Men seem to be particularly irresponsible and ambivalent about sex. A July 28, 1978, Woman's Day article reports that somewhere between 50% and 70% of American husbands committed adultery at least once! The Ladies' Home Journal, October 30, 1981, sets the figure at 54%, and the Hite Report claims it is 66%.
Whatever the exact figure, it is extremely high, especially since another survey reveals that 67% of all husbands say adultery is always wrong. What a double standard! Though they feel it is wrong, a large percentage of men are willing to commit it if the opportunity presents itself. This illustrates what God means about our faithlessness.
We are a self-seeking, opportunistic people who are willing to "bend" on principle, standard, tradition, or belief if it means advantage for ourselves. Even if we can see the "advantage" is at best short-term—and may even be very risky—we usually seem to rise to the "bait." An August 1981 McCall's article, "What Men Want From Women," states:
They say they value the same things women do: loyalty, commitment, caring. At the same time, many insist they "need" the novelty and excitement of pursuing other women. Is there any way to make sense of these mixed messages and find new understanding between the sexes?
Yes, it is called sin. The seventh commandment is, "You shall not commit adultery," and the tenth includes, "You shall not covet your neighbor's wife."
Such drives are a part of our humanity that we must deal with and overcome. If we do not, they will lead us into many woes. Notice how the story of Amnon, a young man who could not control himself to remain faithful, illustrates the cause and effects of this sin:
Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her. Amnon was so distressed over his sister Tamar that he became sick; for she was a virgin. And it was improper for Amnon to do anything to her. . . . [Tamar protested his advances.] However, he would not heed her voice; and being stronger than she, he forced her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone!" (II Samuel 13:1-2, 14-15)
Anytime a thing, like sex, becomes an end in itself, it ceases to give the satisfying pleasure God intends when used within the context of love. Instead, because of sin's addictive traits, a person futilely searches for the satisfying fulfillment of his expectations. With it he reaps the guilt associated with a knowledge of sin.
The above Woman's Day article lists reasons men give for remaining faithful, from most to least frequently mentioned:
1. The fear of being caught. Men avoid adultery, not because it is sin, but to avoid the pain of possibly losing everything, socially and/or financially. People fear scandal more than sin because they want others to think well of them.
2. The inability to deal with guilt and deception. The burden is not the adultery and the evil it produces but having to bear something personally that they can no longer hide.
3. The lack of opportunity. Men are open to adultery, but the occasion never arises because their wives are always looming in the background.
4. The belief that husbands should be faithful. This is more conformity to social pressure rather than belief in God.
5. The personal desire to be faithful. Not one of the five mentions God. This may be because it is not fashionable to talk of God, yet it could also be that God is not in their thoughts and they never consider what He thinks.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Seventh Commandment (1997)