Like Sex with Dr. Jess on FacebookFollow Sex with Dr. Jess on InstagramFollow Sex with Dr. Jess on TwitterSubscribe to Sex with Dr. Jess's channel on YouTubeSubscribe to Sex with Dr. Jess's RSS feed
Sex with Dr. Jess

Blog

November 16, 2016

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

image1

Let’s talk about cheaters. Whether motivated by narcissism, commitment issues, or insecurity, Sexologist and Relationship Expert Jessica O’Reilly discusses the reasons why people cheat. Can you still be a good person after you’ve cheated?

Rough Transcript:

This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.

Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

Participant #1:
Hello. My name is Jessica O’Reilly, and I’m a sex and relationship expert, and my focus is on sexual compatibility because sexual compatibility is essential to a lasting, happy relationship. I am here to help you become sexually compatible because compatibility is something you cultivate. It’s not something you find. You have to work for it, and it will be worth it once you’re living happily ever after. Today’s show is all about cheating. Why does that happen? And what can you do about it? This week, cheating is everywhere in our news feeds. Usain Bolt my hero, my fave waking up late at night to watch him run. There have been photos revealed of him in bed with a girl. We’re waiting for his girlfriend to react. Michael Phelps, Justin Bieber Again, Ray Jay, Selena Gomez, Ozzy Osborne. They’re all dealing with cheating, rumors and accusations. So it’s everywhere, all around us. But cheating is nothing new. And this week’s stories are certainly not exceptional. So what makes people seemingly happy? People who can have whatever they want to begin with, what makes them cheat? Well, first, I want to say that there aren’t cheaters and non cheaters. All right, just because you cheated once doesn’t mean you’ll do it again. Once a cheater, not always a cheater. And just because you’ve never done it all the high and mighty folk, just because you’ve never done it doesn’t mean you’re better than the rest, and that you’ll never do it because to cheat on a partner is an action. It’s not an identity. But why do we cheat? Why do cheaters do it? What does the research say? Well, some do it because they’re insecure. It might seem counterintuitive, but people who experience anxiety about sexual performance, people who are nervous about what they’re like in bed, they’re 7% more likely to cheat. Maybe they do it to avoid facing their fears in a high stakes, meaningful relationship. Maybe they do it to sabotage said relationship. Maybe they’re afraid of the relationship and cheating is their way out. Maybe they cheat because they think they’ll overcome their insecurities with a stranger or someone with whom the connection is just superficial. But whatever the case, these people cheat because they can’t or they won’t bring themselves to be honest with themselves and their partner. They don’t address their insecurities. So that’s one reason now others cheat because they are narcissists. They get off on being selfish and stroking their own ego through sexual conquests. Now, let me be really clear because I’m sure a lot of you out there have cheated. So let me be clear that not all cheaters are narcissists. Okay, there are plenty of good people who cheat. I want to write a book one day, the Good Cheater. But research does show that those who have inflated sexual egos, those who see themselves as sexually entitled, and those who have kind of grandiose notions of sexual skill. We all know that type. They are more likely to cheat. So we’ve got insecurity and narcissism. Now. Other cheaters do it because of a deficit in their relationship. They’re missing something. And I think most of us, if we’re going to chalk up our cheating to something, we go with this one. We say we cheated because we’re just not getting what we want from our partners. So we sought it in an outside source. It could be that we’re missing love or passion or sex or attention or novelty or challenge or the thrill of taking risks. Now, these cheaters, this is interesting, and I think we all have to be careful of this. These cheaters will try to blame their partners.

Right. Well, you weren’t giving me what I needed, but ultimately, oh, no, no. It falls on you to tell your partner what you’re missing and to show them how to give it to you. You have to train your lover. All right? They do not come to you fully grown and blossomed. You’ve got to train your partner to give you what you want. And if you can’t communicate what you need, it’s often because. And here’s the big one, folks, you avoid vulnerability. You don’t want to have those vulnerable conversations. And if this is the case, you’re likely going to cheat again in future relationships. So you need to learn to communicate your needs. And if you do communicate your needs in your partner’s language, a language they understand, and they can’t or won’t meet your needs, then you know you’re simply not compatible. All right. So why do cheaters cheat? We’ve covered cheating due to insecurity, narcissism, relationship deficits and a fourth cause. Here we go, one that I don’t want to overstate because I want people to take accountability for their actions. But we can’t ignore sexual personality. And I want to emphasize, really, this is about personal accountability, and I want to underscore that you can’t blame genetics. Propensity doesn’t equal inevitability. But here’s what the science says. Some people are more sexually excitable than others. They respond more strongly, more quickly, more intensely to sexual stimuli. You know this because if you’ve been with different partners, you know that some took a while to get excited. Others just walked around ready to go anytime because the wind was blowing outside. And for every unit of increase in sexual excitability, the likelihood of cheating increases. 4%. This is actually for men. There’s no Association between sexual excitability and cheating that’s been identified in women. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It means we just haven’t found a way necessarily to measure and identify it. Finally. And this is one other reason people cheat. And this list is not exhaustive because we will be here until midnight if we covered all the reasons people cheat. But some people cheat because they are just not meant to be monogamous. They don’t want to be monogamous. They don’t believe they need to be monogamous, and they act accordingly. This, of course, is a recipe for disaster if they get into a monogamous relationship. And the unfortunate part is that we live in a culture in which monogamy is touted as the ideal relationship arrangement. And this is absurd. All right, we don’t have to debate whether or not monogamy is natural to arrive at the reasonable conclusion that at minimum, monogamy should not be mandatory. If you don’t want to be monogamous, please don’t be find a partner or multiple partners who are on board and live your life. You do you but do not get married into a monogamous relationship. If you know you want to have sex with a whole bunch of people. If you know that you get bored after a few months and you want to go find something new late in the shadows of night, just don’t commit to a monogamous relationship. The real problem, I think with this part of cheating, cheating that’s rooted in the fact that some of us are simply not monogamous, is that this problem arises because most of us, we accept monogamy or we fall into monogamy as a default. We don’t even consider that. Hey, it is one of many options. I always say that we need, like, a big relationship buffet that runs the gamut from wide open to full monogamy with chocolate covered strawberries on that buffet, too. And we need to line up and figure out what actually works for us. This is how you cultivate compatibility. You start by finding someone whose shade of monogamy or non monogamy lines up with yours. So to recap five reasons for cheating rooted in science insecurity narcissism a deficit in the relationship that you are not able to or unwilling to address sexual personality. And finally, a propensity for non monogamy. Now, I want to talk a little about what we can do about cheating in relationships, but I also want to take a call, so I believe we have Laura on the line. Are you there?

Participant #1:
I believe we have Laura on the line. Laura, are you there? Hi. How are you doing today? I understand you have a story to tell about cheating. You have cheated on a partner in the past.

Participant #1:
Okay, why don’t we start with the first? Tell me a little bit about the first relationship.

Participant #1:
How did you find that attention?

Participant #1:
So what stopped you from telling your partner what type of attention you needed? Do you think you were young and you didn’t really know how to identify it and communicate it? What made you see

Participant #1:
how old were you when you got the dog?

Participant #1:
It sounds as though, and women are more likely to deem emotional affairs as highly detrimental to a relationship, whereas men are more likely to see sexual or physical affairs as detrimental. And that doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot of gender overlap. I don’t want to release strong binary. So moving forward in another relationship because inevitably, folks, Laura and everybody else out there, inevitably, in every single relationship. There are going to be times, maybe even long periods of time where you’re not getting the attention you need, where your emotional or sexual needs are not going to be fulfilled. And this is where you’re at this crossroads where you can say, all right, I’m going to work on it in my relationship, or I’m going to seek an outside source. And it seems easier oftentimes to speak an outside source because it’s new. It’s fresh. You’ve got the adrenaline, the dopamine, the serotonin on your side. And that’s why we do it. But moving forward, what do you think you could have done differently, Laura?

Participant #1:
Yeah. And we’re talking about a teenage relationship. You’re older now. You’re in your twenties. You are.

Participant #1:
So you went back to him. Did you break up at any point?

Participant #1:
All right. Okay. And so how many years has it been now?

Participant #1:
Okay. And let’s just clarify it. If someone broke your nose, that’s not an accident. That’s abuse. That’s a different topic. Now. Does your partner now that this is interesting because this is a whole new story. This is really about coming together after cheating, right? Taking somebody back. And does he trust you?

Participant #1:
So you’re in the process of rebuilding that trust. And one thing that everyone has to remember and you have to remember and he has to know is that following up and checking up on someone isn’t really rebuilding trust, right? You have to find other ways to rebuild trust. But I want to ask you, do you trust yourself? Do you feel like you’ll cheat again?

Participant #1:
So you see the value in him in the relationship, in all of his gifts of animals. All right. Well, I wish you all the best, and we’re going to move on and talk a little bit more now about what you can do about cheating. So we’re talking about cheating today. Whether you’ve cheated or whether you’ve been cheated on, you’re ultimately likely have the same fears about whether you’ll do it again, whether you can trust your partner and what you can do about it. And in many cases, there’s a lot you can do to stave off cheating. Now, you cannot affair, proof your relationship, and you can’t make your partner less of a narcissist. That’s something they have to do themselves. But you can improve the compatibility in your relationship or marriage to reduce the risk of cheating. The data says that approximately 20% of us admit to cheating in our current relationships and the rates for lifetime cheating. So not cheating right now. But I have cheated are certainly higher in the 40% range. But if 20 40% of people cheat, this means that 60% to 80% do not. And so based on my conversations with really thousands of couples, I’d say the higher numbers are more accurate, and that’s certainly anecdotal you’ll see some data that says you’ve got a 50% chance of being cheated on depending on where you look. So the reality is, folks, this is a real issue. This is a really huge threat to relationships. So if you want to reduce the risk of cheating in your relationship, here is what you can do. You have to make yourselves compatible. How do you do this? One straightforward way is to make a really simple relationship contract. I love a contract. Now you write down three things that you need that would help keep you committed and happy in your relationship. And your partner does the same. Start with three simple things and do not hold back. You might ask for sex three times a week. That might be what keeps you happy and committed. Or you might ask that the chores in your house be split down the middle, whatever you need to make sure you’re satisfied. And here’s the kicker. Free of resentment. Resentment sinks relationships. So think hard about what you need to save off resentment. Now, just because you write down that you want sex three times per week doesn’t mean you’re going to get it okay. It doesn’t mean they have to fulfill every term of your relationship, but it is a starting point. It helps your partner to understand your needs. And the second part involves adding a rationale for your needs. Why do you want sex three times a week? Is it because it keeps you connected, reduces stress, makes you feel loved and safe? Is it because sex is just really important to you? The rationale is as important as the needs themselves as it offers your partner a glimpse really into what motivates and fulfills you. So you’re writing down what you need and why you need it and sharing it with your partner. Now, writing contracts and relationships really should be a non negotiable. I don’t care if it’s unromantic. If you’re married, you’ve signed a contract. But how absurd is it that you signed a lifetime contract without delineating the terms? You would never do this in any other realm. When you lease a car, you agree to keep the car in a specific condition. You agree to the regularity of oil changes and maintenance and repairs. You agree to pay on a specific date every month. You’ve likely made greater efforts to negotiate and review the terms of a car or apartment lease, then your relationship and you expect your relationship to thrive. If this is the case, you’re fooling yourself. Simple contracts that help you. Simple contracts that help you and your partner to identify what you value in a relationship and why you value. These things are one way to better understand one another and ultimately save off cheating. Other strategies to reduce the risk of cheating involve open, vulnerable conversations about two big things. Two conversations you have to have. The first is about feelings, sexual feelings. When it comes to sex, you’ve got to dig down deep and identify and share and describe the path. Here it is to your core, sexual feeling. What is your core sexual feeling? This, folks, is the feeling you need to experience in order to have and enjoy sex. How do you need to feel for sex to be hey, an option and be really good. So each person’s core sexual feeling is different. Some of us really just need to feel loved in order to have sex. And you’ll see, like, a lot of traditional therapies really rooted in the idea that we need to feel loved in order to have sex. But it is not a universal experience. I don’t need to feel loved. That’s not my core sexual feeling. Others need to feel safe. Their core sexual feeling is that they need to feel challenged. Others need to feel sexy. It is the core feeling, and it takes some work and a good degree of honesty to identify yours. But first, you need to figure out what it is. What is the feeling that your body and mind associates positively with sex? You need to figure out what it is and tell your partner all right. And I also mentioned that you have to have vulnerable conversations about a second topic, your fantasies. And this is a challenging one. We’re going to come back to both of these topics, how to identify your core sexual feeling and how to talk about your sexual fantasies with a partner. I think in an upcoming episode because you need to talk about your sexual fantasies and you need to listen to your partners openly. And most of us are not very good at it. You’ve got to do it with vulnerability, but not with judgment. If you cannot talk about your sexual fantasies and desires and support your partner in sharing and cultivating theirs, their fantasies. You are going to struggle to develop sexual compatibility. And you need this sexual compatibility for happy, lasting, stable friendship. So we’re running out of time. So I’m just going to list a few other strategies to stave off cheating in your relationship. Next would be take turns initiating sex. This can’t be one sided. You’ve got to push your comfort zone in the name of a lasting relationship and yet another one. This is a really simple one, rooted in science. You got to show one another gratitude. Say thank you. It’s simple. The research says that saying thank you is more important than I love you. And next, if you run into a problem, get help, man. If you guys are stuck on an issue of compatibility or sex or simple practicality in the relationship, don’t wait six years after the problem arises to see a counselor nip it in the bud. My husband and I do this. We don’t see a counselor on an ongoing basis, but when we’re fighting or we get stuck on an issue, oh, my gosh. We make an appointment right away, and it’s not really. I wouldn’t see it as therapy. It’s more of a strategy session or a conflict resolution session, and we make the most of it. We walk in there with our list, we tell the Council what we need to get over and we work on it. It’s kind of like a problem solving meeting you would have at work. So don’t wait. We do not wait. We don’t let something drag on for six months, six minutes, and I’m like, no, no. I’m emailing Wayne. That’s his name to make an appointment with him right now. And then finally, because we have to wrap up. If you want to stave off cheating, you’ve got to address jealousy in a constructive way. We all get jealous. It’s inevitable. Every single one of us gets jealous, so admit it. Embrace it and do something about it. So to recap here, you’re going to make yourself compatible. By starting with the contract. You’re going to talk about your core sexual feeling. Talk about your sexual fantasies. Take turns. Initiating sex. Say thank you. Go get help when you need it, and address jealousy. That is all the time we have for today. Your homework. Should you choose to accept it involves getting started on that relationship contract. Even if you’re not ready to bring that list to your partner, write down your needs. Get started on identifying what you need to be happy, satisfied, and committed to this relationship. Because from Laura’s Call, we know that she didn’t even really realize it at the time. You’re missing something. So you seek it someplace else. It’s an animalistic drive. Even if it’s not sexual. In her case, it was emotional, just like the body corrects itself. If I hurt my right ankle, my left side of my body starts to overcompensate. We do the same things in relationships. So knowing what you want out of the relationship can help stop you from cheating and ask your partner to do the same. You’ve been listening to Sex With Jess. Today’s show was brought to you by Vigor Man by greenish Vigor man is a Halal Kosher Veg certified Gluten and dairy Free supplement. Quite a mouthful. Approved to support the physiological and psychological components of male sexual health. Thank you, vigor man. Tune in next week, folks. We’ll be looking at the latest sex research and how you can apply it to the happiest relationship and greatest sex of your life.