Why Women Can't Cheat (and Men Can)

By YourTango

Why Women Can't Cheat (and Men Can)
The John Edwards scandal shows how infidelity is easier for men.

Women can cheat for sex too, but it's easier for men. Women don't have easy access to escort services like the Emperor's Club and happy-ending parlor massages (at least, not the way men do), and sex clubs and online cheaters sites are almost all marketed towards men. Even sites like Craigslist, which level the hookup playing field, can be a landmine of creeps for a woman looking for action. Moreover, women can't set up anonymous trysts the way men can; with the ever-present risk of physical assault it's prudent for a woman's to create a connection with a man before meeting him, to establish that he's safe and trustworthy.

For a married woman with kids, like Elizabeth Edwards (who has a nine-year-old and a seven-year-old), it's even harder to stray. According to Newsweek, women spend twice as much time taking care of kids and housework than men do, leaving them with less child or spouse-free moments to have a sexual tryst, let alone fulfilling, emotional relationship outside their marriage. And, despite the cougar trend, older women's sexuality is devalued in our culture, making it harder for a mature, married woman to find a partner in crime.


{C}In a Newsweek article that ran earlier this year, Tina Brown wrote, "in the relentless youth culture of the early 21st century, if you are 50 and female, the novel that's being written on your forehead every day is 'Invisible Woman.'" She was writing about Hillary Clinton's female supporters but her observation applies to any aging woman--even Christy Brinkley. At fifty-five, John Edwards is seen as an unmitigated hunk, while Brinkley, younger by a year (and the victim of a cheating husband), is a woman who looks really good for her age. (Seriously, Google "Christy Brinkley looks good for her age," then do the same for Edwards. There are no hits for the latter.)

Married women with kids are also less likely to cheat because they're invested in their children's lives and don't want to be the ones to tell the kids mommy and daddy are breaking up. As anthropologist Helen Fisher told Good Morning America, moms have "networks in the community, children, memories much more than the adultery." And, if they are a stay-at-home moms or have scaled back their career to benefit the couples' home life, being single again means entering a job market they've lost touch with. Silda Spitzer, for one, parked her high-powered lawyer career to help her husband's and to raise their children. Elizabeth Edwards is also "retired." So when she said, "when the door closes behind [John], he has his family waiting for him," what should have come next is –because I have no other options.

The fact that men tend to cheat for sex (or "ego" as Edwards put it) rather than relationship dissatisfaction, coupled with the extra time and access to cheaters resources makes it easy for men to cheat. Is this an excuse? No way. But as long as women spend more time at home and lose their sex appeal as they age they'll end up do a better job of keeping their pants on – even if they don't want to.