With temptation around every corner and access to “alternative experiences”, as one client put it, just a swipe away, it’s high time we started paying attention to the compulsion of sexual desire, and how much rule sex has over our lives.
We’re all sexual beings and there’s just no denying it, in fact, psychology even suggests that sex is a basic human need. Even spirituality recognizes the importance of sexual fulfillment and what it contributes to life/life’s experience.
Since relationship coaching, the notion that how we perceive each other is entirely related to how we perceive ourselves, has been reinforced with each and every client I coach. Our self-perception is the single most crucial component, for happy and healthy relationships. From this perspective, I have developed my understanding as to why people cheat:
1. Sexual Satisfaction.
Positive sexual experiences help people develop a positive relationship with both their mind and body, therefore sexual satisfaction is quite important to both mental and physical well-being. Clients who have significantly improved their experiences in the bedroom, have often expressed how much more affirmed and healthier they feel.
The longer people go on sexually unfulfilled, they may start adopting and developing other behaviors and mindsets, to compensate for their lack of fulfillment. Such as: overeating/overindulgence, self-loathing/self-harm, alcohol/drug abuse, emotional outbursts/irrational thoughts and of course, dissociation and cheating.
Obviously, it’s not the only reason for changes in mindset and behavior, but where relationships are concerned, the lack of sexual satisfaction is a top contender as to why people cheat. And you’ll notice how all the points following this one, echo this same message.
2. Sexual Oppression
We are pleasure seeking and curious creatures, therefore, caging desire feels unnatural and frustrating. Which is why for some, over-time, marriage can feel like a trap and cheating can be viewed in a way to liberate oneself from such oppression.
Once upon a time, for women predominately, marriage was the only opportunity to explore and experience sex without being judged or rejected from society. Also, there are generations of men who, likely because of religious and societal obligations, had to commit to unfulfilling relationships.
Thankfully, the world is consciously evolving and our attitudes towards sex are becoming more liberal and rightfully so, sex is arguably more natural than a relationship!
3. Sexual Suppression
Imagine being homosexual and committed to a partner of the opposite sex, even here in liberal Vancouver this is a common occurrence. To this day there are cultures, traditions, religions and even countries that reject any sexual identity other than heterosexuality. In some countries, homosexuality is still punishable by death!
Think about all those individuals who are committed to partners they’re not sexually attracted to, because the world taught them that who they are attracted to is unnatural. Therefore, to avoid watching the lives they’ve built up crumble around them, it probably makes much more sense to seek sexual fulfillment elsewhere.
Today people have access to an abundant array of narratives to help them define and accept who they are. Though there is much progress to be made, successful civil and equal rights movements across the globe are encouraging us all to accept and be proud of who we are and of each other.
4. Sex and Self-Worth
Cheating can also be viewed as a mode of survival. Though in this case, your own body probably won’t turn against you, it is you who will likely turn against your own body because of a damaging self-perception.
It’s not so obvious, but many people do cheat to restore their self-worth. Also in addition to, and as an extension of #3, people who feel neglected by their partners. Feeling insignificant in a relationship and feeling like they’re not enough for someone, these are also motivating factors as to why people may stray away. It’s probably the most common reason I’ve come across in my line of work.
5. Sex and Influence
Lastly, let’s not overlook the impact of influence. We live in highly sexualized societies, whereby, sexual desire is often stimulated in advertising to sell products. Sex is everywhere, and people learn to associate sex with success, sex with confidence and sex with self-actualization, all of which can encourage the motivation to cheat.
Furthermore, peer pressure and influence from others can encourage people to cheat.
Also, let’s not forget addictions and the effects of some illicit drugs as form of influence as to why people may cheat.
As you can see, the reasons to cheat aren’t always so black and white and if you’re concerned about cheating, it’d be wise to start engaging in open and safe communication. If you move the conversation away from sustaining a relationship, and focus it on restoring a sense of self, you may just avoid “cheating” all together.