I'm single, 40, and have dated more than any good man should. Add to that the fact that I love women, I love seducing, and my ego is clearly invested in the power it gives me, and something tells me I'm not the man you'd think would advocate devotion and fidelity. But the truth is, I'm a closet monogamist. It doesn't come easily, it might not even come naturally, but at the end of the day, I think monogamy is a majesty worth fighting for. Many of the reasons are obvious—the comfort, having a good-guy reputation, the regular and maybe even condom-free sex—but there are some that might surprise you.
One of them is the fight itself. Monogamy is one of those rare things where both the reward and the struggle alone each justify the effort. Striving to be monogamous helps us focus on things that make us better people. Of course socio-biologists want to say that men have "natural" inclinations against monogamy, that when we were still wearing pelts, there were no relationships and the survival of the species depended on our attempts to impregnate as many hominid females as we could. Could be true, but what of it? In the same way that today I choose to grill my buffalo burger rather than eat it raw—and enjoy it a hell of a lot more that way—cultured man can benefit by not simply giving in to his prehistoric impulses, because now his nature is something different, larger. We've evolved so that sex can—and should—be a lot more than just the delivery of semen, and monogamy helps set us on that course.
Don't get me wrong: I'm aware that being monogamous is a lot more challenging than lighting a charcoal grill. I confess to having the stereotypical male skin-level desire: my eyes see, sometimes my insides shudder, and a few times a day some part of me can't help wonder what it would be like to sleep with this woman or that. We all know that most men are like this, but the civilized among us make themselves as immune as possible. The tougher thing to describe is the psychology and identity behind that desire. It took me a long time to realize how much attention I need as a person and that, despite all the confidence I have and successes I've had in various quadrants of my life, a lot of me still just wants to believe that I'm liked. As men we're taught to be independent and self-sufficient, but few of us are or can or even should be.
We need others for all kinds of reasons, and part of us needs to know that we can affect them. Seduction does that – for both men and women – giving us the sense that someone wants us, endorses us, will let us influence them. We know that men often try to seduce women like they try to make money, for power and prestige, but when you look deeper, you see that it's more than just belt-notching: sex and seduction help us believe in ourselves, form ourselves, and that can be a tough thing to give up.
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