Sex Studies 2 (of 2 today): Fidelity

by An Ordinary Man (the novel)

According to Maria Masters of, as written on this morning, “people in happy relationships subconsciously think others are less attractive” and are thus less likely to cheat.  The study she reported on was performed by researchers from Rutgers University and is due to be published in an upcoming issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

According to Masters, the researchers were not surprised by the finding and spoke of “a type of defense mechanism that’s known, in science-speak, as ‘devaluing temptation’ — or, in other words, thinking that something isn’t nearly as appealing as it might actually be” as one explanation.  The methodology was sort of confusing to me so I’d direct you to the article itself if I could make the link work, but in any event, there’s a strange corollary to this, as set forth in the book, An Ordinary Man.

As he noticed:

That was what was so comforting about a long-term relationship – your sexual memory was so strong, she was never older than the first time you did it with her; you were imprinted with her as she was then and while you were of course aware of changes over time, somewhere in your limbic system you were still fucking her as she was when she caught your attention the very first time. That’s why many men continue to wax rhapsodic about the beauty of women who frankly are not so attractive anymore. When men say their wife is the prettiest one in a room full of women, you can be pretty sure either she is, or she’s been doing him on a regular basis all along, keeping the memory of when she was fresh.