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 a strip club during a bachelor party, 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 certain alpha males do — get married and keep sleeping with other women. We can probably make a list of many politicians, athletes and rock stars who fit this paradigm.

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 Woods 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.

“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 change 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.”

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 wives. Some men are attracted to other men. Some men couldn’t conceive of having sex with a woman they 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 (1,067 Comments).
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  1. 21

    I find it perfectly acceptable and healthy when a guy appreciates other women, but there are some basic steps he can take to ensure that I feel okay with it.   Eg.

    1. If you talk about other women being attractive,  make sure you balance it out by   occasionally telling me how  attractive you find me, too.  

    2.   If you ogle other women when you’re with  my friends, they will think you’re a  disrespectful dick.    

    3.   A surreptitious  glance is cool.   Leering is not.

    1. 21.1

      Ummmm,    I have been dating a Man for 5 Months…..   I guess after so long the testosterone reduces and the honey moon, lusting phase is over, then they start to leer at other women, of which makes a woman feel used and humiliated especially when they do t in front of your closest loyal friends you have know for years.

      Please be mindful of your lust for variety after the chemicals dry up on one women as this behaviour YES, makes you a disrepctful dick and an embarrassment.  

      1. 21.1.1

        Yvonne, if that’s true and it bothered u so much, I certainly hope u’ve left the guy. U are lucky u found out after only 5 months invested in dating this guy. A good man wouldn’t openly disrespect n humiliate u like that. Have the confidence to leave if u realise u’re not with good men.

        Contrary to what so many women think, good men are plentiful and u have a very good chance of ending up with one, as long as u don’t waste all your time with the bad ones. 🙂

        1. Karmic Equation

          Agree absolutely, twinkle.

          Instead of trying to change a man when he “disrespects” you, dump him. He can’t disrespect you if you’re not around.

        2. twinkle

          U’re right, Karmic Equation. People need to have pride and not tolerate open rudeness from their partners. Besides, when a man sees a woman staying even though she has been humiliated by his repeated rudeness, I don’t think he’ll value her highly.

          As a minor point, 5 months isn’t even v long for a rship! If a couple is reasonably well-paired, they are often still in the ‘honeymoon’ phase at this stage and with strong lovey-dovey feelings. In fact, I have 2 brothers who’ve been with their wives for about 13 years and 7 years, and on the many many occasions we’ve been out together, I have yet to see my brothers openly leer at other women a single time, not even close. I’m sure they admire attractive-looking women occasionally, just not in a rude way. I just wish women like Yvonne would have more faith in finding nice considerate guys like these, and stop putting up with jerks.

      2. 21.1.2

        Oh for God’s sakes! This article is insulting your own intelligence! That theory is so outdated for god sake‘s , you’re not an ape. Humans have evolved! This is just an excuse. Of course we all find others attractive, as a woman, I notice other men, we aren’t blind, but for a man to ogle is so tacky, and disrespectful!! I think that is by far the most humiliating thing a man can do to a woman in her presence. It’s even more embarrassing to have a man sit and stare at me when there is a woman with him, it makes me feel sorry for her, and extremely uncomfortable. And this bullshit that you can be a good father and go to strip clubs and watch porn is bullshit. How would you feel if you have a daughter and her husband is in strip clubs? What would you say to your daughter oh, that’s OK you have to learn to except it, that’s just how men are. Please!!!! It’s no wonder that women have grown to hate men, most women I know literally despise men and this is why!! Just the other night I was in a restaurant and this man with a massive potbelly stared at me the entire night and I finally got up and walked over to his table and asked him what the fuck he was staring at, that nobody was interested. It’s a extremely uncomfortable feeling!! This sort of behavior makes you look like a complete dick!!! No woman wants a man like that. I have had friends whose husbands behaved this way, Staring at every woman that walked by, making crude comments. My God do you realize how this makes a woman feel? And I get so sick of hearing men complain that their wives never wants to have sex, well if you’re behaving like this, no wonder!! how you treat your wife outside of the bedroom has a lot to do with what happened in the bedroom!! And if you don’t have enough respect for your wife or girlfriend to stop acting like a damn animal, then why bother getting in a relationship? This is why most women today do not even get into a relationship anymore. Women do better than men being single anyway. We can handle our own!!!

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          This is RARE behavior, not everyday behavior. You seem to have missed the memo. Definitely stay away from lecherous pigs and give a chance to normal men and you’ll be fine. Or, keep conflating men who masturbate with the scum of the earth and keep “handling your own.”

  2. 22

    helene @14
    I really liked your post. I think it’s far better to bring the looking at other people out into the open, and try to approach it like a mature adult rather than get upset about it. My boyfriend knows a few of the famous people I’ve got a crush on, and vice versa, and every now and again we’ll tease each other about it. It feels so much better than getting  annoyed about it.

    The security expressed in that actually seems to lessen the need to ogle.

    I really do appreciate a guy who feels that discretion is the better part of valour though and doesn’t openly ogle or comment on other women’s attractiveness, not because he thinks you’ll shame him for it but because he’s being considerate. *That* is a good man 🙂

    And I loved your last line! Comments like that make us feel like a million bucks!

  3. 23

    Chau got it in one. It’s the respect thing. Again.
    A former BF i had used to delight in pointing out women – particular body parts –   he found attractive (often my friends) .   I found it amusing to start with but the novelty wore off quickly – not least becuase he put more effort into describing their ”assets” than mine.

    Similarly I can appreciate a nice male body as much as the next girl, but I would NEVER go on about it to a partner.   Especially if they had any insecurity about their looks.   it’s just plain mean.

    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.

  4. 24

    Susan @ 24
    “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”.

    Well that pretty much rules out pretty much every single guy for you so. I’d say nearly all men get off on porn; it’s just a matter of admitting it to you or not. I’ve never met one man in my life who genuinely doesn’t watch porn even a small bit, and I’d be reluctant to believe one who said he didn’t.

    1. 24.1

      My husband, when were dating confessed he was addicted to porn.   I was devastated!   He did everything to quit bc he couldn,t bare to hurt me.   He has been faithful not using porn.   But is a struggle for him.   But he feels it is morally wrong.   He is the most honorable person I’ve ever known.   Not always succeeding, but always trying.   Married 10 years.

    2. 24.2

      not true. In fact there’s a new crop of men who are choosing not to watch for many different reasons. Also Christian men believe it is wrong and have blocks on phones and computers to make it easier  

      1. 24.2.1
        Karmic Equation

        Why do these Christian men need to “block” their phones or computers if they’re naturally not tempted?

    3. 24.3

      This is the first time I have ever replied to any post on anything but I just could not resist. Tom is so wrong in what he just replied. I have been married 36 years and my husband has never looked at porn. doesn’t even want to learn how to use the computer to what you told her is absolutely wrong, there are so many guys out there that never had an interest in that never will whether  there single or married.there are plenty of good guys out there that would never think of doing that, in fact been groups over the years trying to get rid of Internet porn and men have been the ones   pushing for that. You are a very sad person thinking that thinks all men watch porn and all the rest are liars. This is just your own sickness to justify your behavior instead of getting professional help. Any woman that stays with the “boy” that watches porn is as sick as he is. real men don’t want to. EVER…it would be a dealbreaker for any woman with even an ounce of self-respect to stay one day with some boy that watches porn.   It just seems like they do because the real men are mostly married and taken.




      every single guy that you’ve never met one man in your life who hasn’t watched all liars if we have it is very very pathetic that you have never met a real man for like I’ve been married to and I’ve known plenty other ones to

      1. 24.3.1
        Evan Marc Katz

        Google “What percent of men watch porn?” You’ll discover that, in the first study that comes up, the answer is 64%. From the next article I found:

        “Porn sites get more visitors than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter in a month. Furthermore, around 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women watch porn, and that number has been found to rapidly increase every week.”

        So you are entitled to your fantasy man who has no fantasies, but make no mistake: he’s in the minority.

      2. 24.3.2
        Karmic Equation

        Your husband very likely looked at porn when he was a teen.

        Knowing you’re so against it, if his friends shared their copies of Playboy, he’s never going to tell you.

        If you’ve been married 36 years, he’s middle-aged now. Male testosterone decreases a vast amount between his 40s and 50s, and was highest in his teens and 20s.

        It’s very likely that his interest in porn dropped as he aged and is non-existent now.

        Porn is not evil. Nor should it be the litmus test for faithfulness in a relationship. It always goes back to character. If the guy is a normal, trustworthy guy, he can consume normal amounts of porn without damaging his relationships. If the guy is predisposed to addictions or has low moral character, refraining from porn won’t make him more faithful to you.

        Can you not love food or soap operas or Disney movies and still love your man? To a normal man, porn is the equivalent of women’s comfort food, soap operas, and Disney movies. So unless you believe all women who eat food when she’s depressed or watch soap operas when she’s bored, or Disney movies because she loves the show tunes, are predisposed to being bad partners, you shouldn’t lump all men who watch porn as abnormal or deviant.

        1. Kim

          Food, Soaps and Disney?   WHAT?

          Please don’t lump women together like that, and we won’t do that to you.

          Check it~we are visual, just like you.   We look, just like you.   We may not access porn as much, due to time,and/or the fact that it is downright violent at times… but we do.   We love naked, gorgeous men.   And we look.   And look.   JUST LIKE YOU.

          The 30 percent quoted above i believe is BS.   You men HAVE to understand, we aren’t all that different, with the main exception of shame.   We have had shame laid at our feet about our sexuality since day one.   Many are reluctant to disclose or discuss.   Believe me, we talk, but usually not with other guys about this.   I’ve openly talked about masturbation, porn, fantasy, etc with many friends.

          My instinct is that (and its an instinct) that men use the “seed” and “wired” excuse for the same reason we don’t see much penis on Showtime.   Because of their own insecurities, and men mostly make the stuff.   Thankfully, the tables will be even within a few years, and either you will squirm and live with it because it is your problem….or embrace it like we do, and appreciate the beauty of men.

          (PS I must say this after stating the above, since when did this become a basic obligation?   25 years or so?   What ever did we do to survive?)



    4. 24.4

      Susan, see my post below. Do NOT believe what Tom told you. I am married for 36 years. My sister for 32 years. We found good men, knows   it is there I am sure but never would have one minute of interest. Tom is just a boy trying to justify his sickness and mental illness for porn addiction. it makes him feel better. Same as this article, anyone who cannot control their thoughts is mentally ill and stunting on their growth. you find a real man and you never have to worry about them having any interest in porn. Promise. Of course he will come back and say that our husbands are doing it we just don’t know it, that’s part of the sickness. don’t buy into it, it’s not true. he has to make himself feel better just like the author of this article and the other women that responded saying it doesn’t bother them at all. They have to find a way to make themselves feel better even though they know they’re sick



      1. 24.4.1

        Sheez Anne, it was just an innocuous comment on an internet blog — no need to go overboard in your medical diagnosis!
        “I have been married 36 years and my husband has never looked at porn. doesn’t even want to learn how to use the computer to what you told her is absolutely wrong,”
        Well okay then, I’ll accept that men who don’t even know how to use a computer (really?!) don’t watch porn. But wait a minute, I’ve never actually “met one man in my life” who doesn’t know how to use a computer! Lol. 😉

  5. 25

    Nicole #2, Thanks for posting! I agree with you a hundred percent. When I first started dating my boyfriend, he was muscular and fit and this caught my eye. Four years later and 25 pounds heavier and I feel gypped. My hunch is that it behooves both of the sexes evolutionarily to find a fit mate. My hunch is that it also behooves women of the human species to find multiple partners during ovulation so that there is a true survival of the fittest in those little swimmers. That’s exactly what animals do and why they produce offspring by more than one male. I think there’s a lot of social nurturing that has taken women away from their nature.

  6. 26


    I know how you feel.   I’m not a big fan of porn, myself.   I “get” why it exists, I “get” what EMK is saying.   But still.   It makes me uncomfortable if a guy I am dating, is often looking at porn, talking about it, etc.   It makes me wonder well gee, what am I to you, chopped liver?

    I told my BF that if he’s occasionally looking at it, fine.   I’m OK if he goes to a strip club with his buddies, I’m not HAPPY about it but I’m not going to cause drama about it either.   But if it becomes a regular thing, well, that may be a problem for me.  I’m sure that guys who occasionally look at porn or go to strip clubs or fantasize about hot women, do make good partners and parents, but when it starts getting to the point where it’s all the time, I draw the line there.   Especially if it’s hard core porn, and ESPECIALLY porn with underage girls.   That is an immediate dealbreaker and one where I might need to contact the authorities.  

    I’m OK if my BF looks at other women occasionally but if he goes on and on about it, I’m not going to be happy.   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…..   🙂

  7. 27

    @Evan #6: I didn’t mean to imply that YOU said it was okay…it was the men I was with who held the double-standard.

    @Salsa #10: You state “The trick is to tell those men from the ones who will cheat.” Please tell me how to do that, because I’ve never met a man yet who has informed me he was going to cheat.  What’s your sure-fire tipoff that he’s a cheater? 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. My sure-fire tipoff is if he has a penis…so far I’ve been 100% accurate with that one.

    @Karl #15:  When you have been cheated on and lied to again and again and again and again and again…it gets old. Until I was 38, I was as monogomous as the day is long so please don’t try to turn this on me by saying I’m not a truly monogamous person. I DID  “respond to infidelity by leaving and continuing to search for a partner with more integrity.” But how many times, honestly, does a person  have to touch a hot stove and get burned before you say, “Geez, you think they’d learn by now, dumbass!” Doing the same thing 30 times and expecting different results is the definition of insanity…why doesn’t it apply here?

    Regarding your statement “As long as the same rules apply to both people, it’s possible to have a healthy relationship,” I wholeheartedly concur. The men I have been with have made it clear, however, that I am not allowed to abide by the same rules, usually with a belt to the mouth or immediate dismissal.

    And finally: “Therefore, that voice you heard was your own insecurity talking, not his actual thoughts.” You were not there. You did not see the looks of pity coming from the majority of people in that room. And where the HELL do you think insecurity comes from? As @Henriette #22 says:  “If you talk about other women being attractive,  make sure you balance it out by occasionally telling me how  attractive you find me, too.” 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.

    I wish people would stop spreading the fallacy of fidelity and teach us how not to care. THAT’S advice I could actually use!

    1. 27.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Elaine – Sorry you’ve been so hurt, sweetie. But fidelity is not a fallacy. About 20% of men cheat and about 14% of women cheat. That means the vast majority of relationships are faithful. And if you keep choosing men who cheat on you (or HIT you, as you’ve implied), the only thing that’s clear to me is not that all men are liars, cheaters and abusers, but that you have a TERRIBLE radar and questionable confidence for consistently choosing such low-character men. If you believe that good men and fidelity are impossible, I can promise you: no good, faithful men will want to walk in your door. Get thee to a therapist. There’s no good dating advice for someone who holds men in such low esteem.

      1. 27.1.1

        After having been a self-sufficient no-pimp-or-boss prostitute for a few years during college, I can tell you 100% that all men cheat and there are no “good” men. Imagining a woman naked other than your wife for the thrill is pathetic. Women were not made solely for the sexual pleasure of men. The ones you speak of that come close desperately want to have kids with a certain one woman who they value and raise them with her, and their eyes and penis is hers regardless of how much attention it gets. You can’t justify objectifying anyone.

        1. twinkle

          Actually Jenn, u can’t know “100% that all men cheat and there are no ‘good men’ “. Honestly not trying to offend u, but that sentence I just wrote is obviously true. O_O It sometimes feels like cynics envy more optimistic/idealistic pple and want to make others as cynical as they are. I dunno if it’ll comfort u to hear this, but I’ve grown up with some guys and girls who are such amazingly-wonderful pple with strong principles. I always knew I was blessed to know them, but that feeling intensifies as I get older and realised so many pple didn’t have my luck and so have much less faith in pple.


          U sound like those guys who say All women are prostitutes and Only care about a man’s wallet, and that that’s their sole consideration in a partner. That’s not true (although I have nothing vs prostitutes; 2 consenting adults, so whatever). It’s true that most humans have these biological instincts programmed into us, but it’s nonsense to say that everybody has no autonomy over our decisions and are just slaves to instincts. Pple who know me would be shocked at some of my more pragmatic/mercenary thoughts, they often say I’m so innocent/idealistic, so I agree many pple aren’t as pure (especially in thought) as they may appear, but no, not all men cheat or are bad, and not all women are prostitutes/gold-diggers. I hope u can become more upbeat and hopeful somehow.   Sorry if i sound like a Hallmark card. 🙂

        2. Jennjenn

          I tend to agree. I would probably say most men cheat though. If a hot woman came up to a man for sex and he knew he wouldn’t get caught I’d say most would take her in a heartbeat sadly.

  8. 28

    Elaine 28: I would agree with Evan’s advice about therapy, not because there is anything wrong with you, but because someone from the outside who is trained to help others could provide you with valuable insights on how YOU can take control in your relationships, at least your part in them; and how you can avoid becoming so hurt in the future.
    Beyond that, Elaine, I hope it’s not out of my place to suggest that maybe it would be a good idea for you to take a little time off dating, and instead devote that time to seeing men as friends and as regular human beings with struggles, hopes, motivations, etc., as all of us do. Take the pressure off yourself and off others from the “romantic relationship” side, and enjoy getting to know people (men and women) in a much more relaxed way. I think that will restore some of your faith in humanity, including in men, which would give you a much more positive view of dating in the future, and toward men in general. That can only provide good outcomes.

  9. 29

    @ Mia — #16
    “And these were not blatantly sleazy player types — nobody ever would have guessed, bc they seemed like good guys that are real husband/bf material. In my case, they got to be with a woman way younger, more appreciative, and more sexually enthusiastic than their wives. It’s also very common to see middle aged married women let themselves go, get frumpy, stop putting out, nag the guy, prize the kids over him, and not make him feel appreciated.
    Yeah.   Shame on those wives who let themselves get all “frumpy” after having their alpha males’ enormous babies.
    And you would know that they supposedly “stop putting out,” nag the guy, prize the kids over and not make him feel appreciated because…. the cheater told you   these things?  
    Wow.   An Ivy League education and you actually believe the most common lies that men tell women to get them to sleep with them.  
    @ 24, 25, 27, etc.
    On Porn:
    Tom, I wonder how you know that *all* men consume porn?   I’m especially curious because I know of some enlightened men who choose not to use it and I also know some men who identify as sex addicts who go to support groups, etc. in order not to use it.   For them, porn consumed their time, attention and relationships, had adverse consequences and often led to other sexual acting out that resulted in the loss of the partner they loved.  
    More and more studies (a balanced article summarizing some of them is here:   http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201206/internet-porn-its-problems-perils-and-pitfalls ) are showing that porn is not only highly addictive, but that it’s use can negatively affect relationships.  
    Here is the thing about lust in general:   it’s a sign of health to have some, but chasing it won’t quench it.   In fact, the more you pursue, the greater the craving for it will become.   Not unlike other addictions or how anger works.   Therefore, it’s good to be prudent and try to reign in one’s passion (if they are strong already), rather than trying to free them up through the use of porn, strip clubs, etc.
    Having been married to a man who was immersed in porn and affairs, I have to say that I think that it is healthy and normal for people to visually appreciate the opposite sex.   However, if you get the impression that your boyfriend is getting a lot out of those visual exchanges and/or seeks to flirt with those beautiful women he encounters, pay attention to those signals and trust your gut over the advice of the article here.   That may be one of the few clues you get if he’s very good at compartmentalizing his life.

    1. 29.1

      ^5 @sarahaha

    2. 29.2

      I’ve researched this area and couldn’t agree more. Your comment is pretty brilliant.

  10. 30

    @Evan #29: Where are you getting your statistics? According to the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, “Absolute figures on this are hard to come by, especially as people who answer surveys on infidelity are notoriously unreliable in their answers! Statistics identify that approximately 60 percent of married men and 50 percent of married women will, at some point in their marriage, have an extramarital affair.” 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. And just because you haven’t cheated yet doesn’t mean you won’t. You might not, but you don’t  KNOW that. I also think the fact that almost as many women now cheat is a fascinating testament to how  sick and tired we are of you guys having your cake and eating it too. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. And what a sad world we ALL now live in because you guys can’t keep it in your pants.   Oh, and all six years of therapy did for me was to keep my hopes up that there were good guys out there. About 15 men later, I finally gave up.

    1. 30.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      @Elaine – I’ll take my statistics over yours:


      22 percent of married men have strayed at least once during their married lives.

      14 percent of married women have had affairs at least once during their married lives.

      I’ll also take my positive attitude over your negative one.

      1. 30.1.1

        So its OK for men to not respect what bothers a woman when she’s dating/in a relationship with him?

        It is like saying ‘wow, I know this bothers you but I just don’t respect you at all’.


        Whatever, I don’t believe on dating anymore, something is wrong with today’s men.

        1. Karmic Equation

          Women are bothered by a LOT MORE things than guys are.

          If a man were to stop doing everything a woman was bothered by

          1) he wouldn’t be a man and you’d find him “boring”

          2) you’d only let him breathe, maybe not even that.


          This is the reality. Women notice other attractive women as often as men do. So unless YOU stop noticing attractive women, you can’t blame a man for noticing.

          Really, try this at the mall. You’ll notice the woman in the high heels and tight skirt; the woman with a belly shirt; the woman with the gorgeous hour-glass figure. Not because you’re “trying” to notice them, but you will. How can you blame a man for noticing when YOU can’t refrain from noticing.

          Relax. Both women and men notice attractive women. Women notice, because we’re competitive creatures and want to see what we’re up against. Men, because they’re visual creatures. If it has boobs, he’ll notice.

        2. Karl R

          Radiant1 said:

          “It is like saying ‘wow, I know this bothers you but I just don’t respect you at all’.”

          My wife is always late.   Always.   She was 35 minutes late to our wedding.   I am a punctual person.   So she knows  that her inability to be on time bothers me.

          I could certainly claim that this is about respect (that she doesn’t respect anyone else’s time enough to be prompt), but that would be a gross mischaracterization of reality.   It has nothing to do with respect … and a lot to do with her time management skills.

          Not only would it be inaccurate for me to claim that is somehow related to respect, but it would also create unnecessary conflict in our relationship.


          Radiant1 asked:

          “So its OK for men to not respect what bothers a woman when she’s dating/in a relationship with him?”

          I can either decide that my wife’s chronic tardiness is okay (and choose to overlook it for the entire length of our marriage), or I can decide  that it’s not okay (in which case I should have dumped her … and most of my other girlfriends … a few weeks after we started dating).

          Either of those options is okay.

          What I can’t do is choose to make her change.


          Radiant1 said:

          “I don’t believe on dating anymore, something is wrong with today’s men.”

          Given what you have said, I believe you have made the correct decision.   You definitely shouldn’t be dating.

    2. 30.2

      Elaine, if you think it was closer to 90%, then it shows that you spent too much time with bad boys and not enough time with the good guys.

      1. 30.2.1
        Karmic Equation

        O.M.G. — we agree, Rusty! A toast is in order! haha

        1. Pam

          Karmic Equation,   no, I don’t watch porn.   It objectifies and exploits women by showing their every orifice and body part, meanwhile all you see of men is the butt pump.   It’s degrading and oppressive to women.   No thanks.   Women give their own personal power away on their knees and for what… a buck.   And the sad part is that they buy into MEN’S theories and are being trained on how to view sex today.   I’m keeping my personal power.   I don’t need some pervert to expand my imagination.

          On the other hand, if you’re into it, more power.

        2. Karmic Equation

          Then you shouldn’t comment on a “pervert’s” blog or seek advice from him.

          EMK watches porn. As I’m sure many many happily married and coupled up men AND women.

    3. 30.3

      So much of this is about the pool you’re swimming in. If 90% of the men you know are cheaters, you’re swimming in the wrong pool. And if you’re using “what’s bad for the gander is therefore justified for the goose” as your bullsh!t rationalization for being a cheater yourself, you richly deserve to be in that pool.
      In my circle of close friends (those close enough that they would tell me and I them about infidelity) in our whole lives, there has been not one husband or boyfriend who has cheated and only one wife/girlfriend, my boyfriend’s ex-wife. I am amazed and honored that this man is willing to trust me after that betrayal (we’re long distance so he can’t “trust but verify”) and my reason for being loyal to him isn’t because he’s loyal to me – it’s my personal integrity. If a guy did cheat on me, I certainly wouldn’t respond by deceiving the next (good) man I dated, I’d just dump the cheater and get an STI test and thank my lucky stars that I found out who he really was.

      As for guys noticing attractive women and women noticing attractive men, I am pretty sure everyone continues to notice eye-candy even after they’re in committed relationships. I got to meet one of my SO’s college buddies last weekend and couldn’t help noticing that the man was beautiful. Didn’t make me want to trade in my boyfriend and it would have been awkward for all of us if I’d verbalized that observation. If the mere proximity of a pretty face was all it took to make me hurt my boyfriend’s feelings, I’d deserve to be dumped.

  11. 31

    @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?

  12. 32

    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.  

  13. 33

    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.

  14. 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:
    Respect for others

    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.

  15. 35

    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.  

  16. 36

    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:  

    🙂 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.  

    1. 36.1

      It only matters if a man is looking at porn to the extent that he is more interested in whacking off to porn that having sex with you. That’s where the problem lies. I’m certain my husband looks at porn from time to time. Thankfully that’s not his only hobby, and thankfully he’s still into having sex with me. Therefore, I could care less. I have looked at it too. Frankly I find it extremely amusing and too silly to get off on. I would much rather be having sex than watching it.

    2. 36.2

      It is completely Abnormal for a man to look at porn. You are really twisted on this issue. I have been Married over three decades so have many of my friends and they never had that problem before with their man. You have a lot of self-respect issues.

  17. 37

    @ 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 🙁

  18. 38

    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.

  19. 39

    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

      I like your analogy Tom!

    2. 39.2

      I can imagine there is validity in the studies you cited on ‘short term mating strategies’, ‘avoiding commitment’, and ‘gender differences and sexuality’.   If I were a man, I’d study those theories and confirm my own world view.   After all, it’s the oldest game in the book isn’t it?
      But as a woman, I’d rather do research on how to build meaningful and successful families and relationships.
      I believe men are cheaters in this era because some women allow them to be cheaters.   Women buy into men’s theories about sex because their desire is for the man and a relationship.   That was deemed so in the garden.    They understand that men are wired that way because they have more sexual impulses during the day.   Women accept that men are just ‘weak in that area’ and can’t ‘control themselves’.
      Women on the other hand are socialized differently because they carry the burden of childbirth.   If wise, she’ll only mate with a ‘strong’ man who’ll protect and provide.   But in 18 months, he’s bored and she now has to perform tricks to keep it hot.   If not, he’s out.   Back to the drawing board.
        I still think women have a lot of personal power when they don’t tolerate B/S.

  20. 40

    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.  

    1. 40.1

      I would have to agree to some degree with you on this. As in a relationship sense what they’re offering isn’t enough for me. Also much to anyone’s surprise the behavior of these individuals isn’t what it once was. This has left me with a burden as well because I’m not attracted to most men anymore.I have a gentleman behavior attraction and this doesn’t measure up. I compared it to something you throw in the trash can when having this exact conversation the other day.. Luckily for me I’ve found someone whom is older and does know what true appreciation is for me…in the end he wins my heart for his consideration for my feelings without me having to mention it. There are men out there who have this ability in them but they are hard to find.

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