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The Monogamy Gap: Men, Love, and the Reality of Cheating (Sexuality, Identity, and Society) Hardcover – February 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Sexuality, Identity, and Society
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199777926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199777921
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,579 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"Sociologist Eric Anderson asks troubling, controversial questions, and his answers might well unsettle and challenge readers. To Anderson, monogamy is a bankrupt illusion foisted on young men and women, which falsely promises that once they find true love, they will no longer experience ubiquitous sexual boredom and the desire to cheat. Leading the reader on an unpredictable journey, Anderson explores a number of related issues, such as why one should be 'happy' when a boyfriend/girlfriend is having 'hot sex' with another person; why gay boys masturbate more; and why straight men are becoming desensitized to gay sex. Anderson closes with his solution to negotiating sexual and romantic urges: a sexually promiscuous, emotionally monogamous relationship."
- Ritch C. Savin-Williams, Chair and Professor of Human Development, and Director, Sex and Gender Lab, Cornell University


"You may or may not agree with Eric Anderson's thesis, but The Monogamy Gap is a hard book to ignore. Sometimes somber, sometimes sassy, always engaging, Anderson is not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom about the ills of contemporary relationships. Monogamy, not infidelity, he argues, is the problem. Mixing scientific reports, imaginative sociological theorizing, and original interviews with gay and straight men, The Monogamy Gap is the most compassionate account to date of men's struggle to reconcile their lives with cultural expectations for sexual fidelity."
- Judith Treas, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine


''The Monogamy Gap is a fascinating addition to the literature on monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. Weaving together sociological and psychological theory and research with the accounts of men, the book proposes insightful, original, and provocative understandings of cheating behavior. As always, Eric Anderson writes in a way that is both engaging and well-informed, making this book a delight to read. The Monogamy Gap is a must-have for every serious scholar of relationships, as well as for all those who are fascinated by the societal shifts that we are currently undergoing in relation to love, sex, and gender."
- Meg Barker, Lecturer in Psychology, The Open University; co-author of Understanding Non-Monogamies; and editor of Psychology & Sexuality


About the Author


Professor Eric Anderson is an American sociologist at the University of Winchester. He is known for his research on sex, gender, and sport. Anderson is also the author of eight books, many of which document the development of pro-gay attitudes in young, heterosexual men. His work examines how this changing culture enables heterosexual men to show love and affection more openly toward their male peers, and how openly gay male athletes are thriving in sport.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jseliger on October 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any book that claims rigor but approvingly cites Michel Foucault undermines its claim to rigorousness. While the subject of "The Monogamy Gap" is interesting, the book draws on 120 interviews of university men. That's it. Its conclusions might be mildly useful for understanding that particular group but its claims shouldn't be applied beyond that group. There are many useful things to be said about monogamy, but most of them have been and are being said by evolutionary biologists and psychologists, and by anthropologists. Anderson is a sociologist and his discipline shows.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lenore on May 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Eric Anderson's books such as The Monogamy Gap and Inclusive Masculinity: The Changing Nature of Masculinities do not fulfil the definitions of academic research.
See [...]
They are not rigorous, intellectual, logical investigations of precise data gathered in an objective fashion to answer questions set out in a clear, unambiguous way. His books are based on his personal notes of interviews with a laughably small sample of young men selected by himself. That is not objective or meaningful. They are not based
within any discipline of such reliable research and he has not carried out any scientific, repeatable experiments. When speaking in public he admits that he often carries out his "research" by chatting up male students in bars.
The books are woolly, vague, subjective and self-indulgent, full of pretentious jargon signifying nothing. They are mere journalism, not research.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AOL Jack on October 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are an academic or you like learning new words for ordinary things then you will probably enjoy this book. If you find Academic style prose challenging maybe you should skip it. I tend to find the pretentious academic style the book is written in kind of annoying. Never the less I think I added a new word to my vocabulary for every two or three pages and the basic idea that young men are hardwired for variety makes sense. Note the author is very clear about that. It may be true that older men and even women might like a bit of variety but since he stuck with college age subjects that is all he can make conclusions about.
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12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Max Morris on February 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Reading The Monogamy Gap was an engaging, intellectually stimulating, and eye-opening experience for me as a young man interested in social attitudes towards sex and relationships. In an accessible style, the author uncovers the complex truth to modern beliefs about monogamy and cheating. The Monogamy 'Myth', as his book could have been titled, reveals the disparity between our public desire to appear monogamous, and our private desire to have enjoyable and fulfilling sex-lives in an increasingly sexualized world. Radical, provocative, and well-researched, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in improving their relationships or learning about current trends in society.
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32 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Gianmarco Manzione on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It is interesting to note that the two glowing reviews written of this book here thus far were posted by people who have not ever posted a customer review of anything on Amazon before now; this typically is an indication that these reviews are biased appraisals by personal acquaintances of the author. Here is an honest look at Mr. Anderson's argument by someone who has never met the man.

Mr. Anderson tends to speak of sexual monogamy and emotional monogamy as mutually exclusive. As a heterosexual married man myself, I find that sexual intimacy with my wife is itself a fundamental expression of my emotional attraction to her, and not merely the consequence of a physical craving. Mr. Anderson argues that the reason cuckolded partners tend to end unfaithful relationships is that they are culturally conditioned to do so. But again, in my own experience as someone who has been cheated on, I find that to be a simple-minded characterization of the dynamic that ignites in relationships in which one partner has been found to be unfaithful. My own response was a deeply emotional one in which I felt humiliated, emasculated and hurt--not because my culture taught me to feel this way as a victim of infidelity, but because these emotional responses were the primal reverberations of a universal humanity that transcends cultural boundaries.

Mr. Anderson's book reads like a chapter out of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, a book in which Huxley depicts women as mindlessly promiscuous and congenitally incapable of mingling emotion with sex. To them, the idea that a woman might sleep with the same man for more than a few days before moving on to the next partner is entirely foreign and suspicious.
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