Maureen Renfro's Blog: Reasons Why Men and Women Cheat

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reasons Why Men and Women Cheat

Both men and women cheat for a variety of reasons – due to problems in their relationship, due to their need for intimacy, or because they have a high sex drive.

But, when focusing on sex differences alone - differences based on biology - men and women cheat in different ways. Men are more likely to cheat opportunistically.  That is, more often and with someone who may be less attractive or desirable than their current partner.

Women, by comparison, tend to cheat more selectively.  Women tend to be more flirtatious, risk-taking, and act in sexually provocative ways when they are ovulating.  Women are also attracted to more masculine and physically attractive men when ovulating.

The explanation for this behavior is called the sexy son hypothesis.  The argument goes like this: because women are more limited in their ability to reproduce, women who acted in ways that increased their reproductive success - like mating with the best men available when ovulating – were more likely to have healthy and attractive children.  Possessing this trait or tendency would have led to a reproductive advantage, which would have become widespread over the course of human evolution.

In short, men and women are different.  Women are more likely to cheat up while men are more likely to cheat around.

But it also helps to keep in mind, that while there may be sex differences when it comes to cheating – men and women are more alike than they are different.  Both sexes cheat for a variety of reasons.

Top 10 Reasons Why Women Cheat

1. to fulfill an unmet need for emotional intimacy or a desire close emotional bond

2. dissatisfaction with her spouse

3. dissatisfaction with her marriage or relationship

4. a desire for male attention

5. reaffirmation of her desirability as a woman

6. Priorities - Women may cheat as a means to act out against their spouse's priorities. If a woman is upset that she is not her spouse's biggest priority in life, she may cheat as a means of feeling special. This could be about a spouse who is a workaholic, a spouse who hangs out with his male buddies all of the time, or a spouse who thinks that his mother is more important than his woman.

7. a desire to feel “special”

8. boredom or loneliness

9. feelings of neglect or being taken for granted

10. to re-capture the feelings of romance or passion

A woman will usually attempt to convey her dissatisfaction or unhappiness to her spouse. If he ignores her or takes her complaints lightly, and it becomes clear to her that nothing will change, she will usually have an affair.

Top Ten Reasons Why Men Cheat

1. More sex – the desire for a more active sex life

2. Sexual variety – the desire for different types of sex or a particular sex act

3. Opportunistic sex — he’s presented with an opportunity to have sex without getting caught

4. To satisfy his sexual curiosity about having sex with a particular person

5. To reaffirm his sexuality

6. A feeling of entitlement (the belief that it’s a man’s prerogative to cheat)

7. The “thrill of the chase”

8. Ego embellishment – the desire to feel important or special

9. Peer pressure

10. Sexual addiction

Differences in the Reasons Why Men and Women Cheat

Men tend to cheat largely for sexual reasons, while women cheat for emotional reasons. There are several infidelity studies that bear that out.  A 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. A Yet, only 20% of the women who were having extramarital affairs said they cheated on their spouses for purely sexual reasons. Of course, top 10 reasons listed above for cheating men and cheating women by no means the only reasons why married men and women cheat on their spouse. As you can see, unhappiness or dissatisfaction is not a major reason why men cheat, but it’s one of the primary motivating factors for women who cheat on their spouse. Many people believe that a happy husband will not cheat on his wife, and that a good marriage or relationship is immune to infidelity.