As a nationally-recognized infidelity expert who has been researching infidelity for almost 20 years, one of the most frequently asked questions I get, whether it’s from a talk show host, a news reporter, a magazine editor, or a person who is or has been a victim of infidelity is some variation of this:
Why do people cheat on their mate?
With infidelity at an all-time high, almost everyone who has been cheated on or knows someone who has been cheated on wants to know what makes a person who is married or in a committed relationship cheat on his or her spouse or significant other.
The answer to that question depends on whether it's a cheating woman or a cheating man.
Countless infidelity studies, surveys and polls have found that the reasons men cheat, differ from the reasons women cheat. Each gender has different motivations for getting involved in an affair, although with infidelity, as with most things, there are exceptions and variations.
Top 10 Reasons Why Men Cheat
• more sex - the desire for a more active sex life
• sexual variety - the desire for different types of sex or a particular sex act
• opportunistic sex – he’s presented with an opportunity to have sex without getting caught
• to satisfy his sexual curiosity about having sex with a particular person
• to reaffirm his sexuality
• a feeling of entitlement (the belief that it’s a man’s prerogative to cheat)
• the “thrill of the chase”
• ego embellishment - the desire to feel important or special
• peer pressure
• sexual addiction
Top 10 Reasons Why Women Cheat
• to fulfill an unmet need for emotional intimacy or a desire close emotional bond
• dissatisfaction with her mate
• dissatisfaction with her marriage or relationship
• a desire for male attention
• reaffirmation of her desirability as a woman
• to re-capture the feelings of romance or passion
• a desire to feel “special”
• boredom or loneliness
• feelings of neglect or being taken for granted
• sexual excitement
Sexual vs Emotional Reasons for Infidelity
If you compare the two lists, you will notice that with cheating men, sex tends to be the primary motivating factor. With cheating women, the primary motivating factors tend to be dissatisfaction with her mate or her relationship and unmet emotional needs.
Most men cheat largely for sexual reasons, while most women cheat for emotional reasons. There are several infidelity studies that bear that out. One study, in particular, found that 75% to 80% of the men who admitted to having extramarital affairs said that sex was the primary reason. Yet, only 20% of the women who were having extramarital affairs said they cheated on their spouses for purely sexual reasons.
Of course, the reasons above are not the only reasons why married men and women cheat on their mates. There are other reasons as well. But these are the reasons most frequently cited in by cheating men and women who participated in infidelity studies on people are unfaithful to their mates.
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*** © copyright 2013 Ruth Houston / All Rights Reserved.
Ruth Houston is a journalist, author, columnist, speaker and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) specializing in celebrity and lifestyle topics. She writes a Celebrity Infidelity column, and is frequently called on by the media to comment on celebrity infidelity scandals, high profile infidelity court cases, and popular infidelity/ relationship issues in the news. Ruth also does cruise ship lectures on celebrity scandals, as well as other lifestyle topics. To interview infidelity expert Ruth Houston, or have her speak at your next event, call 718 592-6029 or e-mail InfidelityExpert@gmail.com.