Men, Cheating, and Not Cheating

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In a heterosexual relationship, are men generally more prone to cheating than women? Or is this some sort of evil myth perpetuated by a handsome, albeit womanizing demon who once spewed this crap to ladies that caught him in the act? I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but the notion doesn’t seem to go away.

Logically, it makes sense that women are more interested in long-term partnerships than men, as they are the ones at risk of getting pregnant. It also makes sense that men are more interested in brief sexual encounters that lead to a good time and no consequences. But does that mean that men will seek out that encounter always?

A new study suggests that no, not always. According to an article in Discover Magazine, mating market theory may provide an answer. If we think about the numbers of men and women in market terminology, that is, supply and demand, the more women there are, the more men are likely to cheat because of the availability of options regarding sexual partners. In other words, the less women there are, the less likely a man will want to seek one out for a good old fashioned one night stand.

But this theory works both ways. According to the article, “When women are in short supply, they can demand relationship faithfulness and commitment – with men responding because female partners are rare and therefore a valued resource. And if he’s out on the prowl, so may she be!”

Interestingly, it goes on to state that, “As the sex ratio became more male-biased, men’s interest in short-term relationships waned. In fact, in the communities with the most surplus men, men’s and women’s preferences were indistinguishable – both men and women desired long-term, committed relationships with a single partner.”

Although this study has some insightful findings, more studies have to be conducted to validate this theory, but it’s interesting to see how sexual economics play out in our romantic (or not so much) interactions. So there you have it, cheating is influenced by the availability of potential partners, and no, men are not the only ones who are prone to straying.

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