It was with disbelief, consternation and almost comical, writes OGOVA ONDEGO, to see the middle-aged wife of Gem Member of Parliament, Jakoyo Midiwo, defending her husband on television against accusations of dealing with Koinange Street prostitutes.
Saying her husband could never get girls from the Red Light district of Nairobi, Mrs Midiwo said, “Nyar Gem Tosha”, i.e. she satisfies all the needs of her husband. But the Nyar Gems of the female species should take this position only if they are male or fully understand the psychology of men in relation to sexuality.
Every heterosexual man, it is said, dreams of sleeping with other women even if he never realises such dreams. The subject of this article, however, is to neither accuse nor absolve any one from any accusation. Can any woman in a blissful relationship explain why a man would leave her in bed at night and go to the house-girl’s room for sex? Or better still, why does a man who has just wedded sleep with another woman on the night after the marriage? Would it mean that the wife is not enough or does not satisfy him?
In the last decade of the 20th Century, many people wondered what Prince Charles of the United Kingdom saw in a middle-aged, almost hideous– Camilla Parker-Bowles that he should cheat with her against Diana Spencer, his ravishing young wife. President Bill Clinton of the United States, too, made many doubt his sanity for getting into an affair with Monica Lewinski–an adolescent under the nose of his loyal, protective, intelligent and good looking wife, Hilary Rodham, in the White House where Lewinski served as an intern. And, as long as men are born, they will continue to confound the world on their sexual front.Behavioural scientists contend that men’s affairs have nothing to do with love. It is mostly just the need to have sex with someone new. It is not that one’s wife is sexually unattractive; it is just the desire for variety.
Infidelity, they say, does not necessarily signal lack of conscience or even insensitivity in a man. And neither does it mean that men who have affairs are morally loose. Men look for young, nubile, nice-looking women as sex to a man starts with viewing a beautiful body. Yes, an attractive female body! That is how a man’s psychology works, Mrs Midiwo. Did you know this?
Protective wives like Nyar Gem should note two things: First, the urge to stray is inbuilt into masculinity and the man who does not stray is the exception rather than the rule. Second, the man who does not cheat is not necessarily faithful but is either timid or lacks the opportunity! Carol Botwin, an authority on sexuality and relationships and author of Men Who Can’t Be Faithful: The Ultimate Guide to Men’s Infidelity, contends men who stray have not planned to be unfaithful but that it just happens.
Even we pastoral counsellors are often put into tempting situations by clients who are bent on sinning with us but we, under the mercies of God, must discipline ourselves in saying No,” says Rev Ntamushobora. “We must restrain ourselves or we’ll fall just like other men. Men are turned on merely by fantasy or seeing a beautiful woman’s body in a mini skirt, negligees, see-through garments or skin-hugging swim-suit-like clothes that reveal her wholesome and glamorous figure that younger women are usually endowed with.
Barry Chant, author of Straight talk about sex, writes that men are easily aroused sexually by the way women dress: “Dress which suggests nakedness is highly provocative–in fact, even more so than nakedness itself.” Men’s affairs, therefore, are not necessarily born out of love but are merely to have the pleasure with a woman. They need not know such a woman. Hence the appeal of the young, nubile, curvaceous and skimpily-dressed Koinange Street girls to middle-aged men who want to retain their youth by indulging in relationships with “attractive young things” popularly referred to as gachugwa or ndogondogo.
The late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, President John F. Kennedy’s widow who later married Aristotle Onassis and was cheated on by both men, observed: “I don’t think there are any faithful men.” Her own father had been unfaithful to her mother. It is not only the male norm to be unfaithful, writes Ms Botwin, but the pressure in male society is toward infidelity rather than away from it. No matter how beautiful, romantic or intelligent a man’s wife is, after some time he strays as the desire for novelty is in-built into men the world over. They believe they need new sexual partners as familiarity breeds well, you know.
Ms Botwin says that all heterosexual men “fantasize about sex with other women” and that it is every man’s dream to have sex with other women besides the one(s) he has. “For many men, womanizing is not even a choice. It is an addiction”. Sexual conquest has become, for them, the equivalent of liquor for an alcoholic, or narcotics for a drug addict. These men need women”new women” in a way that makes it very hard, if not impossible, for them to give up their habit. Anne B, a professional woman and wife, says women are to blame for infidelity. “The wife has a crucial role in keeping the fire burning. If the fire turns to ashes of resentment, she is to blame.” She says that some women turn off their husbands by the way they carry themselves. By so doing, she says, wives drive their men into the arms of other women. Mrs Midiwo, please note that were it not for the fact that most women want fidelity and that men fear contracting AIDS, almost every man would cheat. Those are the words of Botwin.
‘Men Who Can’t Be Faithful’ is crafted from case histories of Ms Botwin’s professional and personal experience as a woman who has often been cheated on, from letters written to her as well as scholarly papers and surveys. The book also includes best current thinking among clinicians in the field of marriage therapy. Some psychologists think male philandering could add spice to older marriages and is therefore beneficial. An unfaithful man may be more giving or sexual within his marriage than he would be otherwise (by katherine at tf). Such men, note behavioural scientists, claim that affairs increase emotional closeness and sexual satisfaction with their wives.
Although the trait to stray may be in-built into masculinity, there can be no justification for men to have affairs, warns The Rev Faustin Ntamushobora, a marriage and family counselor .