Opinion | Sexuality

Adultery: My Genes Made Me Do It

Research like the kind in 'For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage' runs the risk of reducing people to brain chemistry and DNA.

In her new and buzzworthy book, For Better: The Science of a Good Marriage, The New York Times's Tara Parker-Pope examines what brain chemistry and genes have to do with happy marriages. She begins a recent Well column with a question: "Why do some men and women cheat on their partners while others resist the temptation?" While she doesn't come right out with an answer, she implies that the inclination toward adultery lies in our genes. Some researchers have dubbed the gene that predicts whether or not we will cheat the "fidelity gene" (though, as Parker-Pope notes, the label is a misnomer, since the study sets out to measure marital stability, not faithfulness). Her research shows that men with a variant of this gene are less likely to be in committed relationships and more likely to be in unhappy marriages.

Genetics. It's a modern answer to an age-old question. In the past, other explanations have been proposed for immoral human behavior. First come spiritual explanations, perhaps best ...

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