Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dr. Oz and the Science of Cheating: Are Men Worth It?

If this is how men really are, I don't want one.

I don't usually watch Dr. Oz, but a lazy day off contributed to more TV time than normal. I only caught about half the show before I couldn't handle it any more and I switched channels. The topic does seem to be rather out of what I thought were his usual healthy lifestyle tips, however. Basically, the essence of the show was that men cheat for two main reasons: 1) they have a gene that predisposes them to it and 2) they don't feel appreciated at home.

The other crux of conversation was how a woman can tell if her man is lying to her, involving detection of various body language cues, and summed up by claiming that a woman's gut intuition is the best indication, putting responsibility for detection on her. My stomach wrenches literally even now when I think about it. I am surprised by my emotional reaction to this. Normally I can just shake these sorts of shows off my back.

I admit that I am particularly sensitive because of a relationship where I suspected cheating at various times over six years, and looked the other way because I believed that if I only gave him time and space, he would realize his errors on his own. I also believed strongly in making my man feel appreciated, and ripped myself to shreds trying to do just that, with the end result that nothing I gave was enough. He was convinced he was both underappreciated and worthless (a strange dichotomy!) and nothing I had to say on the subject mattered or was even heard by him. I faced many accusations of not being there enough, and so I'd try to "be there" more . . . until there was little "me" left in the "being there."

Add that his "gut intuition" was convinced I was cheating on him, despite his being horribly wrong—a gut intuition which eventually contributed wildly to the destruction of my marriage—and no wonder I have severe reactions to this idea of a suspicious and fact-checking relational climate.

At any rate, I don't normally post this sort of topic here, except that in struggling with this issue I came to something that I thought of some eternal worth.

I feel the Spirit brought to my mind Jacob's speech to his priesthood brethren. Perhaps there is something to the studies Dr. Oz quotes that roughly 54% of men cheat because they have a gene, because they are just naturally more prone to that behavior, (which also brought to mind the online outcry against the tendency of Conference talks to praise women's righteousness.) In verses 31-33, Jacob quotes the Lord as saying,
"For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people . . . because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands. And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people . . . shall come up unto me against the men of my people . . . For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction . . . ."

For nature is no excuse. This is just another iteration of argument that demonstrates the insidiousness of "my genes made me do it" approaches to human behavior. There are many people with a genetic predisposition to anger. This does not mean that murder is okay. And yet, so many people seem to believe that if they have a gene which predisposes them to promiscuity or a host of other traits, that somehow Nature's seal of approval justifies them. And yet, both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that nature is unable to receive God . . . in fact, that nature is an enemy to God. Because of the Fall, nature leads to sorrow and sin, rather than lasting pleasure, eternal pleasure.

And, as I struggled with a surprisingly strong cacophony of emotions, I realized that this is part of Satan's great wedge driven between the genders and through families. After all, if most men are unfaithful, and if that is justified in their eyes, what is the point of having men at all? Why should women even bother with men other than on a very limited, physical basis, when their real, emotional needs are ignored and trampled to the ground by them? Why?

Because I have to believe God when He gave the priesthood to men. I have to believe that there are still men out there who honor Him and their priesthood. I cannot believe that God would give His authority to a people so wholly undeserving. There must be men who love Him the way I am learning to love Him—perhaps not perfectly, but wholeheartedly—men who seek the Lord and "take delight in approaching to God". Even if He never leads me to such a man in marriage in this life, I have met a few such men, men who do not look at scientific studies to excuse behavior, but lift their eyes to that Savior who gave them life. I know they exist, and for that, I am grateful. Further, I have to believe that God's promises to me regarding such a marriage will be kept. I may have no evidence of such a relationship for me, but I have faith.

And faith trumps Dr. Oz and all the studies in the world.


  1. Great post.

    I'm baffled as to why there'd be anyone upset over General Conference talks praising righteousness. Is there an explanation that actually makes sense?

  2. SilverRain,

    With whom do you imagine those men are cheating? Doesn't it stand to reason that it takes two to tango, and that therefore the rate of cheating among men and women is roughly equal?

    Do you really believe women are more righteous than men? Based only on this post, I assume that you do.

  3. "With whom do you imagine those men are cheating?"

    I think the post is about married men, not all men in general. Therefore, although it may take two to tango, the woman involved may be single, and so not cheating on her spouse.

  4. Listen- married women cheat, just ask my ex-wife. All I did was work hard and provide her with every thing she ever needed or asked for. I didn't cheat. There doesn't have to be a gene for it, some people, both men and women are just scumbags. Oh another thing, I think that women are better liars or at least feel so justified in what they do, that they don't confess or get caught as often as men do.

  5. FelixandAva—the explanation for upset over such talks is that they artificially inflate women's righteousness, infantilizing them and making it seem as though women are automatically more righteous than men. I don't think that is what those talks mean, but there are many who do.

    C Jones is right, Mark . . . and I'll easily admit my post is rather rambly, which is why you probably missed my point.

    I'm saying, in a rambly sort of way, that I prefer to believe that there are men worthy of the priesthood, rather than buy into Dr. Oz's pop culture excuses for sin in men (that they just can't help it). In a way, it's saying the same thing that so many who are outraged at women's righteousness talks claim those talks are saying: that men are incapable of controlling their appetites and are no better than animals. Although I have met men who do not take responsibility for their behavior and place it on any external source they can find, I believe there are men who do not.

    It's not to say that women are better than men . . . I'm well aware that there are many unrighteous women, and many who cheat. And if Dr. Oz ever dares to present a show justifying their behavior and placing the responsibility for that behavior on genetics and on the shoulders of their men, and I happen to catch that show, you can rest assured that I'd be equally unsettled by it and equally prone to share whatever supposedly useful thoughts I gain from my outrage.

  6. Not to worry, SilverRain. I understand you better now. And thank you for following up, I appreciate it.

  7. Using your reasoning above…Are children who are born and sold into sexual slavery, who have never heard of Bible or Mormons, given ‘a free pass’ (by God) on their sexual sins that they perform? What when they become the adults? Are they somehow suppose to know that they are sinning against Jesus (or whom ever Mormon’s use) even though they never heard of him, or had any control over many aspects of they life? What if they heard of him, but that was their life? Are they supposed to grow up and not sin? And if they do sin it’s because: are just not praying enough, or trying enough, or their spirit or will is not strong enough, or they are possessed, or this or that. (And we are talking about the same spirit that God had made; but, somehow we are ‘bad’ should we be dealt this God made ‘spirit’ and are not able to overcome our depression, lack of will, mistrust, or whatever.) It seems to me that God has a lot of fun in hurting people. And if he doesn’t, but instead forgives those people- then, he just has fun on making a set of rules that apply to some, but not to others?

    It seems to me that that would be a type of god made up by people who are self-righteous (as they would have done or do better, and their sins are not as ‘bad’ as the other ones); the people who are narcissistic (as they think that their version of God is better than the others’ guy version (yes, the same ‘other guy’ that was made by the one and only god, and was given a different type of life); the people who believe that they are better than the rest of the world (as ‘they’ have the right understanding of the current religion or rules- in their given version of the Bible); and they are certainly more favorite to god (as god chose ‘them’ to give them the ‘proper’ understanding and access to the ‘right’ book or religion); Am I right?

    Or is possible that genes may influence sexuality as much as they may influence you to believe and become the above? And that the God has no ‘favorite’ book, but rather loves all? Or is that impossible as it would mean that your version is not right? Funny, though, no matter what religion, you all think the same!

  8. P.S. Ironically, you push more sinners away from God than Satan does himself. So, if your ‘book version’ is the right one- you are all going to hell!

    Keep on throwing those stones ‘non-sinners’!!!


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