You don't have to be in Latin America long to realize that there's a cheating bonanza going on. Men are the main culprits, but women aren't entirely innocent either; many a personal trainer has laid pipe to a housewife while el señor was away at the office.
Don't believe me? Ask the New York Times. In a not-so-recent article, the newspaper reported that Latin American men are the second-most adulterous on the planet (after sub-Saharan Africans).
But why, you ask. Why do Latinos cheat more than, say, Caucasians?
Well I'm not Latino, but I have cheated and lived in Latin America so I'm going to take a stab at this one.
Latinos have a culture that's grounded quite solidly in "machismo." This trait, internalized by men and tolerated by women, reinforces traditional gender roles and drives men to flaunt their manliness whenever an opportunity presents itself. This includes doing things like fighting (there's a reason why boxing is so popular in Latin countries), cursing, drinking to excess and, of course, seducing beautiful women.
You see, that pesky movement known as "Feminism" didn't quite catch on here as well as it did in North America and Western Europe, so there's never been much doubt cast on the historical roles of men and women. And, although this is changing in the region, as many women get jobs and are able to support themselves, the need for a man to feel like a man is still very much alive.
In the West, a man's desire to exert his masculinity has been largely subdued by a hypersensitive cultural narrative and media machine that condemns traditionally male behaviour. Look no further than modern television sitcoms, where the women are strong and aggressive and the men are docile buffoons.
I think that North American men cheat less than Latinos not because they are inherently more loyal, but because they have been conditioned to be more afraid, both of their partner's wrath, and of societal backlash.
Let's take the time I cheated on a Latina. After a series of conversations, I was eventually forgiven by her, as well as her friends and family.
And the time I cheated on an American girl? I was ostracized by everyone who was even vaguely connected to the relationship, save for my own family and a few close pals.
Of course, neither reaction was appropriate; cheating shouldn't be met with such leniency nor with such obtuse exclusion. And, obviously, infidelity should not be used as a measure of manliness. I also don't mean to suggest that fear is the only thing keeping men in the United States from cheating. I'm only trying to guess why Latinos cheat more.
In my experience, Latinas have a much better understanding of why men cheat than American women. American women think that men cheat for the same reasons women cheat: because we felt a "connection" to someone else, or because we fell in love with someone else. Latin women adopt more of a "men are horny and that's what they do" stance. Latinas, for better or for worse, can more easily reconcile the differences between sex and love as they occur in a man's brain: which is that you can have sex with a woman without having an emotional connection, or without feeling anything for them at all, really. This means, for better or for worse, that women in Latin American countries have a higher tolerance for cheating because the implications aren't as catastrophic to them as they are to an American girl.
In machismo-driven cultures, men are constantly looking for ways to prove their masculinity. In a region where unemployment is high and many males workers are unskilled, there are few outlets for this aside from sport and sex. That, accompanied by the fact that Latinos generally have a more passionate approach to love and life, it should come as no surprise that men step outside of their relationships every once in a while.
Also check out: Learning Spanish Will NOT Help You Get Laid In Latin America
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