With the media's renewed interest in John Edwards' skeezy "groupie" philandering, and the vomit-inducing news about Cindy Crawford's husband, Rande Gerber, sexually harassing his cocktail servers, we've started analyzing cheating. Again. Yes, it's a favorite topic of ours.
However, rather than question the motives, we asked ourselves: do these men feel guilt? Or is it just a shoddy action explained away with rationalized logic and a raised fist to the sky, cursing the Gods for getting caught?
According to a recent study in Toronto, men and women have varying amounts of guilt depending on whether it's emotional or physical cheating. The scientists cornered 130 people and asked how guilty they would feel in a variety of situations, ranging from sex without love to love without sex.
Regardless of the fact that "sex without love" is so inherently male that you want to dress it in pants and stick it in a sports bar, men actually feel more pangs of remorse when there's sex involved. Meanwhile, women rationalize physical infidelity better than men. Ladies feel guiltiest if they find themselves in an emotional entanglement, they say.
Of course this is surprising. After all, it's long been pounded into our heads that men don't take sex seriously. For some, a fuzzy blow job in Vegas is as routine and emotionless as taking a shower. A simple desire followed by an action. While emotional attachment, on the flip side, is reserved for a select few—so wouldn't John Edwards and Rande Gerbe just internally brush off their sport-banging, and rush to the arms of the wives they love?
While logically the researchers would agree, they've concluded that sex in general is just more important to men than women. As they note, men would be more jealous if their significant other had a casual, physical fling than an emotional crush on a co-worker, for example. So it may just be a classic case of projection. As much as we pride ourselves on being empathetic and selfless, this is further proof we anticipate the feelings and needs of others based on our own internal values.