3 Man Killers: Sex

by schaefer on October 7, 2008 · 59 comments

in Dating, Marriage, Relationships & Family

This is part 3 in the Man Killer Series. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Most people in leadership will get the opportunity to hop into the sack with someone inappropriately. You will have the opportunity to cross a line sexually. You will be faced with a situation that looks like you just can’t pass up. It’s not if, it’s when. So unless you want to be plundered by the Boom Chicka Wah Wah Assassin, we need to be prepared to make good decisions in the area of sexuality and relationships. – Deadly Viper

We end the 3 Man Killers series with the topic of sex, arguably the most common and deadly of the three. It doesn’t take a historian to come up with the names of several promising men that have been cut down in their prime by sex in its various forms: Elliot Spitzer, Governor of New York, John Edwards, presidential candidate, and John Browne, Chief Executive of BP…oh yeah, and wasn’t there something a while back regarding a woman named Lewinsky?

These men were successful leaders with promising futures. Yet, they chose to throw it all away for sex. What were they thinking? And how did they end up choosing to do something that they knew carried such great risk? What is it about sex that causes men to go further than they want to go, stay longer than they want to stay, and pay more than they ever planned on?

In The Truth About Cheating, licensed family counselor M. Gary Neuman studied hundreds of men who had cheated on their wives to find out the motivation behind the act. His results were quite interesting. When asked what led to their unfaithfulness, their answers broke down as follows:

  • 48% – primarily emotional dissatisfaction
  • 32% – equal emotional and sexual dissatisfaction
  • 8% – primarily sexual dissatisfaction

What’s remarkable about these findings is the huge number of men that cheated due to emotional rather than sexual dissatisfaction. Emotional dissatisfaction? Really? You wouldn’t guess that from listening in on conversations among men. Imagine telling your bros at halftime of the football game that your wife isn’t tending to your emotions well enough. That might be the last time you’re invited to the game day festivities. Many men have been taught not to dwell too much on their feelings and not to talk about them with others. They don’t realize that there’s a problem in this area until looking back in retrospect to what went wrong.

This isn’t just a married man’s problem either. The same issues of emotional dissatisfaction reveal themselves in the lives of single men that hop from one relationship to another hoping to find a woman that will erase their self-doubt and help them feel like a man. Most of us would never admit to it though, conveniently disguising this emotional void under terms like, “player,” “ladies man,” or “sewing wild oats” rather than calling it what it really is: insecurity and weakness.

The funny thing about sex is that it’s never just about the sex. There’s always something more to it than just the physical act. Whether it’s loneliness, lack of connection with a spouse, poor confidence, or a need to be in control, sex seems to promise a quick and pleasurable respite from the real issues with which we’re dealing.

Perhaps it’s our failure to recognize the importance of emotional connection that has become our Achilles’ heel when it comes to staying clean in the arena of sexuality. Or our inability to admit that in the age of Botox, fake boobs, and teeth whitening, that it might not be all about the physical.

Men, both single and married, have an innate desire to be useful, resourceful, valuable…and needed.

A quick look at some of the heroes we look up to show us examples of men who are invaluable to those around them. Think of Russell Crowe in “Cinderella Man” going out each night to fight in order to buy his family some milk and keep on their apartment’s heat. The idea of providing for our loved ones strikes a chord with every man. It’s what we feel born to do in one way or another.

So it makes sense that men find themselves attracted to those that make them feel valuable and needed…and likely to wander from a relationship with those who don’t.

Neuman explains that the feeling of being underappreciated is the most common emotional factor among cheating men. Somewhere in the midst of diaper changes and mortgage payments life tends to beat the gratefulness out of marriages. Couples that once wrote poems of each other’s beauty and worthiness now suddenly can’t muster up the strength to say thank you. And it hits men at the core.

This could also explain why so many men find themselves having affairs with their subordinates at work. Neuman found, “…nearly half of the cheating men reported meeting their mistresses at work.” The young secretary that calls you sir and drops everything at your beck and call starts to look pretty attractive when you’re coming from a home environment where an eye roll has become the standard greeting.

“Men look strong, look powerful and capable. But on the inside, they’re insecure like everybody else. They’re searching and looking for somebody to build them up to make them feel valued,” explains Neuman.

Obviously, you can’t make yourself feel valued and needed, that kind of feedback needs to come from the lady in your life. This means that women have a great role to play in protecting the fidelity of a relationship. But it’s not all on her in any way. While you can’t force your wife or girlfriend to treat you with an attitude of gratitude, there are steps you can take to engender more loving feelings between you. Treat your wife with the same appreciation that you wish to feel in return. Do the things she asks of you quickly and without the smallest complaint. Go above and beyond the call of duty in getting things done around the house and in making romantic gestures.  And explicitly tell your wife about how you’re feeling and what you emotionally need from her. Guys don’t want to talk about their emotional needs, but it’s far better to force yourself to do it now, then it is to pathetically point the finger of blame at her after you’ve been unfaithful.

While all of us are better off with someone who builds us up, there are definitely other things we can do to keep our integrity intact and our sex a positive part of our lives rather than a killer.

1) Accountability – Every man needs other men in his life that will ask him the tough questions regarding his sex life. Accountability isn’t just for people in Alcoholics Anonymous; all of us need it. It is much easier to begin walking down the road to infidelity and scandal when left alone to justify and rationalize each chip in integrity without the spotlight of scrutiny.

Accountability doesn’t have to be a formal meeting, it only requires a friend that is willing to hold you to your own standards and not turn a blind eye when they see you going in the wrong direction. Mainly it requires someone who is willing to ask you questions about your sex life, marriage, work, etc. Just knowing that someone cares enough to ask will often deter many of us from making poor decisions.

2) Have great sex with your spouse – The idea that the best defense is a good offense not only applies to the playing field, but your sex life as well. The truth is, a man that is having wonderful sex with his spouse is far less likely to seek it elsewhere. But as any man knows, a healthy sexual relationship doesn’t always happen on its own, it must be intentionally sought after.

What does this mean? It means you may have to actually talk to your partner about what she enjoys and what she feels is lacking. It’s a startling concept to some, but a necessary part of keeping your sex life strong and healthy. The benefits of a great sex life at home seem to manifest themselves in a wide variety of areas from work to physical and emotional health. And most importantly it keeps the focus on your partner rather than the new intern at work.

3) Don’t even walk down her street – I once read a proverb that told the tale of a young man who found himself walking down the street of the town’s seductress. On cue she came out of her house to meet him as he passed by; she was dressed in revealing clothing and explained that her husband was away on business. “Come in, let’s enjoy ourselves ’til morning,” she offered. With her smooth words and seductive tone she got him to come inside. The proverb ended with the following words:

All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

As my friend and I were discussing this I commented that he was so foolish to go inside the house when he knew full well what was going to happen. “You’re wrong,” challenged my friend, “he was foolish the second that he stepped down her street.”

Don’t take a single step down the road to being unfaithful. Don’t go to a “friendly” lunch with your secretary; don’t stay late at work chatting with your female co-worker; don’t exchange personal emails and text messages with your wife’s friend.

But it takes more to keep yourself on the right track than simply avoiding the obvious physical, tangible enticements. We must also keep our thoughts faithful and focused, a task difficult to do in this sex-saturated society. Everywhere a man turns there is another advertisement, another movie or commercial with a scantily-clad beauty daring us to pursue her. Pornography, specifically, has become more and more rampant as men are able to view it on the computer and in the privacy of their own home. Don’t even take a step down the road to fantasizing about someone other than your wife.

4) Learn how to fly a plane – It’s no secret that many men find themselves having affairs as an injection of excitement in what has slowly become a boring life. For some it’s not even about the sex as much as it is a break in the monotony. They want to feel alive again. For those in this position, the failure isn’t so much a relational one as it is a lack of living life well.

If sex is the only thing that excites you as a man then you need to find some new hobbies. Learn a new activity like flying a plane, getting your scuba certification, or rock climbing. We are often most fulfilled when were are in the midst of learning something new and this fulfillment is a great way to fill the void that might otherwise be satisfied with a new woman.
_______________
Part 1: 3 Man Killers: Money
Part 2: 3 Man Killers: Power

{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris October 7, 2008 at 9:03 pm

This is a blog that I would not have expected to see in today’s world, but which is intelligent, reflective and honest. Great stuff.

2 Devan October 7, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Great article, but shouldn’t it be “sowing wild oats” ?? :)

3 John Ek October 7, 2008 at 9:45 pm

Excellent advice and information. I am a firm believer of the “good offense” solution. I have an amazing time with my fiance and will never look elsewhere. We make a concerted effort to please and enjoy each other and we are both extremely happy because of it. I know she is happy because I ask everyday. Thanks for the information.

4 Ted October 7, 2008 at 11:46 pm

Honestly, I couldn’t be more happy with this blog right now.

Many men think it is manly to be with as many women as they can, and sowing their seed wherever and whenever they feel like it.

It takes a true man to be faithful, and honest, and good to his wife.

Thank you for this post. Some great tips.

5 Mark October 8, 2008 at 3:53 am

This is a great article with great advice. Along with Ted, I “Honestly couldn’t be more happy with this blog right now.”

Thanks AoM!!!

6 Mr. Jones October 8, 2008 at 4:22 am

“What’s remarkable about these findings is the huge number of men that cheated due to emotional rather than sexual dissatisfaction.”

I don’t know about that. For a man to cheat on his wife, it makes him a liar (to put it mildly). So why wouldn’t these men lie to the survey?

It carries much more weight to claim emotional dissatisfaction than to simply admit that you can’t keep it in your pants. This puts the onus back on the “harpy” wife for being so “insensitive” to the poor guy’s emotional needs.

7 xjcl October 8, 2008 at 4:37 am

This article hit the spot, and it hit it hard.

In a few hours two days ago, I told a girl that I liked (who has a boyfriend) if I could not be more than friends with her then I did not want to continue speaking to her. After that, I received a message from an ex girlfriend of mine, a major ex girlfriend who I don’t communicate with because whenever I do it sends me down a bad path… Following that, another (girl) friend came over to hang out. We ended up casually hooking up and almost had sex. It came very, very close. Very tempting indeed. I don’t even like this woman.

Needless to say, woman have been on my mind all week. Thank you for this article. It’s helped me clear my head and get me back into a perspective of upholding integrity. Knowing that I am coming from a place that is seeking validation a sense of worth, and how dangerous of a place that can be.

Thanks again

8 Neal Davis October 8, 2008 at 5:02 am

This is a very insightful post on what makes many men start on a path in which they lose control of their life. Sound warnings.

9 George October 8, 2008 at 5:03 am

As said before, the article is spot on.

To be honest, I don’t see the finding that a lot of men cheat due to emotional dissatisfaction as all that surprising.

In my three-year relationship with my current woman, there has been a number of periods where she just did not respond to me emotionally. It took a variety of forms, but, in general, that’s what it all boiled down to.

Although she’s stunning and the sex is great, I had had thoughts of cheating on her more than once. What stopped me is my own personal moral code (I’m just not a cheater). Eventually we were able to sit down and talk things through and fix them for the most part.

Personally, I don’t believe that cheating on your woman is ever justified. I don’t mean to lecture or sound moralistic, but I’ve always believed that if you’re tempted to have some fun with someone else, at least give your current woman the courtesy of breaking things off with her first.

The moral of the story is – until that happened, I would’ve never even thought myself capable of cheating on my woman. But there I was, seriously considering either having some fun with one of the girls at the nightclubs here (quite easy to pick up if you have the cash) or just going to another town for some quick, no-strings-attached fun.

You don’t know if you’re a cheater until you’ve been in a situation where you have reasons to cheat.

10 Peter James October 8, 2008 at 5:06 am

Great post. The fact that one good time can turn into one long nightmare overwhelms any other desires for me.

http://yinvsyang.com/

11 mathew October 8, 2008 at 7:22 am

question: in general, there are men who are free and often changes partners (for sex), why is it considered, in public, like evil thing, i consider it likewise, but i dont know what cause this wiev, history or..?? what do you think?

12 cory huff October 8, 2008 at 8:46 am

I’m also not surprised that men cheat for emotional reasons. It makes sense.

If you’ve watched Mad Men, it’s a perfect example of what you’re talking about, Brett. The main character is married with children, and his wife tries as hard as she can, but he won’t open up to ANYONE, so he finds a woman who has no ties to any other part of his life and puts all of his emotions and sex into a relationship with her.

Shameful and awkward, but brilliantly explanatory of the modern man.

13 Neil October 8, 2008 at 9:05 am

Great article! Almost everything you said hit home with me. But a few things struck me as particularly not true (or at least, not true for ME):

“Obviously, you can’t make yourself feel valued and needed, that kind of feedback needs to come from the lady in your life.” While I see where you’re going with this, I think positive self-talk and creatively challenging yourself (which you suggest at the end of the article) ARE good ways to make yourself feel valued and needed. Relying on your partner for value is the very definition of being needy, is it not? It has to come from within.

“Don’t go to a “friendly” lunch with your secretary; don’t stay late at work chatting with your female co-worker; don’t exchange personal emails and text messages with your wife’s friend.” I also see where you’re going with this, and I agree. If you’re physically attracted and not getting what you want at home, don’t do it. BUT, I think a lot of couples take this line of thinking too far, and end up prohibiting their partner from forming friendships or any kind of connection with those of the opposite sex. That kind of control and jealousy is stifling to any relationship! Make sure you discuss the boundaries with your partner, and that they’re boundaries you can both accept and agree on.

Just my 2 cents – keep up the great blog!

14 Brett October 8, 2008 at 9:26 am

@Neil-

I do think that a man can make himself feel valued, but I don’t think a man can make himself feel needed. Because being needed has to involve someone else who well, needs you. I think there’s a difference between wanting to be needed and being “needy.” Needy people rely on their partner to meet all of their emotional needs. It’s not healthy. But feeling needed is actually the opposite. It simply means that you feel like you are meeting some of your partner’s needs.

I agree that some couple go too far in restricting relationships with the opposite sex. I think the emphasis is on “personal” emails and such. You shouldn’t be talking to other people about personal stuff that you’re not sharing with your significant other.

15 Jon October 8, 2008 at 10:22 am

Great article, it’s spot on.

16 rengal October 8, 2008 at 12:11 pm

This blog just keeps getting better and better. Interesting info, entertaining, and wisdom as well.

17 Patrick October 8, 2008 at 12:33 pm

Ok this may be a really odd question, but where do you stand on swingers? My parents have been swingers for about 20 years. They told me when I was 20 years old (talk about the worlds most awkward conversation), I’m 27 now. They were always very descrete when we were growing up (hence the fact that I NEVER knew until they told me). They’ve been married going on 32 years now, and frankly I feel they are the most in-tune and happily married couple that I’ve ever met. I almost feel that their comfort level and acceptance of eachother is enhanced by their unusual lifestyle (not that they need to swing to be happy with eachother).

They don’t view it as cheating considering they’re always together when they swing (again, you cannot fathom how weird this conversation with them was, but hey I appreciate their honesty). I actually have no problems with what they do, but we were raised to be extremely open-minded (and now I know why hehe). My dad said it wasn’t because they were getting bored or that their love life needed some spice, but that he feels that humans are not meant to be 100% monogamous creatures. They always swing with couples they know, and are not the type that pick up random couples at a bar (yes, I know, imagine your parents telling you this…so uncomfortable, but I got used to it)

While I understand and respect the article you wrote, I wish it would have touched more on sex in “alternative” lifestyles. Not all sex outside of marriage I feel is evil. Then again maybe only I can understand this having the parents that I do. While there is NO excuse for cheating, what about couples who do sleep with others but with the approval of their partner?

Just curious of people’s responses to this. Most of my close friends who know my parents are aware of their lifestyle and couldn’t be more supportive. I’ve never felt that my parents are “cheaters” and well after all these years its become pretty normal to me. So do you believe in this instance that sex is being a “man/woman killer?”

18 Bill October 8, 2008 at 3:18 pm

Patrick-

I don’t think there is anything wrong with what your parents do (although wow, as you said, what an awkward conversation to have with them!). It’s not cheating because they’ve both consented to it, there’s no lying or dishonesty in it.

I think every married man, somewhere deep deep down man wants to try swinging, at least once. It’s a interesting fantasy. I think the problem is that it sounds good to be trying it with another woman, but then if you pan over your imagination to picturing your wife doing it with some other guy, then the fantasy evaporates. At least for me.

19 Art Nelson October 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Never fantasize about anyone except your wife?

Even Cosmo offers better tips than that. Women, especially, benefit from healthy fantasies and its advocated by many therapists. Not only that, but they are like dreams. You can’t control them. We all do it and should relish it as part of the human experience.

Many men cheat because it’s in our DNA. Our DNA is like gravity. It’s a force that’s there 24/7 and many cannot resist it forever. Many men are one fight, one emotional period of feeling worthless, one hot secretary away from straying.

The article is spot on as far as how important it is for men to feel valued. Women have a bit of a burden here. Keep sex interesting. Give it up when he wants it. Don’t gain weight. Keep yourself pretty. Stay affectionate and appreciative.

Of course, nothing will work with that certain type of guy who is led by his libido and to hell with everything else.

20 Heather October 8, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Sadly this applies to so many males I meet here at my college. I sometimes feel like they took a class in juggling, because they have so many women in thier lives at once and somehow manage to keep them all happy and unknowing of the others.
Thank you.

21 StevefromMKE October 8, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Well, if it’s in our DNA, men should be practicing another lost art: self control. Whether it’s sex or food or alcohol.

22 Virilitas October 8, 2008 at 5:35 pm

My favorite tip in this great post, Brett, is “don’t even walk down her street.” It is so much easier to avoid temptations (like cheating) when we make it a habit to stay out of situations that present those temptations in a potentially overwhelming way.

This is the very reason that in times past, it was considered improper for an unmarried man and woman to be alone together. The situation was considered dangerous, and those who put themselves in such a situation scandalized others by so doing.

@Patrick: the practice of “swinging” is very undesirable. If not for condoms, the practice would spread nasty diseases at an alarmingly rapid rate. Even WITH condoms, it still spreads various STD’s. This is detrimental to any marriage or society.

One can argue that technology has made these considerations unnecessary. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that “swinging” would be an unsustainable practice if man were left only with what nature has provided for him. That, in itself, is a very powerful statement.

23 Hayden Tompkins October 8, 2008 at 5:52 pm

I’ve always liked what Leopold from the movie “Kate & Leopold” said:

“To court a woman in one’s employ is a serpentine effort to turn a lady into a whore.”

24 Brett October 8, 2008 at 6:04 pm

I’m glad a lot of you are enjoying the post. I’d like to make sure it’s author, AoM’s regular contributor Cameron Schaefer gets the props. He’s the man.

25 Alec Corday October 8, 2008 at 6:13 pm

As always, excellent article in a great series. Well researched from great sources. Even quoting the Bible… you don’t see that every day these days.

26 Beowulf87 October 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Fantastic post, my friend. What I loved about this is that although this article wasn’t even religious, but for the most part it really resonated with my faith. Great stuff; please, keep it up!

This is going onto my own blog!

Spencer

27 Patrick October 9, 2008 at 7:56 am

@ Virilitas

while I did ask for imput and I understand that some people are going to dissapprove of my parent’s lifestyle, I really think that your baseless accusations are somewhat rude. I have no idea whether or not my parent’s use the proper protection (I’ve never asked and frankly I’m happy just assuming that they do) but I’d like to think that them being the smart and responsible adults that they are they would do everything they could to protect themselves.

To say my parents are merely STD spreaders is rather harsh and insulting. ANY type of sex has the potential to spread STD’s, so please don’t single out my parents as though they are senseless people with no care for their own or other’s health.

Don’t even get me started on the “detremental to society” part either. I shouldn’t be offended by that statement as it is your right to have such an opinion, but thats a bit harsh and a rash overgeneralization. My parents are law-abiding, kind and generous people. They do their best to contribute positively to society, and just because you dissapprove of what they do, it does not give you the right to make baseless assumptions about them.

28 Peter October 9, 2008 at 1:34 pm

@Patrick – obviously you didn’t really want feedback, if you can expend such energy on someone who simply says that having sex with lots of people is asking for diseases. Yes, every sex act can spread diseases – and when you do with lots of different people, you’re more likely than if you don’t!

He didn’t say your parents were “merely STD spreaders,” he pointed out an aspect of their love life that makes it riskier. And he emphasized that the STDs are what make the practice detrimental to society, not anything else. He didn’t assume anything about your parents, except that you were telling the truth when you said they engage in a sexual practice which is comparatively risky. If you said your parents skydived, and he pointed out that it was more risky than staying at home, would you be comparably put-out?

If you aren’t willing to take comments for what they actually say, not offense you take at reading them, don’t say you want comments!

29 Virilitas October 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm

@Patrick

The American Heritage Dictionary defines a swinger as “a person who engages freely in promiscuous sex,” and “a member of a couple, especially a married couple, who exchanges sexual partners.”

My comments were frank statements about the practice of “swinging” and its natural consequences on individuals and society; they were neither statements about your parents, in particular, nor generalizations about activities that swingers may engage in besides swinging.

30 John Michael Cannon October 9, 2008 at 7:25 pm

I really like #2. Men need more skills in the bedroom but, unlike the women, we don’t share sex secrets or even talk about how to please our women better. This blog is filling a great need.

31 Michel October 9, 2008 at 11:32 pm

thanks for post

32 jack October 10, 2008 at 5:01 am

Good article,but to say Elliot Spitzer had a promising career? Give me a break. He is a hypocrite of the highest degree.How many peoples lives did he ruin prosecuting them for consensual crimes? No one should vote for any District Attorney, probably lawyers too, to any position in government, much less a legislative position. Legislate means lawmaker. It reeks of conflicts of interest, making laws against adult’s private behaviors so that they may profit by running aforesaid persons thru the ‘Justice’ system wringer. All laws that do not govern person, property or contract are bad law and political crimes! Bad laws create disrespect for good laws. Read a short book written by Frederic Bastiat, in 1849, titled “The Law” and you will better understand this concept. Also, Google ‘Jury Nullification’, for more info on one of your most important rights over your government.

33 Katie October 10, 2008 at 10:16 am

A Tale of Two Catholics with Really High Sex Drives or “Hey, I Was Ready to Do Your Laundry for the Rest of My Life”

In defense of the weaker sex, please don’t hook-up with us unless you’re willing to get married.

Just getting over a “relationship” with a guy and the whole thing went like this:

Him: You turn me on. Let’s do it!
Me: Well, we really shouldn’t but you are soooooo someone I would marry.
Him: Of course we shouldn’t do it but I’m so turned on. BTW, I’m just not ready for a relationship.

And, then:

Him: Um. I’ve sorta started seeing someone and she doesn’t want me talking to you anymore and, remember, the priest said that we weren’t good really for one another. It’s really not God’s will for us to be together.
Me: WTF? (followed by hysteria).

Remember, guys, this hurts us far more. We start physically and emotionally bonding before the first orgasm. After a dozen or so, we’re hooked and are thinking of names for the babies.

And now he wants me to return his St. Jude medal.

34 mark October 13, 2008 at 1:16 pm

@Katie@xjcl – no offense here Katie, but you sound a little crazy. I’ve got a tip for you. the next time a guy says ‘hmm you turn me on, let’s do it’ you may expect the same results. Additionaly, if you really prescribe to either statement you made, about women being the “weaker sex”, or that women are thinking about babies after 12 sexual episodes, then do not give that St. Jude medal back. In the off chance that it is composed of some precious medals or jewels, you could pawn it in order to get yourself some therapy.

35 Jennifer October 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Wow. Great article. I agree completely. And it’s encouraging to see an article like this geared towards MEN for once. Usually this is the kind of thing you find in Glamour or on Oprah, which is pretty much preaching to the choir, IMO.

36 Andrew October 13, 2008 at 2:17 pm

I like your “don’t walk down the street” comment – did you know that Billy Graham never used to travel with a woman unless another person was present because he wanted to be sure he wasn’t even tempted? Set things up so they work the way they are supposed to. . . .

37 Matt Searles October 13, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I find myself kind of disagreeing.. in the big picture. What I mean is I think we are focusing on the surface.. and the behavior of causality webs.. I’m not sure you’re really get at.

I was reading, a few weeks ago, some stuff on the psychological structure of marriage from Carl Jung.. I’m used to the notion that.. you might very well choose a mate that.. doesn’t really fulfill your needs.. you made the safe bet after all.. and so there remains a kind of lingering part of you that’s still seeking out that fulfillment.. that can be the cause of the affair.. and you could argue that in some sense this might be healthy.. or.. perhaps the morality we impose on issues of fidelity are sometimes short sided and miss a larger good.

But what I was fascinated to meditate on is.. the structure and dynamics of the.. course marriages follow.. and there really is a stage where.. like it or not.. one of the partners is getting pushed away.. that this is the usual course of things, to one extent or another.. and that there are many factors that can influence the way things unfold.

There’s an old debate in the story of sexual dysfunction.. if we should take the surface approach of sex therapy or the depth psychology type approach of Freud.. and clearly advances in neuroscience, socio biology, brain imaging, and what not.. do further complicate the debate, and its challenges.

I tend to look at these things from a.. Foucault meets Zen sorta perspective.. which is to say it’s power relationships that are defining our definitions of good, bad, healthy, unhealthy.. rather then the intrinsic state of things.. The Zen problem is realizing that you are “it” despite the world constantly telling you are not.. another words its the power of “it” that should be doing the defining, not the external power relationships,” because.. after all its what we might regard as inward subjective reality that’s really driving the show here.

From an “it” centric point of view.. a psychotic crack up is healthy.. it’s the psyche inflicting equilibrium on its self.. the question should not be if a thing is good or not, but what is the good of a thing.

So you know.. when we look at powerful men falling.. as a result of sex.. could that be a situation where in.. they where emphasizing external metrics of success over an inward, more subjective, reality? And perhaps it was that subjective reality imposing its “auh-thor-ah-tah” on the person in question.. that then forced them into a life where these subjective realties get more attention? And if so.. if the metric is mental health.. perhaps that’s a more healthy condition then where they were before?

I believe in economics the term is “creative destruction?”

Which I suppose is not totally disagreeing with you ether.

38 megan October 13, 2008 at 3:31 pm

“The article is spot on as far as how important it is for men to feel valued. Women have a bit of a burden here. Keep sex interesting. Give it up when he wants it. Don’t gain weight. Keep yourself pretty. Stay affectionate and appreciative.”

I’m hoping that you have the same advice for your male friends. Be sure to get rid of the beer belly and the bald head too, as age advances. Oh and don’t forget to make sure you don’t go grey and that you have no “physical limitations”. Makes us women feel valued and appreciated. Hope you see how your stupid statement looks buddy…..

39 ryan October 15, 2008 at 5:59 am

I saw the title, 3 Man Killers: Sex, and was quite intrigued. I just came to this blog a few days back and didn’t really know what to expect.

This is amazing. And it seems all too right. I’m married and thankfully haven’t cheated or even wanted to, but that is because my wife truly is amazing and we talk quite a bit and have some great sex. She definitely makes me feel appreciated and needed. It’s amazing how true this article is. I also have been blessed with a couple of very close guy friends that we don’t have a problem talking about hard issues and getting into each other’s life.

I’ll be sending a lot of my friends here, single and married, to read this article specifically but to also see this blog. Keep articles coming like this. Great stuff.

Now I’m going to read more articles.

40 Jesse October 19, 2008 at 8:09 pm

This one was spot on. I have, to my dis-credit, been unfaithful back when my wife was my girlfriend. Damn near cost me the best thing in my life. Now that we are married and have a child we have settled into the domesticated thing. Only recently have I noticed my eyes wandering, and I credit our crazy schedules and lack of talkin’-&-lovin’ time. But I wouldn’t have thought about it as clearly as that without that post, so thanks. Guess I will cancel that lunch with the co-worker on Wednesday . . .

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42 Shehan October 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Great article. Glad there’s courage enough to say it– and it’s all too true.

43 Jeanette October 27, 2008 at 6:03 am

Thanks for an awesome blog! My husband reads your site all the time and really enjoys what you write! I admit, I was skeptical at first. I thought this site was all about how to grill and watch football games and be a “MAN”. I have to confess that I have been truly intrigued and amazed at your articles! I especially liked this one. I grew up with a father who worshipped my mother, no matter what she said, did or looked like! I always swore I would marry a man that was that way. (WHICH I DID!!)
As women we also have a desire to feel needed and valued and loved! I watched my parents build each other up constantly! I never heard my dad say anything deorgatory or insulting to or about my mom. I also watched as my mom answered the all too famous question women ask… “If you could sleep with anyone in the world who would it be!?” with the simple answer “my husband!” No hesitation, not a missed beat! I feel that this answer came so quickly, because they were not only in love with each other and they always put each other first (even before the kids sometimes!!). They made sure that they both felt needed… NOT NEEDY, NEEDED! There is a difference!!

I really liked the “Don’t even walk down her street” section. So many people (MEN AND WOMEN) find it so easy to have what psychologist have termed “Emotional Affairs” at work or elsewhere. They find someone they can talk to and have a good time with. Someone they feel “understands” them and they end up opening up to them about problems they are having at home or things they have been worried about or contemplating. This may or may not turn into a sexual affair, but the damage is already done!! You have broken the trust with your spouse by revealing a portion of who you are and what you really feel with someone else. Really the only person that will truly “understand” anything you are going through at anytime, is the person that is right there going through it with you! Don’t get sucked into the “emotional affairs”, open up to your spouse/partner and you will be amazed at what it does for a relationship!
Thanks again for a great blog!

44 Polygamous Horndog November 1, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Just marry one more woman, that solves it.

45 Andrea November 3, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Integrity — now THAT is something a real Man has. Self-control shows great strength, and it makes a true Man stand apart from the hordes of mere boys.

46 The Unapologetic Conservative November 6, 2008 at 3:52 am

Wow! Whodathunk you’d find such spot-on commentary in this day and age? If more of us would adhere to this type of behavior, it’d be a better world. I commend you for your bravery and integrity. Bravo!

47 Thomas November 6, 2008 at 2:29 pm

A few moments of pleasure is not worth a lifetime of regret.

48 aaron November 8, 2008 at 7:57 am

Wow… This is a great post man. And I love the fact it come from “the Art of Manliness” because faithfulness ABSOLUTELY should be a quality associated with a real man. Bravo man. You rock. I’ll be passing this around to friends.

49 James November 17, 2008 at 8:18 am

I never cheated on my ex-wife, but if I had it would have been because she was not meeting my emotional needs. The thought of cheating did cross my mind, but it would not have been for the sex. The sex would have been secondary, if at all.

I just wanted comfort. Sometimes that takes a physical form, but not always.

50 Christina November 28, 2008 at 5:48 am

Just came across this blog and comments and am very grateful to find some intelligent discussions out there throughout this website. OK, all of you, I need your helpful opinions as I am trying to decide how to proceed. I was divorced 14 years ago after a 15 year marriage and have dated some amazing men since then (although actually took a three year break after a second man lied to me about being married) and now find myself in love for the first time in 20 years. To summarize: I’m 56, still stunningly beautiful (think Bo Derek and I’m just saying that as a fact, not ego). I’m healthy, love to ski, camp, fish, golf, cook, watch football, have just finished writing a book that will be published next year, am an artist, blah, blah blah. I’ve been dating (living with) a man who’s 12 years younger for the past three years and we’ve gone through all the tough stuff together. He is financially generous (though not wealthy) and supported me while I took care of my dying father and then while I wrote this book. I adore this man. He has the heart of an angel – referring back to an earlier blog – he fits the description of “not someone I can live with but someone I don’t want to live without”. The problem: I have tried to break up with him five times over three years and finally did it for real three months ago and we are experiencing the real heartbreak of distance. Why have I done this? Because, among other reasons, gentlemen, he is addicted to internet porn. I feel very sorry for men, tied as you are to the biological urge for orgasm and the well-calculated attraction to how a woman looks, the good-feeling chemicals that flood the brain from sex and the easy availability of sexy images – I think that all of us have been given a raw deal by being conditioned to believe that men/people can be monogamous and that marriage must contain that credo. Now, here’s the thing for me: I WANT to build my life with this man. I want to share, take care of, have amazing sex with, talk with, grow up with this wonderful man who has proven he loves me in many, many ways and is finally, finally working on the internet porn addiction YES! he blocked his access – he/we will go to a sex therapist – it IS a drug – the easiest, quickest, cheapest, most private one around, but I really think that three years is enough to know whether someone is THE one. We are talking about moving back in together. I want us to grow up together and think we have a great chance BUT my question for all of you: – he keeps saying he loves me, that I am the love of his life, the first woman who has made him cry, our friends love us together, he says he proves it by supporting me financially…etc, etc but I have reached the point where I realize I will believe him if he asks me to marry him. I know it would be the biggest deal on earth for him to surrender himself this way and become vulnerable. After all this time and everything we’ve been through, love is leading the way, but I no longer want to settle for the “maybe” situation and “what-if” and “let’s do a private commitment ceremony but the act of marriage and legal documents are BS” belief. I want to surrender my heart to this man but I want it to be his idea, I want him to decide to propose, him to take the action – not me suggesting or drawing the line or putting a deadline on it. My feeling is that a man KNOWS when a woman is right. Have I just been giving away the milk for too long – so the whole cow will never be bought? I am in love with him. I feel at a core level that we need each other. What do I do? Just wait? Actually mention the “M” word? Give him a deadline? Move back in (this was a rough, eye-opening separation for both of us – he was in agony – then I was). Where do I go from here, guys? Be silent? Say I love him but stay away until he commits? You have all gone through painful growth brought on by how much you love someone. Does the desire to propose to the woman you love just come out of the blue> When you know, you know???????? I am ready to move on in the world with a really good life with him or without him. My choice is with him. All kudos to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and all the unmarried longterm ones, but I want a giant leap of faith. Please weigh in from all sides. I need the male perspective. I am in love with this man, deeply. How do I get him to take that leap? Thank you, C.E.

51 Angela February 19, 2009 at 7:35 am

I have done a little research myself. I have met many happily married men who love their wives very much and value their families immensely. They have told me they want to cheat because they miss the excitement, the thrill, the variety etc. I think they were very brave and honest to admit what I believe is a reality for many, many guys. Does it make cheating ok—of course not. It is a man’s honour and character that keep his impulses in check. But the challenge of this should never be underestimated. While fidelity comes fairly easily to happily married women, it can be an ongoing test of a man’s willpower and determination. It is foolish for any woman to ignore this.

52 Rick September 15, 2009 at 10:50 am

Infidelity, or other sexual exploits, often have an element of a kind of danger. Driving fast, living fast, standing on the edge of a 300’ cliff in the mountains, taking risks of various kinds somehow feeds a man. Even at 14 years old, I see the scouts in our troop seeking to be at least a little dangerous. Teaching boys how to fulfill this need in honorable ways is a key to successful youth work.

53 Errrr February 26, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I’m going to offer something that wasn’t in the original post, though Christina mentioned it, related to “don’t walk down that street”:

Stay AWAY from the porn!!

Your woman CANNOT compete with the porn. The porn always does what you want, has everything you want, and requires nothing that you don’t want to give. Worse, the porn brings you into a world where everyone and everything is something you can use for sex. It’s like steroids for selfishness.

54 z March 26, 2010 at 3:03 am

This is huge.

Can’t explain fairly how this is affecting me. I’m planning to propose to my girlfriend this weekend and this article struck me in some huge areas of my life. This article shouldn’t relate to me because I’m among the seemingly small number of men who choose to abstain from sex until marriage, but the bit about the “innate desire to be useful, resourceful, valuable…and needed” helped give expression to my confusion about why I’m so anxious before the proposal.

It’s totally tangential, but I realize that this may be an area where my relationship needs to develop more richly, but for now I’m just happy to have identification for what I was feeling…

And, I also feel an odd gladness at knowing what will help me become a better man: not just hiding in my confusion, but helping to show my [wife] about what I need.

Probably sounds weird.

55 Sumisu April 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm

As a mom with two sons I hope that this article will make its way into the hands and brains of many young men. Aside from the word-usage errors, I find this to be an excellent article and will pass it on to the ladies I know that have sons and spouses that might benefit from it.

I’ll also add that my own husband was unfaithful (multiple times) and in retrospect, suffered from much of what was written there. He was emotionally unable to open up to me about his pain and fears.

56 Vee July 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Grand Article!
My favorite area is…
“Learn How to Fly a Plane”……
Not only does this article speak to me about Men, it speaks to me about Me.
Too many times I could have found something more healthy to do than “another” relationship.
Amazing how much I am learning from this site!!
Major Thanks!

57 northeastoutdoorsman November 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm

This article is spot-on. I’ve known about this site for some time but lately I’ve been reading through a lot of the older articles and I must say I’m so impressed. So much practical (and moral) advice for daily living.

58 Cormac__NJ December 12, 2013 at 4:29 pm

This is a GREAT piece, and the message is extremely important. There is one part that I would caution men about, though: in part 2, called Have great sex with your spouse, we are told “It means you may have to actually talk to your partner about what she enjoys and what she feels is lacking.” While I agree that this is true, it can be much very difficult for some women to do this, because contemporary culture has so consistently portrayed women’s desires in a completely false light. Women are told that they should have zero attraction to manly men. That what they really want is a girly man, who needs the woman to be the boss in bed. In reality, most women are attracted to an EXTRA manly man. If you actually read those romance novels, or the Shades of Grey books, you will discover that the last thing women are fantasizing about is wimpy men who put the woman in charge. But this can be very difficult, and sometimes embarrassing, for the wife to admit. Especially if the man is a kind and gentle type of guy. It’s a bit complicated for her to explain that it’s great to have Mr. Empathy around on a shopping trip, but she really wished he would become Mr. rough-and-tough in the sack. It can be done, but it takes a good relationship to get past the hesitancy. And this is just one example of the kind of hurdle that must be crossed (it might even be the opposite).

Great piece, though. Keep up the good work!!!

59 Alexander April 10, 2014 at 11:54 am

@ “Have Great Sex With Your Spouse”

My wife and I are actively working on our sex lives. In our discussions of “what we feel is lacking” what came up for her was that I am not sexually aggressive enough. She isn’t talking about wanting me to initiate sex more. She’s talking about a primitive feminine desire to be dominated. I know that she is attempting to call forth my inner manliness – she actually wants me to be less sensitive and just f*** her. So, I think, “Ok, lets try that. She wants me on a purely animalistic, physical level. I can do that!” The thing is, we’ve been trying it out and I am starting to feel like it’s never enough. The feeling is that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to f*** her hard enough to give her what she wants. It’s like her desire is insatiable. Talk about a man killer. Nothing is worse than feeling like you aren’t able to satisfy your woman.

Honestly, it also scares me a little bit because she wants me to do things that make me feel uncomfortable – like being slightly physically violent and wanting me to somewhat degrade her. I don’t know alot about S&M, but I don’t want to be the Sadist OR the Masochist. I have read about S&M having the potential to be a very healthy sexual exploration, but I can’t shake the feeling like it is some sort of sickness. I’ve been reading about the warrior archetype – The sadist and masochist are its SHADOW SIDES. To me this means an improper flow of energy. Where the healthy state would be the expression of the warrior.

Basically, I feel really confused about whether I should do what she wants or if it is playing into
an unhealthy dynamic. The question is… Why does she want to be sexually degraded and is it healthy for me to give her what she wants in that respect?

Thanks Guys – it’s been a long time since I’ve felt some masculine support.

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