Added Oct ’13: Warning: The topics of this post are disturbing to many.
Biologically, cuckoldry is a bigger reproductive harm than rape, so we should expect a similar intensity of inherited emotions about it. If 2+% of women were raped and we had a reliable cheap way to identify the guilty party, don’t you think we’d require that?
Many were offended at my suggesting cuckolding hurts a man remotely as much as rape hurts a woman. Reasons I heard:
- what the cuckold doesn’t know can’t hurt him
- lots of men don’t mind raising genetically unrelated kids
- rape victims are more socially disapproved of
- rape has direct physical effects, while cuckoldry does not
- rape victims are more often diagnosed “post traumatic stress”
- rape victims they know seem more expressively upset
Let’s consider these last two arguments. We all know that women tend to be more expressive about their complaints – you can’t beat ’em for wailing and gnashing of teeth. But the fact that men act more stoic and complain less doesn’t mean they hurt less. To economists, the relevant standard is willingness to pay, and by this standard new results suggest men hurt more from most harms:
What’s a marriage worth? To an Aussie male, about $32,000. That’s the lump sum Professor Paul Frijters says the man would need to receive out of the blue to make him as happy as his marriage will over his lifetime. An Aussie woman would need much less, about $16,000. But when it comes to divorce, the Aussie male will be so devastated it would be as if he had lost $110,000. An Aussie woman would be less traumatised, feeling as if she had lost only $9000. … The lifetime boost to happiness that flows from a birth – for the mother around $8700, for the father $32,600. … The death of a spouse or child causes a woman $130,900 worth of grief. … It costs a man $627,300.
HT to Katja Grace. I’d bet that male willingness to pay to avoid cuckoldry is not much less than female willingness to pay to avoid rape.
Added 10:30p: I’d prefer to be raped rather than cuckolded; any other men have a preference?
Added 6:30p: Here is data on men being more stoic.
Added 3Dec: Roissy did a poll of his male readers; over 3/4 prefer rape to cuckoldry.