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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  1. 441

    @ 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


      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

        @ 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

      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!”


      “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

        @ K

        Yes I totally agree that honesty without compassion is brutality.

  2. 442

    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

    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.

  4. 444

    Just curious as to what are you men who are fathers of daughters, going to say when they grow up and get married and their husbands are hanging out in strip clubs, viewing porn, and cheating? What are you going to do when your daughter comes home crying in your wife’s lap , nine months pregnant that her husband is hanging out in a strip club, while she is home alone?   Are you just going to tell your daughter to go home and suck it up because boys will be boys , they can’t help it?

  5. 445

    Men come across as so self entitled. Just because YOU stare at other women, does not mean they would have you for God’s sakes!! That is what I find so funny. Men seem to think they can have anyone. Women laugh at men like that, little do you men know! I see it all the time, they make fun of men who look desperate, because you look pathetic!!! No woman wants a man who acts like that, especially when you do it with your wife beside you! Who wants a cheater?? I had a coworker who was a stripper, she said men would come in and give her their entire check to rub her tits on them, and laugh with their friends they were the cock of the walk. Not realizing, that when they went home BROKE, she was out with her BF spending your check!!!! My God, how dumb can one be! Some men have a good woman, and throw it away on what? I peek at a tit, a porn video with a woman who you cant touch? Really? In the end of your life, who is going to be there for you when you are sick? The stripper at the bar? The tramp on the porn tape? No, you will die alone, and miserabe with a limp d***!! Men you need to appreciate the woman you are married too, cherish her, treat her the way she deserves, and you will get treated the same because in the end, that is all that is going to be important. The life you built together, your adventures and memories, NOT porn, strippers, and tramps!!!

  6. 446

    We’ve been married over 50 year’s and I’m sure my husband still checks out women espicially real red heads with freckles. I can’t say any more because we never go out together. I wasn’t happy about him watching another women, he just told me he didn’t care whether I liked it or not that he couldn’t do anything about it if he tried. In all the years we have been together we share property space I live in the house and he he lives in a cottage out back on our 5 acres. The reason he was never a sexual person and always had erection problems and I constantly whined, begged, argued to see a doctor. He did and back then he was told it was nerves but he was healthy, and no other problems. I kept on him to go a shrink that didn’t work either! Then the time came he blew up and this was his first and last time, due to me whining. He told me to shut up, leave him alone and never talk to him again that was when he moved his thing to the cottage. He then started working long hours on the mid nights, all week ends, holiday, vacation and I’m sure he just wanted to be away from me. Over the years he had health problems and was taking meds.   ( note: He tried viagra when it came out and he got sick, also he isn’t gay or have something on the side, his only thing was checking out other women)


  7. 447

    No woman would ever be happy or any what satisfied with the same man every night doing some tiny adjustment to their sex life.
    That is something men tell themselves to feel better.
    Biology has it that men worry about raising another man’s offspring-proof that women have a variety of interests as well. She is only limited by societal conditioning/slut shaming, raising babies.

    Society is reflecting that now that women are actually allowed to work. Divorce rates skyrocketed and women thrive in singlehood, date younger men, and enjoy variety.
    A patriarchal society does not change biology, and every woman is attracted to many men.
    She only needs to lose the fear and or be able to support herself financially to experience it.

  8. 448

    Because monogamy lowers the chances that our genes will survive

    Most illogical thing I’ve ever heard. Monogamy will create just as many babies because women can only become pregnant once in 9 months. Doesn’t matter if it’s one woman to one man or one man to 50 women. There’s about an even amount of men and women to match with each other. This is just an excuse made by selfish men and accepted by sheepish women.

  9. 449


    I first read through ur discussion ” What to men get out of looking at other woman..and why do men cheat ” without knowing it’s by a male…but while reading only it was very obvious and I was wondering that this should be definitely a male and then noticed ur name..

    Seriously….u ‘ve done nothing other than defending men..
    “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.”
    Especially the above told lines…do u think women’s sexual tastes and desires disappear after marrying a man….they do get everything that u ‘ve described above…jus that they know to control and suppress and ignore those desires …becoz thats what being loyal or faithful to her spouse means…

    And yu ppl seriously how long will yu keep telling this…biologically men are designed that way …wired that way….as an excuse…rubbish…


    And… “once the intense feelings of chemistry goes away…ie 18 or 36 months attraction for other women may spike up in some form or other”…


    I think it’s time men change their view of life and ignore all these excuses and understand his woman in all ways…placing himself from her perspective…

    Men can be  great husbands and fathers even with attractive desires for other women…but note that your love for your woman is not pure then….being husbands and fathers is just a duty…but loving ur spouse is different…to be thought at a deeper level…

    And there ‘re so many men who don’t look at women other than spouse…U can focus them rather focussing on the other men and making the world continue to believe that men ‘re wired this way..excuses

  10. 450

    Yes Wonder,

    You are right! It’s all just Evan’s pro-male rhetoric. The countless research studies by both men and women, from as old as almost a 100 years ago to studies published as recent as last year saying the same thing doesn’t count… Somehow Evan tricked all those female scientist and researchers like Helen Fisher who say the same things.

    Evan is so misogynistic, going as far as creating repeatedly proven facts that were tested in various different countries, with different cultures, and different eithnic groups all with the same results ALL just so Evan could  propagate mansplaining.


  11. 451

    Just remember ladies there are guys out there that look at you the same way. As your man looks at other women. Always think about that when it starts to bother you.

  12. 452
    No Name To Give

    Lol ANGIE, if they’re looking at me that way, there is something wrong with them.

  13. 453

    How depressing is it that men would rather sleep with fresh ass every night, without forming a connection or caring about her personality than mix it up with an amazing soul mate for better sex.
    It is beyond selfish, shallow and it makes me seethe that Evan’s stance is ‘men are like this, suck it up’ I don’t want to be with anybody who thinks this way. The biological trigger argument is also a lazy convenience. If I want to poop on the floor and say ‘hey it’s a biological trigger, can’t help it’ i’d still be locked up for public indecency. The problem is other women and ex girlfriends putting up with men’s shitty behaviour for so long, making them impossible to train. And yes men have to be trained, cos most of them are thoughtless and act on impulse because they’re allowed to get away with leering at other women and screwing around by insecure women.

    1. 453.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      You contradict yourself.

      On one hand, you “seethe” that men are like this.
      On the other, you admit that men are like this and have to be trained.

      So which is it? Are men like this? Or are they not like this?

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