Inside Men

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nando Pelusi, a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York City and a contributing editor to Psychology Today, takes male listener's calls on the nature of infidelity and the reaction to the Spitzer scandal.

Note: We cut live to Joe Bruno's remarks on Spitzer towards the end of this segment


Nando Pelusi

Comments [61]

KB from NYC

This segment is another example of how WNYC needs to offer more nuanced and in-depth coverage of complex issues such as sexuality, misogyny, and defensive macho-male posturing if it wants to keep its listenership, a significant proportion of which is female and/or capable of reasoning well and relevantly about such subjects. A serious disappointment!

Mar. 16 2008 07:32 PM
Alex from LA

There are differences, but they are culturally introduced, and neither the causes nor the effects unfold along lines assumed by many (lower-order thinkers) here. Those writing here whose brains and psyches are more open might be interested in one of the Stone Center's ground-breaking papers on this subject. Go to Google Books and put in women's "growth in diversity clarity in connection judith jordan." And, if you are capable, enjoy...

Mar. 16 2008 10:49 AM
wayne johnson ph.d from brooklyn

As a Marriage and Family therapist for 35 years I have seen hundreds of men and women who are unhappy with their sex lives. Men go outside the relationship and pay for porn,strip clubs and protstitutes because they are lonely and horny. As many people have pointed out, so do women in almost the same proportion. It's the dirty little secret of marriages in America that there is so much sexual frustration. Bill Maher sums it up beautifully in the March 12th Huffington Post

Mar. 13 2008 12:09 AM

The psychologist Pelusi isn't smart or subtle enough to be on Lehrer's program trying to handle this ever-vexed, perennial topic: a pretty bad pick this time!

An expostulation from Donna Hanover, earlier in the morning on another venerable NYC station, essentially suggested masturbation ("taking care of yourself") as one way to deal with these "drives" - and we all know how all-too-familiar SHE is with this hubristic, public mortification by the father of one's children!

How right and sensible she is! That subject is far more taboo to raise than being gay, having "quirks," or other not-quite-the-midpoint activities - and yet it brings no pregnancy, disease, or broken hearts; and as the wag said, You don't have to look your best...

Go look for Ruth Herschberger's great, sharp, hilarious classic, ADAM'S RIB; published 60 years ago (and reissued in 1970)- just a few months after "Kinsey/Male", five years before "Kinsey/Female," and 15 before "The Feminine Mystique."

Speaking of Kinsey, see also his colleague Wardell Pomeroy's books on "Boys and Sex" and "Girls and Sex" - for kids especially, but with the most sensible, positive message on "taking care of it yourself."

Don't let the grass grow beneath your feet...or that hair on your palm!

And for godsake please don't lay this mess at Silda's (Hillary's, Donna's,...) door.

Mar. 12 2008 09:41 PM
Ed Koch

UH OH. Bruno just got caught kissing Patterson. Am I in charge yet?

Mar. 12 2008 09:02 PM
jennifer from inwood, nyc

agggg. just listening to the callers on this show (who do not deserve the title "men") is almost enough to make me leave my husband and cultivate lesbian sensibilities. honestly guys is that the best you can muster up?

Mar. 12 2008 07:58 PM
Joe from New Haven CT

The Spitzer episode has struck a chord with many middle aged people re: the issue of marital infidelity and how that may or may not related to how spouses relate to each other sexually over the course of a marriage. One point: Most contemporary Americans (men and women)have at least a few sexual partners prior to marriage. Much of this activity has a somewhat recreational aspect to it, as illustratd by the not so new popularity of "hooking up" in college. It's fun, a bit like going to Paris for a week and sampling 7 great restaurants. Once serial monogomy followed by marriage happens there is still a greatd deal of sexual energy and spontanaety. Unfortunatly, for various reasons, things may get stale in bed over time and couples, who tend to give each other more and more "space" after 15 years or so to help the relationship and family unit survive simply find that sex with the same person after 20 years just isn't what it used to be. To use the food analogy it's used to eat out at great restaurants 20 times a year and now its spagetti at home every night. If Spitzer called home and mentioned to Silda that he had just eaten the greatest rack of lamb at some new DC restaurant no person in your audience would have felt it was an insult to whoever cooks athome. For better or worse we have come to expect exitement and novely in so many aspects of our lifestyles. For most men (and many women) that includes sex. What do you prefer...change or experience?

Mar. 12 2008 07:43 PM
PB from NYC

I'm very disappointed with the Brian Lehrer Show for this segment. It couldn’t be that difficult to find a more productive topic of conversation related to the Spitzer scandal. At the very least, find a psychologist who is capable of presenting a better balanced explanation for human sexual behavior. In future I plan to listen less, and contribute less $, to WNYC.

Mar. 12 2008 06:12 PM
hjs from 11211

"Kinsey estimated that approximately 50% of all married males had some extramarital experience at some time during their married lives (p. 585, 587, Male)."
and that was before the pill and easy divorce.
we have no way of knowing how many don't get caught.

"Females: Among the sample, 26% of females had had extramarital sex by their forties. Between 1 in 6 and 1 in 10 females from age 26 to 50 were engaged in extramarital sex, (p. 416, Female). "

ps 45.6% marriages end in divorce.

Mar. 12 2008 03:06 PM
Olivia from Brooklyn

Also, you're wrong about men having second families. THat is comment is not substantiated at all in our current society. It's far too expensive in this day and age, especially when going to college is a middle class right. Too many men work too hard to support their first families. You're ONE man, who was drawn into this discussion probably because you needed justification for your actions. This is THE best time to be alive for women: We're sexier longer, and many of us are against marriage, we can prosecute for sexual harrassment, there's a woman running for leader of the free world..I say let's get out there and enjoy ourselves ladies! This Woody Allen-esque stuff is in the past. I am a young woman and I say your views are passe.

Mar. 12 2008 01:14 PM
hjs from 11211

please don't get personal. I was trying to have an intelligent conversation about modern America, I don't know what your agenda is and I'm not that interested.

good day.

Mar. 12 2008 01:13 PM
Olivia from Brooklyn

hjs: you're just looking to rationalize your own behaviour and you have to understand, that trophy wife you spoke of...? More often than not young women LEAVE their older men when the sex starts to deteriorate. I am a young woman, I look for casual encounters and am grossed out by the men who have wives. Cheating is not accepted by women and makes us wild and angry for a biological reason. Your attitude is a HUUUUUGE turn off so I am guessing you're not one of the masses of men pleasantly indulging in your animalistic right to spread your seed. Just a guess..

Mar. 12 2008 01:07 PM
hjs from 11211


to be clear women are more advanced mentaly then men. men are animals (look at mens interest in violent team sports or boxing, war)

monogamy is not univeral or traditional it's new to human's 100,000 history.

men are willing to stick around for several years, but many not all over time will cheat and or start the second family with the trophy wife.

Mar. 12 2008 01:00 PM
Olivia from Brooklyn

Chris, please! If we all followed our genetic and biological urges I bet I could find about 50 women, EASILY, who'd like to do nothing but kick your arrogant backside! As I said before, if we were stronger then this would never have been an issue because we would have punched and kicked and screamed and whipped you men into place. That's reality, that's animalistic, that's genetic, that is real, that is now...GET USED TO IT.

Mar. 12 2008 12:33 PM
Olivia from Brooklyn

hey HJS
Sure we have a need for sex, we have developed the ability to have orgasms, BOTH MEN AND WOMAN...but many of us do it with ONE person at a time and THAT is supported by human biology. It takes 9 months for the human animal to gestate, 2 to learn to walk, 3-4 to learn to talk and all said and told about 18 years to learn defend itself. It is then counter-intuitive to genetics, if you want to look at it that way, for a man to stray because the chance of him being able to support his off-spring becomes jeopardized because the female of the species cannot provide food and housing for her little ones alone. And then how do you explain the animalistic expression of jealousy? How do you explain the development of monogamy in human bands? It doesn't make sense then does it? Why did we develop to have emotions if they didn't help support us as a species? I actually think looking at us like animals is a little weak. There is NO other animal that even comes close to the human. Cats are made to breed and breed and breed, and rabbits and such. All animals are different and I don't think women would have come this far in the past 100 years if we had all this evolution to contend with. There is no support for it in our current world. One day, what's happening now will be our ancient past then you men won't have a third leg to stand on.

Mar. 12 2008 12:26 PM
Chris from NJ

True there are some men with weak sex drives (often have lower testosterone) and the rest of us men are shocked when we encounter them.

Mar. 12 2008 12:17 PM
Chris from NJ

Most people can't separate what they wish were true from what they observe to be true.

Mar. 12 2008 12:15 PM
et from here

There is another side that is NEVER spoken of.
Everyone is always pumping up the male ego by telling them they have out-sized sex drives...and SOME do...But there are LOTS of men who do not have large sex drives..

It is the real dirty secret. The thousands of females living in sex-less partnerships because of the male's low sex drive.

Mar. 12 2008 12:06 PM
Chris from NJ

Alex, you don't understand my fundamental point. Genetic programming shapes all of our reasoning. I agree "Coming up with excuses" is what those who make the biological-basis argument are doing. But why the need to make an excuse unless you have an incredibly strong sex drive. I admit not all men are like this, as this board shows, but overall men are much more driven to be promiscious than women, and I'm saying this as a biologist. As for luck with the ladies, I don't need luck, I'm very happily married and controlling my urges, thank you. The point is that GENERALLY women don't have the same urges. This is why they use the word "slut" much more than men.

Mar. 12 2008 12:02 PM
Alex from LA

Chris of the "Sorry ladies" post: Do you think your genetic programming could be shaping your reasoning? "Coming up with excuses" is what those who make the biological-basis argument are doing. Good luck with the ladies!

Mar. 12 2008 11:54 AM
Olivia from Brooklyn

This segment doesn't cover those men who don't feel straying is their biological right. And as far as looking at history to explain current behaviour: If women were built a little stronger physically they couldn't have been 'used' historically. So Mr. Expert Guest Speaker, how do you explain the lack of acceptance on women's part for all this genetic-right-for-men-to-stray BS? Surely, if this is just genetics, WE would have all adapted along with this, wouldn't we? None of us appreciate it. And to those men who say they are unhappy chronically with
their sex lives: maybe you're just crap in bed! I mean, I merely throw it out there...make of it what you will.

Mar. 12 2008 11:52 AM
Chris from NJ

Sorry ladies,

More men cheat than women, most want to try things in the bedroom their wife won't allow, and men certainly don't tell female friends when they cheat.

I hate when people say men use genetics as an excuse. If they weren't genetically programmed to want more partners than women, why would they feel the need to come up with excuses?

Mar. 12 2008 11:41 AM
hjs from 11211

mary, i don't care who people have sex with.

the point is 'morality' is a fiction that people in power create to oppress the majority.

my point is we are animals governed by biology

greed sex war. we are no better than animals

Mar. 12 2008 11:31 AM
KB from New York City

What's "sporting" (Pelusi's word) about expecting it is somehow the special right of one's gender to be "serviced" as if one is a baby, without even the courage or openness to brave the (scary and unallowable to babies) fact that one is with another human, who also has desires, needs, and a point of view? With partners like these, no wonder so many women are *also* deeply dissatisfied with their sex lives. Who wants to sleep with monkeys sporting thought disorders? What is deterministic here are the very ideologies Pelusi is spouting about the so-called biological origins of various culturally-created differences between men's and women's ways of relating to sex--ideologies for which there is no hard evidence. There's also the question of the extent to which these differences can be reliably pinned down--pinning down actual difference is very tricky, and equally ideology-fraught, as other posters have noted. I'm with George Showman, Chris (of the 11:06 am post), Ellen, Julia, Lance, and Celia.

Mar. 12 2008 11:27 AM
hjs from 11211

ellen, the relevance is clear. why do men cheat. if you don't like the show turn it off.

Mar. 12 2008 11:23 AM
Bill from nyc

This is the kind of sickening liberal crap that makes people tune out and secretly vote Republican. You think this is a real issue? You should get a guest from "Governors Who Risk Scandal" magazine. Where's that guy? He's very insightful.

Mar. 12 2008 11:23 AM
mary from nyc

# 1

"look at other animals?"

ok, bonobos. males and females have sex with lots of other bonobos all the time. like a handshake. so should humans do the same?

dolphins. at least one type of bird. one of the big cats. in a lot of species, the FEMALES have lots of sexual partners. males don't even know who is the father of her babies.
should humans use this as justification for the same behavior?

Mar. 12 2008 11:23 AM
JW from Williamsburg

If the guest is right, that men are "programmed" for infidelity and can't help their roving eyes (and other organs) I think that's a pretty strong testimony...for taking power out of men's hands. It's obvious they are the helpless and simple-minded tools of their overwhelming biology, and we should protect them from themselves.

Perhaps we could also instate a curfew? Or only let me out in the company of female relative? That might work...

Mar. 12 2008 11:23 AM
ellen from ny

i must post again...brian--why do you have this distasteful segment about men/women differences, with a therapist talking about men's innate biology? It's offensive and stupid.Would you please take a minute of broadcast time to explain this and relevance to spitzer????

Mar. 12 2008 11:16 AM
Michele Manegio from Belmar, NJ

Listening to these male callers I can almost hear Brian cringing. It must be embarrassing to share the same gender as these people. Hang in there :-)

Mar. 12 2008 11:15 AM
mary from nyc

read the book "Ethical Slut." everyone has needs and desires. acknowledge them and find a partner who respects, understands, and fulfills them.

& any man who complains about women not being erotic enough needs to encourage people to stop degrading girls for any hint of sexuality, desire , or aggression. you cannot throw around condemnation and "slut," then expect women to embrace their sexuality and share it with you.

Mar. 12 2008 11:14 AM
Ed from Jersey City

What is wrong with all the men calling in? The problem is we men seem to have lost all sense of self-control! It is a long-standing moral tradition in our country for men to be faithful to their wives. That is the moral baseline. It's basic and wrong. If you can't stay in line, it is a failure in your ability to control yourself, regardless of how much you back it up with the biology. Humans often act against biology in order to make for a more successful society. If Spitzer's wife, McGreevy's wife or Hillary Clinton had come up to the podium and said, "No, it's cool. We had an understanding." then maybe it's different. But look in the eyes of these poor women and it should be obvious that the men should be ashamed.

Mar. 12 2008 11:12 AM


You can love someone and look for sex outside the marriage. It happens. Why do we assume that because or waoman cheats after 15 years of marriage that it therefore means that the cheater does not love their spouse? Love is complicated and not so stark and black and white. Many people who cheat do love their spouses. It's just so simplistic to automatically assume they don't.

Mar. 12 2008 11:10 AM
celia from new york

Thank you Julia!

The guest is absurd. Women have cheated, women in power have had multiple partners. And, the only people I know who've used craigslist random encounters are women.

The idea that men are "by nature" sex crazed, and women have lower sex drives does not play out in reality. I actually know a lot more couples where the woman wants more frequent and varied sex, and are frequently frustrated by their partners.

The guests generalizations were super silly.

Mar. 12 2008 11:09 AM
sarah from williamsburg

This is a disgusting conversation. I think there is a reverse evolution going on with these lazy men who can't control themselves. Before long they'll be waling on all four drooling. I'm glad I don't know or share the same genes with this lower species.

Mar. 12 2008 11:08 AM
JC from NYC

who cares at this point? there is so much lying, cheating and fraud in this world. get over it. there are better things to focus attention on than the Love Gov.

Mar. 12 2008 11:07 AM
Jennifer from Astoria, NY

This segment is so offensive. Even though I'm a woman, I don't believe--at all--that most men are chronically unhappy in their sex lives. "Get used to it"?

Mar. 12 2008 11:06 AM
George Showman from Red Hook, Brooklyn

Could your guest talk about how this is all socialized? Why do we reduce this to genetics?

I'm not convinced all men cheat. It is as socialized as many of the problems that women face, which we would very quickly ascribe to socialization of girls to act a certain way.

The dominant culture is about sex these days.

Mar. 12 2008 11:06 AM
mary from nyc

this is ridiculous. it's just sex. it doesn't affect work. here, the fact that prostitution is illegal here, that they don't have an open marriage, and the PERCEPTION of this behavior in our puritanical culture -- THOSE are things that affect his ability to lead among people who now disrespect him.

psychologists and our culture should acknowledge that women have just as much desire and sex drive as men. in ancient rome, i heard that women were stereotyped as more lustful. what we do with it may be different. (testosterone also increases aggression/dominance. in our puritanical culture, girls are punished for ANY sexuality.)

can't people realize that monogamy is not the only way to love/commit to someone? there are tons of healthy, long-term, "open" relationships.

many people realize that sexuality is not sinful. that conservative, traditional, protestant sexuality is not the only legitimate sexuality. come on. people who recognize and respect their own needs and preferences, and who do the same for their partners... they DON'T CHEAT. because they're getting what they need. because there's mutual respect and pleasure. whether such a couple decides to keep it as a 2-person sex life, or whether they decide to include's so much healthier and natural. if you or your partner want more lovers, why not discuss it? secure egos can handle it. read "ethical slut."

otherwise, you don't have non-traditional desires, kill off those parts of yourself, or cheat.

Mar. 12 2008 11:06 AM
Chris from Manhattan

I can't believe that Dr. Pelusi is equating everything to biology. What about a moral, ethical sense? Men AND women have desires that, as thinking, feeling humans they forego for a greater good.

It's time we stopped forgiving men and seeing them as victims of their biology.

Mar. 12 2008 11:06 AM
Robert from NYC

Oh god, I told you, Men suck even figuratively.

Mar. 12 2008 11:06 AM
Katie from Corona

Haven't men ever fallen in love with someone and wanted to be with the woman and marry her and love her. What ever happened to love?

Mar. 12 2008 11:05 AM
Robert from NYC

Listening to some of these guys makes me happier that I'm gay!!! LOL. Men least the ones I know do.

Mar. 12 2008 11:04 AM
Robert from NYC

It doesn't look good that Bruno jumped ahead of Patterson to get a message out.

Mar. 12 2008 11:00 AM
ellen from ny

Re men/women's behavior-- the question is, if men are so different from women, why are there men who are faithful, who don't want to go to a whore, and who deplore spitzer's behavior without rationalizing and making excuses? So this biological innate arguement for sexual behavior in humans accounts for only a tiny part of it. It is social expectations and long tradition that has determined how many men act. An important factor now is Women having careers and independence that affects their roles and thus all aspects of men's behavior--for instance,what is permissible and expected for men,--- and then the standard for masculinity evolves and changes to more equality with women, and thus less exploitation. All this is relativly recent in history, and it's effects have yet to play out. But the biological or innate explanations for men is as outdated as Freudianism.

Mar. 12 2008 11:00 AM
Rick from Brooklyn

The issue here is not infidelity but prostitution.

I think women and men alike will respond to the moral and legal issues surrounding prostitution in the United States.

I do notice that my heterosexual and homosexual female friends are all violently disgusted by the governor's infidelity coupled with his use of a prostitute for that sex.

In general, I think men react differently to infidelity than women.

Mar. 12 2008 10:59 AM
Julia from Brooklyn

This part of the program is equally insulting to men and women. It's saying, Men can't help it and women have moral superiority. Neither are true or fair. I have been (regretfully) a cheater as have almost all of my female friends. We may do it out of a desire for a different kind fo connection, but we've got our eyes open all the same. Interestingly, the men that I am friendly with are not cheaters.

Mar. 12 2008 10:58 AM
Laura Job from Westchester

I have been told that often a married man uses a prostitute for a kind of sex or sex senario that he won't or can't get with his spouse. In that sense it may not be the same type of betrayal as a non-financial tryst. Comment?

Mar. 12 2008 10:58 AM
leoinnyc from Staten Island

There and many important issues brought up by prostitution, but I just want to bring up one thing. There ARE people who probably aren't going to ever have "normal" fulfilling sex lives. There are people with extremely unusual anatomies -- "disfigurements" and other disabilities. These people, while they often have very happy and full live often have a very hard time having normal sex lives. There have been many "disfigured" people who have had very healthy and psychologically empowering relationships with paid sex workers -- relationships that sometimes last a long time and are characterized by mutual respect and caring. The sex advice columnist Dan Savage talks about these issues sometimes in a very frank and thoughtful way.

Paying for sex is ancient, complicated and not always bad.

Mar. 12 2008 10:57 AM
Robert from NYC

Thanks to you, Brian, we all have to go take a shower or bath for being exposed to Joe Bruno. Is that nice?

Mar. 12 2008 10:54 AM
Lance from Manhattan - UES

Your guest seems to be spouting off a lot of social darwinist personal opinion ("we have evolved ..."). What is the evidence that any differences between the sexes with regard to sexual interest outside of a monogamous relationship are biologically determined rather than learned or taught?

Mar. 12 2008 10:53 AM
Chris O from New York

I should clarify: Bruno says, "My heart goes out to him..." "I am sad for him..." I wish he would tell the truth about his great joy at this moment.

Mar. 12 2008 10:53 AM
Chris O from New York

Bruno is so sleazy he makes me sick as he talks a good game.

Mar. 12 2008 10:51 AM
dd from nyc

man was not meant to be monogamous. when is everyone going to understand this?

Mar. 12 2008 10:51 AM
Stephen from Brooklyn

Also, what is the big deal about this scandal? We all assume that most politicians engage in this type of activity.

Mar. 12 2008 10:50 AM
celia from new york

A lot of studies have shown that men cheat at only slightly a higher rate than women. Why all the generalizations about "men are like this" and "women are like that"?

Mar. 12 2008 10:50 AM

World's Best Move =falling in love (and possibly marrying) your masseuse when single.

Worst=doing so when you are married.

Mar. 12 2008 10:50 AM
Stephen from Brooklyn

I agree with Joe the caller. I consider myself a liberated male with feminist sensitivities, but in NYC in particular many woman expect a nice restaurant on most dates.

Mar. 12 2008 10:48 AM
Chris O from New York

I saw some people making the interesting observation regarding pornography and prostitution. They wondered, why is it illegal to pay someone to have sex with but it is not illegal for someone to pay people to have sex, film it and then make a lot of money by selling the film? Their formulation was more concise but an interesting observation.

Mar. 12 2008 10:48 AM

I am a woman but wanted to chime in anyway. I am saddened for Eliot Spitzer's family but I do not think his sex life should affect his ability to lead. I agree with the statement he made in his apology on Monday....political leadership is about ideas and not the person.

However, if state money was used, that is a different story..

Mar. 12 2008 10:47 AM
hjs from 11211

men cheat. what's the mystery?
look at other animals, males are driven to spread the seed.

Mar. 12 2008 10:33 AM

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