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9 Stunning Scientific Reasons Why Good Men Cheat

iWhy can’t men be faithful? Why do men think of ‘monogamy’ as a board game? Why is it so easy for men to break their marriage vows? Why is it that infidelity is deemed a ‘natural call’ for men? Is it because society is more tolerant of a man straying? Why is a man still a man when he cheats, but a woman who strays a pariah? Why does society always treat the cheating women as outcasts? Why is there a difference between the way the ‘Hester Prynne-s’ and the ‘Dimmesdale-s’ of our society are perceived?


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Is it because biology defeats the conscience? Is it because patriarchal constructs help the man get away by placing the blame on women? Hard to tell. After all, it is, in part, all of the above and simultaneously none that explain the exception. Then, how does one explain the fluctuations in infidelity patterns, as examined in studies of over 6000 men? Whilst some men were found to be fiercely loyal, over 70% were found to engage in some form of infidelity. Infidelity examiners have tried to pin down the several causes behind this ever-shifting trajectory and failed to offer a single, definitive list of singularly generic reasons that explain adultery, in all its several forms. Every infidelity case is unique. However, researchers have found some scientific reasons that explain why good men cheat:

1. The power-and-biology mix


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Daniel Kruger, a social and evolutionary psychologist at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health explains that men, indeed, are on the planet to sow seeds. Biologically driven to be promiscuous, the achievers in the species tend to ride high on power and success. This, in turn, helps them attract more mating partners. Women fawn over guys at the top of their game and these acers one-up the rest by taking advantage of the same. Kruger notes that a sense of achievement or a victory boosts testosterone levels and fuels the desire for sexual variety, and that is why good men cheat.

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2. The need for ‘control’


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Many men are deluded by a false sense of ‘control’ that comes with bedding as many women as they can. Needless to say, the need for this inflated sense of control over their lives, coupled with a somewhat misguided feeling of invincibility causes them to take a leap from the ‘loyal zone’ to the realm of the rival territory. Joel Block, a specialist in love, relationships, and sexuality, deems this ‘misleading optimism’ an intrinsic flaw in men’s natures. He attributes much of the damage done in the area to the feeling of being ‘entitled’ to liaisons and an overconfident wiring that leads them to believe they’d never be caught. Tiger Woods being a case in point. His need to add as many notches to his belt, whilst also holding himself ‘entitled’ to the social privileges of having a beautiful wife, besides the money and fame led to a dangerous lapse in judgment, with him ending up cheating.

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3. The genetic factor


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Evolutionary psychologists have iterated and reiterated upon the influence of the genetic factor in infidelity cases. If a man hails from a family that has a history of sexual/emotional infidelity, there are higher odds of him cheating on his long-term partner too. Of course, there’s the genes and also, what’s in his jeans!

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4. The hormonal hammer

man kissing a woman's skin

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Here’s what happens here, in scientific terms. There are three hormones that modulate monogamy: oxytocin, arginine vasopressin, and testosterone. Oxytocin is released in the brain during sex, physical contact or nearly any positive interaction. Arginine vasopressin, on the other hand, stimulates mate and offspring guarding in male monogamous mammals. This is a crucial aspect of pair bonding. Testosterone is related to the libido and influences drive and musculature, actual tangible stimulants of sexual activity. The distribution of the first two indicates a monogamous inclination, but the crazy influence of the third incites promiscuity. As such, males tend to have socially monogamous brains but sexually promiscuous genitals. Testosterone is akin to the wild card in a poker game – it can turn the game around.

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5. The tech-torture

she is talking on the phone

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Yes, this may come as a surprise but a recent study reveals that men, whose partners tend to be constantly on the phone or drooling over their laptops, become increasingly wary and insecure of their bond. As such, they direct their attention to tech-free and more ‘available’ zones, wherein, needless to say, lies many prize booties.

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6. The danger drive


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A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reveals that men get off on the thrill of playing this dangerous game. It is no news that men, are by nature, lovers of risk. And whilst the scales they use to weigh the risks involved against the rewards available tend to initially tip toward the ‘rewarding elements’ of the game, they know that the flimsy scales can tip toward the other end, at any moment. It is the adrenaline rush of facing this danger head-on that gives them their kick, and that is why good guys end up cheating.

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7. Fear of poor sexual performance

couple dissatisfied with sex (2)

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Consistent worries of inadequate, mediocre or poor sexual performance can translate into a real possibility of infidelity. Ongoing performance concerns or a persistent pattern of not being able to give and receive pleasure can push men to become disloyal.

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8. The weird-wiring in women


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Before you blame me for all the brickbats being hurled at members of the opposite sex or for writing a lopsided article, let me tell you this: I know that infidelity isn’t monopolized by either sex. I know that both men and women cheat, and that certainly explains my unbiased perspective in all previous articles on the subject. In the same vein continues the rationale behind this one. Studies have shown that women tend to be more attracted to an unavailable man or a married man, provided they are given ample social proof of his wealth, status, acclamation, and power. In a survey conducted in California, over 200 women were shown the picture of a single white man, working in the top position in a well-known company and with immensely rewarding social connections. 5% women said that they’d like to meet the man. The same picture was then shown to a different group of women, who were given the same details, albeit with one minor (major?) difference. They were told that the man is taken. 80% women wanted to meet the man. This rather twisted behavior was explained vis-à-vis the research team by citing that women tend to be attracted to a socially well-off man, especially if he has already been prescreened and deemed apt for mating. If the man isn’t bringing a long-term investment, women need to know that the sexual tradeoff is at least bringing great genes to the table.

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9. Nature beats nurture

nature vs nurture

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When CIA Director David Petraeus risked it all for an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, many social scientists and psychologists tried to understand the dynamics of this rather risky game. There is no question that the stakes were TOO high, and yet, Petraeus gambled. Baruch Fischhoff, a professor of social and decision science at Carnegie Mellon University, explains it from an evolutionary perspective. He states that in cases such as these, nurture is vanquished and nature comes out victorious. Man’s intrinsic need for ensuring gene survival wins over all cues of the ethico-moral compass. Cheating, as such, becomes a positive mechanism to ensure gene survival. This trait is highly indicative of an acutely heightened mating intelligence, says Michael Baker, a professor at Eastern Carolina University. The risks involved fizzle out when compared to the evolutionary drive to mate.

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While I get the rationale behind all of the ‘science’ that goes into explaining the ‘ways of men,’ I refuse to acknowledge that these ways cannot be kept in check. Infidelity is always a choice and I refuse to condone it. I am not a staunch supporter of monogamy as a dominant cultural script either, but I do believe in each individual’s right to choose, his/her volition, and free will. One is free to take a pick as long as one does not waver. Do not commit, if you cannot really COMMIT. And do not stray, if you have committed to a relationship. If situations demand that you find fulfillment outside of your ‘commitment,’ have the b**ls to break it off before you take that adulterous step. Remember, your choices show who you are!!

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Article Name
9 Scientific Reasons Why Good Men Cheat
Why do good men cheat? Is it nature or nurture? Here are 9 stunning scientific reasons why good men cheat.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."