Why Do Men Cheat? The Cultural And Evolutionary Perspectives

Nana Osei Bonsu/ May 12, 2018/ Relationship & Dating Tips/ 0 comments

Why do men cheat, or they are polygamous?This a question i am always asked.I will attempt to answer that in this article.The major problem relationships face nowadays is cheating, and this ends most relationships. Men have more tendencies to cheat than women. There have been several attempts to answer this question by relationship counselors and evolutionary psychologists & Anthropologists. There are plenty information on the internet with regards to this subject matter but in this article, I will look at it from Cultural and evolutionary perspectives. Now, cheating here will be limited to sexual intercourse outside a relationship (i.e marriage, civil partnership and courtship) by one partner.

Cosmopolitan.com conducted a survey into why men cheat. The following were the reasons men gave for cheating;

  1. Feeling trapped in current relationship
  2. I never feel invested in the relationship
  3. I cheated because she cheated
  4. I was drunk and she was hot so we had sex
  5. I needed a way out of my current relationship
  6. I thought she will cheat so I did it first so that I won’t get hurt when she does it

Other reasons include:

  1. Unhappiness
  1. feeling bored in relationship

Although the above reasons are valid, they fail to explain the root cause of cheating.  According to Kat Hertlein (Ph.D.) of University of Nevada, 40% of men cheat. The root cause of cheating can be traced to culture and evolutionary.

Why Men Cheat: Cultural Perspective of Cheating

Culturally, monogamy is recent and mainly as a result of the spread of Christianity and European culture from Europe. Prior to Christianity, most cultures in the world permitted polygamy.

In Africa:

Men could marry as many as they like and all wives had equal status. Such marriages had customary and legal backing. Currently in Africa, polygamous marriages are still legal in most countries under their customary marriage Acts/laws.

In Asia:

In China, polygamy was legal and acceptable until the fall of imperial China. Prior to that, men could marry as many wives as possible. In Hong Kong, polygamy was abolished in October 1947. However, it is still common to find men with concubines in Hong Kong and Macau.

Old Korea was also polygamous society where men could keep as many concubines as they could. It was not until 15th century that Korea law stipulated and enforced monogamy. Even after 15th century, the rich and aristocrats still had many concubines.

America before European Presence:

It is also believed that marriages in Inca, Aztec, Maya, Toltec, and Olmec were all polygamous.The point is, although Christianity and European laws have successfully made polygamy illegal in most parts of the world, men will always find new ways to exercise their polygamous nature, thereby resulting in cheating and infidelity. Since it is illegal for men to marry multiple in some countries, they instead go out and cheat!!

Why Men Cheat: Evolutionary Perspective of Cheating

Men have evolved to be with different and multiple women. One sex from a man will always results in nine month pregnancy by women. So evolutionary, men have been programmed to mate multiple women. Will men have to wait for nine months to mate again? No, he will find another female to mate with.

According to anthropologists, only 1 out of 6 societies enforces monogamy as a rule. Evolutionary psychologists David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton say we are not the only pair-bonding species that like to sleep around. Even among animals that have been known as faithful types i.e. nesting birds, not too many stay exclusively.

In the wild, male animals fight for dominance. The strongest get to mate multiple females. The males mate to ensure they reproduce healthy younger ones that will survive for a long period of time: this is to avoid extinction. The purpose of sex from evolutionary perspective is to reproduce.

Even David Buss proposes his “sexual strategies’ theories” to explain why men and women seemed to have different approach to sex. He posits that men are driven to sleep around in order to spread their genes as far and wide as possible. This is to ensure survival of their species.

In Conclusion

There is no one answer to the question, ‘why do men cheat’. From cultural and evolutionary perspective, men have been somehow designed to be polygamous. Everything shows that monogamy is recent and that contributes to cheating since men can’t marry multiple women at the same time. If so, then they will marry one partner and mate other females. Men thus cheat because some modern religion and laws prohibit polygamous unions/ marriages. They thus find alternative way to satisfy their natural instinct and urge to mate other females.

Also read: Why women cheat

About Nana Osei Bonsu

Nana Bonsu is an Educationist who enjoys writing about relationships and romance. He also likes offering advice to people with relationship difficulties and hurdles.

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