New Trends in Infidelity

New York Times
Oct 28, 2008

.....New studies suggest surprising changes in the marital landscape. Infidelity appears to be on the rise, particularly among older men and young couples. Notably, women appear to be closing the adultery gap: younger women appear to be cheating on their spouses nearly as often as men.

The most consistent data on infidelity come from the General Social Survey, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and based at the University of Chicago, which has used a national representative sample to track the opinions and social behaviors of Americans since 1972. The survey data show that in any given year, about 10 percent of married people — 12 percent of men and 7 percent of women — say they have had sex outside their marriage.

“Is it that men are bragging about it and women are lying to everybody including themselves?” Dr. Helen Fisher asked. “Men want to think women don’t cheat, and women want men to think they don’t cheat, and therefore the sexes have been playing a little psychological game with each other.”

Dr. Fisher notes that infidelity is common across cultures, and that in hunting and gathering societies, there is no evidence that women are any less adulterous than men. The fidelity gap may be explained more by cultural pressures than any real difference in sex drives between men and women. Men with multiple partners typically are viewed as virile, while women are considered promiscuous. And historically, women have been isolated on farms or at home with children, giving them fewer opportunities to be unfaithful.

The General Social Survey data also show some encouraging trends, said John P. Robinson, professor of sociology and director of the Americans’ Use of Time project at the University of Maryland. One notable shift is that couples appear to be spending slightly more time together. And married men and women also appear to have the most active sex lives, reporting sex with their spouse 58 times a year, a little more than once a week.


Infidelity news and views blog

Infidelity expert Ruth Houston:
Research done by the late Dr. Shirley Glass, often referred to as the “Godmother of infidelity research”, revealed that when a husband cheats, it doesn't mean he has problems in his marriage. Over half the cheating husbands in Dr. Glass’s landmark infidelity study, said they were happy with their wives.

Houston says, “You can see from the research, that happy husbands cheat too. Unlike female infidelity, most male infidelity is unrelated to unhappiness or dissatisfaction with the cheating husband’s marriage or his mate. But despite all the research, people continue to perpetuate the myth that good marriages are immune to infidelity and happy husbands don’t have affairs.”

Houston continues, “Perpetuating this myth gives women with happy husbands or problem-free marriages a false sense of security. This almost guarantees that if their husbands have an affair, they’ll be the last to know. Approximately 50% to 70% of men cheat on their mates. At least 2/3 of the women being cheated on have no idea their husbands are having an affair. That’s 26 million unsuspecting wives -- many of whom consider themselves to be immune from infidelity – which makes them oblivious to the signs of an impending affair.

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1 comment:

Vikram Madan said...

I've been researching this topic for a blog entry I'm writing. Its titled 'BEAST NATURE'.

It makes sense that infidelity is not at all connected to whether the marriage is a happy or unhappy one.

Infidelity can be explained by one simple phrase -- "Beast Nature".

The urge for promiscuity, infidelity, group sex, etc is very natural and not a disease. I'm convinced of this totally.

I am neither against promiscuity etc, nor in favour of such things. To each his own.


The central question that's been boggling my mind is...

How can the feeling that "50 people have been intimate with me" be a good, healthy feeling?

It sounds like a one way ticket to losing one's sanity. Because promiscuity entails a total loss of body/mind/emotional integrity.

Which is in perfect tune with my understanding of beast nature, actually.

Because "Beast Nature" is the realm of madness. (I'm referring to the natural phenomenon 'madness' - no reference to any mental 'disease' here.)

The above issues apply equally to both males and females, of course.