Alicia M. Walker’s new book Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation, Infidelity (Palgrave MacMillan) provides an insider glimpse of the experiences and perceptions that men have regarding their participation in infidelity. Walker offers a personal view of the inner workings of her participants’ most intimate relationships, as well as the way the men in her study negotiate marriages that fall short of their expectations.
She collected her sample from an online dating service called Ashley Madison and her findings from this study contradicted the normalized gendered social scripts. The motivations for the men in this study to seek outside partnerships were not rooted in the desire for sexual pleasure or variety. Rather, the men in her study described their relationships as an outlet to receive emotional support that they did not receive from their primary partnership.
Their romantic partners provided them with attention and validation that was not provided by their primary partnership. Many of the men shared that their primary partners made them feel emasculated. Their outside partners provided support and praise, and aid in the processing of complex emotions.
This in-depth analysis provides a unique insight into the experiences that men have with sexuality and masculinity, and will interesting to those who seek to understand male infidelity from a sociological perspective that has not been widely explored before. One of the reviewers for this book declared that Dr. Walker has created a new “Sociology of Infidelity”.
Alicia M. Walker, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Missouri State University.
Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is a Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent research, "The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant", was published in Gender Issues Journal. He researches culture, social identity, and collective representation as it is presented in everyday social interactions. You can learn more about him on his website, Google Scholar, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.