You have to give Lillie Yifu of Second Sex some credit for trying. Apparently figuring out the human behavior of men is as easy as watching the men who come through your virtual door and surmise a bunch of generalizations that you then turn into a blog entry, A Page From Men: The Missing Owner’s Manual — The Game of Sex (NSFW).

If you want to understand why men are unfaithful or visit prostitutes, you probably are better off either reviewing the psychological research literature on this topic, or at least begin not basing your observations on a single subset of the male population set is very, umm, how shall we say it, uniquely unique? People having virtual sex in a virtual environment that few people visit (and even fewer know of) isn’t exactly an unbiased sample.

According to Ms. Yifu,

The key is that we [women] often want to do things Together. Now a man thinks that doing a chore, Together, is a tax. It is two people doing something that one person can do. It means he is stuck listening to our criticisms and emotional moods, and he can’t be alone with his thoughts, which is one thing he values from working. Doing some chore together is points towards having sex together. Every time you do something Together, especially if that entire time is spent talking about things you want to talk about, if it does not lead to erotic encounter, then you’ve just trained him that Together is a bad thing.

Yes, that’s right. Men are just like Pavlovian dogs who are in need of some good training, that’s all. She appears to be implying that most men see spending any time with your mate that isn’t directly leading to sex (or sex itself) is simply time lost. Men won’t do chores unless they see it is positively correlated with sex, because, you know, most men are simply dirty slobs who sit around expecting to be waited on hand and foot by their partners!

It gets better…

Once trained that some particular thing, like clean dishes and a clean floor means having sex, he will see them and do them. Then move on to the next thing.

So first lesson from the missing owner’s manual. Men are wired to try and find and get sex, but what they are looking for is trainable. Train them to look for that time of the month when you’ve got the itch, and they will simply start serially slut searching, and pay attention to you, at best, when they think it matters. Train them to do things Together, and they will start to do those things automatically.

If this is the “missing owner’s manual” for men, I suggest you throw it away now. Delete your bookmark and move on. The only thing this manual will teach you is how to completely anger any typical man. Because no one — man or woman — wants to be treated like an object that needs “training.”

What actual, real research into relationships shows is another thing entirely. Infidelity occurs for numerous reasons, ranging from personality factors (Orzeck & Lung, 2005) to evolution-based theories about how extra-partner relationships are natural while monogamy is unnatural (Barash & Lipton, 2001). Other research shows that both men and women lie in relationships about infidelity, even though men reported more infidelity than women do (36% versus 21%, Stebleton & Rothenberger, 1993). And Corey (1989) suggests that sex is not the primary motivator for most affairs; a problematic relationship is. Adulterers cheat rather than face and resolve these problems. There is, of course, a lot more research in this area, but this gives you a sampling of the real reasons men (and women) cheat, and few of them have to do looking to play a “game of sex.”

A good, healthy relationship means understanding one another, including one’s sexual needs. In this way, men and women are not so different. Some women prefer romance, but guess what — so do some men. None of these types of generalizations are of any use until you understand the person (not the object) you are in a relationship with. That’s done through simple communication — sit down and talk about your sexual needs with your partner.

The sooner you do that, the sooner you’ll understand your partner’s sexual needs and be able to meet them.

That is at least one simple way you can help your partner avoid paying Ms. Yifu for sex in a virtual world.

References:

Barash, D.P. & Lipton, J.E. (2001). The myth of monogamy: Fidelity and infidelity in animals and people. New York, NY: W H Freeman/Times Books/ Henry Holt & Co.

Corey, M.A. (1989). Why Men Cheat: Psychological Profiles of the Adulterous Male. Springfield, IL, England: Charles C Thomas.

Orzeck, T. & Lung, E. (2005). Big-Five Personality Differences of Cheaters and Non-Cheaters. Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, 24(4), 274-286.

Stebleton, M.J. & Rothenberger, J.H. (1993). Truth or consequences: Dishonesty in dating and HIV/AIDS-related issues in a college-age population. Journal of American College Health, 42(2), 51-54.

Another critique of Ms. Yifu’s blog entry