Are More Men Confessing to Cheating?

Another day, another confession:

"Our marriage has been tainted with my infidelities. I just want to be open and honest. I was irresponsible."

If the words seem more hackneyed than the plot of "Sex and the City 2," it's because we've heard it all before.

Tiger Woods, Jesse James, David Letterman, David Duchovny, Steve Phillips, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Mark Sanford and now, "Bones" star David Boreanaz, who strung together the above apology and released it to People magazine earlier this week: the number of men whimpering about doing wrong by their wives has grown from a pathetic few to a sniveling mass.

Video: Gloria Allred talks about the David Boreanaz affiar.Play
Gloria Allred talks about David Boreanaz's affair

What gives? Are more men -- both in the public eye and outside of it -- admitting adultery?

Statistics show they're more likely to fess up after hooking up than their female counterparts. A new survey conducted by AARP found that middle aged men are nearly twice as likely as women (21 percent vs. 11 percent) to admit to sexual activity outside their relationship.

But according to relationship experts, the only thing that's compelling more famous cheating men to confess is the risk of turning into a tabloid headline. Boreanaz told People that he chose to come clean because one of his mistresses threatened to break the news if he didn't pay her to keep quiet.

According to, the unidentified woman hired Gloria Allred, who has served as a lawyer to many a money-hungry mistress. Boreanaz has also been romantically linked to Woods's alleged hook-up pal, Rachel Uchitel.

"I do think that some of these guys are now aware that people like themselves, in the public eye, have a time bomb ticking on their infidelity," said Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology at the University of Washington and AARP's relationships ambassador. "The ones that actually would like to stay married want to get out ahead of the disclosure and see if they can solve the problem, mute the shock, and throw themselves on the mercy of the court of public opinion before the white hot glare of the media makes reconciliation dificult or impossible."

"There's a fear factor," added relationship psychologist Wendy Walsh. "It's, 'Let's stem the wave of this and come out right now before the mistresses do.' 'Let me come out as the good guy with the shame and the apologies and the begging for forgiveness before the mistress comes out pointing the finger.'"

By fessing up, not only did Boreanaz avoid his wife finding out about his dalliances via Google News, he also grabbed the reins of the story before the unnamed mistress, Allred or another party could run his reputation into the ground.

While his approach doesn't absolve him of his sins, Boreanaz's ahead-of-the-game admission makes him look practically angelic next to Woods, James and the rest of his cheating cronies. Those of us digesting these celebrity confessions have become so used to their taste, they don't quite make us retch anymore.

"There's a greater degree of consciousness and tolerance about cheating these days," said David Greenfield, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut's school of medicine.

"When you think about alcoholism and drug abuse now, it's like, 'Yeah, you'll go to rehab and deal with it.' It's kind of OK. But that wasn't always the case," he said. "What happens is that the social consciousness shifts -- sex addiction and sexual compulsion has been a very taboo subject that is shifting slightly now, in part, probably, because so many men in the public eye have admitted to it."

So the more men who admit to cheating, the less bad cheating seems. On top of that, judging from the current states of the aforementioned philanderers, the downsides of confessing don't appear so dismal. Six of them -- Woods, Letterman, Duchovny, Phillips, Spitzer and Boreanaz -- still have their wives by their sides. While the elected officials among the bunch took a harder professional hit than the rest, none of them have damaged their reputation so badly that they can't make a buck.

"Perhaps more famous men are 'coming clean' about affairs because the consequences of doing so don't seem to be all that dire," psychologist Aline Zoldbrod said. "Tiger Woods is back playing golf, and he'll probably get back to his old level of proficiency, new endorsements, and his prior earning power. Mark Sanford is still governor of South Carolina and apparently the other men in the South Carolina government feel the 'time has come for the state to put this controversy behind us and move on' [as state Attorney General Henry McMaster said Monday].

"It might look like it's better to come out and admit it yourself than to be outed by the press or the tabloids," Zoldbrod said.

But ultimately, the real reason that men -- famous or not -- may be more apt to confess to cheating is because it's easier than ever for them to get caught. Forget lipstick on the collar -- text messages and Facebook messages, e-mails and voice mails create a bread crumb trail that no dry cleaner can erase.

"These guys were dragged kicking and screaming to a confession," said Noel Biderman, CEO of, a site that caters to people who want to cheat on their partners. "You're not going to see all these men pouring out their bad behavior to the women in their lives. You'll have an epidemic of people getting caught cheating because there's so much evidence left behind."