Time for a Speak-Out

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About Mark Sherman

Mark Sherman is editor of the Boys Initiative blog (www.theboysinitiative.wordpress.com), and also writes one for Psychology Today (Real Men Don’t Write Blogs). He received his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard, and has taught, researched, and written on gender issues since coauthoring Afterplay: A Key to Intimacy in 1979. Having three sons and four grandsons, he is especially interested in how boys and young men are doing both in and outside of school.


  1. I didn’t stray during my (admittedly brief) marriage, but that’s probably because I got that mistake out of my system a few years before, about a year into a previous relationship. I’m not sure if there’s a difference between serial philanderers and those who make a one time mistake, but I’ll tell you what, it was easily the worst thing I’ve done in my life and I haven’t even come close to that line since then.

    You also reminded me of two things — one is that in American culture we often place a premium on physical intimacy at the expense of emotional and intellectual connections. Meaning that if two people manage to stay sexually faithful in a 20 year marriage we applaud that, even if they spiritually, intellectually or emotionally terrorize each other. Having been on the other end of infidelity I can attest to that being MUCH more painful….though obviously the actual physical reality of cheating is painful too.

    The other is that, for all of the press and demonizing of men, I’m not sure women are any better about this. It’s hard to say because the availability and restraints when it comes to infidelity have certainly been different for women than men. I’m not a scholar in that area, and it’s not a can of worms I want to open, but like anything I do think it’s more complicated than the simple phrasing we hear regularly in books, TV, film…which reinforces ideas like “men cheat more often than women” and “men are serial philanderers due to biology, and women are the settle down type” etc… I’m just not sure it’s that simple, but I’m not really big on universal statements these days either, I can only say what I’m seeing.

    Also if you’re interested, I’ve got an idea for a start-up: infidelity admittance helmets. We could make millions.

  2. feminizm rulez bro! says:

    again, more male apologists. all these sycophants on one website is overwhelming. this is all well and good, considering women initiate divorce an overwhelming amount of the time, and are actually 20% more adulterous than men are. time for women to “man up” and take responsibility?? not for these faux noble, chivalrous, benevolent neanderthals. the author is going to get a good pat on the head from his wife, he’s been a good boy!! maybe he’ll even get a treat :) not bad writing for a cuckold.

    • I am always seeing comments about women initiating divorce more than men. Assuming it’s true (which it may be), it certainly doesn’t mean that all those men are stunned when their wives suddenly file for divorce. Usually, a woman files for divorce at a point when both parties know the relationship is over. Maybe there was infidelity (on either side). Maybe they are fighting constantly to the point they hate each other. Maybe the husband moved out and the wife eventually files divorce papers. It’s not like tens of thousands of men are out there begging their wives to stay in failed relationships. I don’t know, all I can go on is my own observation of dozens of couples I’ve seen go through divorces during my lifetime. Women just seem to be better at organizing themselves to see lawyers and file the paperwork, for whatever reason. The men are often relieved that she took the first step so they didn’t have to.

  3. feminizm rulez bro! says:

    jesus, reading further into this article makes me cringe :( how are these tidbits of wisdom pushing men forward?? the author offers us this beauty, “Ultimately, this will also be benefit women. They will realize there’s nothing wrong with them. As usual, there’s something wrong with us guys.” lovely, so with the media berating men any chance they get, this supposed bastion where men can feel safe does the same thing. i’m ashamed of this blog.

  4. Mark Sherman says:

    Thanks for your comment, but right at the outset I said this was meant to be
    humorous, and the line “As usual, there’s something wrong with us guys: was
    really said in that spirit. As a man with sons and grandsons, I am very
    pro-male, and really hate male-bashing.
    I was kidding around in this piece (even if there is some truth in it about some
    men’s proclivities).

  5. wellokaythen says:

    Perhaps this will lead to a re-examination of what marriage and monogamy actually mean in practice, and whether we are being realistic about how we expect people to behave.

    Somehow, other famous men have affairs, and it has no impact on their reputation whatsoever. Stephen Hawking left his wife to be with his nurse, with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

    Besides, I’m not so sure that these dalliances have always hurt these men’s long-term reputations. Isn’t JFK more of a hero because of these things than despite these things?…..

  6. Hank Vandeburgh says:

    I did it. I liked it. It served a purpose. And I’m not doing it now. I’m not going to follow the whole script on this. But it IS a good idea for us all top tell.

  7. I don’t know any man feigning shock and outrage over the Petraeus affair. Most guys understand why he did it and realize they’d do the same if their wives looked like his wife and they had access to younger, more attractive women. And besides, it’s not like women are speaking out against the homewrecker—after all, they know what it’s like to married to a boring man and longing/fantasizing about a sexual relationship with a more masculine, alpha-male type.

    People will be people. There is nothing to see here or “speak out” about.

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