According to New York magazine, women are cheating as men as men. The article cites some studies indicating that in the past two decades, the percentage of hubbys admitting to cheating hasn’t changed, but the percentage of wives fessing up rose almost 40 percent.
Call me cynical, but why is this news to anyone? For many years, women just didn’t have the opportunity. Once more of us began working outside the house, opportunity presented itself. The Internet made it easier, too. And, let’s not forget that up until fairly recently women’s sexuality was repressed by a male-dominated culture.
That’s changing (except, sadly, in certain countries and religions).
So why would anyone be surprised that women wouldn’t be as interested in getting some on the side as men?
Cheating as empowerment
My last column explored the idea of how empowering being the Other Woman can be. That said, I was surprised by how many women in my — admittedly unscientific and pretty small — poll agreed with that statement.
Is something going on?
I don’t have an answer but here’s what I think; in addition to having our sexuality repressed, we gals have had it beaten into our heads that we need love and romance and monogamy, and we can’t have casual sex.
If you hear messages like that all your life, well, of course you will internalize it — even if it’s not quite how you feel. I wrote about that a few months ago when I questioned if monogamy is good for women. I am monogamous by choice and, yes, many women I know are, too.
But the more we see studies like this, on the uptick of women having affairs, I think we may need to questions our beliefs about women’s sexuality.
Equal interest in casual sex
“Once you strip away the stigma from the equation, interest in casual sex is about equal for women and men,” Daniel Bergner, author of the brilliant book What Do Women Want? tells Bloomberg News. But then he adds, “So we men may have a lot to worry about.”
Wait, what? Men “have a lot to worry about” if women are equally interested in casual sex? Hmm, that’s a curious thought. So, I guess it’s OK that women have historically had to worry about men? No, sorry, it’s not OK.
Maybe Bergner didn’t mean exactly what came out of his mouth; I read What Do Women Want?, and it’s an empowering book for women and our sexuality. And yet, there it is in print — “So we men may have a lot to worry about.”
Don’t want to cheat on your spouse but still want to have sex with others? Learn how by ordering “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels” on Amazon, and follow The New I Do on Twitter and Facebook.