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How to study sex without being a sucker

As regular readers of this blog will know, one of our pet peeves is when scientific research about sex and love gets twisted and “re-interpreted” and boiled down and sexed up to make a juicy magazine or newspaper headline. (And yes, we have definitely been guilty of this tendency ourselves, at times. You try resisting when a guy in a lab coat studies sex in socks!) Which is why we love the newish column in the NY Times Style section by Pamela Paul, called “Studied.” Each week Paul takes a new study that is making the rounds — this week it was research showing that economically dependent men are more likely to cheat on their female partners — and attempts to unpack it. And — get this — Paul doesn’t necessarily take the each study’s findings at face value. Isn’t that what they used to call “journalism”?

Unfortunately, in the case of women who out-earn men, she couldn’t find too many holes in the conclusions. In other words, as far as science knows, economic dependence seems to breed loyalty in women, and disloyalty in men. Also, “in a cruel twist for women, men who earn significantly more than their female partners are also more likely to cheat. The safety zone, apparently, is when women make 75 percent of what men earn, which sounds suspiciously like the national average of women’s salaries relative to men’s.”

We’re sure that Dr. Laura would tell you that it’s a simple matter of choosing between money and monogamy. Screw the raise so your man will screw you and you alone! Then again, you could also just accept the raise and find a partner who can handle it. It’s as good an argument as we’ve ever heard for marrying a rich man, that’s for sure.

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