A group of experts investigated men’s and women’s reasons for cheating as well as their experiences during and after the affair.
Selterman D. and colleagues found some similarities among the sexes as well as some crucial differences in their behaviors and feelings.
Among the 500 participants were 259 women, 213 men, and 23 people identifying as ‘non-binary’. They were all aged around 20 on average and 88% of them were heterosexual while the rest had other sexual preferences.
In order to take part in the research, participants must have had either had an affair sometime in the past or their relationships today. Most of them were college students and some people were called to participate through Reddit. Over 94% of them reported that their affairs included sex.
According to the researchers, the main motivations for starting affairs include:
- Sexual Desire
- Lack of Love
- Low Commitment
Even though the researchers did not find gender differences in this sample in initial motivation to start the affair, in previous studies they found that men were more likely to start affairs due to sexual repression or interest in variety while women were more prone to start affairs because they felt neglected by their partners.
Some more findings
When it comes to experiences during and after the affairs, women reported having longer-lasting affairs than men. Despite most of the affairs being sexual, women were more likely to report having had affairs that did not involve sex. Strangely, women also reported more intimacy than men with their main partners before starting their affairs, but for both men and women, intimacy with their main partner was unrelated to feelings of intimacy with the person they cheated with.
Men were more likely to engage in sexual conversations with their lovers than women. Men were also more likely to report having received oral sex from their lovers and to say that sex was better with them than with their main partner. However, both sexes reported similar levels of sexual satisfaction with their lovers overall and did not differ in their sexual interaction frequency with their lovers.
Around 20% of participants reported splitting with their partners due to the affair, and there was no difference between the sexes in the tendency to leave their main partners after having started an affair. Women, however, were more likely to admit their affairs to their main partners.
The study’s implications are not conclusive due to the sample being comprised mainly of college students.
According to the researchers, college relationships are less serious and they may also be more likely to cheat than other age groups. Hopefully, a more conclusive study will be held in the near future.
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