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< Back to question Why do men cheat on women? Show more Show less

Heterosexual infidelity is increasingly common. Statistics vary, but most estimate that 20% of married men have secret extramarital sexual relationships at one point or another. Why? This illicit betrayal can ruin lives and tear families apart. So, what drives men to cheat on women?

Men are born to cheat Show more Show less

This approach see male infidelity as hardwired into their DNA.
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Men have biologically evolved to cheat

The genetic distinction between how many children men and women can have, is the key genetic difference at the heart of this debate.
biology gender love marriage relationships
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Context

In theory, men can have as many children as they want. Of course, the same is not true for women. This major difference in reproductive capabilities indicates wider differences. In this context, that a man is built to have multiple sexual relationships, while a woman is not.

The Argument

In 1948, A.J. Batemen published his landmark study into mating strategies in nature. His paper "Intrasexual selection in drosphilia" revealed that males and females have different reproductive strategies. In turn, these feed into their interactions with the world. Many academics have gone on to confirm his thesis: the biological differences between men and women impact their reproductive strategies. Given humans are built to reproduce, these strategies shape the way that we have sexual relationship. Both in initial motivations and seeking alternative mates. In 2010, researchers at the University of Oxford returned to Bateman's ideas for themselves. Their findings confirmed what he had found more than six decades earlier. The group concluded that amongst the 7,000 US adults surveyed," the association between mating and reproductive success was stronger in men, so that men with 3 or more consecutive spouses had 19% more children than men with only spouse, whereas spouse number beyond the first partner was not associated with number of children in women."[1] Men are naturally predisposed to have multiple sexual partners to maximise their reproductive capabilities.

Counter arguments

These studies do not specifically look at cheating. While the results of the Oxford study are interesting, they are also focused on serial monogamy. Their conclusions might have broader implications. However, these test cases make a case for males having multiple partners. That can manifest in many ways. Not just infidelity,.

Premises

[P1] Biology determines reproductive strategies [P2 Heterosexual male reproductive strategies privilege sexual relationships with multiple women [P3] Cheating is a function of biology

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Biological capability does not determine human behaviour

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/21/5/906/197047

This page was last edited on Friday, 22 May 2020 at 12:11 UTC

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