Chasing Masculinity

Men, Validation, and Infidelity

Authors: Walker, Alicia

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  • Offers the unique perspectives and experiences of men who engaged in extramarital experiences through the site Ashley Madison
  • Presents the array of reasons why these men 'cheat'
  • Challenges commonly-held assumptions about infidelity
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-49818-4
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  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase and usable on all devices
  • Bulk discounts available
Softcover $29.99
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About this book

This book analyzes men’s experiences and perceptions regarding their participation in infidelity and offers a glimpse into the inner workings of their most intimate relationships, as well as the ways men negotiate marriages that fall short of their expectations.

Using a sample collected from the online dating service Ashley Madison, this book finds that contrary to gendered social scripts, the men in this study described motivations for outside partnerships that were not rooted in the desire for sexual pleasure or variety. Rather, men described those relationships as an outlet to soothe their bruised egos, receive attention and validation from a romantic partner, and to fight their feelings of emasculation. These infidelities thus provide support and praise, and aid in the processing of complex emotions.

This in-depth analysis provides a unique insight into men’s experiences of sexuality and masculinity, and will be of keen interest to those seeking to understand male infidelity from a sociological perspective, across gender studies, psychology, counselling, and beyond.

About the authors

Alicia M. Walker is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Missouri State University. A microsociologist whose work focuses on sexual relationships and behavior, sexualities, sexual identity, and gender, Walker has particular interest in closeted behaviors and online initiation of sexual relationships. She is also the author of The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women's Infidelity (Lexington Books, 2017). 

Reviews

“In this engaging study of men’s infidelity, Walker carefully details the complicated emotional terrain of men’s intimate lives. In doing so she reveals the myriad ways heterosexuality and monogamy shape men’s experiences of relationships, desire and commitment. An important read for those worried about the state of marriage and monogamy.”
C.J. Pascoe, Associate Professor, University of Oregon

“From ‘bad in bed’ to ‘the best they’ve ever had,’ Walker expertly weaves together men’s personal stories of infidelity to reveal a journey from resentment to redemption.”

Lisa Wade, Sociology, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Newcomb Institute, Tulane University; author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus

 

"Dr. Walker deftly uses social theory and in-depth interviews to explain how social expectations and gender dynamics contribute to the motivations and experiences of men who have affairs. This book will make you rethink your stereotypes about men, and why some 'cheat' on their partners and wives. Sure to be a classic in gender, sexuality and family studies!"

Arielle Kuperberg, Associate Professor of Sociology and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, UNC Greensboro; Editor-in-Chief of the Council on Contemporary Families Blog @ The Society Pages

“Why do men cheat? Through interviews with dozens of cheaters, Alicia Walker sets aside assumptions about infidelity and shows that cheating helps men bolster masculinity. By seeking non-marital sexual—and emotional—connections, men reassure themselves that they are desirable and sexually skilled. They interpret cheating as a way to actually preserve their marriages, while ignoring many of the root causes of their relationship problems such as gender inequality. This is a must read for anyone interested in sexuality or gender.”

Tony Silva, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia


“This compelling new book challenges many taken-for-granted assumptions about why men cheat and the types of men who cheat. By examining men’s motivations to pursue affairs online, Walker highlights the emotional aspects of men’s external relationships, revealing that cheating is not just about sex for men. This captivating book thoughtfully considers the complexities of masculinity, intimacy, and infidelity in the digital age, and is highly enjoyable to read.”

Nicole Andrejek, McMaster University, Research Assistant for the Sex in Canada research project

“In Chasing Masculinity, Walker examines the experiences of men in the United States who purposely sought out extramarital relationships on the site Ashley Madison. She challenges our preconceived notions and understandings of why men “cheat.” Walker artfully appraises our cultural obsession with infidelity and, by extension, monogamy. She highlights the complexity of negotiating fragile masculinity in often highly sexualized contexts. Memorable quotes and stories allow the reader to question the norms and institutions surrounding romantic relationships. This book is one individuals will talk about long after they finish reading.”
Barbara F. Prince, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Lebanon Valley College

“In this book, Walker challenges commonly held assumptions about marital infidelity through a deeply intriguing qualitative exploration of the extramarital experiences of men seeking emotional fulfillment deemed not present in their primary relationships. The rich narrative and unique methodology of Chasing Masculinity is guaranteed to boost student engagement and stimulate robust discussion within a variety of course delivery platforms on topics including marriage and family, sex and gender, human sexuality, and research methods.”
Michele Lee Kozimor, Professor of Sociology, Elizabethtown College; Editor, Teaching Sociology

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)
  • The C-Word (Cheater): Infidelity as the Ultimate Threat

    Pages 1-28

    Walker, Alicia M.

  • Researcher Seeks Cheating Husbands: Recruiting a Closeted Population

    Pages 29-58

    Walker, Alicia M.

  • “Men Need Their Egos Pumped up Regularly”: Primary Partnerships Sow the Seeds of Men’s Doubt

    Pages 59-75

    Walker, Alicia M.

  • “We Need a Witness to Our Lives”: Outside Partners as Outsourced Relational Managers

    Pages 77-91

    Walker, Alicia M.

  • “If I Was a Good Enough Man, She’d Be Jumping on Top of Me, Right?”: Marital Beds Breed Self-Doubt

    Pages 93-116

    Walker, Alicia M.

Buy this book

eBook $19.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-49818-4
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase and usable on all devices
  • Bulk discounts available
Softcover $29.99
price for USA

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Chasing Masculinity
Book Subtitle
Men, Validation, and Infidelity
Authors
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-49818-4
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-49818-4
Softcover ISBN
978-3-030-49817-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 204
Number of Illustrations
1 b/w illustrations
Topics