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Masculinity And Fidelity: Why Men Cheat?

Though fidelity is considered to be the condition of being loyal, infidelity refers to a serious interpersonal transgression in which both or more of the partners participate in an extra-dyadic association that contradicts the terms of exclusivity and monogamy (Anderson 39). According to estimates, taken from studies by Buss and Shackelford in the United States, approximately 30 to 60 percent of all married persons would partake in, or rather participate in, infidelity at some stage in their marriage (Truth About Deception 1). What's more, 2 to 3 percent of all the children in the United States are said to be a product of infidelity (Truth About Deception 1). Further statistics show that 21 percent of all men are unfaithful compared to only 15 percent of all women (Lake 12). More surprisingly, 56 percent of married men who admitted to cheating on their spouses said that they were happy with their marriages overall compared to only 34 percent of cheating wives (Lake 13). So, why do men cheat? Marital infidelity has existed for as long as marriage itself. Although there are many reasons why men cheat, Men are driven to start affairs due to their very nature, as this is what their genes dictate them to do.

Numerous studies of human behavior proved that genes influence people’s actions to a certain extent. In some cases, the influence is stronger, and some people may not feel it at all. However, even these people are guided by their nature through their subconscious. This primal pull shows itself in situations where instincts take over one’s behavior. These occurrences are usually triggered by some imminent danger or a great amount of stress (Anderson 43). It is the male’s natural ambition to impregnate as many females as possible in order to allow their genes to live on (Anderson 42). Therefore, a man’s drive to start an affair actually has a valid reason behind it. This reason is hidden in their genes, and its pull may be too strong to resist. Research conducted by Anderson (2012), shows that a majority of men have higher quantities of testosterone which prolongs their interest in sexual activities outside the relationships which they are currently committed to (40). O’Connor et al (2012), claims that this biological phenomenon is the reason behind the tendency of men to have, "a higher number of extra-marital affairs and a greater number of sex partners" (O’Connor et al 65). Furthermore, O’Connor et al. (2012), found out that men have a dopamine D4 genetic variation which makes them more susceptible to to promiscuity and infidelity (84).

On the other hand, society has altered people’s perception of relationships and has made marriage a sacred union. Fidelity is an important requirement of this union, and people today are taught this from the young age. This means that the nurtured believe men should be able to overpower the instincts to procreate with the maximum number of partners unless pushed beyond a certain limit (Bridges 10). The struggle to fight this instinct is highly evidenced in our society today. This is enforced by two songs which are highly held in our society today as ‘social images’ that is Andy Grammar’s song “Honey, I’m good” and Omi’s single “Cheerleader.” Despite being from different genres, the two songs, which are listened across the globe, shed light on how innate it is for men to be faithful such that they have to put up a fight against this strong urge of infidelity. In his song, Omi sings that “All these other girls are tempting … And they say …Do I make you feel like cheating?” demonstrating the struggle he has to overcome in being faithful for his cheerleader (Omi). Though Omi does not admit to being tempted, this piece of literal work situates him as laudable for the reasons that he ‘has options.' Similarly, in his chorus, Andy Grammar writes that, “Nah Nah, honey … I could have another but I probably should not… if I stay I might not leave alone… I could have another but I probably should not ” (Grammer). In this regard, we can confidently claim that main cheat due to their very nature as they have to struggle a lot to fight back the strong biological urge of engaging in infidelity.

The vast majority of the factors that push men to start affairs also stems from various psychological issues. An inferiority complex makes men seek the attention of multiple women, simply to prove to themselves that they can be attractive (Katz 112).In psychology, this phenomenon is known as ego bolstering. Katz (2008) Assigns "whole responsibility for infidelity to the views the partner as a victim and the infidel" (114). Otherwise stated, men are likely to take part or rather engage in extramarital sex in line with the low levels of self-esteem which makes them exhibit the feelings of insecurity. As a matter of fact a research conducted by Zapien (2017) found out that men who have the lowest self-esteem have a higher probability of being unfaithful to their couples (32). Zapien (2017), also found out that when men are in a relationship in which they perceive their masculinity as being threatened, they do lean towards engaging in affairs (33). Aseem (2014), is quoted saying that, “Males cheat on loyal women to boost their ego. A woman can be perfect for him. Beautiful, career minded, own money, cooks, does whatever he wants her to do in bed, loyal, intelligent, educated, faithful and yet, he will still cheat on her” (12).

In conclusion, although there are many reasons why men cheat, Men are driven to start affairs due to their very nature, as this is what their genes dictate them to do. This supposition is sufficiently supported by the biological and psychological reasons which show that the character of men being phrased as cheating is to a large extent contributed to their inherent nature. Despite this being attributed to their very nature, it is almost impossible to determine the exact cause that makes a husband start an affair because many factors influence a person before he actually makes this decision. If a couple wants to save its marriage after infidelity has been discovered, they will need to face all these issues and address them one by one in order to resolve everything that has pushed them apart.

Works Cited

Anderson, Eric. "The Hardening and Softening of Men." The Monogamy GapMen, Love, and the Reality of Cheating, 2012, pp. 37-43.

Aseem, Ebrahim. "Why All Men Cheat on Loyal Women." Teremity; Stories of my Life and the Lives of those in it, 18 Mar. 2014, pp. 1-28.

Bridges, Tristan. "Masculinity and Fidelity in Pop Music - Sociological Images." The Society Pages, 13 Mar. 2017, thesocietypages.org/socimages/2017/03/13/masculinity-and-fidelity-in-pop-music/.

Grammer, Andy. "Andy Grammer - Honey, I'm Good. (Official Music Video)." YouTube, 12 Dec. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go7gn6dugu0.

Katz, J. "The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help." Men and Masculinities, vol. 11, no. 1, 2008, pp. 116-117.

Lake, Rebecca. "Infidelity Statistics: 23 Eye-Opening Truths." Marriage Statistics, 18 May 2017, pp. 1-23.

Omi. "OMI - CHEERLEADER 2012 (Official Video)." YouTube, 31 Aug. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_NVUZNsh2E.

O’Connor, Jillian J., et al. "Female Preferences for Male Vocal and Facial Masculinity in Videos." Ethology, vol. 118, no. 4, 2012, pp. 21-130.

Truth About Deception. "Infidelity Statistics." Truth About Deception, 2017, www.truthaboutdeception.com/cheating-and-infidelity/stats-about-infidelity.html.

Zapien, Nicolle M. "Decision Science, Risk Perception, and Infidelity." SAGE Open, vol. 7, no. 1, 2017.

July 24, 2021

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