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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rape versus Cuckoldry
Mike Rappaport

This has to be one of the least politically correct issues being discussed, but I can't resist.  Which is worse, being raped or being cuckolded?  Robin Hanson first discussed this on his blog devoted to pursuing truth no matter what; Roissy picked it up on his blog devoted to uncovering the truth about men and women, from a distinctly male perspective. 

I think most people's reaction would be that rape is worse.  These two commentators don't have cuckoldry proper in mind, but rather cuckoldry that results in a child that the cuckold previously believed was his.  Given that, they have some interesting things to say.  In end, of course, it is best to avoid both rape and cuckoldry.

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Mike Rappaport
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Comments

A better question - would you rather be raped, or see your girlfriend raped?
Would you rather father a child out of wedlock, or have her cuckold you?
Would you rather be castrated, or have her get a radical hysterectomy?

Posted by: aebrain | Dec 4, 2009 7:27:07 PM

Only women would say rape is worse. Women expect men to accept cuckoldry.

This shows that women are utterly amoral, of course.

Cuckoldry is WORSE than rape, as the man is financially liable for a great evil done to HIM.

Posted by: Toads | Dec 4, 2009 8:31:18 PM

Does the welfare state make us all cuckolds?

Posted by: Colin | Dec 4, 2009 8:42:45 PM

Obviously, it's different for every person. If I had to choose between being the victim of a violent sexual assault or having my spouse cheat on me, I'd choose the latter. Both can result in me getting a sexually-transmitted disease through no fault of my own, so they both suck in that regard, but at least in the latter case I wouldn't have the extra fallout of having been attacked (other injuries, trauma, nightmares, etc). Also, if I got pregnant in the latter case, my husband would have to share the cost of the child, whereas if the rapist got me pregnant, I would be solely responsible for those costs, as well as for figuring out whether I could raise a child who looked like my attacker, or whether to put it up for adoption.

So, from a female perspective, I'd say being cheated on is preferable to being raped. But I'm not sure about men... taking the dick up the ass and the bruises might be preferable to being cuckolded.

Posted by: Ali | Dec 4, 2009 9:07:18 PM

I'm not sure theres much of a comparison to be made. You're basically comparing a very serious sexual assault to what amounts to a fraud. Would you rather have someone punch you in the face or lie to you?

Posted by: Hastur | Dec 4, 2009 9:33:32 PM

@Hastur, depends on the lie.

Posted by: Doc Merlin | Dec 4, 2009 10:25:43 PM

** "I'm not sure theres much of a comparison to be made. You're basically comparing a very serious sexual assault to what amounts to a fraud." **

Fraud? WTF? Far more than a fraud. Read the linked blogs. Many of these men believe the children to be theirs, bond to them, then only discover years later that they were deceived; that the son or daughter they thought was their own, wasn't. They gave years of their lives raising a child they were deceived into believing was theirs. They gave their money, too.

And it's extraordinarily common. Some estimates suggest around 10% of children aren't actually the children of the men listed on their birth certificates. In some cases the men know. But in how many?

What's worse is that legally, in many states, a man is still financially on the hook for child support even if the child isn't his. Rape is horrible, but these men are raped every month, with every paycheck.

Rape is undeniably horrible, but at least in most cases it's only for a few minutes. Cuckoldry afflicts far more emotions than does rape.

Posted by: Bill Alden | Dec 4, 2009 10:41:20 PM

From an evolutionary perspective cuckoldry is the greater crime, assuming the rape is not also lethal.

Posted by: Charles D. | Dec 4, 2009 10:46:53 PM

** "Only women would say rape is worse. Women expect men to accept cuckoldry" **

It was on Oprah, Donahue or some similar show that years ago I saw a cuckolded man insist to his cheating no-good wife that he had no obligation to support a child proven to not be his.

The audience booed...the man. It was then and there I learned to give the one-fingered salute to whatever society thinks of as being "the moral thing to do." It was then and there I knew just how much hate people like Oprah and Donahue deserve.

Posted by: Bill Alden | Dec 4, 2009 10:47:58 PM

Since only men can experience both rape and the kind of "cuckoldry that results in a child that the cuckold previously believed was his", then men must decide for themselves. They might want to research what victims of actual rape have to say about their experiences before deciding. They'll be researching mostly female victims of male attackers because that's just the way it is. Those victims that experienced both rape and murder will be unavailable for comment. Again, overwhelmingly female or child victims of male attackers. That's why these types of male musings make heterosexual women want to rethink their orientation. This generation of men can obtain peace of mind on the cuckoldry issue that eluded past generations through a DNA test. No one is free from the cheating doubts but no need to doubt paternity anymore. My advise for men, don't spill your seed where you don't want a baby to grow and if in doubt, sign nothing! I am firmly on the guys' side around this issue. There is a great recent article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/magazine/22Paternity-t.html
Oh, and being bilked, even over a long term bears little comparison to being raped. Both are nasty experiences nonetheless.

Posted by: Dana in NYC | Dec 4, 2009 11:07:19 PM

I can't form an opinion on the rape element, although i suspect the level of trauma differs from one woman to the next.
As a cuckholded husband, I do have an informed opinion. My wife of 30 years (I was married when I was 19) cheated on me when I was stationed on a an unaccompanied tour overseas just after 9/11. That carried on after I returned and I found out about it the hard way (inflgrante delicto). That was in January 2002. Our sex life before was pitiful (last time we had sex more than twice in the same year was 1983), it has since been non-existent. She refuses to discuss it other than to tell me to "get over it." She's made it clear that she has no interest in sex with me, but promised to be more discreet with her dalliances in the future.
Here's the kicker, she has end-stage lung disease now and needs my health insurance. Her parents (and mine) have guilted me into staying married to her. I have one daughter who my wife has promised to alienate from me if I go through with the divorce. And for a finishing touch, my wife is entitled to have my military pay if I retire and a sizable chunk of my active duty pay if I divorce before I retire.

I'm serving a life sentence for a crime I didn't commit. That must share some element of rape, on some level.

Posted by: Ray | Dec 5, 2009 1:08:23 AM

Ray you should have dumped her back in 2002 and for shits and giggles sued him for alienation of affection. Now that 'your' wife is about to check out you might as well stay legally married until she passes. I don't know how old your daughter is, but eventually they learn who is the good guy and who isn't in a situation like this. All the same , tell her to move out and live with her folks with the threat of filing for divorce now and having her lose her coverage. Almost all men who divorce with kids get kicked in the nuts that way, the threat to poison the kids against you, to move far away so you can't see them, so I can understand where you are coming from. But all the same once they are past 15 they know the score and the hate campaign looses its effect.

Posted by: cubanbob | Dec 5, 2009 1:48:08 AM

A lot of inept comparisons.... because they are not really comparable. It's like asking if you (dis)like apples or football more.

Certainly it's a trauma to the men to raise and love children and after some time to find out they are not theirs biologically. It's a trauma to the children too, who are truly the innocent parties here.

Rape is a trauma of a different sort and there is all kinds of information on how traumatic.

In both cases, different people (sometimes many people) will be (highly) traumatized, in different ways and deal with it (or not) in a variety ways. In some cases, people cope reasonably well and manage to put their lives back together and more on. In both cases it's highly dependent the individuals and the circumstances. But they are not comparable.

Posted by: sookie | Dec 5, 2009 3:18:40 AM

Just to be clear here, we're comparing cuckoldry with a child who you've invested years in raising against anal rape -- Being forced to perform oral or vaginal sex do not seem nearly as bad simply because the physical trauma is less.

Cuckoldry on the level we're talking about here is like something out of a Shakespearean tragedy. Unbelievably earth shattering betrayal. Rape, on the other hand, is bad, but as long as you're not suffering lifelong injuries/diseases from it, then it's nowhere near as bad.

Posted by: 2cents | Dec 5, 2009 3:37:59 AM

Hmmm...There is another side to this, although it is the side that all of us might universally and w/o guilt - condemn. Go ahead, lock and load. I'm not sure if there is a name for the guy who gets it on with the other guys wife, but if there is - that's me. Twenty five years ago ( a different me it seems now),and for years after I began and continued a strictly sexual 'affair' with my sister -in law. Please note, we were not in love and did not plan on running away to the woods to live happily ever after. It was the sex stupid. We cuckolded my brother - in law. Anyway, early on (so she said years later) this escapade resulted in the birth of my 'nephew, now a twenty three year old married father. Great kid and a good guy, who does not look much like my former brother-in law - but does look like me. I haven't seen him or his mother since he was fifteen, but we keep in touch. HIs parents divorced for reasons unrelated to the 'affair.' Although a test was never done, I have to agree with those that know all parties involved, that the kid could not be the son of anyone but me.

How do I deal with that? I ignore it. Do I feel guilty? Maybe. I wish in one way I could reach out to tell him. But why should I. If he suspects, perhaps the ambiguity serves a more comfortable future than mixing this all up again. If his mother ever tells him ( she did turn out to be quite a flake), as she sometimes had threatened, she will further alienate her family and children.

In my heart I love this kid, this man. I watch his home made and joyful family videos on YouTube, I follow his funny observational blog and check in on his website. I hope his struggling photography business works out ( I'm a professional photograher, filmmaker and writer) and I wish him well in the world. What this has to do with the topic, Im not sure. But it's a relief to get it off my chest. And the fact that my eyes are welling up- well, WTF.

Posted by: Tom Kale | Dec 5, 2009 4:43:57 AM

Eyes welling up don't make you any less of a douchebag.

Posted by: Josh S | Dec 5, 2009 5:45:19 AM

"Rape is undeniably horrible, but at least in most cases it's only for a few minutes."

Caveats that would make this statement true:

-For a man
-If the rapist is clean
-If the man can divorce his emotions from the act

Men can't get pregnant, of course, so they don't have to deal with nine months of their attacker's child growing inside of them, or the aftermath of the birth... do you keep the child or give it away? How do you deal with the knowledge of the latter? The former is a financial burden equivalent to the male burden in the cuckoldry situation.

For the second caveat, you might be paying for your HIV meds for the rest of your life, or dealing with recurrent episodes of herpes or hep or HPV, making your post-rape sex life more difficult and your medical expenses greater.

For the third caveat, I don't know how men deal with the emotional fallout of being raped, but I'm sure at least some don't shrug it off as "a couple of seconds, then it's over".

So, again, while men have to decide for themselves whether they'd rather be penetrated anally by a stranger in a violent fashion or bond to a child who doesn't share their blood, I think the overall statement that "rape only lasts a few minutes" is a flawed one. That's really not true at all for many, many rapes, and I think it's the rare person who's lucky enough to have absolutely no fallout after those minutes (or hours, or however long your attacker takes).

Posted by: Ali | Dec 5, 2009 8:13:17 AM

** "Only women would say rape is worse. Women expect men to accept cuckoldry" **

**"It was on Oprah, Donahue or some similar show that years ago I saw a cuckolded man insist to his cheating no-good wife that he had no obligation to support a child proven to not be his.

The audience booed...the man. It was then and there I learned to give the one-fingered salute to whatever society thinks of as being "the moral thing to do." It was then and there I knew just how much hate people like Oprah and Donahue deserve."**

Toads and Bill Alden have made important points. It's eye-opening to see how many women react angrily to an argument that a guy shouldn't be forced to work for years to support a child who isn't his. This is simply stealing the guy's life, making him work to pay the woman who defrauded him. And if he doesn't do this, or he loses his job and cannot pay, he'll be thrown in jail.

Anyone who defends this defrauding is scum.

Posted by: larry | Dec 5, 2009 8:51:10 AM

Rape usually involves a form of or actual kidnapping, and the crimes are, under many legal systems, often seen as equivalent. Kidnapping is a capital crime under our laws and under most laws. If a woman (or man) were to kill a potential rapist in self defense, the killing is usually seen as justifiable, and potential victim is not punished.

Cuckoldry is seen as more equivalent to cheating, lying and fraud. None of these are capital offenses under our laws. Under many forms of law they are grounds for some prosecution, divorce and civil lawsuits.

Since most laws are created and enforced mostly by men, it appears that the majority of men don't see the two as equivalent.

Posted by: mary | Dec 5, 2009 9:30:27 AM

When cuckoldry leaves a man with a child that is represented as his own, that is rape. It is not a useful question to ask which is worse. It doesn't really matter which crime is worse, except to note that one is not legally a crime, which makes the rape legally binding when it is not recognized immediately.
In some societies still, rape is the accepted form of engagement. Try that out, ladies, and get back to us on this.

Posted by: james wilson | Dec 5, 2009 9:57:28 AM

"When cuckoldry leaves a man with a child that is represented as his own, that is rape...In some societies still, rape is the accepted form of engagement."

Are you trying to argue that cuckoldry is a form of engagement or marital commitment?

Posted by: mary | Dec 5, 2009 11:12:12 AM

I contend that cuckoldry that produces a child has to be more painful in the long run than a rape. A man might have invested his whole life and love in a child that he subsequently discovers isn't his biological offspring, while he can build defenses against a physical violence against his body and self-image. That doesn't mean the man will stop loving the child, but it is a knife-in-the-heart betrayal by the woman he thought was committed to him in love and life, and those things aren't easily regained, if at all.

A rape is soul-wounding, but it is not a long-term killer of the heart if the victim chooses not to let it be so. Neither, actually, is the birth of a child out of cuckoldry, if the man who raises a child as his own decides it won't be. But he is forever robbed by an act of cuckoldry of the sense of what might have been.

Just my opinion --- based on some obscure experience.

Posted by: RebeccaH | Dec 5, 2009 12:25:30 PM

"In some societies still, rape is the accepted form of engagement. Try that out, ladies, and get back to us on this."

I'm sorry, could you clarify what you mean by this? In the typical usage of the "try this and then get back to me" phrasing, the person usually means "I've gone through hell and you haven't, so you can't talk until you walk a mile in my shoes." But that doesn't seem to apply in any reasonable way to the discussion we're having, so I have no idea what you're trying to say.

Posted by: Ali | Dec 5, 2009 12:52:31 PM

I do not want to compare the two. But I will say, after 29 years of believing my older daughter was mine (bilogically), I was told by her that she had had DNA done and discovered that some slimeball that my young wife in the FIRST year of marriage had a one-afternoon stand with after meeting him at a bar was the sperm donor of my darling daughter. As much as I can protest nothing has changed (we have a very close relationship and her mother is a drug addict, felon and worthless mother to all her children), it devastated me and I have been in therapy since to deal with it. It was as if not only had she died, but someone had stolen all of her childhood from me.

Posted by: Marc Bressler | Dec 5, 2009 4:35:33 PM

If you are ever wondering about your mate's fidelity, guys, remember: no man will ever equal a woman in his ability to lie about sex, because the women can even effectively lie to themselves.

If a woman has an affair, she will simply blot it out from her memory if she wants to. Then, in her mind, she never cheated and it never happened. Seen it happen.

Posted by: snowguy | Dec 6, 2009 6:13:36 AM