Cheating, the Coolidge Effect and Condoms

Legend has it that while visiting a farm with his wife, former president Calvin Coolidge unintentionally became a famous and important sex educator by revealing the root cause of cheating.



Let's face it. Unfortunately, cheating happens. But why? And, what can be done to stay safer in the face of cheating? Read on to find out.

The story goes a little something like this: Calvin and his wife Grace visit a farm together. While taking the tour, they reach the chicken coop and the begin discussing the ratio of hens to roosters, which is quite extreme. The result? The one lone rooster mates with hens dozens of times per day.


Upon hearing this, sexually frustrated Grace nudges Calvin and says, “See, the rooster is interested in sex,” to which the president turns to the farmer and asks, “With the same hen every time?”

The farmer replies, “No, with a different hen each time.”

The president says “Tell that to Mrs. Coolidge.”

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Of course, these are not direct quotes, but you get the gist.

He unknowingly shed light on the main cause of one of the most heartbreaking events in human relationships-- cheating. Known today simply as the Coolidge Effect, a term that was coined in 1955, this widely accepted behavioral theory states that a arousal is directly related to new stimulus, in the form of a new partner.

The Coolidge Effect was put to the test in other species as well, and was found to be just as accurate in smaller mammals as it in in humans. An experiment with rodents revealed that a male mouse will literally fornicate himself to death if new consenting females are introduced into his environment over and over again, all while ignoring the females he has already copulated with.

Although this behavioral experiment was only performed on male rats, I speculate that this same type of behavior would occur if the sexes were reversed, as I have experienced this feeling myself. After all, men are not the only ones who cheat or who have the desire for a new mate. In fact, the entire Coolidge Effect can be boiled down to what the brain perceives as old vs. new and has little to do with gender.

New things trigger a dopamine response, as they are a novelty. But, addictions can begin this way and can end in even less satisfaction than was there originally, as the dopamine response is lessened with each encounter, unless a new partner is copulated with every time. But, unlike drug addiction, there really isn’t a limit to consumption (i.e. overdose). This is why sex addiction and porn addiction can go on for so long.


For many reason, the science behind the Coolidge Effect kinda makes a good case for the existence of threesomes, non-monogamy, swingers and polyamory. And, scientifically it makes sense as to why these types of relationships promote happiness, togetherness and satisfaction. As long as spouses or partners are informed of the desire to spread their seed, so to speak, and precautions are taken, like the consistent use of Lixx dental dams and condoms, the Coolidge Effect does not have to usher in a divorce or parting of ways.

An open mind, a willingness to share and a whole lot of communication can be ways to combat the Coolidge Effect and turn potential cheating into loving acts of consent instead. Just be sure to talk to your partner, in detail, about non-exclusivity and condom usage.

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If you do get taken over by the Coolidge Effect and wind up straying from the steak you have at home in order to get a hamburger elsewhere (as Paul Newman said), and you don't want to tell your partner about it, at least be as safe as possible about it. The last thing you need is regret, guilt, possible unwanted pregnancy and/or clinic visits caused by an undisclosed STD.

The bottom line is, if you must cheat, at least respect yourself and your partners enough to use a condom, even for oral sex. For extra safety and precaution taking measures, check out these links to learn what makes a condom breakand how to turn a condom into a dental dam.

And, check out our wide selection of flavored condoms and flavored lubes

Ironically, there is no evidence or proof that Coolidge actually cheated on his wife. But, he did illuminate the idea of why cheating may occur, even when people are in a loving relationship. Maybe we should have renamed the phenomenon in the late nineties to the Clinton Effect.

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