Men and women cheat on their partners for different reasons, research finds.
Men who are risk-takers, easily excited sexually, or those that have performance anxiety are most likely to cheat, research finds.
For women, the pattern is different.
Women are motivated more by their levels of happiness and satisfaction with the relationship.
In other words: women who are unhappy are more likely to cheat.
Professor Robin Milhausen, who led the study, explained that most studies on infidelity have looked at demographic factors:
“Few studies on infidelity have gone beyond exploring demographics.
This research shows that demographic variables may not influence decision-making as much as previously thought — that personality matters more, especially for men.”
The research involved almost one thousand men and women in monogamous relationships.
The results showed that 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women admitted being unfaithful at some point.
Men’s infidelity was predicted by personality factors like risk-taking.
Professor Milhausen said:
“People might seek out high-risk situations to help them become aroused, or they might choose to have sex with a partner outside of their regular relationship because they feel they have an ‘out’ if the encounter doesn’t go well — they don’t have to see them again.”
For women it was more about their satisfaction with the relationship.
Dissatisfaction made them twice as likely to cheat.
Professor Milhausen said:
“All kinds of things predict infidelity.
What this study says is that when you put all of those things together, for men, personality characteristics are so strong they bounce everything else out of the model.
For women, in the face of all other variables, it’s still the relationship that is the most important predictor.”
Professor Milhausen continued:
“Taken at face value, this research might seem to just support sexual stereotypes: Women are just concerned about the relationship, and, for men, once a cheater, always a cheater, regardless of their relationship.
But the caveat is that there are a lot of variants and factors that are not explained here that might impact whether someone cheats.”
The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior (Mark et al., 2011).
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This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.
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