes much more financial sense to a woman, than being a wife. Unless she is married to a wealthy man, with legal protection in case he decides to cheat/leave her for a younger woman or dies. The liability of raising children by oneself is huge, same as liability of time investment that usually goes into maternity/childhood. Forgive me for being so frank but as glue of trust that used to hold society together falls apart – this seems to be the only rational though politically incorrect choice of words.

    Really, how low did we fall. 

  11. 41
    Rachael

    Wow…pretty heated debate! 

    I’ll try not to puck apart others’ comments, but I have some strong opinions.

    There is nothing wrong with legal porn. There is nothing wrong with the men who look at it! There is nothing wrong with women (myself included) who look at it!

    Watching porn is not cheating, and it does not make you a cheater! I have never cheated though I watch JUST AS MUCH porn as any man i’ve ever been with. Even more than some…I have an underactive imagination. That’s my excuse ;) 

    Beautiful women are beautiful. They are nice to look at…Looking at them makes men feel good. It even makes me feel good! Good for them those lucky girls! Hating a man for looking or hating the girl for being gorgeous doesn’t make you any more attractive. In fact…It might make you an ugly person regardless of how you look. hatred is ugly.

    I was cheated on by my husband with my brothers girlfriend and I still manage to see good men for what they are and appreciate them. I will never PICK a man like my ex-husband. That’s on me. If I get cheated on again I will move on AGAIN and remain the kind of person I am. Becoming an asshole because I have encountered assholes just makes me an ASSHOLE. I don’t have a right to be an asshole just because someone else was to me. I take pride in being a good person and always will. Besides…I got to walk out of my marriage with my dignity intact. Though we are friendly and I will always wish him the best, my ex was kicked out with no dignity. He has made it clear to me even long after we separated how much he regrets what he did. I would never want to live with those kind of feelings. I don’t even want HIM to feel that way.

    We are all human and it’s about time we all learned to accept people, stop making unrealistic demands and treat others how we want to be treatedand not how we have been treated.

     

    1. 41.1
      Dayna

      Of all the posts, yours is the only one I wanted to reply to. Love it. Spot on. I think you and I would be pals. :)

  12. 42
    Mia

    Helen, you make some helpful points. However, i have done a million things alone and have an active social life and career, so its not like I’m unable to enjoy being aolo. I should clarify that when I make fun of a woman’s looks, it’s either because she has something I want that she didn’t work as hard as I am working to get, or she just has an unpleasant personality. I did know the wife of one married guy, and she was very spoiled and materialistic, which made  doing her husband in the backseat of their car all the more fun.  I think it can be hard for people who have not faced as much rejection to understand how much it can warp someone who is an otherwise loving, open person, accepting person who only wants a slightly cute, nerdy guy who loves them but just got rejected year after year, constantly, nonstop, and they naturally develop a selfish, cold streak. Some of us are too fragile to put up with this repeat abuse (not literal abuse) which is why i get why Elaine feels the way she does- yes, her radar is way off. But she is probably a really good hearted person who got the door slammed in her face one too many times and it caused emotional trauma. I disagree that her response should be cheating – she either needs a nerdy guy who has too little game to cheat, or should just give up at this point. 

  13. 43
    Karl R

    DinaStrange said: (#43)
    “as a woman looking at “market” evaluations of human relationships i came to a conclusion that being a high end escort makes much more financial sense to a woman, than being a wife.”

    It also makes more financial sense for a man to become a major-league baseball player instead of a long-haul truck driver … provided you’re willing to completely overlook the difference in market demand for the two jobs.

    In addition, you’re glossing over the difficulties inherent with an illegal job. Not only can you end up going to prison for doing the job, you also are unable to report your income, which leads to income tax fraud. The IRS gets suspicious of people who have wealthy lifestyles and no reported income.

    It’s also not particularly compatible with motherhood. I suspect it’s difficult to maintain a career as a high-class escort while pregnant or nursing. Furthermore, if the baby’s father wishes to contest custody, he will have strong motive to report your activities to the vice squad. A prostitution conviction will go a long way to ensuring he gets sole custody of your child.

    DinaStrange said: (#43)
    “what i am about to say is going to be disliked by the majority of the readers of this blog,”

    They’re more likely to find it completely silly.

    Kenya, (#39)
    Good find. I’d forgotten about that study.

  14. 44
    Two of Us Dating

    Such a tough subject!  But I agree with everything you said.  Just like I believe in evolution, it’s science, I believe men’s natural instinct is to spread the seed.  BUT, I also believe you have control of oneself, and if you’re with someone who you love and are completely compatible with, then you should easily be able to make the choice of staying faithful.

  15. 45
    David T

    @Nicole 35
    Psych Today is a popular press publication but most articles are written by folks who read peer reviewed literature in their field and write with that in mind. 
     
    Below are several links to peer reviewed literature on the impacts of porn viewing. They are mostly geared towards the impacts on adolescents, but some is towards adults and a lot of the gist is generally applicable. 
     
    You will find porn use is linked to:  less progressive gender role attitudes, lower body image, less partner sex, depression, more sexual risk tasking, sexual harassment, a more casual attitude regarding sex, and selling sex.  Whether these are negative depends on your particular world view. Causality is not clear in all the studies, but even correlations are troubling (porn use as an indicator of tendencies towards the above behaviors).
     
    I am sure there is a lot of research if you actually choose to look instead of simply dismissing something out of hand because it does not fit with your world view.
     
    @Tom
    Back to the topic at hand, I agree that porn won’t be clear problem for everyone, but these studies maintain it takes a subtle toll even on healthy folks (See the 2008 Journal of Sex Research article below). Some fast food and lots of sugar now and then are not a clear problem for most people, but they have some negative consequences no matter how modest the amount.
     

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20888038
    J Adolesc. 2011 Aug;34(4):779-88. Epub 2010 Oct 2
    In a Swedish survey 2015 male students aged 18 years participated. . . Frequent use [roughly 1 in 10 in the study] was also associated with many problem behaviors.

     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19628142
    J Adolesc Health. 2009 Aug;45(2):156-62. Epub 2009 Feb 20.
     

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19073838
    J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2008 Dec 10. [Epub ahead of print]
     Longitudinal analyses showed that early exposure [to pornography] for males predicted less progressive gender role attitudes, more permissive sexual norms, sexual harassment perpetration. . . Early exposure for females predicted subsequently less progressive gender role attitudes. . .
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18569538
    J Sex Res. 2008 Apr-Jun;45(2):175-86.
    A symmetrical relationship was revealed between men and women as a result of viewing pornography, with women reporting more negative consequences, including lowered body image, partner critical of their body, increased pressure to perform acts seen in pornographic films, and less actual sex, while men reported being more critical of their partners’ body and less interested in actual sex. .. Only 2% of users met the threshold of compulsive use
     
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17186123
    Arch Sex Behav. 2007 Aug;36(4):588-98.
    . . .participants who reported to have more online pornography viewing were found to score higher on measures of premarital sexual permissiveness and proclivities toward sexual harassment . . .

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16232040
    Cyberpsychol Behav. 2005 Oct;8(5):473-86.
     Those who report intentional exposure to pornography, irrespective of source, are significantly more likely to cross-sectionally report delinquent behavior and substance use in the previous year. Further, online seekers versus offline seekers are more likely to report clinical features associated with depression and lower levels of emotional bonding with their caregiver.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12598058
    Womens Health Issues. 2003 Jan-Feb;13(1):39-43.
    Four out of five had consumed pornography, and one-third of these believed that pornography had impacted their sexual behavior. . . As the use of a condom was low (40%) when having anal intercourse, the consequences for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases should be considered.

  16. 46
    Ruby

    David T #48
     
    What’s even more troubling to me are the studies on the same site that show an “…overall significant positive association between pornography use and attitudes supporting violence against women.”
     
     
     
    Here’s another article on the subject. I recall going to the same Women Against Pornography presentation that Gail Dines refers to:
     
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/02/gail-dines-pornography

  17. 47
    john

    I myself love porn. I love women. Dressed. Undressed. Halfway undressed? :)
    However, I LOVE women, and violence? Please. No place for that.
    There are also men who are violent and abusive towards women that do not view porn. I’m sure that back in the olden days, when men were considered so misogynistic – I mean way before porn- and women were getting beat, it wasn’t because everyone was blaming porn. It’s because of an attitude.
     
     

  18. 48
    priya

    I dont understand why so many women are bother with men getting chemical high watching other women.I am in relationship and still watch attractive bodies be it men or women n  yes i do get chemical high watching it.

  19. 49
    Still-Looking

    Karl R. @ 46 stated ” In addition, you’re glossing over the difficulties inherent with an illegal job. Not only can you end up going to prison for doing the job, you also are unable to report your income, which leads to income tax fraud.”
    All income, legal and illegal, must be reported —
    From IRS Pub 17:
     Illegal activities.   Income from illegal activities, such as money from dealing illegal drugs, must be included in your income on Form 1040, line 21, or on Schedule C or Schedule C-EZ (Form 1040) if from your self-employment activity.

  20. 50
    Leesa

    in my experience, the only guys who think that “all guys look at porn” are the guys who look at porn. they justify their behaviour as normal.  but as i understand it, it’s fairly normal for guys to look at porn up until the age of about 25. it’s like the belief i see amongst gay men who think they can convert any straight man, given the chance.

    i have seen nothing but adverse behaviour from guys who are into porn over the age of 25, who are still into it into 40’s. they are frequently underperformers in the bedroom, they generally have less respect for women, and have more problems with women in long term relationships.  they often are not aware that they have less of a respect for women and monogomy but other women who experience their energy are aware of it.

    that’s just my experience.

  21. 51
    sammi

    This post is so true!  But not just true of men,  I am in a relationship with a guy and yet I get aroused and notice men daily!  I enjoy porn from time time. It does not mean I will cheat on my partner as I am happy and love him but cannot ever say never, who knows further down the line, I would like to think I wouldn’t but life is funny.  The point is women ‘hunt’ just as much as men do, I can freely admit to this!

  22. 52
    susan

    Thanks everyone for your thoughts.  I guess what I’m saying is that I just find the idea of my partner watching porn really offputting. I am realistic enough to know that most men do it at some point but I’m kind of with Karl here – if you’re happy with what you’re getting you’re less likely to be happy watching what you’re not.

    Would I be happy to be with a guy who has a pile of magazines beside the bed, no. Would I want to watch a porn movie with a guy? no thanks.

    Would i be happy for him to be going to strip shows whatever. No not really. Call me unrealistic and conservative if you like but no I’m not HAPPY about that at all.  I ACCEPT that some of this stuff is reality of life.  As I said I certianly appreciate the human form and would expect any partner to be the same. No more no less.

    yes part of this is my own views on the pornography industry. But also, to me it does kind of feel like cheating. A guy who wants to get his rocks off watching a woman other than me is putting his bits (if not his brain) out there for someone else – real or imagined. I’m not saying its infidelity per se, but its too close for comfort for me.

    Promisekeepers love the porn line. And I know that many Christian men struggle with this, but often becuase of the other restrictions and taboos around sex that they are facing (i have personal experience of this with a number of christian male friends). Thats a whole other issue. 

    but I also think it CAN be addictive, it CAN be a slippery slope and the really right wing bit of me says ”why would you even go there”. 

    I am amazed that virtually no other women have agreed with me on this.

  23. 53
    Kathleen

    Susan 

    I agree with you!! I was married for 20 years and my ex and I had a great sex life together. If he was into porn then it wasn’t around me. If he had been I agree it would have been very off-putting to me.

    I read an article recently on MSN regarding how porn can damage relationships and while I can’t quote it, it seems pretty intuitive that it could induce hurt feelings in the woman. Thank you David T for referencing studies Throughout my life women friends have confided they are hurt by their guys blatant interest in porn when they are right there in front of him being ignored.

    I definitely think it can become addictive and has the potential to erode and damage relationships.

    1. 53.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      a) This post was about men who still look at other women in all forms, not the merits of the porn industry. Does anyone want to suggest that good men can’t continue to appreciate the beauty of other women as long as they’re not acting in a highly embarrassing, inappropriate way? No? Good.

      b) The fact that porn can become addictive and has the potential to erode and damage relationships makes it just like, say, alcohol. Tens of millions of people use it in moderation, and yet there are some that abuse it. You don’t ban something that provides pleasure just because it CAN be abused. Everything in moderation. This absolutist thinking is not helping anybody.

      1. 53.1.1
        Dayna

        Well said, as usual. I don’t think porn hurts those who choose to watch in moderation, once in a while – any extreme anything *can* be harmful. Your post, as well as the feed, is interesting to me personally because I watch porn occasionally, and wouldn’t mind if my boyfriend did. But if he were to oogle or leer at another woman in my presence it would of course upset me – not because it’s wrong to look at a pretty woman. It comes down to RESPECT and if he is sensitive towards me or not. Bottom line. I have a realistic self image (maybe a little critical of myself), good self esteem, confidence, and I understand we ALL (men and women alike) love to look at beautiful people. Yet, I still find myself feeling threatened in a NEW relationship if my man “checks out” other women and I realize this is my issue to deal with – its because I am comparing myself to them, not that HE is. I think jealousy/insecurity is a choice – and I struggle with my “gut” reaction and have to use my head to overcome it. This article and post is great.

  24. 54
    Ruby

    Susan #55
     
    I agree with you also, although my objections have more to do with the industry itself. It’s a business that mistreats and objectifies women, it has extensive problems with drug use/addiction and the spread of HIV (lack of condom use), the participants keep getting younger, (many are teenagers), and come from abusive backgrounds. Even older girls are often presented as underaged. Just try googling “teen porn.”

  25. 55
    Pearl

    I look at good looking men, so I dont see anything wrong with men looking at good looking women. I dont think that women and men are that different in the effect of a sexually attractive person of opposite sex. The difference is that there are more sexy women than sexy men.

  26. 56
    Karl R

    David T said: (#48)
    “They are mostly geared towards the impacts on adolescents, but some is towards adults and a lot of the gist is generally applicable.”

    More specifically, of the 7 studies:
    studied adolescents and/or pre-adolescents
    1 studied young men in Hong Kong
    1 studied young women visiting a family planning clinic
    1 studied men and women in the U.S.

    Unlike you, I don’t consider the studies of adolescents to be generally applicable. For example, you note the correlation between porn viewing and “lower levels of emotional bonding with their caregiver.”

    Given the ease with which parental controls can be installed on computer, I would expect a causative link between a caregiver who doesn’t bond with their child and increased access to porn.

    David T said: (#48)
    “Causality is not clear in all the studies, but even correlations are troubling (porn use as an indicator of tendencies towards the above behaviors).”
      
    Regardless of the correlations, I would recommend that someone rule someone out becaue of the problem behaviors, not the correlation.

    There’s a significant correlation between race and criminal convictions. Should women avoid dating black men because of this correlation? Or should they avoid dating men with certain criminal behavior regardless of their race?

    More porn correlates to “less actual sex”
    Looking at the one study of men and women, they indicated a correlation between increased porn use and less sex. I have actually observed this within my own relationship.

    My fiancée has a couple minor chronic conditions.
    As her symptoms increase, her desire for sex decreases.
    As her desire for sex decreases, we have “actual sex” less.
    When we have sex less (less than I would like), my porn use increases.

    Not only is less sex the cause, but it’s a cause that arises from the person who doesn’t watch porn.

    And the solution that we’d both be happiest with is relief of the symptoms.

    Even the definition of a problem can vary from person to person. Twelve years ago, I dated a woman who wanted to have sex twice per month. I’d be willing to bet that she views a partner who wants “less sex” as a solution, not a problem.

    More porn correlates to “pressure to perform acts seen in pornographic films”
    Many of us see variety in sex to be a good thing. I personally believe that the kama sutra makes a far better source of novel sex acts than porn, but I wouldn’t reject an idea just because I saw it in a film instead.

    The best sex partners (male or female) are the ones who are willing to try new things. Particularly the ones who are willing to try things (and even regularly perform acts) that don’t necessarily do much for them, but really turn their partner on.

    I don’t perform oral sex on women because it’s a major turn-on for me. I regularly perform cunnilingus because my partner enjoys it.

    No woman has ever bothered to ask me whether I learned about cunnilingus from an ex-girlfriend, from a sex manual, from the kama sutra, or from porn. I suspect it doesn’t matter that much to them.

    I’m considered a good sex partner because I’m willing to perform a sex act that my partner loves, one which doesn’t do that much for me, and one which I first learned about from porn. Why do I suddenly become a bad sex partner if I request a sex act which I enjoy, which might not do much for my partner, and which I may have learned about through watching porn?

    Variety is a good thing. This only sounds like a bad thing if someone fails to respect their partner’s boundaries. If someone doesn’t respect your boundaries (in sex or anything else), dump them for that reason.

    More porn correlates to “lowered body image”
    Regardless of whether you watch porn, it’s in your best interest to make your partner feel good about his/her body.

    My fiancée’s body image has improved since we started dating (even though I watch porn). I make a point of regularly complimenting her appearance, both in general and specifically. My actions correspond to my compliments. It’s blatantly obvious (to her and others) that I find her attractive.

    As my compliments increase, her body image improves.
    As her body image improves, she feels more sexy.
    As she feels more sexy, she’s more comfortable about being naked and having sex.

    Enlightened self-interest at work.

    If your partner makes a deliberate effort to make you feel better about yourself, it’s going to have an effect. And since my partner feels appreciated, that eliminates a major cause of affairs and divorces.

    susan said: (#55)
    “Would i be happy for him to be going to strip shows whatever. No not really. Call me unrealistic and conservative if you like but no I’m not HAPPY about that at all.”

    My fiancée’s ex-sister-in-law was unhappy if her husband glanced at another woman. Her jealously was the cause of their divorce.

    On the other end of the spectrum, I’m acquainted with a couple who have an open marriage. They find it acceptable that their spouse has sex with other people.

    You need to find someone who you can be comfortable with, and who will be comfortable with you. You can’t influence what other people will be comfortable with, but you can influence what you’re comfortable with. If you’re eliminating too many options by being inflexible, you might want to consider changing.

  27. 57
    susan

    I hear what you’re saying Evan.  I wasn’t meaning to merit or merit the industry. Just my opnion on how I feel about a man i was with going beyond ”appreciating the female form”.

    The other side of this of course, is that many MANY women are quite ok with watching a fairly tame movie with some hot film star in it and ogling and fantastising but see this as ok becuase it’s not reality. maybe it’s another goose/gander thing?

  28. 58
    john

    KarlR #60
    Very well said.

  29. 59
    Hope

    In addition to saying I agree, as usual, with EMK’s answer here, I also am compelled to chime in re: #40 and #41 (Helen and Goldie’s responses to Mia #38). 
     
    Goldie #40: I completely agree.  And I’d also like to add: Mia, you must not live in New York, because I’m 32 and attractive but I’m constantly seeing women in their 40s and 50s who are seriously fit, well-dressed, charismatic, etc…and married. 
    Helen #41: I also pretty much agree, and I smiled at your reference to the French…I thought I’d add as an anecdote: a while back, the topic of affairs came up between me and my wonderful French boyfriend of 8 months.  We were discussing a female French friend who is in a long-distance relationship, and wondering how it would turn out.  I jokingly said, “Why doesn’t she have an affair?  Isn’t that the French way?”  And my boyfriend responded, in all seriousness, “Actually, no… most French people think affairs are more trouble and work than they’re worth.”
    Et voila ; ) 
     

  30. 60
    Paragon

    @ Mia

    “Evans fidelity stats sound way too low, based on all my friends’ and acqaintances’ tales of misbehaving attached guys.”

    Again, the experiences of your friends are an unrepresentative sample of the population.

    @ Kenya

    “I totally agree, Not only is it “normal” for men to look at porn, so many men look at it that what would qualify as deviant behavior would be not looking at it.

    Actually, according to the link below, Scientists at the University of Montreal launched a search for men in their 20s who had never looked at pornography – but couldn’t find any:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/relationships/6709646/All-men-watch-porn-scientists-find.html

    I’m one of those deviants, lol.

    I’ve never ‘consumed’ porn, but, I’ve observed it on a number of occasions, in the company of others who, incidentally, happened to be viewing it.

    I have a high libido, but I can’t honestly say that the idea of viewing porn appeals to me.

    @ DinaStrange

    “Perhaps, what i am about to say is going to be disliked by the majority of the readers of this blog, but as a woman looking at “market” evaluations of human relationships i came to a conclusion that being a high end escort makes much more financial sense to a woman, than being a wife. Unless she is married to a wealthy man, with legal protection in case he decides to cheat/leave her for a younger woman or dies.”

    Setting aside the questions of supply and demand that Karl alluded to, it is a niche solution limited in frequency not only by intolerable risks(that few are willing to abide), but also by a knowledge of sexual concessions that are implicitly indescriminant(ie. where no one is assuming clients
    will tend to resemble Richard Gere).

    “The liability of raising children by oneself is huge, same as liability of time investment that usually goes into maternity/childhood.”

    Obvious solution – women can select a risk averse man(there are reliable indications), who sees them as an ‘optimal’ partner(again, there are reliable indications).

    The problem with said solution, is that (since females are more sexually selective)male candidates are more likely to be satisfied with female attractiveness, than they are with his(unless a woman can justify the devotion of a high value man, by being a sufficiently high value woman – which is still problematic, as higher female selectivity ensures that there is always less men to go around who have been deemed of high value).

    Still, as the limiting sex, the onus of compromise is upon women.

    @ Hope

    “And I’d also like to add: Mia, you must not live in New York, because I’m 32 and attractive but I’m constantly seeing women in their 40s and 50s who are seriously fit, well-dressed, charismatic, etc…and married.”

    I think she was referring to those who aren’t, or are in some way hindering the sexual needs of their spouse – a valid criticism.

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