Who cheats more, male or female, in a relationship?
Infidelity, often referred to as adultery, is unacceptable in a civilized world. People are said to cheat when they get intimate with another person outside an accepted personal liaison, in most cases, a marriage or a committed relationship. The intimacy can be sexual or emotional, in person or online.
Unfortunately, cheating in a trusted relationship is pretty common in the US. Research says that almost 70% of all Americans have engaged in extramarital affairs once in their married life, even though the affair may not have involved a physical relationship.
Who Cheats More Often?
In order to explicitly address this query, it has been observed that males are more inclined to cheat than the other gender.
A study by the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) found that 20% of men surveyed had committed adultery at least once in their married life. The percentage for the other sex, women, was considerably lower at 13%. The General Social Survey (GSS) happened between 2010 and 2016, and the results were published in 2017. The study aimed to understand if having sexual encounters outside their marriages was a common practice and how different genders associated with it.
However, these percentages are very generic because this behavior is not the standard norm across all ages. It would be unfair to answer the question, “Who cheats more – men or women?” in a simple yes or a no without considering other factors like demographic and social factors that are also known to affect infidelity rates.
Let's take a close look at the analytics to better understand the behaviors and mannerisms of both sexes in this matter.
Men Vs. Women Infidelity – Age Groupwise Analysis
How Was the Scenario Between 2010-2016?
As per the study, 20% of married men had cheated on their significant other, while 13% of women had committed adultery in their marital life. Taking the research a bit deeper, the IFS survey discovered that gender ratios differ for different age groups.
Women Between 18 and 80 years
Coincidentally, younger committed females are more likely to cheat on their husbands than the other way. About 11% of married women aged between 18 and 29 years had adulterous relationships, while only 10% of men did so in the same age group.
The trend tends to reverse in the following age group, 30 to 34 years. By the time males and females reach middle age, the rate of infidelity increases. Interestingly, older ladies in their 60s tend to cheat the most – 16% of married women above 60 years indulged in adulterous affairs.
By the time they touch 70 and grow older, that is, in their 80s, the tendency to cheat lessens.
Men Between 18 and 80 years
Males were also studied extensively in this survey. The age-related adulterous mannerism in men differs from that of the opposite gender. The supposedly macho gender in their 70s has been found to be indulging in infidelity in maximum numbers. About 26% of males in this age group had cheated on their spouses. It seems the older they get, the more disloyal they become. 24% of men in their 80s were deceiving their wives.
A closer inspection of the men versus women data clearly shows that men tend to get naughtier as they grow old, while women tend to be more daring in their early years.
How Was the Scenario Between 2000 and 2009?
In this decade, men were also found to have more illicit affairs outside their committed relationships. There was a shift in the age group, though. While males in their 70s were trying to find love with other women in the 2010s, between 2000 and 2009, men between 60 and 69 topped the chart at a 29% infidelity rate.
For women, the most unfaithful age group in this decade was between 50 and 59 years at 17%.
How Was the Scenario in the 1990s?
The IFS survey in 2017 indicated that men are more likely to cheat than their female counterparts. It is interesting to find out if there have been any deviations in the past.
Data available from the 1990s reaffirm the findings from 2017. Even in the last century, men have been cheating comparatively more than women. Of course, the age group analysis for adultery shows different parameters.
Men Between 18 and 80 years
The infidelity rate was the highest in the 1990s in the age group of 50 to 59 years, with 31%. In a study, males in this age group accepted that they have been disloyal to their wives at least once during their married life.
Interestingly, their interest in cheating on their better halves also reduced as men aged.
Women Between 18 and 80 years
For women, infidelity peaked in the middle-aged group of 40 to 49 years at 18%. As with their husbands, wives, too, became more loyal in their married life as they got older.
Men Vs. Women Infidelity – What Other Factors Influence Adultery?
Data shows that people (of either sex) who had divorced parents tended to be more interested in extramarital affairs than those who grew up in undivided families. While 18% of the former cheated on their partners, it was 15% of the latter.
Surveys show that the black community is more likely to engage in adulterous relationships. 22% of married black people agreed that they cheated on their partners vis-a-vis 16% of whites and 13% from the Hispanic community.
In the Black community, too, men cheated more than women. 28% of Black married males have cheated on their wives vis–a-vis only 16% of Hispanic and 20% of White men.
Researchers saw during the study that religious beliefs had some kind of influence on infidelity. Amongst Christians, it was seen that those who attended Church regularly, like once a week or several times a month, were less likely to cheat on their spouses. 19% of individuals attending the Church once a year or even less have cheated in a relationship. In comparison, only 14% of those who attended service once a week or often in a month indulged in adultery.
What Kind of Affairs Attract Married Individuals?
Extramarital affairs can be of two types – people can have sex with others behind the back of their partners or have emotional linkups outside the marriage. Both are pretty common, especially the latter. It is so because the growth of dating platforms provides the right opportunity to cheat on spouses secretly.
A study called ‘Computers in Human Behavior' found that many Tinder users are already married or in a committed relationship while using the dating site and app. This percentage is anywhere between 18 and 25. The survey was conducted in different countries worldwide.
For example, in the US, 42% of the respondents admitted to using the app even while they were married/in a committed relationship. Of the 17,000 people surveyed in the Netherlands, 4% of men and 2% of women were found dating online through various apps, even when they were already in committed relationships.
The most common types of extramarital affairs are short-term. One-night stands seem to be the most frequent type of cheating. As per a study, only 10% of all affairs are long-term, 25% last less than a week, and 65% last only for six months.
What About the Tendency to Cheat Again?
‘The Archives of Sexual Behavior' is a journal where a published study mentions that individuals who have cheated once have 33% more chances of cheating again.
Another aspect pointed out was about the individuals who have been cheated. Such people are likely to be cheated repeatedly by the same or a different partner throughout their lives.
A man or a woman will repeatedly cheat because they have not addressed the real reasons responsible for their action in the first place.
Additionally, some think themselves as too smart to get caught again, while many others feel that there's no harm in swinging a bit off the beaten track once in a while.
Every human being differs in their attitude towards cheating and handling their relationship thereof. Some decide to move apart and break up, while some choose to stay together. For most people, it is difficult to rebuild a stable and grounded relationship once the trust factor is broken. Though many married men and women try to work things out, it is a big challenge.
Both partners – the one who has cheated and the other who has been cheated – can work hand-in-hand to overcome the obstacles. It may seem like an upheaval task, but it is not impossible.
The easiest method to discover a solution quickly and effectively is to be open and honest with your spouse about your problems. Parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones can intervene and mediate in this case. One can go in for therapies, individual or couple treatments. Speaking to professional counselors can also provide relief.
You could also look at ways to keep yourself busy and contented. Doing small things together once more may fuel up and add a spark to the relationship. Both partners need to heal, and being compassionate toward one another's feelings and emotions can greatly help.
It is not wrong to summarize that the masculine gender is more prone to cheat outside their committed relationships. While it is unfair to generalize, statistics prove that men are twice as likely to give in to adultery than women.
On the other hand, recent studies have also made startling revelations that married women gradually look beyond their husbands for love and sex. There has been about a 40% increase since the 2000s in women's adultery rates.
Dissatisfaction in personal relationships is a usual way of life, especially in marriages. Accepting it and finding ways of cohabitation and co-existence happily, giving one another enough space, and being around each other can help strengthen the bond. If you have cheated, let go of the guilt and look at rebuilding trust with your spouse. If you have been cheated, give your partner the space to express himself/herself and find ways to mend the bond sincerely.