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. 441
    Trish

    @ yet another guy

    I understand your point of view but maybe I should provide some background information. This guy was involved with the music industry at a high level for years. He was used to objectifying women who threw themselves at major pop stars. I understand that sex and emotion don’t necessarily go hand in hand for either sex as I know women to feel the same way.

    However, it’s not the looking, it’s the lingering that bothers me because as I said, I get those ‘looks’ from other men and I’d hazzard a guess that of the two of us, I’d be the one who’d have more chance at cheating. I have gone from a very confident woman to doubting myself as he makes remarks about how a woman looks, usually negatively. He really is no oil painting himself but we had similar interests and enjoyed each other’s company until he began talking about threesomes and then this ‘honesty’ crap. I really just think this is the final nail in the coffin that is our relationship.

    1. 441.1
      Yet Another Guy

      @Trish

      I agree that there is a difference between looking and staring.  There is definitely a difference between a glance and staring.  I am never going to stop looking at and mentally undressing attractive women, but I never flat-out stare because that is creepy.  I am also never going to bring it up with any woman who comes into my life.  That is the kind of move gets filed under Mr. Ron White’s “You can’t fix stupid.”  Your guy has no filter, which is the real problem.  Can you live with a guy who has no filter?  His lack of a filter is bound to spill over into other areas of life.

      1. 441.1.1
        Trish

        @ Yet Another Guy

        I think that you have the right attitude about staring and keeping it subtle. It’s the ‘f**king her’ that requires a mental image that takes more than a glance.

        You are also correct about him having no filter and no, I can’t live with this. I have usually found that when people make negative comments based on appearance alone, it’s more to do with their own insecurities and objectifying another human solely on their looks is immature. I talk to strangers eg; elderly people who are really interesting and I try to get to know someone before judging them. He just goes on their looks which is probably why he was attracted to show business because it’s false but entertaining. Cary Grant once famously said; ‘Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant’. At least he realised that it was a persona but not really him.

    2. 441.2
      K

      I think someone once said something to me along the lines of honesty without compassion, can be brutality.

      There’s a difference between honest + kindness, e.g. “of course I look at hot women babe, I’m a guy!  But I still think you are all kinds of hot!”

      vs.

      “Yes I love staring at hot women, it’s my thing, live with it.”  And then leering at women around you.

      1. 441.2.1
        Trish

        @ K

        Yes I totally agree that honesty without compassion is brutality.

  2. 442
    bruyere

    The intent of the blog, where I almost stopped reading, due to the common distaste of the standard opinion of the dismissal of men’s behaviors caused by driven traits they were born with, was flipped when I moved a little beyond the blog into the reactive chain of comments that I could not stop reading on this cloudy afternoon. It is OK not to be comfortable with the person with whom they invited you into their life under a premeditated false persona (they knew they were looking at porn, or flirtatious, or constantly ogling women’s bodies on the internet or at work, having sexting or emotional affairs, choosing other women’s bodies over yours, constantly on the prowl for the newest version; ultimately withholding a secret life from you). This is not what you agreed to if this is something you are “finding out” and being hurt by. It’s not ok to be the only one heartbroken in a relationship and have to “put up” with ANY behavior that makes you feel less of person or less loved or honored in a relationship. It’s not a relationship if you didn’t agree to it. You didn’t invite this third person (thousands of women behind screen, webcams, or whatever the media is, or the waitress at the restaurant with the shrunken shorts). Why does a woman have to tolerate it because it’s in the mans face everywhere he turns and it’s in his “nature to look or relieve his tensions” whatever the excuse is. I know plenty of women, who are absolutely doing everything for the man and they still can’t believe he is still in this category. It’s a slap in the face. It’s time to stop blaming it on “men will be men”. Men are perfectly capable of turning their head the other way, closing their browser when a temptation pops up, not seeking out an escort or stopping at the honey house when on a business trip. Phones and computers with passwords and constant access to cheating has made this a world of ED. Time to wake up when men in their late 20’s, 30’s and 40’s can’t ejaculate to a real woman and can only finish off to their own hand and a loud scream of banchees. We are becoming a world of women wanting sex from our men and can’t get it because they are too tired from jerking off at work because they couldn’t make it after staring up the skirt of the new hire or sat in some parking garage getting their last fix on their phones. Can we get a real man, that enjoys the feel and smell of real woman, not touched up in some picture. I will not compete with that. I’ll move on and be by myself and you can have at all those women. See if they’d like your jelly roll that get’s in the way of your junk that your hand is hiding while you do yourself because that’s the only way you can climax when you get of age, when she’s there waiting on her back. No thank you. So, to all the men that say it’s your nature. Nature had you making love to a real live person. Not thousands of different women through a glass screen. Diseases will stop your floundering one day. Your looks will fade too, and soon you will be the creepy old guy. Karma is coming to make you alone and limp. So maybe men need to rethink this access to ever woman and look at the one in front of them before it is too late. It’s in your nature MF. We will be looking the other way at a man that chose only us.

  3. 443
    Natalia

    Interesting how most would say that men have an instinctual sense to reproduce and that they’re hardwired to feel a certain way about looking at women or should I say beautiful women! I find that hypothesis to be outdated! Men and women have evolved  from their basic instincts, it’s simple. We adapt to the world we live in, henceforth, we don’t continue to eat with our hands and can communicate complex sentences. And let’s just say men do have a need to reproduce and that’s why they feel the need to spread their seed…than I ask do women not have that same basic need? I mean wouldn’t women have more desire to reproduce since she’s the one that feels and adjusts to the hormones ensued with pregnancy and sex? So, why do most women not have that excuse of wanting to fertilize? Furthermore, do women not enjoy looking at beautiful things in life does our Brain just shut down when we see something pretty? Wrong, I bet when we see something wonderful our brain releases a very similar chemical. The biggest thing that affects us all is the idea that men have this uncontrollable urge and that we should just smile and nod as if we weren’t somewhat manipulated into thinking this way. Society places these restrictions on women as if it’s normal and or we don’t grave sex as much as men do. Bottom line, resources are limited to women, most ads. are female dominated, most t.v sexualizes women over men, most porn is concentrated on men’s pleasure rather than women’s, and let’s face it most men don’t wear skimpy clothes in order to attract a mate. We are sexual beings, women just get the short stick as if we don’t want and feel the same things as men do. I’m over men being simplified and women being overexamined as if we are so complex.

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