Soothing the 7-Year Itch


You can pretend you are immune. You may go around singing I Only Have Eyes for You. Even if you’re on key, you’re probably lying.

The Seven-Year Itch is reality, folks — for men and women.

“The cross-cultural data are pretty clear we are designed for serial monogamy,” says Dean Hamer, a biochemist with the National Institutes of Health.

The urge to merge is at some point replaced by the urge to split, and studies worldwide confirm this.

Evolutionarily speaking, men seek sexual variety and ample mating opportunities to “spread the seed.” Women seek to secure the best provider possible for themselves and their children.

This “pattern of decay” in sexual relationships is particularly strong for men and women in their prime reproductive years, according to researcher Helen Fisher.

But while some would say we’re biologically and historically destined to experience the seven-year itch, there are enough success stories out there to convince us straying is not mapped out in our DNA.

Wake up and smell the post-paleolithic world

Most men don’t want to fulfill their erstwhile biological mandate. “Social commitment is as important as any rush of testosterone,” says Jim McKenna, professor of biological anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. You may find women other than your wife attractive, but that doesn’t mean you’ll act on it.

Hollywood and some anthropologists would have us believe that women would trade in their husbands for a wealthier model if given the chance Demi Moore’s character had in the movie Indecent Proposal. But the reality is most women have more invested in their relationships with their husbands than a bank account. Not to mention the fact that many women also earn their own living.

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