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Infidelity (synonyms include cheating, straying,
adultery Adultery (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...

adultery
, being unfaithful, two-timing, or having an affair) is a violation of a couple's emotional and/or sexual exclusivity that commonly results in feelings of
anger Anger, also known as wrath or Rage (emotion), rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, hurt or threat. A person experiencing anger will often experience physic ...

anger
,
sexual jealousy Sexual jealousy is a special form of jealousy in human sexuality, sexual relationships, based on suspected or imminent sexual infidelity. The concept is studied in the field of evolutionary psychology. Basis Evolutionary psychologists have sugge ...
, and
rivalry A rivalry is the state of two people or groups engaging in a lasting competitive relationship. Rivalry is the "against each other" spirit between two competing sides. The relationship itself may also be called "a rivalry", and each participant or ...

rivalry
. What constitutes infidelity depends on expectations within the relationship. In
marital relationship in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially us ...
s, exclusivity is commonly assumed. Infidelity can cause psychological damage, including feelings of
rage
rage
and
betrayal Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract A contract is a legally binding document between at least two parties that defines and governs the rights and duties of the parties to an agreement. A contract is legally enfor ...
, low sexual and personal
confidence Confidence is a state of being clear-headed either that a hypothesis or prediction is correct or that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective. Confidence comes from a Latin word 'fidere' which means "to trust"; therefore, having ...
, and even
post-traumatic stress disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental Mental may refer to: * of or relating to the mind Films * Mental (2012 film), ''Mental'' (2012 film), an Australian comedy-drama * Mental (2016 film), ''Mental'' (2016 film), a Bangladeshi r ...
. Men and women can experience social consequences if their act of infidelity becomes public, but the form and extent of these consequences often depend on the gender of the unfaithful person.


Incidence

After the
Kinsey Report Image:Kinsey-Male.jpg, The 1948 first edition of ''Sexual Behavior in the Human Male'', the first of the two Kinsey Reports The Kinsey Reports are two scholarly books on human sexual behavior, ''Sexual Behavior in the Human Male'' (1948) and ''Sexua ...
s came out in the early 1950s, findings suggested that historically and cross-culturally,
extramarital sex Extramarital sex occurs when a married in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a culturally recognised union between people, called spouses, that establishes rights and obligations between them, as well as between the ...
has been a matter of regulation more than sex before marriage. The Kinsey Reports found that around half of men and a quarter of women studied had committed
adultery Adultery (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Rom ...

adultery
. The ''Janus Report on Sexual Behavior in America'' also reported that one third of married men and a quarter of women have had an extramarital
affair An affair is a , , or between two people where at least one of the two has such a connection with a third person, either in a formal setting like marriage or informally, without the third person's knowledge or agreement. Romantic affair A roma ...

affair
. According to ''
The New York Times ''The New York Times'' (''NYT'' or ''NY Times'') is an American daily newspaper based in New York City with a worldwide readership. Founded in 1851, the ''Times'' has since won List of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The New York Times, 130 Pulit ...

The New York Times
'', the most consistent data on infidelity comes from the University of Chicago's
General Social Survey The General Social Survey (GSS) is a Sociology, sociological statistical survey, survey created and regularly collected since 1972 by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. It is funded by the National Science Foundatio ...
(GSS). Interviews with people in
monogamous Monogamy ( ) is a form of Dyad (sociology), dyadic Intimate relationship, relationship in which an individual has only one Significant other, partner during their lifetime—alternately, only one partner at any one time (Monogamy#Serial monogamy ...
relationships since 1972 by the GSS have shown that approximately 12% of men and 7% of women admit to having had an extramarital relationship. Results, however, vary year by year, and also by age-group surveyed. For example, one study conducted by the
University of Washington, Seattle The University of Washington (UW, simply Washington, or informally U-Dub) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of s ...
, found slightly, or significantly higher, rates of infidelity for populations under 35, or older than 60. In that study which involved 19,065 people during a 15-year period, rates of infidelity among men were found to have risen from 20 to 28%, and rates for women ranging from 5% to 15%. In more recent nationwide surveys, several researchers found that about twice as many men as women reported having an extramarital affair. A survey conducted in 1990 found 2.2% of married participants reported having more than one partner during the past year. In general, national surveys conducted in the early 1990s reported that between 15 and 25% of married Americans reported having extramarital affairs. People who had stronger sexual interests, more permissive sexual values, lower subjective satisfaction with their partner, weaker network ties to their partner, and greater sexual opportunities were more likely to be unfaithful. Studies suggest around 30–40% of unmarried relationships and 18–20% of marriages see at least one incident of sexual infidelity. Rates of infidelity among women are thought to increase with age. In one study, rates were higher in more recent marriages, compared with previous generations. Men were found to be only "somewhat" more likely than women to engage in infidelity, with rates for both sexes becoming increasingly similar. Another study found that the likelihood for women to be involved in infidelity reached a peak in the seventh year of their marriage and then declined afterward. For married men, the longer they were in relationships, the less likely they were to engage in infidelity, until the eighteenth year of marriage, at which point the chance that men will engage in infidelity began to increase. One measure of infidelity is
paternal discrepancy Paternity fraud, also known as misattributed paternity or paternal discrepancy, is when a man is incorrectly identified to be the biological father of a child. The underlying assumption of paternity fraud is that the mother deliberately misidentifi ...
, a situation that arises when someone who is presumed to be a child's father is in fact not the biological parent. Frequencies as high as 30% are sometimes assumed in the media, but research by sociologist Michael Gilding traced these overestimates back to an informal remark at a 1972 conference.Philipp EE (1973) "Discussion: moral, social and ethical issues". In: Wolstenholme GEW, Fitzsimons DW, eds. ''Law and ethics of AID and embryo transfer''. Ciba Foundation symposium. Vol 17. London: Associated Scientific 63–66 The detection of paternal discrepancy can occur in the context of medical
genetic screening Genetic testing, also known as DNA testing, is used to identify changes in DNA The structure of part of a DNA double helix Deoxyribonucleic acid (; DNA) is a molecule File:Pentacene on Ni(111) STM.jpg, A scanning tunneling microscopy i ...
, in genetic family name research, and in immigration testing. Such studies show that paternal discrepancy is, in fact, less than 10% among the sampled
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...
populations, less than 5% among the sampled
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
and
Polynesian Polynesian is the adjectival form of Polynesia. It may refer to: * Polynesians, an ethnic group * Polynesian culture, the culture of the indigenous peoples of Polynesia * Polynesian mythology, the oral traditions of the people of Polynesia * Polyne ...
populations, less than 2% of the sampled
Middle Eastern The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...
population, and generally 1–2% among
European European, or Europeans, may refer to: In general * ''European'', an adjective referring to something of, from, or related to Europe ** Ethnic groups in Europe ** Demographics of Europe ** European cuisine, the cuisines of Europe and other Western ...

European
samples.


Gender

Differences in sexual infidelity as a function of gender have been commonly reported. It is more common for men compared to women to engage in extradyadic relationships. The National Health and Social Life Survey found that 4% of married men, 16% of cohabiting men, and 37% of dating men engaged in acts of sexual infidelity in the previous year compared to 1% of married women, 8% of cohabiting women, and 17% of women in dating relationships. These differences have been generally thought due to evolutionary pressures that motivate men towards sexual opportunity and women towards commitment to one partner (for reasons such as reproductive success, stability, and social expectations). In addition, recent research finds that differences in gender may possibly be explained by other mechanisms including power and sensations seeking. For example, one study found that some women in more financially independent and higher positions of power, were also more likely to be more unfaithful to their partners. In another study, when the tendency to sensation seek (i.e., engage in risky behaviours) was controlled for, there were no gender differences in the likelihood to being unfaithful. These findings suggest there may be various factors that might influence the likelihood of some individuals to engage in extradyadic relationships, and that such factors may account for observed gender differences beyond actual gender and evolutionary pressures associated with each.


Gender differences

There is currently debate in the field of
evolutionary psychology Evolutionary psychology is a theoretical approach in the social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchan ...
whether an innate, evolved sex difference exists between men and women in response to an act of infidelity; this is often called a "sex difference". A study published in 2002 suggested there may be sex differences in jealousy. Those that posit a sex difference exists state that men are 60% more likely to be disturbed by an act of sexual infidelity (having one's partner engage in sexual relations with another), whereas women are 83% more likely to be disturbed by an act of emotional infidelity (having one's partner fall in love with another). Those against this model argue that there is no difference between men and women in their response to an act of infidelity. From an evolutionary perspective, men are theorized to maximize their fitness by investing as little as possible in their offspring and producing as many offspring as possible, due to the risk of males investing in children that are not theirs. Women, who do not face the risk of cuckoldry, are theorized to maximize their fitness by investing as much as possible in their offspring because they invest at least nine months of resources towards their offspring in pregnancy. Maximizing female fitness is theorized to require males in the relationship to invest all their resources in the offspring. These conflicting strategies are theorized to have resulted in selection of different jealousy mechanisms that are designed to enhance the fitness of the respective gender. A common way to test whether an innate jealousy response exists between sexes is to use a forced-choice questionnaire. This style of questionnaire asks participants "yes or no" and "response A or response B" style questions about certain scenarios. For example, a question might ask, "If you found your partner cheating on you would you be more upset by (A) the sexual involvement or (B) the emotional involvement". Many studies using forced choice questionnaires have found statistically significant results supporting an innate sex difference between men and women. Furthermore, studies have shown that this observation holds across many cultures, although the magnitudes of the sex difference vary within sexes across cultures. Although forced-choice questionnaires show a statistically significant sex-difference, critics of the theory of evolved sex differences in jealousy question these findings. In consideration of the entire body of work on sex differences, C. F. Harris asserted that when methods other than forced-choice questionnaires are used to identify an innate sex difference, inconsistencies between studies begin to arise. For example, researchers found that women sometimes report feeling more intense jealousy in response to both sexual and emotional infidelity. The results of these studies also depended on the context in which the participants were made to describe what type of jealousy they felt, as well as the intensity of their jealousy. In her meta-analysis, Harris raises the question of whether forced choice questionnaires actually measure what they purport: jealousy itself and evidence that differences in jealousy arise from innate mechanisms. Her
meta-analysis A meta-analysis is a statistical analysis that combines the results of multiple scientific studies The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science s ...
reveals that sex-differences are almost exclusively found in forced-choice studies. According to Harris, a meta-analysis of multiple types of studies should indicate a convergence of evidence and multiple operationalizations. This is not the case, which raises the question as to the validity of forced-choice studies. DeSteno and Bartlett (2002) further support this argument by providing evidence which indicates that significant results of forced-choice studies may actually be an artifact of measurement; this finding would invalidate many of the claims made by those "in favor" of an "innate" sex difference. Even those "in favor" of sex-differences admit that certain lines of research, such as homicide studies, suggest against the possibility of sex-differences. These inconsistent results have led researchers to propose novel theories that attempt to explain the sex differences observed in certain studies. One theory that has been hypothesized to explain why men and women both report more distress to emotional infidelity than sexual infidelity is borrowed from childhood attachment theories. Studies have found that
attachment styles Attachment theory is a psychological, evolutionary and Ethology, ethological theory concerning interpersonal relationship, relationships between humans. The most important tenet is that young children need to develop a relationship with at least ...
of adults are consistent with their self-reported relationship histories. For example, more men are reported to have an insecure, dismissing avoidant attachment style; where these "individuals often attempt to minimize or constrict emotional experience, deny needs for intimacy, are highly invested in autonomy, and are more sexually promiscuous than individuals who have other attachment styles". Levy and Kelly (2010) tested this theory and found that adult attachment styles strongly correlate to which type of infidelity elicited more jealousy. Individuals who have secure attachment styles often report that emotional infidelity is more upsetting whereas dismissing attachment styles were more likely to find sexual infidelity more upsetting. Their study did report that men in general were more likely than women to report sexual infidelity as more distressing, however this could be related to more men having a dismissing attachment style.The authors propose that a social mechanism may be responsible for the observed results. In other words, replicable sex differences in emotion and sexual jealousy could be a function of a social function. Similar studies focusing on the masculinization and feminization by society also argue for a social explanation, while discounting an evolutionary explanation. A 2015 study found a correlation between AVPR1A expression and predisposition to extrapair mating in women but not in men.


Sexual orientation

Evolutionary researchers have suggested that men and women have innate mechanisms that contribute to why they become sexually jealous, this is especially true for certain types of infidelity. It has been hypothesized that heterosexual men have developed an innate psychological mechanism that responds to the threat of sexual infidelity more than emotional infidelity, and vice versa for heterosexual women because potential
cuckoldry A cuckold is the husband of an adulterous wife; the wife of an adulterous husband is a cuckquean. In biology, a cuckold is a male who unwittingly invests parental investment, parental effort in juveniles who are not genetically his offspring. ...
is more detrimental to the male, who could potentially invest in offspring of another male, while for females emotional infidelity is more worrisome because they could lose the parental investment to another woman's offspring, therefore affecting their chances of survival. However, more recent studies suggest that increasingly both men and women would find emotional infidelity psychologically worse. Symons (1979) determined that sexual jealousy is the major reason that many homosexual men are unsuccessful in maintaining monogamous relationships and suggests that all men are innately disposed to want sexual variation, with the difference between heterosexual and homosexual men being that homosexual men can find willing partners more often for casual sex, and thus satisfy this innate desire for sexual variety. However, according to this view, all men are "hard wired" to be sexually jealous, and therefore
gay men Gay men are male homosexuals Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction Sexual attraction is attraction on the basis of sexual desire or the quality of arousing such interest. Sexual attractiveness or sex appeal is an ...
should be more upset by sexual infidelity than by emotional infidelity, and that lesbians should be more upset by emotional infidelity than sexual. Recent studies suggest that it may not be an innate mechanism, rather depends on the importance placed on sexual exclusivity. Peplau and Cochran (1983) found that sexual exclusivity was much more important to heterosexual men and women compared to homosexual men and women. This theory suggests that it is not sexuality that may lead to differences but that people are prone to jealousy in domains that are especially important to them. Barah and Lipton argue that heterosexual couples may cheat just as much as homosexual relationships. Harris (2002) tested these hypotheses among 210 individuals: 48 homosexual women, 50 homosexual men, 40 heterosexual women, and 49 heterosexual men. Results found that more heterosexual than homosexual individuals picked sexual infidelity as worse than emotional infidelity, with heterosexual men being the highest, and that when forced to choose, gay men overwhelmingly predicted emotional infidelity would be more troubling than sexual infidelity. These findings contradict Symons (1979) suggestion that there would be no gender difference in predicted responses to infidelity by sexual orientation. Blow and Bartlett (2005) suggest that even though sex outside of a homosexual relationship might be seen as more acceptable in some relationships, the consequences of infidelity do not occur without pain or jealousy. Heterosexuals rated emotional and sexual infidelity as more emotionally distressing than did lesbian and gay individuals. Sex and sexual orientation differences emerged regarding the degree to which specific emotions were reported in response to sexual and emotional infidelity. Few researchers have explored the influence of sexual orientation on which type of infidelity is viewed as more distressing. Summarizing the findings from these studies, heterosexual men seem to be more distressed by sexual infidelity than heterosexual women, lesbian women, and gay men. These latter three groups seem more responsible for this difference by reporting similarly higher levels of distress toward emotional infidelity than heterosexual men. However, within-sex analyses reveal that heterosexual men tend to rate emotional infidelity as more distressing than sexual infidelity.


Responses

Some studies suggest that only a small percentage of couples that experience infidelity actually improve their relationship, whereas others report couples having surprisingly positive relationship outcomes. In terms of negative responses to infidelity, Charney and Parnass (1995) report that after hearing of a partner's infidelity, reactions have included rage and increased aggressiveness, loss of trust, decreased personal and sexual confidence, sadness, depression, damaged self-esteem, fear of abandonment, and a surge of justification to leave their partner. Another study reported that nearly 60% of the partners that were cheated on suffered emotional problems and depression following disclosure of the affair. Other negative consequences have included damage to relationships with children, parents, and friends, as well as legal consequences. A report in 1983 reported that of a sample of 205 divorced individuals, about one half said their marital problems were caused by their spouse's infidelity. The negative impact of infidelity on a relationship depends on how involved partners are in their infidelity relationship, and researchers maintain that infidelity itself does not cause divorce but the overall level of relationship satisfaction, motives for infidelity, level of conflict, and attitudes held about infidelity do. In fact, Schneider, et al. (1999) reported that even though 60% of their participants initially threatened to leave their primary relationship, a threat to leave due to infidelity did not actually predict the eventual outcome. Atkins, Eldridge, Baucom, and Christiansen found that couples who went through therapy as well as openly dealt with the infidelity were able to change at a faster rate than distressed couples who were just in therapy. Some unintended positive outcomes that have been reported for couples experiencing infidelity include closer marital relationships, increased assertiveness, taking better care of oneself, placing higher value on family, and realizing the importance of marital communication. If divorce results from infidelity, research suggest that the "faithful" spouse may experience feelings of low
life satisfaction Life satisfaction (LS) is the way in which people show their emotions, feelings (moods) and how they feel about their directions and options for the future The future is the time after the past and present. Its arrival is considered inevitab ...
and self-esteem; they may also engage in future relationships fearful of the same incidence occurring. Sweeney and Horwitz (2001) found that individuals who initiated a divorce after hearing about their partner's infidelity experienced less depression; however, the opposite was true when the offending spouse initiated divorce. According to
attachment theory Attachment theory is a psychological Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions abou ...
, intimates evaluate the availability of close others and respond to them accordingly. While those with a secure attachment style believe others are available to them, those with insecure attachment believe others are less available to them. People who develop high levels of attachment have more anxiety and uncertainty. They cope by seeking reassurance and clinging themselves to another person. In attachment theory, people seek sex to help meet their needs. Those whose partners are unfaithful may experience anxiety, stress and depression. They are more likely to engage in activities that are risky to their health. Women who experienced negative appraisals, like self-blame and causal attribution, led to emotional distress and increased health-compromising behavior. Gender self-esteem greatly affects infidelity. Different factors for the two genders are known to influence jealousy. Heterosexual men seem to be more distressed by sexual infidelity than heterosexual women, lesbian women, and gay men. The latter three groups seem more responsible for the difference by reporting similarly higher levels of distress toward emotional infidelity than heterosexual men.


Causes

Studies have found that men are more likely to engage in extramarital sex if they are unsatisfied sexually, while women are more likely to engage in extramarital sex if they are unsatisfied emotionally. Kimmel and Van Der Veen found that sexual satisfaction may be more important to husbands and that wives are more concerned with compatibility with their partners. Studies suggest that individuals who can separate concepts of sex and love are more likely to accept situations where infidelity occurs. One study done by Roscoe, Cavanaugh, and Kennedy found that women indicated relationship dissatisfaction as the number one reason for infidelity, whereas men reported a lack of communication, understanding, and sexual incompatibility. Glass and Wright also found that men and women who are involved in both sexual and emotional infidelities reported being the most dissatisfied in their relationships than those who engaged in either sexual or emotional infidelity alone. In general, marital dissatisfaction overall is the number one reason often reported for infidelity for both sexes. It is important to note that there are many other factors that increase the likelihood of anyone engaging in infidelity. Individuals exhibiting sexually permissive attitudes and those who have had a high number of past sexual relationships are also more likely to engage in infidelity. Other factors such as being well educated, living in an urban centre, being less religious, having a liberal ideology and values, having more opportunities to meet potential partners, and being older affected the likelihood of one being involved in an extramarital affair.


Anthropological viewpoint

Anthropologists tend to believe humans are neither completely
monogamous Monogamy ( ) is a form of dyadic relationship Relationship most often refers to: * Interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more peo ...
nor completely
polygamous Polygamy (from Greek language, Late Greek , ''polygamía'', "state of marriage to many spouses") is the practice of marriage, marrying multiple spouses. When a man is married to more than one wife at the same time, sociologists call this poly ...
. Anthropologist Bobbi Low says we are "slightly polygamous"; while Deborah Blum believes we are "ambiguously monogamous," and slowly moving away from the polygamous habits of our evolutionary ancestors.''Adultery'' by Louise DeSalvo. According to
anthropologist An anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology Anthropology is the of ity, concerned with , , , and , in both the present and past, including . studies patterns of behaviour, while studies cultural meaning, including ...

anthropologist
Helen Fisher, there are numerous psychological reasons for adultery. Some people may want to supplement a marriage, solve a sex problem, gather more attention, seek revenge, or have more excitement in the marriage. But based on Fisher's research, there also is a biological side to adultery. "We have two brain systems: one of them is linked to attachment and romantic love, and then there is the other brain system, which is purely sex drive." Sometimes these two brain systems are not well-connected, which enables people to become adulterers and satisfy their libido without any regards to their attachment side.


Cultural variation

Often, gender differences in both jealousy and infidelity are attributable to cultural factors. This variation stems from the fact that societies differ in how they view extramarital affairs and jealousy. An examination of jealousy across seven nations revealed that each partner in a relationship serves as each other's primary and exclusive source of satisfaction and attention in all cultures. Therefore, when an individual feels jealousy towards another, it is usually because they are now sharing their primary source of attention and satisfaction. However, variation can be seen when identifying the behaviors and actions that betray the role of primary attention (satisfaction) giver. For instance, in certain cultures if an individual goes out with another of the opposite gender, emotions of intense jealousy can result; however, in other cultures, this behavior is perfectly acceptable and is not given much thought. It is important to understand where these cultural variations come from and how they root themselves into differing perceptions of infidelity. While many cultures report infidelity as wrong and admonish it, some are more tolerant of such behaviour. These views are generally linked to the overall liberal nature of the society. For instance, Danish society is viewed as more liberal than many other cultures, and as such, have correlating liberal views on infidelity and extramarital affairs. According to Christine Harris and Nicholas Christenfeld, societies that are legally more liberal against extramarital affairs judge less harshly upon sexual infidelity because it is distinct from emotional infidelity. In Danish society, having sex does not necessarily imply a deep emotional attachment. As a result, infidelity does not carry such a severe negative connotation. A comparison between modern-day Chinese and American societies showed that there was greater distress with sexual infidelity in the U.S. than in China. The cultural difference is most likely due to the more restrictive nature of Chinese society, thus, making infidelity a more salient concern. Sexual promiscuity is more prominent in the United States, thus it follows that American society is more preoccupied with infidelity than Chinese society. Often, a single predominant religion can influence the culture of an entire nation. Even within
Christianity in the United States Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic, Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious ...
, there are discrepancies as to how extramarital affairs are viewed. For instance,
Protestants Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors in the Catholic Church. Protestants originating in the Ref ...
and
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...
do not view infidelity with equal severity. The conception of marriage is also markedly different; while in Roman Catholicism marriage is seen as an indissoluble sacramental bond and does not permit divorce even in cases of infidelity, most Protestant denominations allow for divorce and remarriage for infidelity or other reasons. Ultimately, it was seen that adults that associated with a religion (any denomination) were found to view infidelity as much more distressing than those who were not affiliated with a religion. Those that participated more heavily in their religions were even more conservative in their views on infidelity. Some research has also suggested that being
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...

African American
has a positive correlation to infidelity, even when education attainment is controlled for. Other research suggests that lifetime incidence of infidelity does not differ between African Americans and whites, only the likelihood of when they engage in it. Race and gender have been found to be positively correlated with infidelity, however this is the case more often for African American men engaging in extramarital infidelity.
Human mating strategies 300px, A human mated pair In evolutionary psychology and behavioral ecology Behavioral ecology, also spelled behavioural ecology, is the study of the evolution Evolution is change in the Heredity, heritable Phenotypic trait, characterist ...
differ from culture to culture. For example, Schmitt discusses how
tribal culture The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...
s with higher
pathogen In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
stress are more likely to have polygynous marriage systems; whereas monogamous mating systems usually have relatively lower high-pathogen environments. In addition researchers have also proposed the idea that high mortality rates in local cultures should be correlated with more permissive mating strategies. On the other hand, Schmitt discusses how demanding reproductive environments should increase the desire and pursuit of biparental, monogamous relationships.


Strategic pluralism theory

Strategic pluralism is a theory that focuses on how environmental factors influence mating strategies. According to this theory, when people live within environments that are demanding and stressful, the need for bi-parental care is greater for increasing the survival of offspring. Correspondingly, monogamy and commitment are more commonplace. On the other hand, when people live within environments that encompass little stress and threats to the viability of offspring, the need for serious and committed relations is lowered, and therefore
promiscuity Promiscuity is the practice of engaging in sexual activity frequently with different Sexual partner, partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners. The term can carry a moral judgment if the social ideal for sexual activity is ...
and infidelity are more common.


Sex-ratio theory

Sex ratio The sex ratio is the ratio In mathematics, a ratio indicates how many times one number contains another. For example, if there are eight oranges and six lemons in a bowl of fruit, then the ratio of oranges to lemons is eight to six (that is, ...
theory is a theory that explains the relationship and sexual dynamics within different areas of the world based on the ratio of the number of marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women. According to this theory, an area has a high sex ratio when there is a higher number of marriage-aged women to marriage-aged men and an area has a low sex ratio when there are more marriage-aged men. In terms of infidelity, the theory states that when sex ratios are high, men are more likely to be promiscuous and engage in sex outside of a committed relationship because the demand for men is higher and this type of behavior, desired by men, is more accepted. On the other hand, when sex ratios are low, promiscuity is less common because women are in demand and since they desire monogamy and commitment, in order for men to remain competitive in the pool of mates, they must respond to these desires. Support for this theory comes from evidence showing higher divorce rates in countries with higher sex ratios and higher monogamy rates in countries with lower sex ratios.


Other contributing factors

While infidelity is by no means exclusive to certain groups of people, its perception can be influenced by other factors. Furthermore, within a "homogeneous culture," like that in the United States, factors like community size can be strong predictors of how infidelity is perceived. Larger communities tend to care less about infidelity whereas small towns are much more concerned with such issues. These patterns are observed in other cultures as well. For example, a
cantina A cantina is a type of bar common in Latin America * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , religions = , demonym = Latin American Lati ...

cantina
in a small, rural Mexican community is often viewed as a place where "decent" or "married" women do not go because of its semi-private nature. Conversely, public spaces like the market or plaza are acceptable areas for heterosexual interaction. A smaller population size presents the threat of being publicly recognized for infidelity. However, within a larger community of the same Mexican society, entering a bar or watering hole would garner a different view. It would be deemed perfectly acceptable for both married and unmarried individuals to drink at a bar in a large city. These observations can be paralleled to rural and urban societies in the United States as well. Ultimately, these variables and societal differences dictate attitudes towards sexual infidelity which can vary across cultures as well as within cultures. "Mate poaching" is the phenomenon of a
single person In legal definitions for interpersonal status, a single person refers to a person who is not in committed relationships, or is not part of a civil union A civil union (also known as a civil partnership) is a legally recognized arrangement si ...
luring a person who is in an
intimate relationship An intimate relationship is an interpersonal relationship The concept of interpersonal relationship involves social associations, connections, or affiliations between two or more people. Interpersonal relationships vary in their degree ...
to leave their partner for the single person. According to a survey of 16,964 individuals in 53 countries by David Schmitt (2001), mate poaching happens significantly more frequently in
Middle East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233 The international standard An international standard is a technical standard A technical standard is an established norm (social), norm or requirement for a repeatable technical task whi ...

Middle East
ern countries such as
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
and
Lebanon Lebanon ( , ar, لُبْنَان, translit=lubnān, ), officially the Republic of Lebanon or the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part ...

Lebanon
, and less frequently in
East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia, which is defined in both Geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The modern State (polity), states of East Asia include China, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, and Taiwan. ...

East Asia
n countries such as
China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

China
and
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
.


Evolutionary factors

The parental investment theory is used to explain evolutionary pressures that can account for sex differences in infidelity. This theory states that the sex that invests less in the offspring has more to gain from indiscriminate sexual behaviour. This means that women, who typically invest more time and energy into raising their offspring (9 months of carrying offspring, breast feeding etc.), should be more choosy when it comes to mate selection and should therefore desire long-term, monogamous relationships that would ensure the viability of their offspring. Men on the other hand, have less parental investment and so they are driven towards indiscriminate sexual activity with multiple partners as such activity increases the likelihood of their reproduction. This theory says that it is these evolutionary pressures that act on men and women differentially and what ultimately drives more men to seek sexual activity outside of their own relationships. It can however, still account for the occurrence of extradyadic sexual relationships among women. For example, a woman whose husband has
fertilization Fertilisation or fertilization (see American and British English spelling differences#-ise.2C -ize .28-isation.2C -ization.29, spelling differences), also known as generative fertilisation, syngamy and impregnation, is the fusion of gametes ...

fertilization
difficulties can benefit from engaging in sexual activity outside of her relationship. She can gain access to high-quality genes and still derive the benefit of parental investment from her husband or partner who is unknowingly investing in their illegitimate child. Evidence for the development of such a short-term mating strategy in women comes from findings that women who engage in affairs typically do so with men who are of higher status, dominance, physical attractiveness (which is indicative of genetic quality).


Defense mechanisms

One defense mechanism that some researchers believe is effective at preventing infidelity is jealousy. Jealousy is an emotion that can elicit strong responses. Cases have been commonly documented where sexual jealousy was a direct cause of murders and morbid jealousy. Buss (2005) states that jealousy has three main functions to help prevent infidelity. These suggestions are: * It can alert an individual to threats with a valued relationship. * It can be activated by the presence of interested and more desirable intrasexual rivals. * It can function as a motivational mechanism that creates behavioral outputs to deter infidelity and abandonment. Looking at jealousy's physiological mechanism offers support for this idea.
Jealousy Jealousy generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of Emotional insecurity, insecurity, fear, and concern over a relative lack of possessions or safety. Jealousy can consist of one or more emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, he ...

Jealousy
is a form of stress response which has been shown to activate the
sympathetic nervous system The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is one of two divisions of the autonomic nervous system The autonomic nervous system (ANS), formerly the vegetative nervous system, is a division of the peripheral nervous system that supplies smooth muscle ...
by increasing
heart rate Heart rate is the speed of the heartbeat Heartbeat or heartbeats may refer to: Physiology *Cardiac cycle, of the heart *Contraction of the cardiac muscle, muscles of the heart, or a perceived effect of it, such as: **Heart sounds, the noises gene ...

heart rate
,
blood pressure Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure Pressure (symbol: ''p'' or ''P'') is the force In physics, a force is an influence that can change the motion (physics), motion of an Physical object, object. A force can cause an object with mas ...

blood pressure
, and
respiration Respiration may refer to: Biology * Cellular respiration, the process in which nutrients are converted into useful energy in a cell ** Anaerobic respiration, cellular respiration without oxygen ** Maintenance respiration, the amount of cellular ...
. This will activate the "fight or flight" response to ensure action against the attempt at sexual infidelity in their partner. Buss and his colleagues were the first to pioneer a theory that jealousy is an evolved human emotion that has become an innate module, hard-wired to prevent infidelity from occurring. This idea is commonly referred to as Jealousy as a Specific Innate Module and has become widely debated. The basis behind this argument is that jealousy was beneficial in our ancestor's time when cuckoldry was more common. They suggested that those who were equipped with this emotional response could more effectively stop infidelity and those without the emotional response had a harder time doing so. Because infidelity imposed such a fitness cost, those who had the jealous emotional response, improved their fitness, and could pass down the jealousy module to the next generation. Another defense mechanism for preventing infidelity is by social monitoring and acting on any violation of expectations. Researchers in favor of this defense mechanism speculate that in our ancestor's times, the act of sex or emotional infidelity is what triggered jealousy and therefore the signal detection would have happened only after infidelity had occurred, making jealousy an emotional by-product with no selective function. In line with this reasoning, these researchers hypothesize that as a person monitors their partner's actions with a potential rival through primary and secondary appraisals; if their expectations are violated at either level of observation, they will become distressed and enact an appropriate action to stop the chance of infidelity. Social monitoring therefore enables them to act accordingly before infidelity occurs, thereby having the capability to raise their fitness. Research testing this theory has found more favor for the sexual jealousy hypothesis. A more recently suggested defense mechanism of infidelity attracting more attention is that a particular social group will punish cheaters by damaging their
reputation The reputation of a social entity (a person, a social group, an organization, or a place) is an opinion about that entity typically as a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria, such as behaviour or performance. Reputation is a ubiquitou ...

reputation
. The basis for this suggestion stems from the fact that humans have an unmatched ability to monitor social relationships and inflict punishment on cheaters, regardless of the context. This punishment comes in many forms, one of which is
gossip Gossip is idle talk or rumour A rumor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United St ...

gossip
. This damage will impair the future benefits that individual can confer from the group and its individuals. A damaged reputation is especially debilitating when related to sexual and emotional infidelity, because it can limit future reproductive mate choices within the group and will cause a net fitness cost that outweighs the fitness benefit gained from the infidelity. Such limitations and costs deter an individual from cheating in the first place. Support for this defense mechanism comes from fieldwork by Hirsch and his colleagues (2007) that found that gossip about extramarital affairs in a small community in Mexico was particularly prevalent and devastating for reputation in this region. Specifically, adultery was found to cause an individual to be
disowned Disownment occurs when a parent renounces or no longer accepts a child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, ...
by their family, decrease the marriage value of his/her family, cause an individual to lose money or a job, and diminish future reproductive potential. In this community, men having extramarital affairs did so in private areas with lower prevalence of women connected to the community, such as
bar Bar or BAR may refer to: Food *Bar (establishment) A bar is a long raised narrow table or bench designed for dispensing beer or other alcoholic beverage, alcoholic drinks. They were originally chest high, and a bar, often brass, ran the len ...
s and
brothels Image:Pascha Köln.jpg, 250px, The former Pascha (brothel), Pascha brothel in Cologne, Germany was the largest brothel in Europe.sexually transmitted infections Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), also referred to as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infection An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multipl ...
.


The Internet

The proliferation of sex chat rooms and dating apps has increased the opportunity for people in committed relationships to engage in acts of infidelity on and off the Internet. A cyber affair is defined as "a romantic or sexual relationship initiated by online contact and maintained primarily via online communication". Sexual acts online include behaviors such as
cybersex Cybersex, also called computer sex, Internet sex, netsex and, colloquially, cyber or cybering, is a virtual sex encounter in which two or more people connected remotely via computer network A computer network is a group of computers that us ...
, where two or more individuals engage in discussions about sexual fantasies over the Internet and is usually accompanied by
masturbation Masturbation ( ) is the sexual stimulation Sexual stimulation is any stimulus (including bodily contact) that leads to, enhances and maintains sexual arousal, and may lead to orgasm Orgasm (from Ancient Greek, Greek ὀργασμός ' ...

masturbation
; hotchatting, where discussions between two or more people move away from light-hearted
flirting Image:Das werdenSie ja nachher schon sehen.jpg, A poster by Henri Gerbault depicting flirting between a man and a woman Flirting or coquetry is a Social behavior, social and Human sexual activity, sexual behavior involving spoken or written commu ...

flirting
; and emotional acts where people disclose intimate information to a significant other. A new type of sexual activity online is when two people's
avatars An avatar (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia af ...
engage in sexual activity in such as ''
Second Life ''Second Life'' is an on-line multimedia platform that allows people to create an avatar (computing), avatar for themselves and have a second life in an online virtual world. Developed and owned by the San Francisco-based firm Linden Lab an ...

Second Life
''. The majority of Americans believe that if a partner engaged in cybersex this constitutes as an act of infidelity. A 2005 survey of 1828 participants reported one third of them reported engaging in cybersex and of that one third, 46% said they were in a committed relationship with someone else. In an attempt to differentiate offline and online infidelity, Cooper, Morahan-Martin, Mathy, and Maheu constructed a "Triple-A Engine", which identifies the three aspects of Internet infidelity that distinguish it, to some degree, from traditional infidelity: * Accessibility: the more access one has to the Internet, the more likely they will engage in infidelity * Affordability: the monetary cost of being able to access the Internet continues to drop, and for a small price, a user can visit many sites, and meet multiple potential sexual needs * Anonymity: the Internet allows users to masquerade as someone else, or hide their identity altogether. In a study of 335 Dutch undergraduate students involved in serious intimate relationships, participants were presented with four dilemmas concerning a partner's emotional and sexual infidelity over the Internet. They found a significant sex difference as to whether participants chose sexual and emotional infidelity as more upsetting. More men than women indicated that a partner's sexual involvement would upset them more than a partner's emotional bonding with someone else. Similarly, in the dilemma involving infidelity over the Internet, more men indicated their partner's sexual involvement would upset them more than a partner's emotional bonding with someone else. Women, on the other hand, expressed more problems with emotional infidelity over the Internet than did men. Online infidelity can be just as damaging to a relationship as offline physical unfaithfulness. A possible explanation is that our brain registers virtual and physical acts the same way and responds similarly. Several studies have concluded that online infidelity, whether sexual or emotional in nature, often leads to off-line infidelity.


Chat rooms

A study by Beatriz Lia Avila Mileham in 2004 examined the phenomenon of online infidelity in chat rooms. The following factors were investigated: what elements and dynamics online infidelity involves and how it happens; what leads individuals specifically to the computer to search for a relationship ''on the side''; whether individuals consider online contacts as infidelity and why or why not; and what dynamics chat room users experience in their marriages.Online Infidelity in Internet Chat Rooms: An Ethnographic Exploration
/ref> The results led to three constructs that symbolize chat room dynamics and serve as a foundation for Internet infidelity: * Anonymous sexual interactionism: the individuals' predilection for anonymous interactions of a sexual nature in chat rooms. The allure of anonymity gains extra importance for married individuals, who can enjoy relative safety to express fantasies and desires without being known or exposed. * Behavioral rationalization: the reasoning that chat room users present for conceiving their online behaviors as innocent and harmless, despite the secrecy and highly sexual nature. * Effortless avoidance: chat room users' lack of psychological discomfort in exchanging sexual messages with strangers.


Legal implications

All countries in Europe, as well as most countries in
Latin America * ht, Amerik Latin, link=no * pt, América Latina, link=no , image = Latin America (orthographic projection).svg , area = , population = ( est.) , density = , ethnic_groups = , ethnic_groups_year = 2018 , ethnic ...

Latin America
have decriminalized adultery; however, in many countries in Africa and Asia (particularly the Middle East) this type of infidelity is criminalized. Even where infidelity is not a criminal offense, it may have legal implications in
divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminating a marriage in Stockholm Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people calle ...

divorce
cases; for example it may be a factor in
property settlement Division of property, also known as equitable distribution, is a judicial division of property rights and obligations between spouses during divorce Divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) is the optional process of terminati ...
, the custody of children, the denial of
alimony Alimony (also called aliment Aliment, in Scots law and in other civil systems, is the sum of money paid, or allowance given in respect of the reciprocal Obligation (law), obligation of parents and children, husband and wife, grandparents and g ...

alimony
, etc. In civil claims, not only the spouse, but also the "other man/other woman" may be held accountable: for example, seven US states (
Hawaii Hawaii ( ; haw, Hawaii or ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Hawaii
,
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspape ...

Illinois
,
North Carolina North Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily news ...

North Carolina
,
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
,
New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejicano, Nuevo Mexicano) , seat = Santa Fe , LargestCity = Albuquerque , LargestMetro = Greater Albuquerque , OfficialLang = None , Languages = English English usually refer ...

New Mexico
,
South Dakota South Dakota () (Sioux The Sioux or Oceti Sakowin (; Dakota Dakota may refer to: * Dakota people, a sub-tribe of the Sioux ** Dakota language, their language From this origin, Dakota may also refer to: Places United States * Dako ...

South Dakota
, and
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
) allow the possibility of the
tort A tort, in common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or ) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' is the most-used legal dict ...

tort
action of
alienation of affections Alienation of affections is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ' ...
(brought by a deserted spouse against a third party alleged to be responsible for the failure of the marriage). In a highly publicized case in 2010, a woman in North Carolina won a $9 million suit against her husband's
mistress Mistress is the feminine form of the English word "master" (''master'' + ''-ess'') and may refer to: Romance and relationships * Mistress (lover) A mistress is a woman who is in a relatively long-term sexual and romantic relationship with a ...
. In the United States, criminal laws relating to infidelity vary, and those states that criminalize adultery rarely prosecute the offense. Penalties for adultery range from
life imprisonment Life imprisonment is any sentence Sentence(s) or The Sentence may refer to: Common uses * Sentence (law), the punishment a judge gives to a defendant found guilty of a crime * Sentence (linguistics), a grammatical unit of language * Sentence ...
in
Michigan Michigan () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Michigan
, to a $10 fine in
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware ...

Maryland
or class 1 felony in
Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper ...

Wisconsin
. The
constitutionality Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In l ...
of US criminal laws on adultery is unclear due to
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of just ...

Supreme Court
decisions in 1965 giving privacy of sexual intimacy to consenting adults, as well as broader implications of '' Lawrence v. Texas'' (2003). Adultery is declared to be illegal in 21 states. In many jurisdictions, adultery may have indirect legal implications, particularly in cases of infliction of violence, such as domestic assaults and killings, in particular by mitigating
murder Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification (jurisprudence), justification or valid excuse (legal), excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought. ("The killing of another person w ...

murder
to
manslaughter Manslaughter is a common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black ...
, or otherwise providing for partial or complete defenses in case of violence, especially in cultures where there is a traditional toleration of
crimes of passion A crime of passion (French: ''crime passionnel''), in popular usage, refers to a violent crime, especially homicide, in which the perpetrator commits the act against someone because of sudden strong impulse such as sudden rage rather than as a ...
and
honor killings An honor killing (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, America ...
. Such provisions have been condemned by the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation ''International Organization'' is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal that covers the entire field of international relations, international aff ...

Council of Europe
and the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harm ...

United Nations
in recent years. The Council of Europe Recommendation Rec(2002)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the protection of women against violence states that member states should: (...) ''57. preclude adultery as an excuse for violence within the family''.
UN Women The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is a United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization aiming to maintain international peace and international ...
has also stated in regard to the defense of
provocation Provocation, provoke or provoked may refer to: * Provocation (legal), a type of legal defense in court which claims the "victim" provoked the accused's actions * Agent provocateur, a (generally political) group that tries to goad a desired resp ...
and other similar defenses: "''Laws should clearly state that these defenses do not include or apply to crimes of "honour", adultery, or domestic assault or murder''."


Workplace issues

As the number of women in the workforce increases to match that of men, researchers expect the likelihood of infidelity will also increase with workplace interactions. Wiggins and Lederer (1984) found that opportunities to engage in infidelity were related to the workplace where nearly one half of their samples who engaged in infidelity were involved with coworkers. A study done by McKinnish (2007) found that those who work with a larger fraction of workers of the opposite sex are more likely to be divorced due to infidelity. Kuroki found married women were less likely to have a workplace affair, whereas self-employed individuals are more likely. In 2000, Treas and Giesen found similar results where sexual opportunities in the workplace increased the likelihood of infidelity during the last 12 months. Adulterous office romances are widely considered to be unhelpful to business and work relationships, and superior-subordinate relationships are banned in 90% of companies with written policies regarding office romance. Companies cannot ban adultery, as, in all but a handful of states, such regulations would run afoul of laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of marital status. Firings nonetheless often occur on the basis of charges of inappropriate office conduct. Academics and therapists say cheating is probably more prevalent on the road than close to home. The protection of the road offers a secret life of romance, far from spouses or partners. Affairs range from
one-night stand A one-night stand is a single sexual encounter Human sexual activity, human sexual practice or human sexual behaviour is the manner in which humans experience and express their Human sexuality, sexuality. People engage in a variety of sex ...
s to relationships that last for years. They are usually with a co-worker, a business associate or someone they repeatedly encounter. Another reason for the development of office romances is the amount of time co-workers spend together. Spouses today often spend more time with co-workers in the office than with each other. A ''
Newsweek ''Newsweek'' is an American weekly news magazine A news magazine is a typed, printed, and published , radio or , usually published weekly, consisting of articles about current events. News magazines generally discuss stories, in greater de ...
'' article notes, "Nearly 60 percent of American women work outside the home, up from about 40 percent in 1964. Quite simply, women intersect with more people during the day than they used to. They go to more meetings, take more business trips and, presumably, participate more in flirtatious water-cooler chatter." According to Debra Laino in an article for '' Shave'', some of the reasons women cheat at the workplace are because "women are disproportionately exposed to men in the workplace, and, as a direct consequence, many have more options and chances to cheat."


Alternative views (swinging and polyamory)

Swinging (sexual practice), Swinging is a form of extradyadic sex where married couples exchange partners with each other. Swinging was originally called "wife-swapping", but due to the sexist connotations and the fact that many wives were willing to swap partners, "mate swapping" and or "swinging" was substituted. The Supreme Court of Canada, Supreme Court in Canada has ruled swinging is legal as long as it takes place in a private place and is consensual. Swinging can be closed or open, where couples meet and each pair goes off to a separate room or they have sex in the same room. The majority of swingers fall into the Middle class, middle and upper classes, with an above average education and income, and majority of these swingers are white (90%). A study done by Jenks in 1986 found that swingers are not significantly different from non-swingers on measures such as philosophy, authoritarianism, self-respect, happiness, freedom, equality etc. Swingers tend to emphasize personal values over more social ones. According to Henshel (1973), the initiation into the world of swinging usually is done by the husband. Reasons for getting involved in swinging are the variety of sexual partners and experiences, pleasure or excitement, meeting new people, and voyeurism. In order for swinging to work, both partners need to have a liberal sexual predisposition, and a low degree of jealousy. Gilmartin (1975) found that 85% of his sample of swingers felt that these sexual encounters posed no real threat to their marriage and felt it had improved. Jenks (1998) found no reason to believe that swinging was detrimental to marriage, with over 91% of males and 82% of females indicating they were happy with swinging. Another form of extradyadic sex is polyamory, a "non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously". There are various types of relationships in polyamory such as intentional family, group relationship, and group marriage. One type of group relationship can be a triad involving a married couple and an additional person who all share sexual intimacy, however, it is usually an addition of a female. Unlike polygyny or polyandry, both men and women may have multiple partners within the confines of polyamory. Polyamorous relationships are distinguished from extramarital affairs by the full disclosure and consent of all involved. Polyamorous relationships may specify unique boundaries outside monogomous expectations of fidelity, that if violated are still considered cheating. Because both men and women can have multiple partners, these individuals do not consider themselves to be either uncommitted or unfaithful.


See also

* Crime of passion * Cuckold and Cuckquean * Emotional affair * Financial infidelity * Fornication * Open marriage * Polygyny threshold model * Relational transgressions * Seduction * Zina


Notes


References

* * * * * * * * *


Further reading

* Moultrup, David J. (1990). Husbands, Wives & Lovers. New York: Guilford Press. * Pittman, F. (1989). Private Lies . New York: W. W. Norton Co. * * Vaughan, P. (1989). The Monogamy Myth. New York: New Market Press. * * * * * * * * * * {{Authority control Casual sex Intimate relationships Sexual fidelity,