Wise Guys: Are Men Hardwired to Cheat?

cheating_adultery_legosphoto by pasukaru76

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week we ask, “Are men hardwired to cheat? More than women?

Straight Married Guy (Ben): When it comes to sex, sexuality and attraction, men ARE hardwired for many things. We are hardwired to notice — men, women, whatever your sexual preference. We are hardwired to assess — breasts, ass, legs, face. We notice and then assess. Attractive? How so? What about these breasts is hot? What about those legs? How does the whole package work together? Men are also hardwired for sex — sex with a partner(s), sex with strangers, sex alone — and often times these three hardwires get crossed and that’s where fantasies can come from. Or random pick-ups. Men are NOT, however, hardwired to cheat. Cheating = lying and deceit and no one is hardwired for that. Except for maybe pathological liars, but that’s a mental illness.

Gay Committed Guy (Mark): I don’t think we’re hardwired for the kind of monogamy the question implies. There are too many places to look for answers — seahorses? Mormons? — but jokes are useful places:

Q: What does a lesbian bring on a second date?
A: A U-Haul.

Q: What does a gay guy bring on a second date?
A: Second date?

Straight Single Guy (Max): Hardwired? Certainly not. Why, there have been at least a couple of priests that made it through their entire lives without sex and I would say that that’s being faithful. As for the rest of us, I’d say that there’s a fairly good chance that at some point, in one relationship or another, we guys will cheat on a significant other. But I must wonder: do women understand what it’s like to have this many hormones? Men have occasionally been mistaken for rational beings — but I assure you, we are not. Instead, we should be regarded as slick animals. We know a lot of tricks and we can sing such pretty songs… but monogamy? Don’t get your hopes up. Not for this beast, at least. This is not to say that all men will cheat, and this is certainly not to say that all men are more likely to cheat than all women (because there are some scary female egos out there too). But again, men are animals. We will sometimes give in to our most basic (and baser) instincts. Sad but true.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is Ben, a writer and artist living in Los Angeles who runs AdultParlorGames.com. Our Committed Gay Guy, Mark, is a writer and teacher in NYC and our Single Straight Guy, Max, is a recent college grad in New England — both asked us to file them under “shy.” To ask the guys your own question, click here.

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25 Comments on "Wise Guys: Are Men Hardwired to Cheat?"

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6 years 16 days ago

Wow. Some comments are quite sensible, while others appear to come from needing to put concepts in neat boxes so they are easier to deal with.

Thank you, Dannie (and Frank and figleaf), for bringing historical context into this. Some pop-scientists forget that evolution is something that happens over time! I was watching sex specials on both Discovery and History. The former had some interesting studies, but drew ridiculous conclusions from them which weren’t borne out by the data–usually drawn from unexamined notions held by the scientists. The History channel’s show was fascinating, showing how attitudes about sexuality and attraction, etc. have changed remarkably over the years. We can blame the Victorian era for all the sexual repression in the West, and let the Puritans off the hook, for now. (I have yet to ready “Wordy Shipmates”! :) )

And none of those who point to other animals’ dynamics and look to make connections between them and humans have addressed the fact that there are people who do not want kids.

Both genes and human social patterns are dynamic and heavily influence each other. After understanding this, we’ll have much more fruitful conversations about such things.

I swear I’m much kinder in person! 😉

6 years 22 days ago

I enjoyed the comment from the single guy: “Do women understand what it’s like to have this many hormones?” — HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

I agree with Iris above. Men are not more genetically inclined to misbehave or perform any other activity more than women (or vice versa), but can always use social beliefs or cliches as an excuse to do so.

Black Iris
6 years 1 month ago

Are men and women hard-wired to lie? Throughout the ages, some humans have lied. We are often tempted to lie. A human who has never lied is even rarer than one who has never cheated. Yet we would not say that humans are hard-wired to lie.

I’m not sure why you asked guys if they’re hard-wired to misbehave. Why would they know? I think the myth that guys are made to be less faithful is used as an excuse for bad behavior. From a survival of the fittest point of view, individual females often benefit from cheating.

Humans are hard-wired to use their brains. It is our nature to make moral judgments and control our behavior. Lust is also part of our nature, but so is love and a desire for a faithful partner who doesn’t leave us. You’re not hard-wired to cheat any more than you’re hard-wired to murder, lie, and steal.

6 years 1 month ago

No one has as yet defined what is meant by “cheat”. If it means to have sex with someone other than your current partner, then most men are tempted to cheat. That’s the truth ladies. Why? Men are socially and genetically conditioned to be “hunters.” There is thrill in the hunt. Now given enough time, ALL men WILL cheat. Why? You’re not going hunt something and not eat it if you catch it … unless you’re just playing with it!

But if you define cheating as having an emotional connection to the kill. Far from it. It’s just food. So then, the “good” news is that while most men are very likely to physically cheat, it doesn’t mean that they emotionally cheat.

Do a survey. Ask 1000 men, “if your current partner permits you to have sex with other women without any repercussions whatsoever provided you had no emotional connection to the other women, she did not know them and you could screw each woman only once (she won’t leave you, she won’t get mad or jealous, and won’t hold it against you in any way), would you do it?” Or ask it this way, “if you knew for absolute certain that you would not be caught by your current partner and your current partner would never find out, and a woman you considered sexually attarctive invited you to have hot sex with her, would you so it?”

The results would be unsurprising and would prove my point. The only real deterrents would be fear of disease (so use a condom) or just being chicken. And the only condition that most men would break is the part about screwing each one only once.

Any man who says they’ve never cheated is either lying, or wants to but just hasn’t a chance to do so, or hasn’t had enough time to devise a plan to do so without getting caught.

6 years 1 month ago

Your whole previous post was about lions and chimps and comparing them to humans. It doesn’t make sense to start a post by saying we are not like animals, but then continue describing animal behavior to explain human behavior.
Our basic instinct is to survive. Early humans did not fight each other to near death to get a mate. Men are no where near as strong as chimps and men are no where near as strong as they are without muscle building machines and high protein diets. Killing someone with your hands is difficult without muscle or weapons. Men who tried to kill other men would only be risking death themselves from other men who feared they would be next or they would never have a chance to mate.