Infidelity: Is Monogamy Just a Myth?

Scientists, doctors and 'bad boys' explain infidelity.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 1:21 AM

July 16, 2008 — -- It's all over the news -- couples breaking up because someone cheated. What is going on?

"Sex is the most primal urge in every single one of us," said advice columnist Steve Santagati. He makes money telling people things like that. He proudly markets himself as a "bad boy."

"A bad boy is a guy who's unapologetically male, loves being naughty, and loves seducing women," Santagati said.

He's all over TV these days. On "Oprah" and the "Today" show helping women understand men. On CNN, he offered this advice on the sex scandal that brought down former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

"These guys are not sorry for what they did, they're sorry for only one thing, and that is getting caught," Santagati said.

Santagati is 44 years old, single and said he never wants to get married or have kids. He believes men cheat for a number of reasons, but one may be that they settle down before they are ready. Santagati warns his clients that "you can't be in a monogamous relationship if you feel like you're settling or you're missing out."

His book, "The Manual: A True Bad Boy Explains How Men Think, Date, and Mate -- and What Women Can Do to Come Out on Top," is a best-seller.

Santagati is a former model who starred in a hit music video with Celine Dion. These days he runs a Web site, where people can order his bad boy T-shirts, which are popular with celebrities like Lauren Hutton and Tommy Lee.

And on his Web site people, well women mostly, pay money to get his personal advice. He promises to be "brutal" with his advice -- to help women understand how a bad boy really thinks. This is helpful because women just don't get men, he said. But bad boys, he believes, do better with women because they can admit they have a wandering eye. And he said women like men who are bad boys.

"Everything inside of us, all of the blood running through our veins, is going 'look, look, look.' We cannot look at a woman's chest. We have to physically try not to," Santagati said.

He said many men get married too young and don't get to fulfill their "check list" of fantasies.

"We want the Swedish girl, the Hispanic girl, the black girl, the redhead girl, the brainiac," Santagati said.

He has a point. A study in the Journal of Couple & Relationships Therapy reported that half of married men and women cheat. A more recent national opinion survey from the University of Chicago said it's closer to 18 percent. But whatever the number, there's plenty of cheating and men cheat more. Even America's most desirable women are cheated on.