You know those typically annoying advertisement videos on YouTube that play before the video you actually want to watch? Well, that’s where all this started. I saw the first few seconds of the advertisement and thought it would at least be amusing. Interestingly enough, this video wasn’t annoying, and was thought-provoking as well as amusing. It turns out it was a video produced by Glamour Magazine. I don’t follow Glamour’s YouTube or Twitter feeds, and I don’t think it would make much sense if I did. Nothing against them or those who follow them, and I think even they would agree that it wouldn’t make sense if they were to get to know me for less than an hour.
The video caught my attention because it was apparently part of a Why Do Guys? series. This video has Tracy Pendergast and Katlyn Carlson going out on the street and asking guys a few questions. The main one seemed to be Why do guys cheat?
I tweeted Tracy Pendergast and told her the short version: Because guys aren’t men anymore. After that, I thought that it might be wise to lay out the more detailed thought process behind my quick answer. I tried to isolate one of the major differences between guys and men, and it came down to one word: responsibility.
The main problem with guys today is that they barely take responsibility for themselves, and certainly not for their relationships and the emotions of woman they’re dating.
Status Covers Sins
A big part of the problem here is that guys have grown up in a culture where they don’t have to take responsibility. I’m not talking about feminism freeing guys to be lazy, though there might be some merit to that argument. I mean, overall, guys aren’t taught to be responsible. They might be taught to be responsible for themselves financially, if that, but they haven’t been taught to take responsibility for their relationships and to selflessly sacrifice for the sake of society. The fact that high school football players can rape a girl and their football coach cover for them and even threaten the press is just one evidence of this, albeit extreme. They’re taught that if they have the right status they can do what they want without consequence. What’s worse, this belief persists into adulthood.
Another reason guys don’t feel they have to take responsibility stems from the seeming denial of our control over sexual desires. We don’t see this so much in the Christian context, but outside of that context many people are functional evolutionists, even if they wouldn’t confess that verbally. They live as though we are actually another breed of animal. What I mean is that our culture approaches sex with an It’s just natural and you can’t fight it attitude. And not only that you can’t, but you shouldn’t. Be smart, be safe, but don’t fight it. We’re just like animals, and they don’t fight their desires, right? seems to be the refrain echoed in our culture through advertisements and media. Granted, most people would argue for this inside of a committed relationship, but the problem is that when the commitment isn’t lifelong, this worldview will cause more harm than good.
The problem with the Our impulses are stronger than our will so we shouldn’t fight it mentality is that we don’t apply this logic anywhere else. When we go out to the jungle and watch a lion kill another animal we don’t think that’s wrong. Sure, our heart strings might get tugged and we’ll feel bad for the gazelle that just became dinner, but we won’t think it’s morally wrong. Come back into the city and see a person kill another person on the street and we know there is something morally wrong there, even if the person was legitimately angry. Society and government expect us to restrain our baser instincts for the good of the community. If you murder someone, you go to jail – and sometimes get the death penalty. Seeing monkeys fling their poop at each other on Discovery Channel is hilarious (and gross), but if a person does that they earn a trip to the psych ward to have their sanity checked, because they should be able to control themselves better than that.
So, why do we allow this impulse-trumps-will-when-it-comes-to-sex school of thought to pervade media, society, and schools when we know it doesn’t line up with our philosophy on anything else? Because sex causes pleasure. In light of that, we think that if it’s two people consenting to this relationship that it’s none of our business, even if this relationship takes place outside of marriage. But we wouldn’t say the same thing if two people consented to have one of them kill the other. We would fight against this not only for the good of society, but for the good of the people involved. The same goes for sex. I mean, anyone who has had sex and broken up with the person they slept with can tell you about the scars that experience left on their heart, about the damage it caused. It wasn’t designed to be this way, and when we go against that design we leave a trail of broken hearts and broken promises in our wake. This monumental damage not only affects the people in the relationship, but the community as a whole.
These two aspects come together to bring us tragedy. On the one hand we have boys who see they can get away with being immoral if they have the right status, and on the other we have the chorus of “If it feels good, do it” streaming into our homes through TV and the Internet. And in between we have all of us getting cold-cocked has these hands swiftly come together. Not just the girls who get cheated on, but the guys who do the cheating, and the men and women who try to help pick up the broken pieces.
When these two views on life rule, women become no more than sex objects for the guy who thinks he has the right status to do as he pleases. Not to mention the influence and affects of porn. That’s why guys cheat. Guys cheat because they don’t take up the mantle of responsibility. Guys cheat because think they they don’t have to treat women well. Guys cheat because they think they can get away with it and because they only view women as sex objects instead of beautiful, valuable creations made in the image of God to be cherished, loved, and protected.
God help us.
I apologize for the length of this post, but it was something I felt was best addressed in one post. I don’t think I’ve covered all the reasons behind why a guy would cheat, but these seemed to be the most prominent to me.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to join the conversation in the comments!