Shocking Infidelity Statistics and Facts

Heads-up, this may be a bit of a depressing read to some, especially if you’ve been cheated yourself at some point of your life. But let’s get to the bottom of things and find out—how common is cheating, really? Does age or educational background affect it? Where does it usually happen? What is the most probable cause for it? Are there actually people out there who find it normal after a couple of years in marriage? Does it occur to everyone as often as we think? Read on for the numbers. These infidelity statistics might be shocking.

Infidelity Statistics and Facts That Might Shock You

Who cheats more?

Did you know that women are now just as likely to cheat as men are? New York Magazine recently reported that while infidelity was once men’s domain, it’s now about equally likely among men and women. A 2011 study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that about 23% of men and 19% of women in heterosexual relationships reported having cheated on their partner. This percentage of women cheating represents a 40% increase over the past two decades.

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What could be the top reasons why people cheat?

According to a private investigator, 23% of the men said the leading cause of the affair was lack of sexual satisfaction, while 28% of the women said the cause of the affair was lack of emotional satisfaction. In addition to the lack of sexual satisfaction in their marriages, a desire for more attention (14%) and a desire for a new experience (14%) were among the top reasons men committed infidelity. For women, 22% said the reason they were unfaithful was a desire to seek revenge. Surprisingly, of those who answered, no one selected “no longer romantically interested in my spouse” or “romantically interested in someone new.”

How many would cheat if they knew they’d never get caught?

A whopping 74% of men would step out on their partners if they knew they’d be able to get away with it. On the other hand, 68% of women would green light an affair if there was no chance of their current partner finding out.

Does emotional cheating count?

Yes. A 2013 research published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology found that for women, it is more upsetting to find that their partner had fallen in love with someone else but hadn’t had sex with that person, while most heterosexual men say they’d be more upset if their partner was having a sexual relationship with someone else but hadn’t fallen in love with that person.

How likely will a past cheater cheat in the future?

The old adage “once a cheater, always a cheater” could be based in truth. A 2017 study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior followed nearly 500 adults through two mixed-gender romantic relationships. As it turned out, participants who were reported to have been unfaithful in the first relationship were three times more likely to report being unfaithful in the second, compared to people who hadn’t reported infidelity. Interestingly correlated to that, participants who had reported that their first partner had cheated on them were twice as likely to report that their second partner had cheated on them.

Who are these serial cheaters?

It’s shocking to find out that when it comes to multiple infidelities, women are the worst, with 47% of those who’ve strayed acknowledging at least 6 or more incidents. Men aren’t far behind, with 44% admitting to a consistent pattern of cheating.

Does sexual infidelity account more of these cases than emotional infidelity, or is it the other way around?

Research from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy found that about 45% of men and 35% of women have admitted to having an emotional affair. That’s a lot more than the 20% of people who admit to having a physical affair.

Does being happily married affect one’s chances of cheating?

Not always. Constant marital disagreements may often lead to infidelity, but in at least one study, 56% of husbands who admitted to cheating said that they were happy with their marriages overall while 34% of wives claimed to be largely satisfied with the relationships they had with their spouses.

How does IQ affect one’s decision to cheat?

Intelligence has been linked to a tendency to cheat. The mean IQ of men who’ve had an affair outside their marriage is 102.4 versus 100.5 for men who haven’t. Among women, the difference is 104.6 versus 101.5 for cheaters and non-cheaters.

How often does infidelity lead to divorce?

Strangely, only about 15% of marriages end in divorce because of infidelity. Research shows that “unreasonable behavior” instead accounts for about half of all divorces.

Do people cheat with their ex?

In one study, 32% of women say it led to an affair. Only 21% of men say they’ve cheated with an ex.

Would people cheat as a form of revenge?

One study found that 14% of women would have a revenge affair to get back at an unfaithful spouse while just 9% of men agreed.

How true is it that people cheat at work?

Research suggests that more than 60% of affairs begin at work. This is probably due to how adults spend most of their day at work than at home.

Does belonging to a certain generation affect your chances of cheating?

According to Nicholas Wolfinger, Americans born in the 1940s and 1950s reported the highest rates of extramarital sex, perhaps because they were the first generations to come of age during the sexual revolution. On the other hand and quite surprisingly, a new study from the Institute for Family Studies claims that while Generation X, born between 1964 and 1981, report a 17 percent extramarital-sex rate, those aged 37 and under claim a rate of 12 percent, according to the study. Millennials, generally defined as those born between 1981 and 1997, take a particularly dim view of cheating.

Baby boomers came of age during the “Summer of Love” in 1967, when people were encouraged to “make love not war.” Mate swapping was a fad in the ’70s. Meanwhile, millennials grew up watching the president get impeached for receiving extramarital oral sex. Moreover the younger people of today marry later to prioritize financial stability.

How many of us believe cheating is wrong?

Women tend to feel strongly about infidelity and 84% agree that it’s wrong if you’re married, while around 78% of men say that it’s not okay for married spouses to have a romance on the side. Makes you wonder where all the previous numbers come from.

The bottom line

While these statistics may overwhelm you, always remember that most studies were only conducted on a certain number of people and are mostly done on heterosexual couples. This explains why studies you might find elsewhere come up with different numbers, so it’s hard to say at this point. Worry not—although Sandra Bullock’s ex-husband, Jesse James, may have said, “In general, both women and men cheat . . . It’s part of life,” the above results from numerous studies do not really back him up.

Cheating does not really occur as much as you think, and today’s generation still doesn’t even consider it as a norm.

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Amanda Thomas

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