Why Is My Husband Attracted To Other Women?

I had a reader question essentially along the lines of “why is my husband attracted to other women?  What do I do? Why aren’t I good enough?”  Plus they are a very young couple…
Hi (young wife),
It’s actually normal for a husband to have a general sexual interest in other women. For a 20 year old husband it’s very normal. 20 year old males are basically hard wired to screw anything that moves. So in that sense it’s not “about you”. It’s just the testosterone talking in him. The husbands that don’t have a general sexual interest in other women have wives that write to me asking how to get their husbands interested in sex with them. So the good news is that your husband is heterosexual and has a pulse.
The very good news is that despite what I assume was a surprise pregnancy etc, he’s stuck with you and you guys have started making a life and family together. He very likely DOES love you, and the kids. It’s all very grown up and responsible and he’s probably pair bonded to you pretty good by now. Even 30 year old men struggle with being a grown up and fathering children.
So there is a sort of a natural conflict between wanting to do the 20 year old thing, and having to do the 30 year old thing instead. I’m sure that you feel those same feelings at times too.
So rather than frame the question as “why does he want other women / why am I not good enough?”, why not see it as “he has a high sexual drive / he’s expressing he needs help with it”.
What you can do is actively listen to him about it. You can let him vent and express frustration, but also be clear that the appropriate person to have sex with is you, that there will indeed be negative consequences for sleeping with someone other than you. Plus you have to have sex with him. If you define yourself as his sole sexual outlet, you have to be that outlet or eventually that with blow up on you.
For myself… that sort of general sexual impulse hasn’t gone away over time and I’m 40. I just know that I’m going to be happier and better off handling that impulse with my wife, than without her. Even with good pickup game it wouldn’t be possible for me to get daily sex on tap like I have now. Plus I would miss her terribly. I’m plenty pair bonded to Jennifer, but the sex drive is testosterone based and my sexual orientation is heterosexual.
So it’s all pretty normal, but it’s not always easy being good. If he can’t come to you about it, then who can he go to? The one thing to watch for though is the creation of a relationship with another woman. Flirting with 10 women is of less concern than a special female friend. Special female friend is your job.

Comments

  1. I don't the the impulse ever really goeas away it just slows down a bit.
    Men will always have the wandering eye when it comes to sexual thoughts.
    It's how we are programed.

  2. Badger Nation says:

    I'm always surprised when this question gets asked. I guess I shouldn't be surprised because it's a 20-year old (suggested in the post), but it does surprise me how many adult women have no real intellectual concept of how the male sex drive works. Don't want to speculate on the reader's background, but it's like they think once the modern piece of paper is signed thousands of years of biological programming should just switch off and he should only have eyes for her. And on the subject of their "vows," if she actively withholds sex they think he should just "deal with it," never understanding that he'll eventually seek comfort elsewhere.

  3. Badger Nation says:

    BTW Athol, Elusive Wapiti linked to Vox Day who discussed wives ordering their husbands to get vasectomies. An English doc speculates:

    "Women are used to being in control of contraception and it’s often difficult to let go of that, even when it’s their husband’s fertility, not their own, in question."

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2010/11/ultimate-s-test.html

    This dovetails with your post last month (which I just got around to reading yesterday) concerning a man whose wife left him right after he got the vasectomy she asked for.

    A hilarious comment that gets to the truth of game and women loving men who stand up to their demands:

    "I know of 4 just here in my hometown. I have a low opinion of those guys and an even lower opinion of their wives. I can't imagine forcing my husband to neuter himself just for my sake. Mostly because I can't imagine forcing my husband to do anything, but if he were the type to do what I say, I still wouldn't tell him to do that! Wouldn't have married him, either. But that's neither here nor there.

    These men are, of course, quite liberal. Living in a college town, most of the men here are barely even men. Most of them are married to perpetual students who lead them around by the balls. It's sad to see. Makes my husband appreciate me, though. ;0)"

  4. The Outsider says:

    Young Wife might also set herself down and ask herself in all honesty whether she would change this fact about her husband even if she could. It's easy to think life would be grand if only X or Y were different.

    But relationships are complex systems and are subject to the Law of Unintended Consequences. You're likely to find that obviating X or Y screws up something else even worse. You can't fine-tune a relationship. Most of the "work" people do – counseling, therapy, whatever – is about changing themselves to accommodate their relationships, not the other way around. Real change is hard; ask an alcoholic.

  5. I think she gets that The Outsider. Take away his normal sex drive and she would likely lose interest in him.

    They are young and that has risks for a marriage, but on balance they seemed to be doing well together. I have good hope for them.

  6. R. Stanton Scott says:

    I think many women wonder why their husbands find other women attractive because they are socialized to believe that romantic love will change the way men think about sex and sexuality. Romantic love, they believe, will focus his desire on the wife.

    And for many men it does, so I don't know if I go along with the idea that men generally speaking are "hardwired" a certain way. Human sexuality varies broadly, for both evolutionary and social reasons.

    Still, I do buy the general point that whatever set of traits it is that makes a woman want a certain man in the first place includes his sexuality and libido, so I would advise anyone against trying to change a spouse.

  7. David Collard says:

    My wife wanted me to get a vasectomy, and I refused, partly on moral grounds and partly on the grounds that I would be mutilating my manhood. As Kevin Bacon says in "She's Having a Baby", "No-one is touching my balls."

    So, the missus had her tubes tied. I think people thought it was strange, but I don't regret it for one moment.

  8. David Collard says:

    I have been thinking a bit more about what game really is, and it occurred to me that "resisting a shit test" might be described by an animal behaviour expert as a form of "costly signalling". That is, if a man can handle a woman's demands with aplomb, and not always do as she demands; and if he can ignore or cope with her shit tests; it shows that he is strong. He signals a capacity to handle an attack without being seriously damaged. If a woman screeches at you and nags, and you just laugh in her face, she is likely to think you are tough enough to handle her, and therefore anything else you might need to handle. It is a type of Costly Signalling:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costly_signalling

  9. Badger Nation says:

    Costly signalling/handicapping sounds a lot like chivalry – the strong go through a set of behaviors that imply deference to show their strength.

    Although chivalry has a simpler social explanation than a biological one: subordinating their power to the code shows they will cooperate with the rest of high society.

    Of course nowadays "chivalry" is just a shit-test and a way for a girl to get free stuff.

  10. @David Collard: I like this explanation very much. It makes a lot of sense–as well as appeals to the nerd in me.

  11. David Collard says:

    mnl

    I like it too, and I have put it at my blog, along with a couple of references.

  12. I'm afraid in my case that my general sexual impulse is slowly eroding my desires away from my wife. I want to be able to handle that impulse with her but when it comes to making out something I really can't get into it. @Athol Kay, do you think there are some ways to revert this tendency?

  13. The Seeker says:

    Athol, brilliant reply, answering her fears, affirming her femininity and the underlying bond between her and her husband.

    Badger, I think you're right, and agree with you in content, but here: "but it's like they think once the modern piece of paper is signed thousands of years of biological programming should just switch off" it sounds bitter. Sure, often, truths are bitter. I don't think it's the fault of lots of today's girls, that the vast majority of them were raised with no real idea how the male sex drive works.
    They've been sold a bad bill of sale, just like many of us men have been. Admitting this is taboo in our cultural discourse. Sure, lots of 'em have blown up entitlement syndromes. But there are really good girls, who are just unaware of how men have different needs, reactions and feelings. How we differ in how our sex drives express.

    To your average 20 yr old, churned out the mill, with dollops of Hollywood saccharine pseudo-romance (the exact opposite of true romance) these gals are confused, we taught one idea of their own sexuality and not taught that the inner experiences, needs, and priorities of men and women are very different in many areas. The problem isn't romance or chivalry, but rather a broken, purposefully dysfunctional, style of romance and chivalry that's force fed to us.

    Maybe preempting this is good, early on. In non threatening ways, just discussing together differences in how men and women see relationships and sex – conversational exploration. This gets you useful info on what's going on in her heart, and her presumptions and assumptions. You get the chance to plant seeds of awareness. Everyone wins.

    Often women have no idea how guys see certain things, or how guys feel or experience certain things. On the other hand, vice versa, often we guys lack the same awareness. Which is why blogs like this are such good things.

  14. Anon 12:14 – I believe your lack of attraction to your wife might have something about her declining attractiveness.

    The other thing to consider is when you have sex to have sex that offers great stimulation. Many people as they get older together find themselves exploring their kink together more.

    The Seeker – thanks for kind words.

  15. How about just having an honest, adult conversation about polyamory, open marriage and responsible sexual behavior long BEFORE Bridezilla Day? Men are wired to seek more variety; I get that and I don't shame them for it (some of us women would like the same options!). I do think if you demand fidelity from your mate, you better reciprocate, male seed spreading evo-psych needs be damned!

    The urge to "outsource" your sexual wishes may never happen (so far, it hasn't for us), but at least have that conversation about your needs, what you expect and how you both feel about outside exploration.

    Athol! I was just kidding about your bagel buddy – are we still blog friends?

  16. Julia – I suspect even trying to open that discussion before the wedding day would destruct many marriages before they even start.

    Women are no less designed for extra pair coupulations than men.

    It is a good question though.

    We may remain friends as long as you keep bringing me bagels :-P

  17. Anonymous says:

    One of your golden nuggets, Athol :)

    Jennifer 6

  18. Why does everyone seem to think that it is okay for a married man to have sexual rights about ANY other woman? That’s called adultry and its a sin! Men CAN control themselves, they just choose not to. Looking at other women and thinking they’re attractive? Fine. I get that, but sexual thoughts are unforgivable.

  19. my husband had lost his sex interest on me. he does not say goodbye to me
    but only to the kids when he goes to work.. My heart break when he wrote
    a email to her woman he mrt oversea saying he misses her. ftom that day onward
    i have lost my concern over him

  20. Harriet says:

    Kam , I aggre, my husband looks at ther women all the time, and when I confront him about it he just denies it , and we get into an argument about it, then he tells me it’s in my head- drives me mad, because I know what I see ad he is in denial . But because of past relationships I find it so hard to trust him, I believe he would never have an affair or anything radical as that but I know he cheaks out other women all they time. For example: he will be watching the television as he will be silent all the time and then a sexy women will come on the television and he will start rubbing his feet or laugh at the commercial. Another example: he will always follow a good looking girl when we are out shopping , and walk in her direction. I am 26 weeks pregnant and I find t hard to feel attractive :( – any help??

  21. Harriet says:

    Oh that was to Katie not kam, so sorry x

  22. I am a 50 year old women who as many women have put on a few pounds but I am attractive. My husband and I were high sweet hearts and married 23 years after the fact. I know that men like to look and I really don’t have a problem with an appreciative glance and look but when he acts like the world has just come to a screeching halt and he stands staring and bug eyed…it’s a bit much. That doesn’t even compare to him interacting with a young girl at a wine bar and when she said, “I want to ride a cowboy”, to another old fart, my husband said, “What about me?” Now it is the 25 year old neighbor across the street. They think of us as surrogate grandparents to their kids and we run into them at a bar and when she walks off, he totally turns to check her ass out. I wish her husband would have seen him and knocked him on his ass. I find men attractive and understand sex drives and being titillated by some girl. However, I would never do this to my husband because if I did, I would have the wrath of cowboy rain down. It would hurt his ego and I would never hear the end of it. However, I am a pretty attractive gal and I have decided to get in top shape and let him squirm as the attention comes my way…not because I need or want it but I think he needs a taste of his own medicine.

  23. I am 28 year old female with an opinion to share. I have a ten year and counting relationship with a young man who is 34, we aren’t married and this year has been a big struggle for us. we also have a daughter age 4. The problems we have faced have been similar to the original post I will say that I get so frustrated in these kinds of conversations because the female perspective is wrong at least to my experience. It is not that women don’t understand the sexual instinct. In fact I at least have it too in that I notice younger men men my age also but feel no sexual interest in older men. It is that as a female we are told what we are supposed to want or feel attracted to which is older men but it really isn’t true. I believe women and men have different meanings of attraction, but in the way it is said of why men look at other women particularly those in 20s range Women do at men that age as well. The reason most of us aren’t struggling with porn addictions or chasing after these younger men or can even acknowledge that we do notice them is because of social grooming. And in my particular case feel it isn’t such a bad thing except to realize that men do not go through this grooming during their life, it seems only to happen once they are in a committed relationship.

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