Are Men Only As Faithful As Their Options?

I'm not sure that this is an answer to the battle between monogamy and the desire to spread one's wings, but one thing I do know is this: When men are given too many options, they will stray.
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Silhouettes of a two lovers
Silhouettes of a two lovers

Chris Rock once famously said in his stand-up act, "Men are only as faithful as their options."

There are very few quotes that stick with me through the course of a lifetime; however, this is one statement that I often find myself reflecting upon. When looking at some basic statistics, it is very simple to make the argument that monogamy simply isn't realistic. Divorce rates have skyrocketed in recent decades and single-family households are abundant. Some studies estimate that nearly sixty percent of married individuals have committed acts of infidelity.

While these numbers may seem horrifying in their own right, I would like to encourage you all to imagine a world in which all men had the unlimited options of a rock star, athlete or major celebrity. Let's use Alex Rodriguez as an example. Alex Rodriguez can go 0 for 5, with five strikeouts, make three errors, break his leg during the game while coming down with the bubonic plague and he will still go back to his hotel room where there are three women waiting in the lobby with the intention of being with him for one night.

How long can a happily married man withstand these temptations? One month? Two months? A year? Men may make the choice not to act on their primal instincts to sleep with as many women as they can, but this fight can only last so long before eventually succumbing to the temptation.

Now, imagine a fictitious world in which all men had the same unlimited options just described above. Suppose we all lived in a world where every night, we traveled home to our beautiful wives, with six women offering themselves to us on the way. Imagine what the infidelity rate would jump to. If I had to take a guess, based on pure instinct, I would say this number would jump to over ninety nine percent. Going back to the quote, "men are only as faithful as their options," the more these options grow, the more likely a man will cheat.

Just look at the track record of celebrities. For every Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, there are hundreds of Russel Brands and Ashton Kutchers. Sure, some of these couples last a few years, but how realistic is it for an Ashton Kutcher -- one of the best-looking men in the world -- to stay faithful when he knows in the back of his mind that every second, minute and day, he could have his selection of nearly any woman he desires? Was it really a surprise when he eventually -- reportedly -- had an affair with a woman in a hotel room?

Women may scoff at this notion, saying, "Well, maybe that's true for most men, but my husband would never do that." Sure, that's easy to say when the person in question has never actually been put to the test.

That said, I don't believe that infidelity is entirely black and white -- that if men have the option, they will cheat. But the more these options with multiple women mount up, the more likely the man will let his physical urges get the best of him.

Which raises a final question: How realistic is monogamy? I've always found this to be an interesting paradox. On the one hand, men, and even women, are naturally wired to want to be with multiple partners. Whether societal programming has completely de-conditioned this depends upon the individual in question. At the same time, we are also wired as a species to seek out partners that we can form deep connections with, and naturally we become jealous when our mates form relations with others.

I'm not sure that this is an answer to the battle between monogamy and the desire to spread one's wings, but one thing I do know is this: When men are given too many options, they will stray.

Joshua Pompey currently provides online dating advice to men all over the world. Visit or for plenty of free help with online dating.

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