Why Do Men Look At Other Women?

It seems like everyone has a very strong opinion on why men look at women and whether or not they should if they’re in a relationship. On one hand, men say it’s instinctive behavior and probably based on evolution. You know, the whole “spread your seed” theory to guarantee your survival. On the opposite side of the spectrum, some women claim that men who look at other women are being abusive, disrespectful and are just looking for the chance to cheat.

What does science say on the matter? Well like many subjects that are very complex and not necessarily proven either way by “science”, we get convincing arguments from both sides. Here are a few points worth considering.

1. Men Say, “We Have to Look!”

One writer from Man Translated states that men look at women because it’s a reflex—it’s uncontrollable. When a man looks, he appreciates the aesthetic beauty and goes into a “male trance.” The article quotes a professor who assures readers that men’s brains “are different to women’s…visual brain circuits are always on the lookout for fertile mates.” Other reasons mentioned are the novelty of a pretty woman’s face and because we naturally want what is forbidden. Thus if men know they’re not supposed to look, they want to look all the more so.

2. Women Say, “No You Don’t!”

On the other hand, over at Vixen Daily, we get a female perspective of what “looking” really means.  The response is not instinct, but rather a trained habit.  When boys look at women in their youth, they start the “addiction”, as their brain responds with neurochemicals that lead to a dopamine rush.  The media makes the problem worse by highlighting attractive women all over commercials, movies and in magazines.  Oh yes and of course, porn.

The argument is that men train themselves to look and since they are told by society “it’s just in a man’s nature” to always be fantasizing about someone else, it’s become acceptable but damaging behavior. Damaging, because it hurts the man’s wife or girlfriend’s feelings to know her man is thinking about someone else. It sparks jealousy…it could even lead to the woman developing a complex about her imperfect body.

3. Is There a Difference Between Looking and Staring?

Another possibility to consider: is there a difference between looking at a woman casually and staring, gawking and making eye-love to a woman for moments on end? If a man is constantly gawking at and flirting with other women, I think the real issue is that he’s wanting something he’s not getting. (Or maybe he’s never happy in a monogamous relationship) Looking at other women is not the same thing as yearning for other women and trying to make something happen with a new partner, obviously. Men who want to cheat and are “trying hard to resist” (or are they?) obviously look at other women differently than the average horny guy.

4. Be Pragmatic—Not Emotional!

Rather than write about emotion, I deal with facts.  I know that men are going to vehemently defend their right to look because they want their independence.  They want that dopamine rush, the right to feel excited.  There have even been studies done saying that men looking at breasts regularly lengthens their lifespan.  It’s hard to argue that.

But on the other hand, it’s understandable why a woman can become threatened if a man seems MORE excited about looking at other women than spending time with her. She instinctively feels jealous, assuring him that the other women is a tramp, a bad dresser, weird looking and probably has fake boobs at that.

So if I were giving advice I would remind every one of these two simple facts:

A. Men want freedom more than they want the risk.

B. They want you to trust them, not control them.

I really don’t think MOST men (lifelong philanderers excluded) want to put forth the effort to cheat. I don’t think most men would ever endanger a relationship they cherish just to score with someone they don’t even know—and enter a relationship that could be the exact opposite of what they want. Cheaters, yes. Most men, no!

I think most men want the FREEDOM to look because it makes them feel good, makes them feel independent and powerful—which fuels their drive to succeed. But I also think a man who is sexually satisfied does not gawk, stare endlessly or intensely flirt with other women.

What they fear, however, is losing their freedom to look. Once they sense that you have “banned” looking at other women, they feel completely emasculated. They feel that their independence has been suspended. They are now stuck in a relationship where they have no power to do as they please. That’s dangerous territory! They clam up…they silently resent you. They keep secrets. They never confide anymore.

The real solution is a pragmatic compromise. If you want your boyfriend or husband to be open with you, honest, and emotionally vulnerable, you can’t tell him to filter his mind. Don’t tell him to control his libido. Don’t tell him to limit his imagination.

Trust him, that he knows when to put the brakes on and when he’s going too far when it comes to staring, gawking, flirting with other women and trying to cheat. In most cases, if you have an honest and open relationship, he will tell you if he feels tempted to cheat and why his needs are not being met.

5. Reward Him When He Gives You the Attention You Want

Lastly, I’m not suggesting that you allow him to do whatever he wants, even if it hurts you—and gets worse and worse as the months go on. But I believe you can send a strong message to him:

That when he’s interested in you, you reward him with affection and loyalty. If he looks at other women but then forgets about them later on, because he only loves you and wants to be with you, then you accept that this is who he is. He might be a “looker” but you love him for who he is and don’t want to change him or force him to be sterile. You can tolerate his looking, so as long as he respects the rules of conduct in your relationship. For example, no cheating, no groping, no asking girls out or meeting them alone, etc. Most couples have these mutually agreed upon rules so they won’t cross boundaries and hurt their partner.

6. But If He’s Not Interested in You, Don’t Chase Him!

However, if he’s “seriously” going after other women and crossing those established boundaries, you SHOULD lose interest in him and withdraw. This is the natural instinct of a woman: if he takes you for granted, you don’t put up with it. You realize your self-worth and give him the choice of stepping back to be with you or losing everything. That’s your self-respect talking and he must learn to appreciate that. You have needs too—your needs are just as important as his!

“Looking at other people” is really a gauge of intimacy for the both of you. If there are problems here and there, don’t be afraid to talk it out. Let him feel safe with you so that he can express himself honestly. If your relationship is strong and trusting, noticing the passing beauty of other people shouldn’t be a source of conflict.

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Talk soon,

Matthew Coast

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Matthew Coast

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