Are men more likely to cheat than women?
Most relationship-focused blogs, newspaper columns, magazines, books, movies, and TV shows portray men as the gender more likely to cheat. These stereotypes are born from the assumption that 'men are crazy for sex,' hence more likely to stray to get their needs met. On the other hand, cultural norms have been pressuring women to conform to a holier-than-thou attitude by strictly refraining from indulging themselves.
These societal pressures make it difficult for women to open up about their sexual experiences. Women tend to keep things quiet to maintain their social reputation and avoid being shamed by friends and family. This is why, in general, more men are likely to admit to cheating than women, significantly swaying the scale to make it look like women hardly cheat as much as men, if at all.
But, looking at the hard data, it's interesting to note that young women commit adultery more than young men. According to a study conducted by the Institute for Family Studies, among the ever-married adults between the ages of 18 to 29, women are slightly more likely than men to be guilty of infidelity (11% vs. 10%). Keeping in mind that these are just the 'confessed' statistics, we can see the real percentage could be much higher.
The study also revealed, more importantly, however, that a person's gender isn't the only defining element in the tendency to cheat. A person's political affiliation, family background, and religious beliefs are also directly related to whether or not they commit adultery, regardless of which gender group they belong to.
According to a recent Institute for Family Studies report, men are more likely to cheat than women, which gets even more true with age, as far fewer women cheat after age 59 than men. Overall, 20% of men report infidelity, compared to only 13% of women.
Science suggests that men are more sexually impulsive because they have evolved that way to further the species. Some speculate that because women are more than twice as likely to experience sexual violence, this may also be a reason for the numbers discrepancy. Others, like Dr. Tammy Nelson, point out that society excuses men more readily than women for infidelity, and that there are harsher, more devastating social repercussions for women, which can act as a deterrent.
While all of these may be true, it is also a fact that the male brain is designed for sexual conquest, with the area of the brain involved in sexual pursuit being up to 2.5 times larger than the average female's. Also, men have a much stronger sex drive than women, as they report masturbating over twice as often as women, and cite the reason as being not enough sex.
Therefore, the bottom line is that while men definitely cheat more often than women, it may be because it is more difficult for them not to since they are hardwired that way. This fact has been proven historically in study after study on monogamy, neurology, biology, sociology, and psychology.
- The American Psychological Association reports that 20%-40% of divorces are due to infidelity.
- Emotional cheating is defined as, “...an individual having an intense connection to another person, which usually arises through sharing emotions of which vulnerability is probably the most important.”
- According to a Journal of Family Psychology study, over half of the respondents (53.5%) said that they had had extramarital sex with a close, personal friend.
- Researchers have found that some women cheat in a relationship because they feel “underappreciated, neglected, or ignored,” while some men cheat due to immaturity or insecurity.