Monogamy and Infidelity Sexual Behavior


This less morally rigorous tone to the discourse of sexuality may explain why there is a more playful attitude towards extramarital affairs in Japan, as exemplified by a nickname for the Fujitsu F-series flip phones as 'cheater phones'. These phones are popular (despite the fact they are 'dumb' rather than smartphones) because "when the phone is in 'privacy mode,' the user is alerted to incoming calls and texts from contacts they designate as private only by a very subtle change in a screen display element, such as the battery sign or antenna bars. If the user ignores the call, it doesn't appear in the call log. Once privacy mode is turned off, all hidden calls and messages are revealed" (Lynn 2012). One Japanese blogger who even bragged: "In terms of keeping my cheating hidden, this does more than enough" (Lynn 2013). (Although perhaps suspicious girlfriends may begin to wonder why their high-tech boyfriends refuse to upgrade to smartphones). The fact that this is well-known and laughed about manifests the more lighthearted tone with which adultery is viewed.

Of course, infidelity amongst men and women may be viewed differently within the same cultural context. Traditionally, male infidelity has been seen as less transgressive, and in traditional ancient societies, polygamy was practiced. Research indicates that at least in the U.S., women are more inclined to be upset about infidelity if they feel it is emotional in nature, versus men who worry more about the physical aspects of the act. Analysis of the reality show Cheaters found: "the different tactics used in 75 affair confrontations featured on the show -- 45 in which the victims were women, and 35 in which the victims were men. The results showed that while 57% of men versus 29% of women were likely to ask about sex, posing questions such as 'Did you have sex with him/her?' And 'Was he/she better than me in bed?,' 71% of women -- versus 43% of men -- asked if the cheater was in love with the other man or woman" (Stampler 2011). Of course, a reality TV program is somewhat problematic as a reflection of reality, but the selection of these particular items by the show's producers does reflect a cultural ideal at minimum -- the notion that women are ostensibly more concerned about relationships, they are less concerned about the physical aspects of infidelity.

The idea that men cheat is the 'norm' and women's infidelity is more extraordinary is reflected in the fact that the growing parity in the U.S. between male infidelity and female infidelity was worthy of a story in the Wall Street Journal, which reported: "19% of men said that they had been unfaithful at some point during their marriages, down from 21% in 1991. Women who reported having an affair increased from 11% in 1991 to 14% in 2010" (Drexler 2012). This may not necessarily be a 'bad' thing, given that it may be seen as a reflection of women's greater economic power in relation to their husbands: now that women have economic parity to males, they do not have to worry about being 'cast out' after an affair. Statistics regarding infidelity in Japan are less reliable, but as women gain economic power in the nation, the willingness of women to engage in extramarital affairs may increase, although the "enormous size of the country's paid-sex industry, which is famously frequented by married businessmen" gives males an undeniable 'advantage' over their female colleagues (Druckerman 2007)


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