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Tiger Transgresses: 5 Little Known Secrets To Why Good Men Cheat
Jed Diamond, Ph.D. has been a marriage and family counselor for the last 44 years. He is the author of 8 books, including Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places, Male Menopause, and The Irritable Male Syndrome. He offers counseling to men, women, and couples in his office in California or by phone with people throughout the U.S. and around the world. To contact Dr. Diamond, send an e-mail to Jed@MenAlive.com or visit him at www.MenAlive.com

I’ve been asked repeatedly in the last few days, “Why would a man who has everything—A beautiful wife, loving family, a fortune estimated at $1 billion—endanger it all to have affairs with women that don’t hold a candle to his wife? What’s going on here?” Golfer Tiger Woods, engulfed in media speculation over his private life after a car accident in the middle of the night, apologized on Wednesday for "transgressions" in a statement that apparently addressed allegations he had extra-marital relationships. Woods, the world's number one golfer and a married father of two young children, said in a statement published on his website that he had "not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves," without directly addressing the allegations of infidelity. "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," Woods said. Woods said his Swedish wife Elin Nordegren "has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possible expect." "I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone," Woods said in his statement. For many, why men do dumb things is self evident. “Because men are dumb beasts and all they want is sex,” they say. For others, they wonder what all the uproar is about. “You can’t expect a man to have sex with only one woman. It’s not natural. What’s the problem if he gets a little on the side?”

An evolutionary psychologist like myself looks at things through a wider set of lenses. Let’s start by taking a look at what it means to be a man. 1. What Does It Mean to Be Male? Nothing is closer to our sense of self than our sense of “maleness” and “femaleness.” When our babies first emerge from the womb the mother (and increasingly the father who is in the delivery room) hears “congratulations, it’s a boy,” or “it’s a girl.” Many “parents to be” will say that they would be happy with either a boy or a girl, but none can ignore the fact that boys and girls are not alike. Although we all recognize the differences, there is a great deal of controversy about what differences exist, whether they are inherent or a product of culture, and what these differences mean. In the past differences have often been used to restrict the freedom and opportunities of one group, most often women. Even the consummate scientist, Charles Darwin, believed that men were naturally smarter than women. This superior male intelligence, he proposed, arose because of the unique tasks that men practiced. It was the men that fought to win mates, made tools to hunt, cooperated with other men, and fought wild animals to “bring home the mammoth.” He believed that the need of our male ancestors to compete with each other, created a superior level of intelligence. He assumed an aggressive, intelligent Adam and a gentle, nurturing Eve. This image conformed to what Darwin saw everywhere around him in Victorian England. This sexist view of gender differences was bitterly attacked after World War I. Margaret Mead was among the intellectual leaders of the period who believed that differences were not built in, but were a product of the particular culture in which a person lived. As Mead wrote in 1935, “We may say that many if not all of the personality traits which we have called masculine and feminine are as lightly linked to sex as are the clothing, the manners and

the form of headdress that a society at a given period assigns to either sex.” This view that what makes us male and female is largely determined by our environment has held sway since then. Certainly when I was doing my graduate training in the 1960s that was the view in most academic settings. To suggest that there were inherent differences between males and females was to open oneself to attack as being ignorant and sexist. For some women, and particularly for many academic feminists, there was a fear that acknowledging that there were inherent differences between males and females would lead back to a time when “different” was seen as “inferior.” It was an understandable fear. However, there is an increasing body of evidence that has accumulated over the last 25 years that shows that males and females are different in many ways. Even many feminist academics now recognize these differences and realize that men and women can be different without one being superior to the other. According to Dr. Bobbi S. Low, Professor of Resource Ecology at the University of Michigan, “New research in evolutionary theory, combined with findings from anthropology, psychology, sociology, and economics, supports the perhaps unsettling view that men and women have indeed evolved to behave differently—that, although environmental conditions can exaggerate or minimize these differences in male and female behaviors, under most conditions each sex has been successful as a result of very different behaviors.” This was certainly my experience raising a boy and a girl. No matter what my wife and I tried to do to raise our children in nonsexist ways, there were certain things that just seemed to be built in. Our boy turned everything into guns, even when we gave him dolls. Our daughter spent lots of time playing house even when we tried to interest her in baseball. “Some societies minimize the difference between the sexes; others—perhaps the majority— exaggerate them,” say David Barash and Judith Lipton authors of Making Sense of Sex: How Genes and Gender Influence Our Relationships. “But the differences are never reversed, and thus evidence mounts in favor of a biological common denominator.”

We will see that a good deal of what leads to the Irritable Male Syndrome can be understood in terms of the ways the biology of being male interacts with the environment we find ourselves in. It isn’t a question of nature versus nurture. Our biological nature influences our environment and our environment can have a profound impact on our biology. So let’s take a look at some of these male attributes and see how they can help us understand why men are so vulnerable and subject to stresses and strains that lead to increased irritability. 2. Y Am I Like This? Genesis, chapter 5, tells us about "the generations of Adam": Adam begat Seth, Seth begat Enosh, Enosh begat Kenan... down to Noah of the flood. Translated into modern genetic terms, the account could read "Adam passed a copy of his Y chromosome to Seth, Seth passed a copy of his Y chromosome to Enosh, Enosh passed a copy of his Y chromosome to Kenan"... and so on until Noah was born carrying a copy of Adam's Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is paternally inherited; human males have one while females have none. All human cells, other than mature red blood cells, possess a nucleus which contains the genetic material (DNA) arranged into 46 chromosomes, themselves grouped into 23 pairs. In 22 pairs, both members are essentially identical, one deriving from the individual's mother, the other from the father. The 23rd pair is different. While in females this pair has two like chromosomes called "X," in males it comprises one "X" and one "Y," two very dissimilar chromosomes. It is these chromosome differences which determine sex. That’s the good news about the Y chromosome. If we didn’t have it we would all be females. However, the bad news is that the Y is very short compared to the X with which it is paired. Until quite recently it was believed that the Y chromosome was becoming ever shorter and some felt that it might lose function all together. However, a 40-strong team of researchers led by Dr. David Page of the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that the Y

chromosome is much more important than scientists once believed. As well as having a previously unknown and elaborate back-up system for self-repair, the Y chromosome also carries 78 genes, almost double the previously known tally, the researchers reported. "The Y chromosome is a hall of mirrors," says Page, whose team has for the first time identified the full genetic sequence of a Y chromosome, from an anonymous donor. The team believes the Y has developed an apparently unique way of pairing up with itself. They found that many of its 50 million DNA "letters" occur in sequences known as palindromes. Like their grammatical counterparts, these sequences of letters read the same forward as backward but are arranged in opposite directions - like a mirror image - on both strands of the DNA double helix. This means that a back-up copy of each of the genes they contain occurs at each end of the sequence. When the DNA divides during reproduction, the team believes, it opens an opportunity for genes to be shuffled or swapped and faulty copies to be deleted. 3. The Dating and Mating Game: Small Sperm, Large Egg, Look Out. Biologists have a very simple and useful definition of what is male and what is female, whether we are fish, ferns, or human beings. An individual can either make many small gametes (sex cells) or fewer but larger gametes. The individuals that produce smaller gametes are called "males" and the ones that produce larger gametes are called "females." Although the human egg is microscopic, it is large enough to house 250,000 sperm. The small gametes are designed to fuse with a large one, and the large ones are designed to fuse with a small one. The female strategy produces gametes that are large, and have a high rate of survival and fertilization. The male strategy is to produce as many as possible, to increase the chances of finding a large one. About 400 eggs are ovulated in a woman's lifetime. A healthy male produces 500 million sperm per day.

An individual must either invest in a few large eggs or in millions of sperm. Thus, there will always be many times more sperm than there are eggs. Consequently, sperm must compete for access to those rare eggs. Although these basic facts of life may be obvious, the importance and implications may not be. In fact, this difference in the size of our sex cells makes a huge difference in how we act as males. As we will see, it helps explain why men can become so irritable, why we die sooner than women, why we are involved in more violent arguments, and why we become more depressed. “The cellular imbalance is at the center of maleness,” says geneticist Dr. Steve Jones. “It confers on males a simpler sex life than their partners, together with a host of incidental idiosyncrasies, from more suicide, cancer and billionaires to rather less hair on the top of the head.” Generally it is easier to move the smaller sperm to the larger egg than vice versa, and so it is the male that seeks out the female and the female who makes the selection from those males that come courting. “Males are in flux in almost every way: in how they look and how they behave, of course,” says Jones, “but, more important, in how they are made. From the greenest of algae to the most blue-blooded of aristocrats their restless state hints at an endless race in which males pursue but females escape.” This is one of the reasons that there will always be more irritable and insecure men than women. Because they carry the larger, scarcer, and valuable eggs, women will always be more sought after than men. Men will always have to take the initiative and women will always get to choose the most attractive male from those who present themselves and reject the others. In the game of life, women hold more of the evolutionary valuable cards. 4. Making Babies: Will My Genes Be Carried On? None of your direct ancestors died childless. Think about that for a moment. It’s obvious that your parents had at least one child. Your mother’s parents and your father’s parents had children. If we could look backward and trace our ancestors as far back as

we could go, we would find an unbroken chain of reproductive success. We all know people today who don’t have children. However, that was not the case with any of our direct ancestors. Over a period of 5 million years, not one of our family members dropped the ball. We are a product of their reproductive success and you can bet that what it takes to pass on our genes to the next generation is built into our attitudes, desires, and behaviors. From an evolutionary perspective, whatever contributes to our genetic success makes us feel good. Whatever stands in the way of our evolutionary success makes us feel irritable, angry, and depressed. Although our current research on the genome gives the impression that humans are increasingly in charge of our evolutionary future, it is a valuable exercise to look at humans “through the eyes of the gene.” Richard Dawkins was the first to make this view explicit. In his book The Selfish Gene, he says “No matter how much knowledge and wisdom you acquire during your life, not one jot will be passed on to your children by genetic means. Each new generation starts from scratch. A body is the gene’s way of preserving the genes unaltered.” From a gene's perspective, it is less important whether we survive to a ripe old age, than whether we reproduce. Charles Darwin, the father of modern evolutionary theory, called this process "sexual selection." The idea that reproduction was the key to understanding why we do what we do was ignored for many years after Darwin's death and has only recently come back into vogue. "Its principal insight," says Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, "is that the goal of an animal is not just to survive but to breed. Indeed, where breeding and survival come into conflict, it is breeding that takes precedence; for example, salmon starve to death while breeding. And breeding, in sexual species, consists of finding an appropriate partner and persuading it to part with a package of genes."

The basic reality of sexual selection helps us understand a good deal about men and why they do what they do. We often wonder why it is young men, more often than young women, who take risks that put their lives in danger. An important reality is that during these key reproductive years it is the males who must compete against other males for access to the females. Whether he is a bull moose or a bull headed 20 year-old, he is willing to fight other males or take risks in order to have the best chance of having sex with the most attractive female he can find. At the other end of the age spectrum it helps us understand why older men more often leave their partners or have affairs than do older women. Rarely do these older men hook up with a woman the same age as their wives. It’s almost always with a younger woman. Why? From an evolutionary perspective a person’s success is measured, not by their bank account or the value of their car, but by the number of children they are able to bring into the world and who grow up enough to have children of their own. Have you ever watched Dr. Phil, the psychologist who became famous on Oprah Winfrey’s show? One of his favorite answers to women who ask “why does he do that?” (Usually the “that” has to do with some way in which the man is treating the woman badly.) Dr. Phil’s answer is often an in-her-face “Because he can.” What he usually means is that he does it because she lets him get away with it. In the world of evolution “because he can” means “because he can produce children.” Let me be very clear here. I’m not saying that because men have a genetic urge to leave their wives or have affairs with younger women that this is a good thing. I’m not saying that we are prisoners of our genes and that we have no power to decide what is right or wrong. I am saying that our biological urgings to reproduce and pass on the most genes to the next generation is powerful. If we are not aware of the strength of these desires we will have less success controlling them.

Remember, too, that for every older man who hooks up with a younger woman, there is a younger woman who wants to connect with an older man. As we will discuss later in the chapter, men have a biological attraction to young, attractive females because they have the best chance of producing children. Women have a biological attraction to successful men with resources available to share with them and their children (These are often older men who have had a chance to become successful in the world). Yet, biology is not destiny. Older men don’t have to leave their wives and have affairs. Younger women don’t have to go after the husbands of those older wives. We all can choose, but the choices aren’t always easy. Are you one of the people like me who has a hard time keeping your weight under control? I do well until I see the candy, cake, pies, or pudding. I can’t resist. Why is it so difficult for us? Evolutionary biology can help us understand our desire for sweets and other strong urges. It tells us that for most of our 5 million year ancestral history, sweets and fats were scarce. Those who learned to find the most and eat what they found were the most successful and passed on their genes to the next generation. The problem today is that we still have the same biology, but now sweets and fats are everywhere. If we followed our biological urgings all of us would be 400 pounds and unable to walk. My point is that we can and do control our evolutionary desires, but it isn’t easy. The knowledge of how difficult it is can help us be more successful. Whether we want to understand why we overeat, why young men take such high risks, why Viagra is the most successful drug of our times, why men stray, or why we are so irritable, we need to understand our evolutionary history and how our genes act on our minds, bodies, and actions. We may not like the ways our genes influence us, but we better pay attention to their pull. “Genes never sleep,” say Drs Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan, two experts on genetic influences and authors of Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food—Taming

Our Primal Instincts. “Instead of a blissful ‘they got married and lived happily ever after,’ gene fairy tales end with offspring and more offspring—any way the genes can get them.” In order to further our understanding of the ways males are losing our position in the game of life, we need to look more deeply into the differences between males and females. 5. The Evolution of Desire: Are There Two Human Natures? Though the process is not always conscious, we never choose mates at random. We are all descended from a long and unbroken line of ancestors who competed successfully for desirable mates, attracted mates who were reproductively valuable, retained mates long enough to reproduce, and fended off interested rivals. The way we carry out these vital functions is what evolutionary psychologists call our "reproductive strategy." It is our characteristic way of doing things, our standard operating procedure. It is what draws us to certain people, "the whisperings within," as Evolutionary Psychologist David P. Barash calls them. We don't always follow what we hear, but we must always listen. When the anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon asked which females are the most sexually attractive to Yanomamo Indian men of the Amazon rain forest, his male informant replied without hesitation, "females who are moko dude." In referring to the lifegiving fruits of the jungle, Chagnon was told, moko dude means that the fruit is perfectly ripe. When referring to a woman, it means that she is post pubescent but has not yet borne her first child, or about fifteen to eighteen years of age. Since women's ability to conceive and bear children decreases with age, youth is a direct indicator of reproductive capacity. “Across all cultures,” say Barash and Lipton, “men consistently express a fondness for youthful women.” Another such indicator is beauty. Psychologist David Buss found that men throughout the world had a similar definition of beauty. "Full lips, clear and smooth skin, clear eyes, lustrous hair, and good muscle tone," he says," are

universally sought after." Those who believe that beauty is arbitrarily defined in each culture are not aware of the increasingly convincing literature on the evolutionary basis of attraction between the sexes. ` Attraction to beauty seems to be built into our biological makeup, according to psychologist Judith Langlois and her colleagues. In one study, adults evaluated color slides of white and black female faces for their attractiveness. Then infants of two or three months of age were shown pairs of these faces that differed in their degree of attractiveness. The infants looked longer at the more attractive faces. “This evidence,” says Buss, “challenges the common view that the idea of attractiveness is learned through gradual exposure to current cultural standards.” Based on his research findings, Buss found a host of other differences between men and women and concluded that there are actually two human natures, one male the other female. He believed that both the similarities and the differences could be explained by understanding evolutionary pressures that our ancestors faced over the last five million years. For instance, men's greater jealousy over his mate’s sexual infidelity can be traced, Buss believes, to the uncertainty men have over the paternity of their children. Every woman who gives birth is 100% certain that the child carries her genes. For men, on the other hand, there is always a degree of doubt. In evolutionary terms the consequence of raising a child that may not carry his genes, but those of another man, is the death of his line. Those men who took an easy-going approach to the possibility of his mate being sexual with other men left fewer genes than those men who were sexually jealous. What makes Buss' findings so compelling is the breadth of his research. "If mating desires and other features of human psychology are products of our evolutionary history," says Buss, "they should be found universally, not just in the United States." To test his theories he conducted a five year study working with fifty collaborators from thirty-seven cultures located on six continents and five islands from Australia to Zambia. All major

racial groups, religious groups, and ethnic groups were represented. In all, his research team surveyed 10,047 persons worldwide. His findings held up in every culture he surveyed. I’m sure Tiger’s transgressions will be discussed and debated for a long time, just as those of Bill Clinton and other powerful men have been. We have come a long way from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, but our genes “desire” to get themselves passed on, still does, and always will, influence male behavior.