How experts believes the way society has conditioned women has affected our views on monogamy
Society tells us that cheating is bad, and it seems to be particularly frowned-upon for women.
For an awfully long time, women were told not to express our sexual desires or talk openly about sex, and we were meant to be the perfect loyal partners to our men.
But women don’t want to conform to this image any more. And one such woman is Swiss journalist and author, Michèle Binswanger.
Its books discusses many interesting topics about female sexuality. In its books, Binswanger tells the stories of various modern women who’ve cheated on their partners – stories we don’t often hear.
Studies suggest that men do cheat more than women – some figures state that 70 to 80 per cent will cheat on a partner at some point in their life, compared to 30 to 40 per cent of women.
Which is pretty depressing if you’re one for monogamy.
But do women cheat less than men because it’s actually part of our nature? Or is it social conditioning and what we think we’re expected to do?
Binswanger believes it’s the latter.
“Women are known to be more sensitive to social pressure than men and there has always been more pressure on proper sexual behaviour on women,” she told The Independent.
“Also they traditionally had fewer opportunities because they were more likely to stay at home with the kids.”
After all, if you’re not getting out and meeting potential partners for a torrid love affair, there’s less chance of you having one.
But this has changed a lot over the past few decades, as women’s liberation has changed female attitudes to our own sexuality.
“Today women have higher expectations about their sex life than 40 years ago, they want to experiment and are generally more independent,” Binswanger points out, adding that technology has given both men and women more opportunities than before.
But smartphones and social media have also blurred the lines as to what constitutes cheating. If you slip into someone’s DMs on Twitter and exchange a few cheeky messages, is it cheating?
Is a heart-eye emoji comment on an Instagram post allowed? What if it’s a topless snap?
Psychologists say that whilst women are more bothered by emotional affairs, it’s physical cheating that concerns men more.
This may explain why men and women tend to cheat for different reasons too.
“For men it’s often a question of opportunity,” says Binswanger. “If they get a perfect opportunity and the risk of being caught is very small, they might be more likely to cheat. Women usually have more opportunities, but other motivations.”
In speaking to women for her book, Binswanger found that the majority of women who cheated on their partners had been feeling frustrated in some way, whether with their relationship or just in life.
“Many felt undesired, unheard or just unhappy, so they started looking for excitement,” Binswanger explains.
She says often this is done subconsciously, and it’s not till after a woman is caught cheating that she realises why.
But Binswanger argues that cheating can actually, in some cases, be a good thing,
“For some women I talked to it helped them to discover their sexuality, their desire, their own needs and deeper wishes. Some told me their partner never listened and they tried to talk about stuff and nothing changed for years – until they cheated.
“When their partners started to realise they’d nearly lost their spouse, everything changed. And if the relationship survives the cheating and the two partners find a way to handle the experience, cheating can, like any mastered crisis, also bring a couple closer together.”
So essentially, having an affair can give your partner a kick up the backside and make him appreciate you again? It’s a risky approach to take.
Binswanger believes there should be a more relaxed approach to relationships and monogamy in today’s culture, especially concerning women.
“Throughout history, women have always been disciplined over their sexuality and not allowed to have a light and joyful approach,” she says.
“Sure, sometimes it’s hard to fight feelings of jealousy but sex is great and why is it so hard to allow someone we love and trust to have sex with other people?”
It’s a difficult question to answer, but many people would argue that is just is.