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The Novelty Thing 

For most men, most of the time, excitement in sex is about novelty, in one form or another. For women, with more emotional vulnerabilities, the chance of pregnancy, and greater risk of serious sexually transmitted disease, satisfying sex is less about novelty and more about having a high level of comfort with one’s partner. That is why in the beginning of most relationships, the man is more anxious to have sex than the woman; she is new to him, and has the value of newness and novelty. For the same reasons, the woman is less interested in sex, as her comfort level is not yet high.

At some point, maybe in weeks or months, or perhaps even days or years depending on the individuals involved, the woman reaches a comfort level with the man while the man still finds the woman sexually new and fresh. It is at this brief period that sex is most mutually satisfying. For most men, in days, weeks, months, or, at most, a couple years, the novelty of sex with a particular woman will have worn off, and from that point forward sex with her may be seen more as routine, and eventually a duty, obligation, or chore. Thus, the man will be most sexually aggressive in the beginning of a relationship – this is so well known as to be beyond cliché; what is less often acknowledged, because less culturally accepted, is the later period when the woman is the sexual initiator. The fact that society refuses to acknowledge men’s waning interest in sex with the same partner is yet another bow to political correctness, which wants to foster the illusion that both the man and woman can have exciting and mutually rewarding monogamous sexual relations for life. A nice idea, with only one problem – it almost never happens. Not long after the woman is comfortable the man is bored. A relationship that goes much deeper than physical attraction is the only thing that will sustain sexual desire over the long run. But how many couples really have such a relationship?

Novelty is not dependent on the beauty of the lover; it is just as potent a force with the most beautiful model or movie star as with the average women, which explains why Hollywood’s fantasy marriages often come unraveled so quickly – once the sexual thrill is gone one is left with a partnership and the realization that beauty, while lovely, really is, as the saying goes, skin deep. The fact that the most desirable men have so many exciting options also explains the temptation to look outside of marriage for excitement once the initial thrill is gone.

Of course, there are many ways of achieving variety; the use of unusual positions, change of scenery, role playing, provocative clothing – with sexy lingerie for women being the most common. But for men the most fundamental way of providing variety is through different sexual partners. Some cultures acknowledge this: in France, it’s often said that a good marriage takes two, sometimes three; in Latin America, it’s said that only the woman gets married. In fact, only in North America, and particularly the United States, is the idea of marital fidelity for men upheld as sacrosanct. American men that are caught in infidelities often face stiff punishment including the end of their marriage and punitive divorces both in terms of losing child custody and ruinous financial settlements. As a result, many, perhaps most, American men are trapped in sexually boring relationships, which partly explains the huge Internet porn sensation, providing fantasy for bored married men.

In America, where the idea of fairness permeates everything, women might ask why it is “fair” for men to seek sexual variety while women are stuck with monogamy. But the fact is that men seem to have more of a need for variety, and women more of a need for stability, and allowing men sexual variety is one way of providing what is important to men while still allowing them to maintain the roles of husband and father, thus creating the stability that is important to women. There are many cultures in Western Europe and Latin America that manage to mix very strong, patriarchal families with sexually unfaithful husbands. But the broader answer may be that there is nothing fair about any of this – or about most other aspects of human life – unless one can say that fairness is in being faithful to one’s nature and genetic code, and in this case that nature; the programming of men – is to spread their seed, while the nature of women is to protect and nurture the family unit; to the extent that male and female urges are not compatible, it is a sign more of a flaw, if seen as such, in the nature of men and women.

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