Is Monogamy Harder for Men or Women?

Is Monogamy Harder for Men or Women?

The confirmation bias is a tendency to prefer information that confirms whatever you already believe. It’s dangerous, because under the influence of the confirmation bias, you cherry-pick only facts that reinforce your arguments. The first thing I think of when I hear “confirmation bias” is Fox News, but that is, admittedly, my own bias. And I work very hard not to fall into the trap of having a fixed mindset on things.

It’s with this framing that I want to present to you this article, which contradicts a previously held belief of mine: that belief that men are more likely to prefer a variety of sexual partners. So, why would I hold this belief if it may not be true?

Are there some women who want to sleep with hundreds of men? Sure. But there are more men who want to sleep around.

Well, it’s hard to say. Thinking about it critically, it’s somewhere between experience, society and faith. I was a promiscuous guy. I know men who are a lot worse than I was. There’s an entire industry around pick-up artists. Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. Porn for men dominates the internet. I’m a dating coach for women who complain that men are commitmentphobes and cheaters. So yeah, there is a LOT of evidence that men have sex on the brain, at least more than women do.

Then some studies came out that women get bored with monogamy faster than men, and suddenly everything I wrote above has been called into question.

Amanda Marcotte, writing for Slate XX Factor, sees this as a sea change. But I don’t. And while it may be my own confirmation bias speaking, here’s the reason:

Marcotte harps on studies that show that women respond to novelty in porn (duh) and fantasize about sex with strangers (double duh). All that proves is that, yes, women can get bored with routine sex as well. I don’t think there’s any right-minded person who ever thought otherwise. What this doesn’t prove, however, is that women are MORE driven by sex than men. While it’s useful to recognize that women and men are similar in many ways, I think it’s shortsighted to suggest that we are the SAME, as if gender was simply a societal construct and not somewhat tied to biology.

Are there some women who want to sleep with hundreds of men? Sure. But there are more men who want to sleep around.

Are there some women who can separate love and sex and have no emotional attachment after physical contact? You bet. But there are more men who do.

Are there more women who give up on sex within a marriage? Apparently. But that might just mean that she’s married to a jerk for 20 years and can’t summon any more amorous feelings for him. It doesn’t mean that she’s more likely to cheat or that she values sexual variety as much as he does.

So, to me (and my confirmation bias), this study is much ado about nothing, in that it’s verifying something we already know. The reason that Marcotte is jumping on it is because it confirms what she wants to believe (women and men have the same take on sex), not because it represents a true shift.

Because for every study that says (rightfully!) that women get bored with monogamy, there’s another one that confirms what most of us already know: men are more driven by sexual variety than women. One highly publicized study doesn’t negate that.

Read the article here and please share your thoughts below.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Uri

    This reminds me of the joke about a couple who’s been married for a while having sex. After a minute of intense thrusting, the husband suddenly stops and rolls off his wife. The wife turns to him and says, “What’s the matter? You ran out of people to fantasize about too?”
    I think the takeaway from the Slate piece and the NY Times piece it was based on is that though women may feel as bored with their partners as men, men are more likely  to act upon it. And perhaps the greater takeaway is that Slate wanted a piece that said basically nothing to go viral because of a headline like “Women Struggle with Monogamy More Than Men.”

     

  2. 2
    Rose

    This report does not go into enough information about how the research was conducted. There is not enough scientic data to examine and be able to make an informed educated scientific comment about it.
    All it tells me is one persons conclusion on her individual research based on fantasy sex. What has that got to do with real life monogomy? Or is fantasising and porn classes as not being monogomous now
    Three is nothing for me to examine.
     

  3. 4
    Dina Strange

    Agree. U don’t see as many males prostitutes for women, as u see for men. One can argue that if women had more economical power, that would have been the case…so we just have to wait, and see.

    1. 4.1
      Tiffany

      Diana, are you kidding me? We’re girls. We can go to a bar and get laid no matter what we look like lmfao

  4. 5
    Karl R

    Uri said: (#1)
    “the greater takeaway is that Slate wanted a piece that said basically nothing to go viral because of a headline”
     
    That seems accurate. The two scientific studies that were cited didn’t support the statement in the headline.
     
    Study 1:
    Men and women become equally bored watching the same porn repeatedly.
     
    Study 2:
    Heterosexual women become sexually aroused by listening to audio narratives describing sexual encounters with long-term partners or strangers, but not platonic friends. (The sex of the friends/strangers was not a factor.)
    Heterosexual men become sexually aroused by listening to audio narratives describing sexual encounters with women, but not men. (The relationship to the men/women was not a factor.)
     
    The studies indicate that men and women are equally aroused by novelty under certain conditions.

  5. 6
    Angie

    I think something that is probably true is that women more than men stay in a relationship with a person they are not that into for whatever reasons… urgency to settle down, not realizing there is no attraction but liking the guy (in a platonic, etc, sense) than guys.  I think guys that stay in bad relationships tend to do so b/c they are obsessed with their girlfriend.
     
    This article didn’t specifically say “marriage.”
     
    I don’t think women get bored of monogamy quicker. I’d guess women get into relationships with people they aren’t that into more frequently than men do, b/c they are less interested in “friends with benefits” or one-night stands, etc.  Evan, I think you and the article can both be right! :-)

  6. 7
    Valery North

    There’s a few straw man arguments or non sequiturs in the OP.
    Firstly, “men are more likely to prefer a variety of sexual partners” is not the same as “men have sex on the brain, at least more than women do.”
    Secondly, things that are explained as biology can also be explained as “gender [is] simply a societal construct”, and in fact “But there are more men who want to sleep around” is one of the prime examples of this.
    Interesting fact: women who want to sleep around report that it is men, and not women, who are unable to “separate love and sex and have no emotional attachment after physical contact”.   This is the bias of relative position.
    The problem is, the evidence doesnt really allow us to choose one theory over another, but people like you who are (or were) “promiscuous guys” are the people who have the mos power in terms of shaping the debate and setting the terms of how things are understood.   And people like you have a vested interest in having it turn out the way it does: thus, you have your confirmation bias and, crucially, you confirmation bias is what produces and shapes the debate and causes the evidence that you point to.   Your position isn’t just confirmation bias.   It’s a classic “begging the question” fallacy.

    1. 7.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Yeah, Valery, I don’t agree with you.

      I have no vested interest in any of this. I do my best to be an objective reporter of facts. This does not mean I have no beliefs; on the contrary, I try to have my beliefs formed by facts, rather than feelings. And I have seen little to no evidence than men and women (as larger groups) view sex the same way. Many individuals do. But just because there is variance within a group does not mean that there are never any conclusions that can be drawn from groups.

      For example, Ashkenazi Jews have higher IQs than the general population. Is it nature? Is it nurture? In my book, it doesn’t matter very much. It’s true. It’s confirmed by study and confirmed by anecdotal evidence as well. Stating this doesn’t mean that everyone else is stupid. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t some low IQ Jews out there. It just means what it means: Ashkenazi Jews have high IQs. You may feel affronted by this information if it doesn’t suit your narrative; it doesn’t change the truth of the matter, however.

      My belief is that – in general – men look for sex and, in the process, find love. My believe is that – in general – women look for love and, in the process, find sex. My female clients confirm this every single day when they share stories of men who text photos of their penis, or expect sex on the first date, or engage in dirty talk after the second email. I would be genuinely shocked to see that women act in a similar fashion. I would be equally shocked to learn that women’s consumption of porn was as high. I would be floored if you could produce a study that illustrates that women choose sexual variety as much as men do. The aforementioned article hasn’t produced that study, and until you do, I’m gonna stick with what I believe – not because I’m trying to dictate anything as a tastemaker, but because I have this strange pull towards truth and facts. Make a better argument as to why I’m wrong and I’ll be glad to reconsider.

  7. 8
    Heather K

    Eh – I don’t freak out too much over studies toting that one gender wants more sex of a certain type than the other.  While it’s true that men’s and women’s brains are wired chemically differently, I’m not really sure what the purpose of any studies are.  To sensationalize?  To make people get all huffy and puffy?  While I think that in today’s society there are still more men than women who fantasize about a non-monogamous lifestyle, I am not sure if it’s nature vs. nurture. 
    There is so much programing to men’s brains these days that it’s cool to want to be casual and it’s cool to keep women at bay and play the field that many boys who as men might actually like being monogamous do not have the opportunity to grow up into such men.  A lot of men are programmed to believe that they are losing out on something if they ‘settle’ with one woman and if they stop chasing the newer, hotter model all the time. 
    And I think women – while more liberated – are still so afraid of being called a ‘slut’ or something like that.  Young women who are sexually active may become fearful of being deemed a ‘slut’ or just a sexually active girl because many recent rape cases among young adults have had the male side in question say that the girl was sexually active anyway or loose as some sort of way to shirk responsibility.  Also, women have many more dangers when choosing to pursue a non-monogamous lifestyle.  Women contract STDs easier than men.  Women also might be afraid of starting something with a random stranger because they might not be able to control the pace of the sexual encounter – men are more often date rapists than women are.  Men can pursue casual encounters with women without worrying that the woman they are seeing will push them further than what they want or date-rape them.  If a man is only feeling like making out or going to third base or whatever – it is very rare for the woman he is on a date with to physically force him to go further.  Not so for a woman.  As a woman, I have had to jump out of moving cars on two separate occasions – waiting till a red light or waiting for a slowdown at a turn to get out of situations that became physically scary.  And then there is the additional risk of pregnancy – which even in today’s times of contraceptives still exists.  So while mentally or emotionally women might be ‘advanced’ enough to want non-monogamous lifestyles, it is just not always appealing as a woman to pursue that avenue.
    And then as a final thought, does it really matter who wants or doesn’t want monogamous lifestyles?  We should be thinking – both men and women – what we actually want to build as a society and what we want our legacy to be.  Sometimes I feel that focusing on some gender back-and-forth of who can care the least or which gender is out more for their personal satisfaction is so petty and small and misses our purpose as human beings.

  8. 9
    Rose

    Evan from what I have read about the Ashenazi Jews having higher IQ it is states that is is based on scientific contaversy and theory not fact.
    How many studies were done on this that makes it truth and fact?
    Studies and research need to be examined with a fine tooth comb in my opinion.
     

  9. 10
    LC

    It’s easier for a woman to get laid by many different guys, so we don’t put as much value on variety b/c it’s readily available if we’re willing to have sex with many different men.  People always want what they can’t easily have.  If men were constantly hit on by women and treated to nasty pictures and pick up lines all of the time, they would start to feel more like we do about “variety.”  Plus, it’s not like most women are having orgasms from one night stands; they’re faking it b/c the guy has no idea how their body works, nor does he care.  Most of the time when people are bored with monogamy it’s because they’re BORING.  They do the same things over and over again, then they point fingers at each other saying they’re tired of the boring sex.  Ridiculous. 

  10. 11
    Jenny

    I’ve been a long time reader and I’ve enjoyed a lot of the blog posts and discussions, but this is the first time that I’ve felt compelled to comment. I read the article that you posted about Ashkenazi Jews and while there is some very thought-provoking information in there, the bias and exaggeration of claims makes me, as a social scientist, very skeptical and frankly suspicious of ulterior motives (perhaps even untintentional political/ethnic/cultural bias) of the author.
    The first statement is : ‘Ashkenazi Jews are smart. Shockingly brilliant, in general. Impressive in brain power. How did they get that way?’ This statement is a generalization, and, if you read through the article, you’ll see that it’s a false claim. If Ashkenazi Jews as a group were ‘Shockingly brilliant, in general’, you’d expect to see ‘Shockingly brilliant IQs, in general’, if you’re using IQ as a measure of brilliance. In general, the Ashkenazi Jew IQ reported in this piece is “probably around 110.” This still puts Ashkenazi Jews, as a group, solidly within ‘Average’, as measured by standard deviations. Within the realm of IQ scores, 130 is usually considered a cut-off for ‘significantly above average’. So, when I read that article, I see that Ashkenazi Jews as a group have a higher, but not significantly higher, average IQ than the non-Ashkenazi Jew population. That’s not terribly meaningful information in the scientific community. There is also quite a bit of misinterpretation of correlations and cause/effect relationships in the article, which weakens its strength.
    I offer this feedback because I think that for the most part you do offer sound dating advice, Evan, and I enjoy that. I also enjoy reading the comments and discussions among the readers. But remember that you’re dealing with a pretty smart bunch here and we’re going to keep you on your toes and question you when we see inconsistencies or strong claims that aren’t backed up by the facts. I think we all need to keep ourselves accountable.
     

  11. 12
    Cat

    I agree with the study (based on my own life experiences). I have my own unscientific theory about it though. I think women get bored quicker than men in a monogamous relationship because they don’t fantasize or use porn as much as men do. I think the fact that men fantasize & use porn more than women (in general) gives them some sort of release to make them feel like they’ve had that variety (if even for a second) & then they don’t get as bored with their wife. Women on the other hand don’t get that feeling of variety/release because they don’t seek it out as much (in general) by fantasizing/watching porn so they get bored with their husband quicker. Being with the same person for decades gets boring, no matter what you try – it’s the same person. In the long run what sustains a marriage is the true love/connection between two people that is much more than just physical attraction & sexual chemistry.

    1. 12.1
      Bridgettweeter

      Be honest porn is made by men for men. EVEN girl on girl porn is produced for men. If the porn industry would start to make porn TRULY for women with what women find sexy in it then women may NOT get as bored as quickly.

  12. 13
    Karl T

    LC#11,
    How do you make the assumption that most women don’t have orgasms from one night stands?  Most of the women friends I have who have had several one night stands certainly have orgasms.  While I’m sure some don’t have orgasms in ONS, I’d comfortably say that most do according to what I hear from personal accounts from females.  I know a few who have had many ONS’s.  Do ya think they would continue to do that if they were not getting off having them??  I also bet many times guys don’t get off due to being impaired by alcohol.

  13. 14
    Evan Marc Katz

    I didn’t want the post to get hijacked by the Ashkenazi Jews thing, Jenny, but you have a very selective reading of the post. An average IQ of 110 is one standard deviation higher as a general population. And you conveniently ignore stats like “Ashkenazim are enrolled in the Ivies by a proportion ten times greater than their numbers, and “the proportion of Jews with IQs of 140 or higher is somewhere around six times the proportion of everyone else.” Harpending, Hardy and Cochran sport roughly the same equation; “4 out of every 1,000 Northern European is 140+ IQ, but 23 out of every 1,000 Jew is 140+.

    As I said, I don’t really have a horse in the race. But if studies show it and anecdotal evidence shows it, why don’t we want to believe it? That’s the way I feel about men being more promiscuous. I don’t care WHY they are; I just believe that they ARE. This isn’t a good thing. But it is a thing. And you have to be some sort of ostrich to deny it. 

  14. 15
    Michelle

    Yes, women get bored with monogamy faster, which is why so many married men complain about not getting enough sex. Which brings me to my next point. Women like variety, but I think one reason women don’t usually find themselves with quite the same incessant need for it as men is simply because men on average as a group aren’t hot enough for women to continually lust after.
    Women on average are more sexually attractive than men. In any given room of people, the men are likely to find a bigger number of sexually attractive women than the women are going to find in the men, but give a woman a room of great looking guys all to herself and I think more women than not would want to indulge that variety.
    The one time I found myself in a social environment where I had a small handful of really handsome men as sexual options, I slept with 3/4 ths of them. I would have gone for the 4/4 ths,  but  backed off because I didn’t want to sleep with too many guys who knew each other from that small social environment. So that was me being beaten back by the classic fear of having too much of a “reputation”. I never wanted to walk into that place and see all the guys I banged sitting at the same table. haha. Did NOT want that to happen. No guy has to fear that because that is not a fear society conditions men to have. 
    The real reason women fight this idea that men need more sex than women is because so many men want to take that idea as reason to tell women they should be fine with men not being faithful to them. Men use it to justify their lack of loyalty. It would be better for women to start advancing the argument that monogamy ensures that most average men have AT LEAST one women. If it weren’t for monogamy, most hum-drum men wouldn’t even have THAT, or would have to contend with being cuckolded every other night since women can get sex easier and are so often more sexually attractive than their partner so will automatically have a higher number of sexual options for that reason as well.
    Guys should start thinking a bit less about how they can shirk monogamy and start being thankful that it’s the reason many of them get ANYTHING.  

  15. 16
    Michelle

    another thing I’ve considered as to why women don’t eagerly pursue the same variety as men is because women have more standards and criteria for their sex partners than men have for theirs. For a man, all a woman needs to be is physically attractive enough for him to want her sexually, for a woman to want a man, he needs to be physically attractive and meet other criteria specific to that woman’s masculine ideal. That ideal varies slightly from woman to woman. The business man and the surfer dude might be equally attractive by objective measures – height, facial proportions, musculature- but those two men represent two very different masculine ideals that some women prize while others are neutral towards or turned off by. Some women might not care that the business guy is a hottie, they’re more turned on by the surfer guys style and identity, and vice versa. 

  16. 17
    Karl T

    Michelle #16,
    “Women on average are more sexually attractive than men. In any given room of people, the men are likely to find a bigger number of sexually attractive women than the women are going to find in the men…”
    What kind of a joke statement is that??  That is one of the most whacked posts I have ever read.  Unless we’re talking about lesbians, who wouldn’t find men attractive period. 

  17. 18
    Michelle

     
    Don’t Asians outnumber all other ethnic groups in the ivies? Also, it’s worth noting that verbal IQ and spatial/numerical IQ is usually judged separately.
    It is generally accepted that Ashkenazi jews have an average verbal IQ around 20 points higher than whites, with a spatial/numerical IQ of about the same as whites.(East) Asians seem to outperform whites on spatial/numerical tests by about 10 IQ points, but have a verbal IQ about the same as whites.

  18. 21
    Jenny

    Evan, I don’t want to detract from your original post by the Ashkenazi Jew data, but I stand by my original points. A standard deviation for most IQ tests is 15, so with 100 as the ‘average’, most (95%) of the population should fall within two standard deviations on either side; therefore the normal range is 70-130. It’s only when scores are higher or lower than this that they are considered significantly different. The author of the article you linked to ‘cherry-picked’ one figure on Ashkenazi intelligence (despite the previous figures that didn’t support the claim) to construct the problematic bell curve argument.
     
    Enrollment in the Ivies should not be used as an indicator of intelligence, that’s more a measure of realized potential (depending on how you define potential and success). That’s why I mentioned the misinterpretations of correlations (higher enrollment of Ashkenazi Jews in Ivies relative to other groups) and causes-effect relationships (more Asheknazi Jews are enrolled in Ivies because they are smarter than other groups). To prove the latter, you’d have to give convincing evidence via an experiment that ruled out other factors that contribute to achieving an Ivy education (distribution of wealth, internal and external motivations, etc.).
     
    Like I said, I enjoy your blog and I think you offer great dating advice. To go back to the original point of your post, there are also other recent studies pointing towards more symmetry in number of sexual partners (if you take number of partners to be a measure of sexual variety, which you seem to do) between the sexes, but subscription to gender roles leads people to report their promiscuous acts differently. So it’s hard to come up with good data to answer these questions.

  19. 22
    Amy

    I think women want sexual variety as much as men do. We’re all descended from the same hunter-gatherers, who anthropologists believe lived in groups of 50-100 individuals, where all the adults had sex with all the other adults. Darwin’s theory that humans are natural pair bonders is starting to be debunked. I think women are the victims of centuries of cultural and societal conditioning. There are still places in the world where a woman can be stoned to death for committing adultery or having sex before marriage. This is an extreme example, but it makes a point. Women are taught in subtle and not so subtle ways from the time we are very young that we are not sexual creatures, that we should not want variety, that being sexually free and adventurous is shameful, sinful, dirty, etc. Perhaps this is less so today than in previous generations, but it still persists in many places. So I think women’s desire for non-monogamy and sexual variety is filtered through our collective conditioning from religion (always the culprit standing in the way of freedom and self-expression), parents, education, whatever… we think we don’t want it because that is what we were taught. Really tragic when you think about it. How many sexually repressed and unfulfilled women are there in the world? Billions no doubt.
    Oh, and one other tiny problem, there are a lot of guys who are just plain lousy lovers and don’t know their way around a woman’s body! C’mon guys, get a little education and make us feel like women and we won’t get bored with you!

  20. 23
    Kyth

    Pardon me, but i fail to see how the – men are more attracted to varieties claim – can be up for debate.
    Women fantasize and only want to bang tall hot studs.
    On the flip side, men desire to bang tall, short, skinny, bbw and skinny women. Porn sites do show that bbw and milf even gets lots of views.
    I think nature designed men to be attracted to varieties as to enable every woman secure a mate irrespective of your physical features.

    The reason people struggle to secure a relationship is because most women don’t find most men attractive just as michelle alluded in her post #16.

  21. 24
    Androgynous

    Do you find women slumming it with old, fat, balding, smelly, ugly, penniless men because they really really need sex and there is no other options available at that moment ?  No ? Enough said.

  22. 25
    Ruby

    Heather K #9 and Amy #23
     
    Your post are pretty much spot on. A promiscuous man is still considered a “stud”, while a promiscuous woman is labeled a “slut”.  So men are much more encouraged to have “sex on the brain”, while women get a double message – be sexy, but don’t be too sexy or you’ll be considered “slutty”.
     
    I’m always hearing that men can sleep with women they don’t find at all attractive, while women are much less likely to do so. From what I hear from my long-time married friends, long-term monogamy is tough, even if you love the other person. And that”s true for both genders. As one of my married friends put it, you can love your partner deeply, but simply not feel sexually attracted to them. So I’d guess that even if a man lost attraction for his wife, he’d still be more likely to continue to have sex with her, than vice versa.
     
    Karl T #18
     
    “Unless we’re talking about lesbians, who wouldn’t find men attractive period. ”
     
    If you think you can always spot a lesbian because you assume they all look butch, guess again. There are lots of beautiful, feminine-looking lesbians out there who don’t fit that stereotype at all.

  23. 26
    Selena

    I don’t believe gender is a social construct, but I find it plausible the idea human females are biologically monogamous is a social construct.
     
    Like a previous commenter, I’ve read the theory that early humans were non-monagamous. Doesn’t seem ‘out there’ to me. If there are small bands of humans roaming the landscape their basic needs are to find enough calories to exist and shelter from the elements – like all other animals. Less time to ponder questions such as who belongs to who.  The advantages of non-monogamy in such a situation would be not only to provide sexual variety, but as a way of “keeping the peace” amongst such a small group. And of allowing new members to join, merging with other small tribes to increase genetic diversity.  Biologically there may be more incentive for the males to provide for and protect the youngest members because they had no way of knowing which were genetically their offspring and which were not.
     
    When humans developed to ability to cultivate crops and raise animals for food the groundwork was laid to form families, communities, to become much more territorial.  And monogamy is a territorial concept.
     
    In some cultures the punishment for female non-monogamy can be severe. Ostracism, public shaming, public stoning. The scarlet letter A anyone?  How about the practice of some African tribes of removing a  girl’s clitoris as a preventive measure against her being tempted to stray from her future husband? If human females were biologically driven to be monogamous, why would these extreme cultural measures to promote it even be thought up? 
     
    It’s possible females may crave variety as much as their male counterparts, but, it has been highly discouraged  in many cultures for many millenia.  Heather K in #9 gave a number of practical reasons a woman may choose to be monogamous. Along with that, I’d add historically a woman who was not monogamous could have alot to lose – her home, her children, her means to support herself. Some pretty compelling reasons for women to convince themselves and try to convince others that females are ‘hard wired’ to be monogamous.
     
    As far as the article goes, I don’t believe women get bored with monogamy more easily or sooner than men. I think that’s more often a case when a women chooses for a partner a man she is less sexually excited about to begin with. He looks “good on paper”. She doesn’t want to “be alone”. But sexually he’s a less than ideal match and that manifests in her lack of desire for him in due course.
     
    Are men really more sexually driven than women? I’m not sure. I tend to believe men might just be less picky than women when it comes to who they want to have sex with. I agree with the observations Michelle wrote in #17.
     
     Men do seem to enjoy looking at porn more than women do generally speaking. But long before the internet there existed a booming busines in novels with sexually explicit passages. Who bought those? Women.  So it would seem the human brain, both male and female – does enjoy experiencing sexual variety vicariously through images that create fantasy. A safer outlet than infidelity which can have very unpleasant reprisals.
     

  24. 27
    Paula

    I did learn in an anthropology class back in the day that there are societies where a woman is allowed multiple husbands. This culture has it right in my eyes. A woman needs more then 1 man to keep her satisfied.
     
    Everyone needs variety, they just lie to themselves about how they get it. How many men and women have friendships with the opposite sex and claim to be monogamous? There is such a thing as an emotional affair. Variety isn’t just in the realm of physicality.

  25. 28
    Karl S

    It makes sense that men are more likely to seek variety if you look at it in Darwinian terms.
    Males feel the “pull” of a genetic imperative to spread their seed as widely as possible in order to be successful. Females experience the reverse because their success comes securing the best male in the vicinity and ensuring that his genes are passed on only through her offspring. That’s not to say that men never desire monogamy. Monogamy is a trait that proves advantageous for child rearing, and as far as I can recollect without looking it up (it’s 2:30am here and I’m sleepy), is probably something that became an innate desire in more men further along in our evolution.
    However, our brains still retain much of the instinctual behavior of our distant ancestors. I think men tend to experience conflict with their “reptilian brain”, which simply wants to mate and move on, and that impulse can be a strong one.

  26. 29
    Selena

    @ Karl S. -” Males feel the “pull” of a genetic imperative to spread their seed as widely as possible in order to be successful. Females experience the reverse because their success comes securing the best male in the vicinity and ensuring that his genes are passed on only through her offspring.”
     
    If we examine this theory, the *best* male in the vincinity may vary from year to year, season to season, week to week. The *strongest* male may get killed. Or be suplanted when a stronger (or smarter) male comes along. A younger male may be perceived as the best in comparison to an aging male who was once considered to be the best.
     
    If we are going to entertain the idea that human females are biologically programmed to mate with *the best* male in their vicinity, then logic follows that females are not by nature monogamous. They must be – in contemporary parlance – always willing to “trade up”. 
     
    What I find interesting in commenters who promote the hard-wired/ biologically programmed/lizard brain theories of human sexuality is that so few take that line of thought further and make the obvious connections.  If we examine the “men are biologically programmed to spread their seed” theory are we also to believe that males are willing to spread their seed in females who are  diseased, mentally or otherwise incapcitated, dying? From a biological impertative perspective this wouldn’t make much sense. What would make better sense is males choosing healthy and sane females to procreate with thus hopefully ensuring that their seed would result in a continuation of the species. The logical conclusion to this is that males may in fact be more selective than they are sometimes given credit for being.
     
    If we surmise monogamy is actually a social construct, then perhaps we should look deeper into why so many humans choose it. Could it be that it has a biological basis in that some humans instincively choose to only mate with those they perceive to have the smartest, strongest genes they want to pass on? And avoid spending sperm and egg cells with those procreation outcome could have a less desireable result?
     
    Just some ideas to ponder.

  27. 30
    Taylor

    A bit off topic, but it’s Evan’s theory and he mentions it here: Men look for sex and find love. Women look for love and find sex. Does that mean women are getting the short end of the stick and have to pick a sex partner in the hopes of eventually getting some love out of it?
    I speak from some experience about this. I am single, professional with a kid. I get hit on quite often, primarily by married men in my age range (40s) who say their wives are boring, let themselves go, and don’t put out. These men are in crisis, I’d say. I’ve met married men who TAKE THEIR RINGS OFF and then play single. I turn these men down, of course. 
    I occasionally get asked out by single men, usually much younger. I turn these men down too, and as a result have been celibate for a year now.
    So do I have to just randomly pick one of these men who want to have sex with me and hope I get some love out of it? Or do men just label some women as only good for sex, for whatever, usually superficial, reason? Keep in mind I meet these men mostly via work, some online. 
    Is this part of the variety part? Some women are just the variety some are the meal deal?

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