Gentlemen: How are you coping with monogamy and taming the monster?

I was reading this article in the latest issue of The Atlantic Magazine.

It makes an argument that porn is getting dangerously close to crossing the line and actually becoming adultery. Hmm. I’m not going to weigh-in on that. However, the quote that got my mind going was as follows: “All men look at porn … The handful of men who claim they don’t look at porn are liars or castrates.”

Now, I don’t buy the 100% claim, but I will concede that it is a very wide-spread thing. The article also quotes some guy whose buddies all view monogamy as essentially a prison sentence. Yikes. Although I think he is again exaggerating for emphasis, I do confess that I know more than a few guys who, if you get them alone over a beer, it soon starts to sound as though they would agree.

So, apparently, for whatever reason (evolution, societal pressure, ego issues, or the ever popular “they know better but are just being pigs”) we guys are a bunch of horny bastards with roving eyes. Stop the presses! I know this news is shocking and out of left field. And by the way, I mean “bastards” in the best sense of the word.

Slowly getting to my question: According to my own admittedly unscientific observation, the above conclusion is largely true. (You say that as if it’s a bad thing!) So, I’m just wondering, how do you other middle-aged guys (I’m in my late 40s myself) control and suppress the whole bubbling pot of your sexuality? I’m not asking the younger guys because, well, they don’t yet have extended experience with monogamy.

Generally, I think of myself as a pretty good husband. I have never had an affair in almost 20 years of marriage. I don’t view a lot of porn (perhaps because I don’t really have the time/opportunity.) I’m holding down a descent job that requires long hours, iron my own shirts, read to the kids and help them with their homework, yada yada. I also love my wife and am committed to her (obviously) and am generally satisfied with our sex life (not often enough, but, duh!!). …and yet …and yet… I find my eyes seeking out beautiful women of all varieties and appropriate ages wherever I am. I flirt at every opportunity I get. I’m thrilled when an attractive woman gives me 0.25 seconds of appreciative eye contact. Boy is this sounding pathetic! I know, I know. and, yes, there are a few women at work who I have special relationships with of the “oh, you are such a nice guy” variety (Barf. O.K., they are “friendships” dammit. But I can dream can’t I?) Speaking of daydreams: check, check. My daydreams make me think I could write some pretty damned good bogus “Dear Penthouse” letters.

The thing is: despite all that, I think I’m probably absolutely normal. Maybe even tame as such things go. (Correct me if I’m wrong, dopers. If I’m a wierdo and need to be put on a watch list, I want to know.) Mild frustration seems to be the norm. Sorta like a persistant case of jock itch.

Now don’t get me wrong, I know adultery is bad for many reasons… truly I see, feel and accept that. The world as we know it would collapse if everyone was swinging from trees out there. (cite?) But I’m struck by the disconnect of it all. On the one hand it’s widely acknowledged that we men are…what is it exactly?..over-sexed? Badly-sexed? wishful-thinkingly-sexed? Boys-will-be-boys-sexed? And on the other hand, we are expected to completely bury it in gray flannel never to be hinted at (except Saturday nights at 10:00 after 2 glasses of merlot.) In public we are --quite rightly-- asked to stoically ignore low cut tops, short skirts, lowcut jeans & high rise thongs, stilletto heals, tube tops, skintight pants (shall I go on? I’m kinda getting a charge writing this!) and everything in the scientific arsenal that’s thrown at us without so much as a flinch. After all, “They are celebrating their sexuality.” SOMETIMES, but not often, I wish it would all go away. My sex drive (or rather my desire for variety) is like a mosquito constantly buzzing around my ear or a squeeky noise thats coming from somewhere inside the car: its very annoying. But unlike those 2 examples, I can’t make it go away.

So my fellow monogamous gentlemen: How do you manage it? How do you tame the beast? Sports? Religion? Still more hard work? Cold showers? Some yoga mantra that I haven’t heard of yet? Forcing yourselves to listen to presidential debates? Perhaps some over the counter drug? …please don’t tell me the answer is “just grit your teeth, it will all be over before you know it.”

And, yes (before the mortar shells arrive), I acknowledge that women don’t have it all rosey either. No question. Wait. Hell, yes, I have a question: Are the women out there in doperland equally frustrated? Now THAT would fire up my fantasies. :slight_smile: If so, how do you still convey that illusion of supreme disinterest so perfectly? I need to learn that one.

I got a divorce so that I could go out into the world and merrily stick my fork into any hot dish I wanted to.*
*No, not exactly, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that was part of it. And my lifetime “number” has increased by two-thirds.

Female, happily married for 7 years.

He can look - he can even actively “track and gape” look. If he didn’t look, I’d worry. However, he is not allowed to touch. Porn? Meh. Not my thing, but I know he’s way hornier than I am most days, so I know he’s masturbating pretty regularly. I can’t control what happens in his head. I’d love it if every time he was thinking of me, but I doubt it. As long as he doesn’t act on his thoughts, I’m fine. We can discuss strangers (“Is she hot?” - “Ass ten, face three”) - for me it’s amusing, if he’s getting hot and bothered about it, I trust him to be faithful.

And it goes both ways. I can flirt all I want, but it never goes beyond words. I don’t know how he feels about it, but I flirt right in front of him, and he either cheers me on or laughs. He never brings it up in a negative or jealous way.


Male, late 30’s, married 10 years give or take.

The question of fidelity doesn’t really come up for me as much as it seems to for other guys around my age. For one thing, I started dating late in life. I didn’t have my first “date” date until I was 18, and I didn’t lose my virginity until I was 19. By the time I started dating, I’d discovered enough outside interests and hobbies so that sex wasn’t the end-all-be-all it seemed to be for many of the guys I went to college with. Looking back on the days when I was sexually active in college, I can’t help feeling that it was all kind of empty and pointless. Boring, even. As fun as it was at the time, looking back on it, that kind of sex was . . . boring.

My life didn’t really start getting off the ground until I met “the one,” rediscovered books and languages all of which happened in the army well after graduating college. When I finally married Mrs. Fresh and settled down, it was a big weight off my back. Deep down, I’m sure I was never really cut out for the life of a pick up artist–not that I ever was much of one to begin with–and I’m a happier and better man with my wife than I ever was with the bimbos and weirdoes I used to date.

For another thing, while I used to be athletic and even somewhat dishy when I was that age, I’ve since morphed into a chubby homely guy who needs to get by on brains and personality (Yeah, I’m pretty much fucked!). I’m friends with lots of women and coeds at my university, and it’s no big temptation, because as much as I’m sure they like me as a person, I seriously doubt any of them secretly dream about nailing me in a Japanese hot tub. The likelihood of sex with someone other than my wife simply isn’t great enough for me to think about, even if I wanted it, which I don’t.

I have my geeky little hobbies and my geeky little wife, and life is more interesting than it’s ever been before. I don’t miss the exes at all, and I’m just not interested in any other women.

Forgot to add an important note:

Mrs. Fresh is an Irish Catholic from Dorchester, Mass. Those women don’t get a divorce if they catch you cheating. They get widowed with extreme prejudice.

I’m not saying that’s the main reason I stay on the straight and narrow, but it sure doesn’t hurt!

I’ve been with my girlfriend for almost 3 years now and I love her but the monogamy is not very enjoyable. However, I’m not willing to sacrifice the great relationship I have with her, just for sex with other women. (I keep trying to convince her to at least do a threesome but she’s totally against it.) Most of the time I’m very very happy with her, but sometimes I really just wish I was single again.

Monogamy is not in my genes. My dad travels a lot for his work and he has a different woman that he sees in every city he goes to, even including some foreign cities like Prague and Budapest. And this is in addition to all the different women that he’s seeing here at home. I fear that I might not be able to maintain this monogamy thing forever, and that sooner or later I’m going to turn into him whether I want to or not.

Honestly, I don’t see what the big deal is.

Maybe it’s because I dated a lot of women before I met my wife, and so got it out of my system or something, but sheesh, “monogamy is a prison” is pathetic. What are those guys, 16 years old?

Fantasy isn’t frustration.

Tony, is that you?


I’m a monogamous person. I’d never cheat on any SO under any circumstances, and if my SO cheats on me they’d lose a hell of a lot of my trust. But I consider cheating any sort of physical act. If my girlfriend wanted to look at porn or go to a Chippendales show or whatever, cool I don’t consider that cheating as long as she doesn’t keep it a secret from me. I’d expect the same in return, however, it couldn’t be one way.

Also, the thing is I’m less likely to be with a woman that says “porn is cheating.” I’m not a porn enthusiast by any means (imagination trumps all, in my opinion) but I’d just much rather prefer to be with a woman that would sit down and watch porn WITH me instead of judging me.

Male, early 20s for the record.

If porn is cheating, then masturbation is cheating, and if masturbation is cheating, then monogamy’s not worth it.

How do I tame the beast? Dark sunglasses, late night spank sessions, and having a wife that happily indulges my need for variety. Not that she lets me go out and bang a 21-year old hottie, but she’ll try just about everything that a monogamous couple can do together. “Just about”, because there are a few things that I know she’d find off limits, so I don’t even suggest them.

We’ve been married for 9 years but have known each other (and dated on-and-off) for 23, since we were 18. We each have a healthy knowledge of masturbation, which necessarily involves fantasy. I think it’s a necessity for a happily monogamous couple.

If she was asking you for a threesome (you and another guy), what would your view be then? Just curious.

My view is similar to RickJay’s. I had lots of girlfriends through college (some just for one night :rolleyes:) and then got married at 24 to a wonderful woman. I always valued commitment to marriage and never wandered, but we separated a few months after my wife revealed that she had been having an affair, which started about 6 months after the wedding. I was devastated, though tried to put it back together. Never did, and we divorced.

Went through a bunch more dates and girlfriends for the next several years and then married again at about 36. Since then, we’ve had a great marriage and, except for a few exhausting years when the kids were young, I’ve been so busy in our own bedroom I haven’t had time to even think about straying. And I would never do it anyway, it is just such a strong value for me.

Sure, I like to look, but I like to look at the dessert tray, too. How am I coping? What’s to cope with? My wife has slain the monster. Simple as that.

I think the ladies on the SDMB are far more liberal about porn than most ladies. For many in the “real world”, it’s a deal-breaker. I think it’s a self-esteem issue, women can’t reconcile the fear that if you are looking at porn then there must be something wrong with them.

That wouldn’t be my experience. But perhaps I just have friends with good self-esteem.

What a coincidence–my wife is also an Irish Catholic from Dorchester, Mass.

She divorced her first husband for cheating, and made it absolutely clear that she would do it again, so that’s a factor for me.

She has also inadvertently come across materials she finds objectionable (i.e. porn) twice in the last 10 years, and her reaction was definitely NOT good, but she didn’t divorce me, either…

Not male and not married, but, imo, porn and masturbation are only cheating if they get in the way of relations with the spouse. Women (and men for that matter) who don’t want the spouse to even look, need to examine why they’re so insecure. If the guy loved you enough to marry you, can’t you love him enough to allow him some eye candy?

I just take all of that frustration and plow it straight back into my GF. I think she appreciates that. And the fact that she fulfills every one of my perverted fantasies makes me appreciate other women all the less.

I wonder if I’ll feel the same way after we’ve been together for more than six months.

Quite the romantic.

I try my best. My love for her is engorged, my heart is hot and throbbing for her, and at the end of the day, I just want to hold her gently in my arms, take in her sweet scent, whisper sweet nothings to her, and split her the fuck in two.

I should probably write poetry.