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.

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 TMZ.com, 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.

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