The Fidelity Gene: What Tiger, Jesse & John Edwards Lack

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heart on hand
Flickr photo by Xanetia
Sex addiction is so 2009, apparently. The new excuse for cheating is all in your genes. Not because a person is such a horn dog that they can't keep it in their jeans. Though, ahem, with celebs and politicians cheating, I've got to wonder if it's just a bad brain. That they're so dumb, they don't think about the repercussions of being caught ... and I don't mean just the wrath of their wife ... we're talking public lashing here. 

Tiger, Jesse, John Edwards, David Boreanaz -- whoever the cheater du jour is -- must be wired to cheat and it's related to genetics. Researchers are showing that there's a science behind commitment.

Some people are just more resistant to temptation, and others can be trained not to cheat. Oh yes, read on.

A Swedish biologist from the Karolinska Institute, Hasse Walum, studied 552 sets of male twins to find out more about the bonding hormone, vasopressin. People are calling it the "fidelity gene," but Walum cautioned it's more about relationship stability and not necessarily fidelity.

Walum found that men who had a variation in this gene were more likely to have marital problems -- if they were married at all. Overall, about a third of the men who were in relationships and had this gene variant had some serious issues with their love life. (Hmm ... what's next? A vasopressin pill? I call patent!)

He's going to conduct similar research in women.

Now since a vasopressin pill doesn't exist, those inclined to cheat or have terrible relationships need to rewire the brain. It's all in the subconscious.

John Lydon, a psychologist at McGill University in Montreal, conducted a study of committed married couples. They were asked to rate the attractiveness of people of the opposite sex in a series of photos. The hotties got the highest ratings. Makes sense.

But then, they were shown more beautiful people and were told that the person was interested in meeting them. These hotties most often got lower ratings ... because of the intent. It's like our brains know bad when it's about to happen. Okay, duh, yeah!

Once they learned a person was interested in them, they viewed that person as a threat to their relationship, making them not as attractive. Dr. Lydon concluded, "The more committed you are, the less attractive you find other people who threaten your relationship."

This has to do with how we respond to flirtation. When flirting happens, do you see it as a threat or just a casual encounter? Do you entertain the flirting fantasy? Ready for an exercise to test yourself and your partner?

Lydon's subjects were asked to complete fill-in-the-blank puzzles like LO_AL and THR__T.

Before you continue reading, take a minute and do it yourself. What letters would you fill in to make words? Got the words?

Most of the men who entertained the thought of flirting completed the puzzles with the words LOCAL and THROAT. But most of the women who saw flirting as a threat chose LOYAL and (bingo!) THREAT. This shows commitment concerns in the subconscious.

From this, we can learn that women's intuition is often right -- we have "developed a kind of early warning system to alert [us] to relationship threats."

Sometimes you just know, right?

So what does this all mean? What can we do to keep the love alive?

The "training" or really the "secret" to a better, more bonded relationship lies in how your partner "enhances your life and broadens your horizons," said psychologist and relationship researcher Arthur Aron.

Couples who achieve things together, have exciting experiences together, and do things that make the other a better person have tighter bonds, and that's what increases a person's level of commitment.

If you've been in a relationship a long time, think back to when you first got serious. Remember those up-all-night sex sessions or even the great anticipation when you're getting ready for a date to see that person? That feeling, that excitement is something that must continue as the years pass to keep the spark and the commitment. 

Makes me want to drink five cups of coffee and put on some sexy lingerie.

What words did you see in the puzzle? What are your thoughts on these findings?


in the news, love, marriage

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