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Oink Oink

Why are guys such pigs? It’s a question I hear over and over again from my female friends, and believe me it isn’t a rhetorical question; it’s a query born of frustration after having been on the receiving end of male indiscretions and indifference.

Well, defining the behavior of guys is a good start. What do we do that make us pigs? Sexual infidelity is often the first crime on the list. We have a tendency to mess around and I don’t mean in a good way. Why is that? Well, science has explained it better than I could but it basically goes back to a primal urge to propagate the species and specifically, our own DNA. The more sexual partners we had (back in the Stone Age we’re talking here) the more likely that a baby would be produced. Given the infant mortality rates, it behooved us to reproduce as many times as possible in order to have a good shot at keeping the genetic strain around for the next generation.

Although I’m not sure it has been proven yet, I also believe that there was another imperative. It is believed that at one time, Homo sapiens existed at the same time Neanderthal did. Our only means of insuring the survival of the species given the existence of a competing species was to breed like rabbits and win the race on sheer numbers. Apparently, the strategy worked but quite frankly the urge to continue the race never really left our basic instincts.

That more or less explains what motivates us but we’re evolved now, right? We should be able to temper our urges with the knowledge that the behavior is not only no longer necessary but actually harmful. If we haven’t gotten the message, nature is sending it to us with diseases like Herpes and AIDS. Monogamy is much safer than spreading the genetic strain among multiple partners, but as a rule guys are a bit slower on the uptake. We still don’t get it.

So why are guys so obsessed with sex? We think about it on the average about once every two or three minutes, much more often than women do. There are a couple of reasons for that. For women, sex is as much an emotional act as a physical one. Women see sex as a function of love much more than men do and I honestly don’t blame them. After all, when a woman consents to sex she is consenting to the invasion of her body by a foreign object. How many guys are willing to consent to that, especially in such a vulnerable way (I’m talking straight guys here) when you think about it. For guys, the emotional part of sex is like an act of warfare – invading and conquering. The more territory we invade, the closer we get to winning the war. In that sense, sex is like a gigantic game of Risk to us men. The man who conquers the most territories wins.

Guys are also highly visual. We are turned on by sight. That’s why we are so into porn. That’s also why our heads can be turned by a beautiful woman in a teeny weeny bikini. It’s not a commentary on the desirability of the woman we’re with. Most of the time we’re not even interested in cheating on our partners. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t look at the menu and fantasize about ordering off of it from time to time.

In that sense, women play into our behavior big time. Once upon a time, women relied on men for protection, for obtaining food and obtaining shelter. A woman without a mate ran a very real risk of starving, of freezing or of being raped without having a man to provide her with the necessities. Therefore it was in a woman’s best interests to be as attractive to men as possible in order to obtain a mate. That kind of behavior has continued into the 21st century. If it didn’t, the fashion and cosmetics industries would be obsolete.

That’s not to say that men don’t want to be sexually attractive either. After all, part of our genetic mandate is to find the best possible mate in order to create offspring that have a better chance of survival. Men being such visual creatures, we define the best possible mates by how physically attractive they are. Society being what it is, the competition for the best looking females is fierce so it is necessary for guys to be attractive in order to land the prettiest mate.

But it isn’t just for that reason that we want to be acknowledged as sexually attractive. Our male ego, our self-image, revolves around our ability to be sexually attractive. Often as we grow older, we need validation that we can continue to attract sexual partners, even if we’re in a stable loving relationship. Those of us who are more evolved get that acknowledgement by flirting and being flirted with in return. Those of us who are less evolved have to have more concrete proof; e.g. they cheat. Never underestimate the ability of the male ego to screw up a good thing.

The flirting is not always an indication of a desire to stray. I’m no different than any other guy – I want acknowledgement that I’m still attractive and desirable, just like every other knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that drinks beer and watches football on Sundays. However, I’m also a bit of a realist. I realize that given the state of my body that I’m not going to elicit the kind of oohs and aahs that Taylor Lautner running bare-chested down a beach is going to. Given the limitations of my physical appearance, I have to find that validation by giving it to others first, and allowing myself to be more attractive emotionally. Now granted, that’s not the only reason that I do what I do but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that wasn’t a significant part of it.

Not all of us cheat. Some of us have enough empathy or loyalty to remain true to our partners, but unfortunately a too-large percentage of the male population is unfaithful. In that sense, we are certainly pigs but don’t give up hope; a new species of wild guinea pig has been discovered to be monogamous. If they can do it, there might be hope for the male species yet.

Cheating might not even be our most heinous crime against the opposite sex. Taking them for granted just might be the number one relationship killer. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve talked to who have complained that their mate doesn’t appreciate them. Men rarely acknowledge the contributions of our mates to the relationship and quite frankly, we acknowledge our feelings towards our mates even more rarely.

Women have lower self-esteem than men. That’s pretty much documented. They require that acknowledgement that they are loved, that they are needed, that they are appreciated. Ignore this at your peril, gentlemen or you may find yourself wondering why your wife packed her bags and took the kids to her mother’s. Part of our job in our relationship is not only to sit on the couch and control the remote; it’s also to make sure our wives are aware of their meaning to us. Ladies, do give your men a break though. We have been conditioned since birth that expressing our feelings is an unmanly thing to do. I know, its horse manure but it is still sadly, the reality of men. He may not necessarily say how he feels in words but keep an eye out for his deeds. Men who walk the walk are worth a hundred who can talk the talk. If they are consistently there for you and treat you like a princess, even if they don’t say it they are telling you how they feel. Men are doers by nature and most prefer to let their actions do the talking. Try and keep that in mind.

So are men really pigs? To a certain extent, yes we are. Some of it is part of the genetic code but some of it is environmental; we were raised this way. Nature vs. nurture after all is less the point than nature combined with nurture. Can we help the way we act? Yes and no. We’re generally aware of what we’re doing most of the time (unless we’re drunk in which case all bets are off) and those of us with enough empathy can reign in our more heinous instincts and act honorably. However too many guys don’t care enough to bother. We can get into the reasons for it but it boils down to self-centeredness, and that’s one quality guys have in spades, sadly. Those of us who act like pigs tend to do so because we don’t care about anyone more than we care about ourselves. That’s one DNA trait I personally wouldn’t mind seeing bred out of the species.


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