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"Men and Women Cheat For Entirely Different Reasons"
byline: Ruth Houston

The latest infidelity studies indicate that percentage-wise the gap is closing between cheating husbands in comparison to the percentage of cheating wives. However, even though more men are now becoming victims of infidelity, the fact still remains that 70% of infidelity victims are women. What's interesting though, is that men and women who are cheating on their spouses give different reasons to justify their extramarital affairs. 

The Top Reasons Men and Women Cheat

The top 3 reasons men cheat all relate to sex. However sex is not usually the motivating factor for cheating wives. The top 3 reasons women cheat relate to unmet emotional needs or a desire for attention. Listed below are the most common reasons cheating husbands and cheating wives use to justify their extramarital affairs:

Why Men Cheat

The most frequently cited reasons for infidelity among men include
1. more sex (the desire for a more active sex life)
2. sexual variety (a desire for different kinds of sex)
3. opportunistic sex ( taking advantage of an opportunity to have sex without the fear of getting caught)
4. to satisfy sexual curiosity (about a specific female)
5. a feeling of entitlement (the belief that it's a man's prerogative to cheat)
6. the "thrill of the chase"
7. the desire to feel important or special
8. sexual addiction

Why Women Cheat

The reasons most frequently cited for female infidelity include
1. a desire for emotional closeness and intimacy (someone caring to confide in and bond with on an emotional level)
2. a desire for attention (wanting be the center of a man's attention again)
3. to reaffirm her desirability (To feel validated as a woman)
4. to re-experience feelings of romance
5. a desire to feel "special"
6. boredom
7. loneliness
8. sexual excitement

Men Cheat for Sexual Reasons, Women Cheat for Emotional Reasons

Granted, these are not the only reasons men and women cheat. There are other reasons as well. But the bottom line is that men are cheating on their wives primarily for sexual reasons, while women are cheating on their husbands mainly for emotional reasons. However, these are the reasons most frequently given by cheating husbands and cheating wives who are willing to discuss their extramarital affairs.

Numerous studies on infidelity bear that out. In one study, 75% to 80% of the men who admitted to having extramarital affairs said that sex was the primary reason. Only 20% of the women who were having extramarital affairs said they did so for purely sexual reasons. 

How More Marriages Could be Saved

The most amazing thing about the studies is that the majority of infidelity victims (70% of married women and 54% of married men) have no idea their spouse is having an extramarital affair. In another study, 60% of the people who admitted that they were cheating, said their partner did not know about their affair. This leads me to conclude that if more people knew how to recognize the warning signs of infidelity, more marriages could be saved. After all, the first step to solving a problem is knowing that the problem exists. 

© 2005 Ruth Houston

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