In two studies on how men and women respond to sexual temptation, researchers found that men reported stronger sexual impulses and acted on those impulses more than women did. Not a huge surprise, right?
However, this proclivity toward wayward ways doesn’t mean that guys don’t have as much self-control as women but rather explains what happens when they fail to exercise it. “If men fail to use self-control, their sexual impulses can be quite strong,” says Paul Eastwick, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin, who coauthored the study. “This is often the situation when cheating occurs.”
However, relationship expert Adam Lo Dolce notes that one of the study’s results may be skewed because of the way the research was conducted. “”The reason this study makes it seem that men have higher sex drives is that men’s attraction triggers are visual, while women’s are emotional,” he says. “This experiment purely focuses on the visual element — using a computer screen to choose accept or reject — so of course more men would want to taste the forbidden fruit.”
But, assuming that the studies’ results remain true when applied to real life, one explanation of why men’s sexual impulses overpower all else is because of how they’re biologically programmed, says Sheri Meyers, Psy.D author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship.
“At the heart of men’s sex drives is testosterone — a.k.a. the Sex Driver,” Meyers says. “While women have it too in small doses, men naturally have it in much higher levels. The higher the testosterone, the higher the lust levels. Studies suggest high-testosterone people have more affairs and higher divorce rates than those with average testosterone levels.”
Yet, she also notes that socialization might also have a lot to do with women not acting on their sexual impulses as much as men do.
“Women are trained from childhood to be ‘good girls’ and to even fear sex, warned of the dangers if we let our unbridled libido and natural sexual tendencies out to play,” she says. “Think about the screwed up messages we receive about sexuality: Being too sexual is equated with being a slut, setting ourselves up to be raped, get pregnant, be disrespected and never be truly loved.“
On the flip side, guys grow up learning that being sexual is “manly,” and could even make them more popular and respected by their peers.
“Quite different messages lead to quite different sexual responses when we grow up,” Meyers notes.
So, basically, the reason guys cheat more than women do has to do with a perfect storm of factors: They have more testosterone, which is a huge sexual trigger, plus guys are turned-on more by visual stimulators — and there are oh so many visual temptations that men can see every day — plus men are encouraged for their sexual conquests through our social mores. Obviously, this information shouldn’t absolve guys for being unfaithful, but it sure provides a pretty solid explanation of why it seems to happen so damn much.
This article written by Natasha Burton was originally published in Cosmopolitan Magazine. To read post click here.