Accepting that not everyone is as turned on, literally, as your muse by the science of our riskier, friskier selves, perhaps the latest research might pique your fascination. Turns out that a certain type of dopamine receptor is associated with a propensity for infidelity and one-night stands…and the same gene has been linked to gambling, alcholism, and a love for horror flicks.
If this is the case, imagine how useful this information could be in ferreting out potential mates. I’m not suggesting you ask a new lover if he or she has the DRD4 variant of this receptor – talk about a complete buzz kill – but if fidelity is an absolute must for you, and Mr. New Love turns out to love Quentin Tarantino films and plays a mean hand of Hold-em’, you might reconsider picking out china patterns together.
The authors of the study are right to point out that sexual behaviors vary considering between populations and within them, and having this variant doesn’t mean a person will automatically cheat. Scientifically speaking, it means those with the variant are more motivated to seek out the rewards that come from Dopamine rushes. Think back to when you fell in love, or had that first amazing orgasm with your lover. That’s your brain on Dopamine. Heady stuff.
What accounts for our preferences, our predilections, our ability to say no and “yes, Yes and oh YES!” continues to skirt our complete understanding, and it might be a long time before we’ve fully understood the neurobiology and genetics that inform coupling. For a broader discussion, read: Sex Discriminates Against Kink and Queers.
Of interesting note: the impact of this gene variant appears to be the same in men and women, so ladies, there’s no way for us to hide behind gender when it comes to ‘cheating.’
Perhaps the resolution isn’t trading in one pair of ‘genes’ for another, or denying our true natures, but opening up to include new paradigms of lovestyles. I’m talking about negotiated infidelity, polyamory, and open-relationships.
Of course, that assumes we live in a time, culture and place that is receptive to re-evaluating what fidelity and love are all about. I for one have never enjoyed gambling; Vegas is all about the shows and the people watching, thank you very much. But I accept that those living on the racier edges of sexuality may simply being true to their biological natures, which is this new research has any merit, could be coded deep in their blueprint.
Musers, it’s time to weigh in and tell me your thoughts on this. Does scientific research like this give cheaters a free pass? How much does nurture count when it comes to sexuality?