Monday, 25 April 2011

Are Male Homosapiens Genetically Programmed to Cheat Their Partner!!


Here are a host of reasons why men cheat on their significant other, probably as many reasons as there are men. Broadly we can break the categories down to the same 3 that we use to asses all psychiatric conditions. We mental health professionals call this Bio-Psycho-Social, which means for every action there are biological, psychological and sociological causes.

Today I want to discuss the biological reasons men cheat and yes I’m specifying men rather than people because as you’ll see men are much more prone to cheat than woman.When I say Biological factors I’m referring to Genetics, DNA and brain chemistry and yes believe it or not, men are actually genetically programmed to have multiple sexual partners and here’s why.

The strongest instinct in human nature is often thought to be survival of self but if that is the case how is it possible for a parent to risk their own life or even give their own life to save the life of their child? The answer is that it’s not survival of self that’s the most powerful human drive but rather the survival of our genetics. It’s the closest any of us will come to immortality, passing a part of ourselves, our genes, on to future generations. Thus our child is carrying our genes and thus by saving him/her we are saving a part of ourselves as well. This explains why the sex drive is so powerful. We want to procreate to pass our genes on to our children and hope they will have children so our genes (ourselves) will continue on in perpetuity. This being accepted we can analyze the vastly different strategies men and women will use with respect to sex and having kids. Remember we are looking at this from a stone age perspective when resources were scant and survival was a day to day struggle.
For a woman the equation was simple. She has only a small window of opportunity to be fertile and to be able to have children. Say 20 years or so from roughly 15-35 years of age. Every child must be carried by her for 9 months. She is absolutely sure that her child has her genes. Her strategy is to find the best genes, the best provider, the best mate possible to ensure the strongest survival advantage for her kids. She chooses carefully and then enters into a long term contract (marriage) with the most successful man she can find. She has little evolutionary reason to cheat. She can only have a finite number of kids and raising them is her top priority. Quality over quantity.
Not only that, if she were to cheat, then she could possibly have another man’s baby which would be raised by her husband. From a genetic standpoint there is nothing worse than a man expending his resources (scarce in the stone age) to nurture another’s DNA. This explains why a woman cheating on a man is less common and so much more devastating. Thus the most prized woman were good mothers AND faithful.
A man’s strategy is vastly different. His most important attribute is his ability to provide for his spouse and children. The better he was as a leader, a hunter, a provider, all figured into the equation of where he stood as a potential mate. As long as he fulfilled those obligations then his woman would be able to raise his/her kids successfully and maximize the chance of these genes being continued.
But the man has another way to pass on his genes as well. Lots of sex with lots of partners. He has his family it’s true, but random hook-ups with other women are like a potential wild card for him. If they become pregnant with his child then he has very little in the way of involvement, expends very little of his precious resources (remember this was long before DNA paternity testing) and yet has more of his genes passed on into the future. ALSO from his wife’s prospective it really doesn’t affect her from a genetic standpoint. He’s taking care of her and her children, as long as that isn’t affected, her genes are in good hands.
Even if she were to find out, it wouldn’t be that awful, genetically speaking. In addition this explains why powerful, successful men are more likely to cheat. First these men are considered a true prize by women and outstanding providers, thus the mate would be more likely to forgive transgressions rather than risk losing her provider. Next from a biological stand point testosterone is linked to drive, focus, competition and success. Thus we can postulate that these successful men have higher levels of testosterone and hence much stronger sex drives.
I know your probably thinking: but that was in the stone age what does that have to do with today? One million years of genetics is hard to overcome in a few hundred years of civilized society. Our basic human nature is still the same as it was back in the days of early man.
So does this mean there is no hope for a committed marriage to work? No, not at all. Remember the Bio-Psycho-Social theory I mentioned at the start of this blog? Well modern man certainly has the biologic instincts that I’ve outlined but it’s the psychological and the sociological aspects that I will discuss in upcoming posts that will delve into why the biological model is not the whole story in today’s world.