Infidelity Amongst Women On The Uprise?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by Principessa, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. Principessa

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    Love, Sex and the Changing Landscape of Infidelity
    By TARA PARKER-POPE
    If you cheated on your spouse, would you admit it to a researcher?

    Surveys conducted in person are likely to underestimate the real rate of adultery, because people are reluctant to admit such behavior not just to their spouses but to anyone.

    In a study published last summer in The Journal of Family Psychology, for example, researchers from the University of Colorado and Texas A&M surveyed 4,884 married women, using face-to-face interviews and anonymous computer questionnaires. In the interviews, only 1 percent of women said they had been unfaithful to their husbands in the past year; on the computer questionnaire, more than 6 percent did.

    At the same time, experts say that surveys appearing in sources like women’s magazines may overstate the adultery rate, because they suffer from what pollsters call selection bias: the respondents select themselves and may be more likely to report infidelity.

    “If you just ask whether infidelity is going up, you don’t see really impressive changes,” said David C. Atkins, research associate professor at the University of Washington Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors. “But if you magnify the picture and you start looking at specific gender and age cohorts, we do start to see some pretty significant changes.”

    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.

    But detailed analysis of the data from 1991 to 2006, to be presented next month by Dr. Atkins at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies conference in Orlando, show some surprising shifts. University of Washington researchers have found that the lifetime rate of infidelity for men over 60 increased to 28 percent in 2006, up from 20 percent in 1991. For women over 60, the increase is more striking: to 15 percent, up from 5 percent in 1991.

    The researchers also see big changes in relatively new marriages. About 20 percent of men and 15 percent of women under 35 say they have ever been unfaithful, up from about 15 and 12 percent respectively.

    Theories vary about why more people appear to be cheating. Among older people, a host of newer drugs and treatments are making it easier to be sexual, and in some cases unfaithful — Viagra and other remedies for erectile dysfunction, estrogen and testosterone supplements to maintain women’s sex drive and vaginal health, even advances like better hip replacements.

    “They’ve got the physical health to express their sexuality into old age,” said Helen E. Fisher, research professor of anthropology at Rutgers and the author of several books on the biological and evolutionary basis of love and sex.

    In younger couples, the increasing availability of pornography on the Internet, which has been shown to affect sexual attitudes and perceptions of “normal” behavior, may be playing a role in rising infidelity.

    But it is the apparent change in women’s fidelity that has sparked the most interest among relationship researchers. It is not entirely clear if the historical gap between men and women is real or if women have just been more likely to lie about it.

    “Is it that men are bragging about it and women are lying to everybody including themselves?” Dr. 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.

    But today, married women are more likely to spend late hours at the office and travel on business. And even for women who stay home, cellphones, e-mail and instant messaging appear to be allowing them to form more intimate relationships, marriage therapists say. Dr. Frank Pittman, an Atlanta psychiatrist who specializes in family crisis and couples therapy, says he has noticed more women talking about affairs centered on “electronic” contact.

    “I see a changing landscape in which the emphasis is less on the sex than it is on the openness and intimacy and the revelation of secrets,” said Dr. Pittman, the author of “Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy” (Norton, 1990).

    “Everybody talks by cellphone and the relationship evolves because you become increasingly distant from whomever you lie to, and you become increasingly close to whomever you tell the truth to.”

    While infidelity rates do appear to be rising, a vast majority of people still say adultery is wrong, and most men and women do not appear to be unfaithful. Another problem with the data is that it fails to discern when respondents cheat: in a troubled time in the marriage, or at the end of a failing relationship.


     
  2. Penis Aficionado

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    That's interesting, I suppose. I've always been drawn to women who cheat on their boyfriends/husbands -- they tend to be really mischievous and fun, although that's probably just masking some deeper unhappiness ...
     
  3. B_DEATHbyCARROT

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    I've always maintained the belief that women cheat as much as men do, but arent willing to ever admit it... This comes from women being so willing to cheat with me. If they cheat with me so easily they will with others. Just a tip for the dudes out there: if your woman wants to try a LDR dont do it!!
     
  4. Principessa

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    It's not the LDR they have to worry about, it's the "taking a break." That usually means she's already cheated or has at least picked out the guy with whom she will be cheating.
     
  5. va_lk_yr_ie

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    This also depends on what your own view on a relation and fidelity within that relation means. While the most common view is that sexual fidelity to your partner only is expected you also have the entire spectrum over swingers that have sex with other couples/singles while the other partner is present to truly open relations where only openess and honesty is expected from the other part and freedom in all other respects are given.

    I am not saying one is superior to the other, each and everyone has to find what meshes with their own values and what they are willing to give in relation to what they expect to receive. Any mismatch on this is a surefire way to destroy a relation in my opinion.

    For myself I could not imagine not living in a relation where I did not have the freedom to see and explore others; partially because I'm drawn to both men and women and need both to be happy and fulfilled, even more because I don't believe man is a monogamous creature to begin with. To me monogamy - even in the form of serial monogamy where you really change partner as you change relations but stay exclusive to that partner for the duration the relation lasts - is a social construct and not necessarily a deep seated need in most of us.

    Cheating to me is not so much about the actual sexual act or what my partner does with someone else; it is about intention and honesty. Going off to someone elses bed for (safe - just to point out the obvious) sex won't phase me - I know my partner will come back to me for what I can offer him/her which is more than 'just' sex - it's all those parts that a relation is above and beyond, security, laughing at silly jokes, kissing, hugging, enjoying eachothers company, holding hands, snuggling up on the sofa, watching a film, caring for one another, having the other person's best before your eyes. Lying or trying to hide what you are doing on the other hand is what will tick me off.

    No, I'm not a good match-up for someone expecting me to never look at or take an interest in another person. I am on the other hand happy and healthy in the way I live and with the relation I have.
     
  6. Principessa

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    va_lk_yr_ie, looks like you beat manlybanisters to the punch this time. :cool:

    Odd and detestable though it may be to the rest of the world, the USA is still fairly puritanical. When an article in the New York Times discusses infidelity they assume that everyone knows a relationship, especially a marriage is monogamous.

    While cheating maybe normal for you, it is definetely not the status quo here, not even for men.






     
  7. Viking_UK

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    I remember seeing a doco about a project researching female infidelity a while back where they said that something like one guy in 25 in the States was raising at least one other guy's kid thinking it was his own. The study was prompted by a kid needing a transplant and turning out to be a different tissue type to her dad. I can't remember the exact details, but it was something along the lines of "dad" being O, mum being A and the kid being AB. Three of her four siblings also weren't "dad's" kids but all had the same father who turned out to be the landscape gardener who lived down the road. Anyway, dad divorced mum, got custody of all the kids and she moved in with the gardener. It also helped explain why so many kids in the local school looked alike, because it turned out that the gardener had been doing a bit more than fertilising the plants and had at least another dozen kids with various mothers among his clients.

    They concluded in the doco that, in general, when women are ovulating, they fancy a more rough and rugged, adventurous guy, whereas for the rest of the month, they prefer the nurturing, hard-working, "good parent" type.
     
  8. badgirl22

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    I am a new cheater. Wasn't even a cheater on boyfriends but am now stepping outside my marriage. I have been in a marriage where we have sex 2x a year. I have tried like hell to make our sex lives better but have a husband who has some hang ups. So, finally, i decided i couldn't live, and shouldn't have to live without sex. I am a sexual being and the thought of living without sex for the next 30 years kills me. as an example, my husband freaked the first time i told him i thought we should get a vibrator - he felt threatened that i thought he wasn't *enough* for me. I tried explaining to him a vibrator is a toy we can both enjoy - together.

    Any way, I went out and found myself someone and the sex is fantastic. I can't believe I lived without this for the past 12 years. I told my obgyn what i was doing. We have discussed this in detail over the past couple of weeks. He feels there is nothing wrong with me doing this and that I should just be careful. He also shares the thought that it won't have been the affair that ends the marriage - the marriage was in trouble or there wouldn't have been an affair.

    My husband immediately started to go to therapy after I told him i wanted a divorce or we should sleep with other people. He gets that he has created a very difficult marriage for me (other issues too). He wants to work to save the marriage but i'm not sure even if we could fix most issues, that the sex will ever be okay.

    The Dr. was saying that typically (not always, just typically) when a woman cheats it's because her needs aren't being met - could be emotional or physical and that a relationship is already in trouble. When a man cheats, sometimes he is just looking for a different piece of ass - doen't have to have anything to do with his current situation. Men and woman are different and do things for different reasons.

    I never thought I'd cheat - never would have considered it for myself. But, after living without good sex for 12 years things change. I'm so glad I'm doing what I'm doing. No guilt - not even a little.
     
  9. Principessa

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    badgirl22 I'm sorry you are in a bad marriage but divorce really is the best choice at this point. Why compromise your values for him?

    :confused: I've never heard of this theory and I think it's 'shite'. :cool: I prefer a man who is all those things, all the time. I guess that's why I was single for so long. :redface: Most men have barely one of those characteristics let alone all of them.
     
  10. Hansalami

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    New Scientist just ran an article on parts of this issue:
    Men have a sharper eye for a love cheat - sex - 29 October 2008 - New Scientist

    One observation: "Complex statistical analysis of the data hinted that a further 10 per cent of the women in the study had cheated on top of the 18.5 per cent who admitted to it in the questionnaires, whereas the men had been honest about their philandering."

    This correction would in this research make adultry rates for men and women almost equal.
     
  11. kilo513

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    I have seen a report like this, they showed pictures of different men ( rugged, nerdy, sporty etc ) every day to a set of girls and asked them to rate them.

    They also conducted a test on strippers and found they received higher tips at certian times of the month?
     
  12. D_Selmus_Swallow

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    In response to the title- nah, not necessarily. Could just mean those researchers are getting better at gathering more accurate statistics. But I agree personally that it probably would be true, and for the very reasons in the article.
     
  13. polesmoker

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    Badgirl, if you want to get your thing on the side, do what you do. Use condoms.
     
  14. Notaguru2

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    Every women I've been with outside of my marriage has been married. Women are just as naughty as the guys, trust me. Never under estimate a married woman... even the ones you say to yourself, "Naw... she would never do that."

    I'm serious. A lot of married women are very approachable. I'm not sure why, but they are.
     
  15. SpeedoGuy

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    For whatever its worth, I've been propositioned far more often by married mothers in the last decade.
     
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