The Heterodox

The Heterodox

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A Defense of Male Infidelity

October 20, 2010 , , , , , ,

Male Anatomy
I was going over the manuscript for my first book yesterday and while doing this quick review, I saw that there was a need for some foot noting within one of the essays. It was not an importunate need by any means, but I did make reference to a book within the essay in which I realized that I could give some more pungency to my argument if I provided some relevant extracted text. The essay which I am referencing revolves around a polemical and aegis rejoinder that I felt compelled to give to my brethren. The male quandary that requires this rhetorical assuagement issues from the gynocratic tirade that is thrust upon all of MANkind whenever any male celebrity is caught committing a sexual indiscretion. I also wanted (and still want) to fight back against the inevitable media paroxysm that ensues in reaction to these events where the inane question is all too often asked, why do men cheat?

I shall give here the same concession that I give in my essay and make it plain that I am not pursuing this defense of male sexual exigency as a mere fraternal gesture. I am more interested in making the case that if we as a society are to discuss these sexual matters within their social context and paradigm, then we must face up to some biologic and evolutionary truths about our corporeality as still evolving primates. Any attempt to deny these realities (these denials always seem to occur within the media sphere of social discussion) from our discourse is to egregiously illustrate one’s own nescient and intellectually dishonest view of human existence.

The book that I referenced in my essay comes from one of the greatest living public intellectuals and scientists, Professor Richard Dawkins and that book is his seminal first work, The Selfish Gene. The problem most people have—if they have a problem that is—with evolutionary biology issues from the inexorable fashion with which this science illuminates the origin of our somatic existence within the ambit of evolution by natural selection. Ever since Darwin’s time, there has been a pathetic and untenable aristocratic ignominy towards evolution in which people express a belief that our apparent kinship with all living things somehow diminishes our worth as humans and that this is unacceptable as we have transcended our animal nature. This solipsism and ignorance has classically arisen from religion and it is still theism to this very day that is in rebellion against the irrefutable evidence of our origin. This science has also given us much insight into our sexuality as a still evolving primate species. This fact could also explain why the religious still take issue with evolution. It is not just the teleological ramifications of science that worry them I assure you.

It is these very biological realities of the differences in male and female sexuality in which evolution elucidates that our cultures and societies have problems admitting to. As far as any one aspect of human sexuality is concerned, it always seems to be male infidelity (for purposes of this article I am consciously not mentioning homosexuality in this debate) that causes the most female ire while also inducing biologic incredulity, the kind of which I have already mentioned. The fact that we are a still evolving animal, is one that too many people have contention with. There is no way to deny the evolved genetic influence that creates the differences in human gametes which makes cellular meiosis possible along with also facilitating the endocrinological differences between men and women—all of which augment and inform on our varied sexualities and somatic differences.


Professor Dawkins says it well in The Selfish Gene in this particular regard when he says, “In general, males should tend to be more promiscuous than females. Since a female produces a limited number of eggs at a relatively slow rate, she has little to gain from having a large number of copulations with different males. A male on the other hand, who can produce millions of sperms every day, has everything to gain from as many promiscuous matings as he can snatch. Excess copulations may not actually cost a female much, other than a little lost time and energy, but they do not do her positive good. A male on the other hand can never get enough copulations with as many different females as possible: the word excess has no meaning for a male.” (pg 164, 1989 edition)

As I mentioned at the beginning, this biologic male verity does not give a man a genetic free pass in his sexual liaisons, nor does it extirpate his social responsibility. But if we are to have an honest debate and inquiry into our sexuality and into the social and cultural constructs we erect around our sexuality, we have to acknowledge our genetic and sexual evolution as a primate species. It is time to grow up when talking about sex within all cultures, but no one needs this growth more so than these United States. Some of us are accomplishing this cultural project more efficaciously than others, as can be seen when examining all the different cultural sexual mores extant around the world (for contrast, let us just mention here how Europe exudes a more mature view towards sexuality). I could continue to give more biologic reasoning on the male/female sexual dichotomy and its social implications, but I wish to leave some piqued interest for my essay and book.

In closing, I will leave you with some more sagacity from Professor Dawkins in regards to our cultural multiplicity of views towards sex which is so patently observable: “…What this astonishing variety suggests is that man’s way of life is largely determined by culture rather than genes. However, it is still possible that human males in general have a tendency towards promiscuity, and females a tendency towards monogamy, as we would predict on evolutionary grounds. Which of these two tendencies wins in particular societies depends on details of cultural circumstance, just as in different animal species it depends on ecological details.” (Ibid pg 164)

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