If you ask any group of people who is more likely to cheat men or women, almost all will respond men. On a recent dating forum one woman even asked, “Why do ALL men cheat?” Of course, scientists would say that we cannot rely on the myopia of personal experience. Part of this could be a cultural assumption as well. But if you look at the statistics behind cheating males are indeed more likely to travel beyond the confines of monogamy. Some guys cry foul at this and say women also have a preponderance to stray. There is some evidence to back this up. A 2013 survey of 3,000 daters conducted by British dating site Coffee & Company found that women were more bent toward infidelity than men. Nine percent of male respondents had cheated versus 25% of women. Ladies age 35 to 40 were the most likely end up in the arms of another. Some were unmarried and looking for a thrill. Most said they were driven to it through emotional or physical neglect in their primary relationship, typified by the oft uttered phrase, “He made me feel special.”
Research published in a 2013 issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that both sexes have an urge to cheat, and both have equal ability to contain themselves. But it also found that a man’s desire is stronger than a woman’s. Bitter women often say men lack self-control. Is it true? According to two studies conducted at the University of Texas, self-control in either sex is the same. But sexual feelings and urges in men are more powerful. In the first study, 148 participants were asked to illustrate an instance where a person they were attracted to was “off-limits.” The strength of attraction, their sexual attraction to the person, and the strength of their self-control were all measured. Responses to questions included, “I exerted myself to resist the desire/impulse” and “my behavior clearly indicated that I was acting on the desire/impulse.” Men reported more instances of infidelity in this study. They did however exhibit just as much effort in trying to control their impulses. Paul Eastwick was the study’s co-author. He wrote that men have just as much self-control as women. But when they don’t use it, their sexual impulses are stronger, and so in this instance cheating is likely to occur.
600 undergraduates took part in the second study, 326 were men and 274 women. Here each was given a joystick and so the ability to accept or reject a mate based on a series of photos presented to them. They moved left to reject and right to accept. By the men’s reaction times, researchers found that men take longer to accept a partner. Also, though self-control was not seen as an issue, men were “impulsively drawn to attractive targets.” This means that men evaluated potential mates on physical attractiveness. From an evolutionary standpoint, self-control is relatively new. Men contain the copulatory imperative, a strong sex drive in order to ensure the perpetuation of the human race. For males, mates from this view are evaluated based on attractiveness as this telegraphs health and means she is more likely to bare healthy offspring. But with modern society and sensibilities, these simple impulses get caught in a net of artificiality. Sociologists say monogamy has brought stability to many societies. Some fringe independent thinkers today wonder if in the age of dating apps, whether or not monogamy itself is outdated. Still, most Americans are monogamists. And that’s okay. Psychologists say as long as both partners are honest and invest in the relationship whole heartedly we can find utter happiness in a monogamy and neither party will have reason to cheat.
For help finding your most logical match read, The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love
by: Ty Tashiro.