April 7th, 2011
08:29 AM ET
Female infidelity: It's different from the guys
Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.
It's often said that men cheat for sex, while women cheat for love, the theory being that men can more easily compartmentalize sex and emotion, while women typically need to experience an emotional connection to a person before feeling sexual desire. Without those pesky emotions to stand in the way of a potential mistake, a guy is much more likely to get himself into trouble (especially if alcohol is involved and inhibitions are down) or to get involved with someone for whom he has no feelings.
That’s not to say that men don't cheat because they're unhappy, in search of an emotional connection or simply bored in their relationship (a topic we’re currently analyzing at Good in Bed), but many of the men I've encountered who have cheated on their wives often have no desire to leave their primary relationship. Many of them even characterize themselves as happily married with satisfying sex lives.
That’s one of the reasons there's often a better chance that a couple will stay together and try to work things out when it’s the man who’s doing the cheating, rather than the woman. For men, cheating often tends to be opportunistic—they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and the cheating doesn’t necessarily mean anything emotionally—whereas with women the desire to cheat is often less opportunistic and more deeply felt. It’s often more a matter of the heart than of the genitals. Sure, some women cheat for the sex, but many also cheat for another chance at love, or to confirm to themselves that their primary relationship is really over. A woman who cheats is often a woman who doesn't want to work it out. She's already invested time trying to work it out, and she's done. It's too late.
While there aren't any hard statistics on female infidelity, most experts agree that it's on the rise, especially among women who have their own careers and a degree of financial independence. A University of Washington study found that people who earned $75,000 or more per year were 1.5 times more likely to have had extramarital sex than those earning less than $30,000. And with so many women in the workplace, it’s no surprise that among the spouses who cheated, 46 percent of women and 62 percent of men did so with someone they met through work.
Another big factor in the rise in female infidelity is the Internet. Sexual infidelity often starts with emotional infidelity, and digital technologies offer an abundance of opportunity for emotional (and thrilling) connections: The return of an ex, a workplace flirtation, a Facebook friendship that becomes more than "just friends." Women are extremely susceptible to “emotional infidelity,” which starts as friendship, often with colleagues or seemingly harmless online relationships, and slowly progresses to something more. A gradual blurring of the lines between friendship and deeper intimacy draws even happily partnered people into relationships they never saw coming.
So what are some of the signs that a woman could be cheating or thinking about it?
– She shows less general interest in her partner's comings and goings
– She dresses up for work, but seems to care less about whether her partner finds her attractive
– She has less interest in sex with her partner
– She's keeping an irregular schedule and spending more time at work
– She seems happy, except when she's around her partner
– She shows less tolerance of her partner's friends and family
– There are unresolved issues in the relationship that have either been ignored or not resolved in a way that's satisfying to her
– She's in a child-centric marriage that prioritizes parenting and neglects a couple's relationship, with few opportunities for romance and alone time
Guys, think your wife would never cheat? Think again. When men get angry about something, they tend to lash out, but women often self-silence and bottle up their emotions. As Helen E. Fisher, research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, says, "Men want to think women don't cheat, and women want men to think they don't cheat, and therefore the sexes have been playing a little psychological game with each other." Maybe this isn’t so much a game as a reflection of the double standard and culture of forgiveness that favors men—“boys will be boys,” as the adage goes—when they cheat. But as we’re learning, cheating is an equal opportunity sport, one that women are just as likely as men to play.
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Most woman are poison,I use them up and through them away before the do it to me,a womans A$$ is a powerful tool..Turn the tables on them use them and then lose them and go find another..there is always one waiting for YOU..
women are like busses, another one comes along every 10 minutes.
How do you through someone? I know how to give some one a run through; I can run something through someone; I can be through with someone; I can see through someone. I think the word you want is "throw". And karma is a bit that will make you pay back in full what you owe, and may include interest, and sometimes that interest adds up until you learn your lesson.
It's the common double-standard... Women cheat because the men are to blame & men cheat because the men are to blame. When are we going to hold women to the same standard we hold men and treat their indiscretions as EQUALLY wrong?
If it has t*ts or tires, it will give you trouble.
Honey bees make honey, winners win and cheaters cheat.
Women need a reason to cheat, men only need a location!
Having a location IS a reason.
everybody was kung fu fighting!
When a woman cheats she has the upper hand since society views men as negligent and abusive by simply accusation. A woman cheats because she feels neglected and alone and is in search for affection she cannot get from her husband, while men are just Neandertals who look for the next conquest just to prove "we still got it". Look around and tell me this is wrong. And should it lead to divorce slick lawyers will use this tack to get her everything she can get from him, truth and consequences be damned. This has been proven time and again. And look at the vernacular: women "have an affair" while men "cheat". I dare anyone to tell me this is wrong with a straight face.
Further, women expect the husband to forgive them, yet if he is the instigator she will leave him in a heartbeat. Again, I dare anyone to dispute this (of course if anyone does, which gender do you think it will come from???)
"And with so many women in the workforce..." What a tool.
pesky emotions? the bias in this article is blatent and diminishes and the significance of any points that author makes
If you are unhappy, just leave and move on. Remember it all comes out in the open in the end.
Does oral count?
My husband of 33 years first cheated on me with a young lady from our church who was staying with us overnight because she had no place else to go. When I found out, he broke it off; but for 3 long years I was deeply depressed and internally, very angry. I went out and sought an affair just to get even. It worked. I had 3 affairs to his one, and when he found out how painful it was, then we got somewhere. Was it childish? Yes. Did it make me feel still "worthwhile and desireable"? Yes. Was the "working out" process extremely painful? Yes. But here we are, all of it behind us, still together after 33 years, and the very best of friends. And yes, still fulfilling each others needs and desires, no hard feelings. We grew up together.
So, Margene, are you are size 18 or 20?
Cheating is just a form of self pleasure, it's just with another person. It's not really a big deal. It's the religious freaks that make it a big deal.
Women cheat to get revenge for whatever (imagined) reasons.
"I didn't exactly do my part by keeping my @$$ as thin as it was when I first met him, but he's not paying as much attention to me as he used to. I'll show him that I still have 'IT'... that I can STILL get a man anytime I want."
...and voila! Female infidelity!
This whole article is upsetting. Yes, men cheat. And yes women cheat. But I found that this seems to really degrade women...its more 'detrimental' to the relationship? And a men cheating isn't because they can seperate themselves emotionally from it? Thats the stupidest crap Ive ever read. I'm not condoning women cheating AT ALL. No one should cheat. It affects trust, self esteem and general wellbeing. I was cheated on by many of my exes (bad choice in men sadly). I found a great guy but now, due to my past situations, I have tons of issues with trust and jump to conclusions etc. Whether man or woman, don't cheat on your partner. Be an adult and work out your relationship or end it. Otherwise you are a coward. Yes ending it can hurt a person, but its nicer than pulling them through the mud and deceit that will possibly affect them for a long time.
My husband has cheated on me 3 times (that I'm sure of) I have stayed in the relationship, tried to work on it because we have 2 kids, but I have never cheated on him. As sure as I'm writing this, if I had ever cheated, he would have left immediately. If the times comes that I seriously consider another man, I would divorce first
This post makes me so sad. Why would you forgive your husband for cheating if you know he doesnt value your marriage enough to work through it if the tables were turned? Your husband doesn't value your marriage, or your two kids? Marriage is between equals. Perhaps you should consider why you don't think you are worth being respected as an equal in your marriage.
Tell us something we don't know
Women are like monkeys. They don't let go of one branch until they have a FIRM GRIP on another.
My wife cheated on me with my best friend. At the time she was a full blown alcoholic. I tried to get her help but she wouldn't hear of it, didn't consider herself an addict. He told her she wasn't and fed what she wanted to hear. Over time his flirtations turned into a suggestion. Not his first affair I might add. She kept with him for half a year, I found out, we are trying to work on it. The addiction was still there, suicide attempt and now she's sober for about a year and a half. I find now I still love her but I don't trust her with my heart. I don't know if the love is enough to keep the marriage alive but out of love and want for a stable home for our kids I am with her. Deep down I wonder if my inability to trust her again will be our downfall, I think it will. Fidelity is one of the cornerstones to a successful marriage. The disrespect she showed for our marriage hurt deeply and I honestly don't know if I can move past that and trust her again.
Alcoholism was her primary problem. She was incapable of having a real relationship with you, him, or anyone else.
To each their own, but I've never figured out why I should care who or how many people anyone is sleeping with so long as they're all consenting and of age and all that.
As an anthropologist, I take exception to the way Mr Kerner conveys his exaggerated opinions as facts.
He tries to make it sound as though female infidelity is somehow more hurtful than that of males. Not true. Cross cultural ethnographies have long demonstrated that females are as hurt, if not more so, than males. However, because of their relative dependence (or realistic lack of a free choice), they often semi-repress (or deny) their anger, humiliation, pain, and neglect, by variously acting out while staying in an irreparable marriage. Men are much more likely (even without evidence) to become violent or murderous toward their partner, so that one might say that the male response to the fear of female infidelity is directly more hurtful to a partnership. At any rate, whether one stays in the marriage or not, the effect can be sadly similar. If a female cheats because her marriage is "dead", then her cheating is after the fact, not the cause of the ruin.
Also, the remark "cheating is an equal opportunity sport, one that women are just as likely as men to play," is flat out wrong. All of the research and statistical data that I have seen indicates that females are still significantly less likely to cheat, than males, even when the opportunity arises.
Finally, infidelity, with all the pain, marital ruin, and even violence connected to the subject, is in no way a "sport," and it is insensitive and inaccurate to trivialize it this way.
To paraphrase what I've already said, women cheat to arouse jealousy, in order to try to maintain their power to manipulate their man. That's all! That's the ONLY reason when you boil it all down.
Whether they think their man is cheating on or has already cheated on them, or whether they think they are losing their ability to get their men to do things for them (especially when it comes to all that voodoo crap about how we're supposed to be able to "read women's minds" and do things for them without them even having to say a word....which is a stupid double standard that women always use as an excuse when they can't even read each others' minds....what a CROCK!).
HA! Conventional reasoning and pop psychology are a joke. Of course they always come up with some PC reason why women do what they do. Want to know the REAL reason they cheat? They typically marry for security, not love. Looks matter, and believe me, if a man does not fit the fairly universal standard for male beauty, women are simply not capable of loving him no matter how much she tries to convince everyone, including herself, otherwise. Sooner or later, temptation gets the better of her and she cheats.
C'mon people, open up your eyes: Look at the type of men women cheat on their husbands with. Ever notice they're almost always better looking than the husband?
@ GardenGirl ... You're spelling a double standard. There is cheating on both sides of the male/female fences for all the same reasons. Typical but unfortuante that society thinks a woman cheating has better reasons than a man. That's like saying a woman has better reasons for being a bad parent. - Cheating can be as straight out as something is missing in the realtionship or it could be that the pary doing the cheating just can't be faitful to one. - Either way, it's a lousy thing to do in a relationship. If things are that bad than the relationship shouldn't be.
wow, does anyone else notice how filled with pseudo-science this article is? "Ive noticed" and "it's often said" ?? Really?
This article is a bunch of BS. Seriously. Did you ever think that your wife could just be exhausted and needs a little more TLC and help around the house? It's amazing what that will do to a relationship versus just sitting there trying to think up reasons your relationship isn't what it used to be.. And BTW, women have always cheated more than men. We just don't feel the need to brag about it so we don't get caught as often.
Marriage should be modernized so that it can be test driven, a three year marriage contract. If you want out after the three years are up, then you really dont have to worry about cheating. If you are happy in your contract and the person you are in the contract with, then renew it for long term. The only caveat is that there should not be a preganancy in the first three years, also have a prenup going into the three year contact. Any guys thinking about cheating, you have two palms to tied you over, any gals thinking about cheating, they have eight fingers to tied them over.
I couldn't agree more! Marriage should be a contract. If you're giving me bad service, I can leave and go to a better provider.
This article is absolutely outrageous.
No, this is wrong. Double standards, stereotypes, assumptions, generalizations... this isn't science. Frank, you call yourself a counselor? You're hurting a lot more people than you're helping. I can't believe CNN published this drivel.
This is shocking. A discussion forum for people that are cheating on their spouses. Unreal
So I show every one of the signs that say I am thinking about or cheating, but I am not. In fact I am repulsed by the idea of it. So of course my husband now thinks that I am cheating after reading this article! I honestly dont know what is wrong with me, could they be signs of anything else? Stress? Depression? I dont know what to do!
loulou, if you show these signs but you aren't cheating, it probably means that you will cheat soon.
You are depressed - I was in exact situation with exact symptoms for a year. I got help and with medication and counseling am I getting back on track.
If you got those signs they mean you are at risk for cheating, be careful, try to work it out with your partner, be close to God, find help from a psychiatrist or marriage counsler
Those signs do not mean you are nescessarily at risk of cheating (although, statistically they could mean that people who cheat most often previously exhibit those signs.)
My guess would be that those signs do mean that romance is going through a rough patch – whether poor communication has led to loss of that 'talking with the eyes' or 'understanding one another', or date night has been replaced with work or helping the kid with homework or doing chores, etc. Just starting with taking some time – little things – to aknowledge each other, reflect on how much you love your husband, and take time for yourself so you are also rested and refreshed for him, and keeping an eye on your own communication weaknesses (you both will have them, but you can only start with your own until he is ready to also make an effort) – then prehaps that might rekindle a bit of that 'honeymoon' feeling. But every romance has its ups and downs – its not abnormal and it doesn;t mean you are going to 'cheat'. Most families have a peak just after marraige, then decrease in their 'feelings' for each other steadily until the kids go off to college, then begin a slow climb again that never stops into old age. That is not because you do not love each other, but because raising kids is hard, and the frustration of so many outside factors takes its toll. So lean on each other instead, and break the mold.
okay, that's got to be a joke right? of course she's stressed or depressed or something. but AS IF you can say what's wrong without knowing more. at risk of cheating... what a joke!
Loulou......do not listen to these people. You are not at risk of cheating. These are made up "signs" that someone is cheating. Don't believe everything you read. Many women are just like you and that doesn't make you different. There is nothing wrong with you....It's called life. Also this author says this shows equality between men and women cheating. That is so incorrect. The whole article shows a double standard of men and women cheating. It just gives men another cop-out. I hope your husband doesn't depend his marriage with you on some "signs."
The author has overlooked a huge reason why many women stay. I stayed because I had a young child, no marketable skills and no money of my own. I also didn't want my child to lose the relationship with her father just because he was a serial cheater. Yes, I was naive thinking he was sincere at first when the promises of not cheating were offered. Yes, it was my decision to stay for more years than I should have but I couldn't leave unitl I gain the skills to support myself and my child and when I did, I left. I think that infidelity is an equal opportunity destroyer. It doen't matter who strays, everyone gets hurt.
At least youve given him a chance, and you tried for years to work on your relationship.Cheating men are expressing their inner misery and blaming their wives for their unhappiness when in reality they are solely responsible for their low self-esteem which will carry over into every relationship until he finally decides to fix themselves. A boy blames others for his failures. A man takes responsibility for his actions.
This is such a double standard. Cheating men are no different than cheating women. The same signs that women display, men do also...plain and simple. So fella's what you do to get her is what you do to keep her! Nevertheless, whomever is the one on the other end of the relationship will be hurt in the end. That's for sure.
I certainly would never use him as a counselor. How many cliches and over-generalizations can one pack into one article?
Women cheat for emotions...guys...the poor things...just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh...it was the alcohol that led him to do it...women "self silence." Really? Crawl out of the social sciences into a law school or a prosecutors' office, and I will show you some women who certainly do NOT self-silence!
Do not take it personal. The reason why people are shocked by the article is the less likelihood of women cheating in everyone's mind, and this si in great part due to the fact women cheat after being involved emotionally. so it is a slower and more complicated process for the women compared to the men.
So... Basically Ian, You're saying, If a man cheats, it's the man's fault, but if a woman cheats, it's the man's fault??
Ah one of the greatest arguments of all time. I mean with that argument there is no losing for women.
Oh these women! These women!! When will they *ever* learn to deport themselves like LADIES instead of loose women?!
Just as soon as these men deport themselves as Gentlemen.
There are way more loose men than women in this world. If woman want to have their cakes and eat too, let them, just use protection and not get pregnant by another man. sheesh, Men do it everyday. I constantly hear about men fathering children outside their families.
As a psychologist, I find that infidelity is unfortunately on the rise. I find in my practice that while the causes for infidelity are numerous and vary from one individual to another, it often occurs following a dissatisfaction in one's relationship or life in general.
I wrote a few blog articles on infidelity. Am curious to get others opinions.
What's love got to do with it? How online flirting destroys relationships.:
Fearing commitment? I don't blame you!
Facebook and infidelity
Hope to get your thoughts on these blogs i wrote
Why do some women stray and others stay faithful? I attempted to post this opinion ,but I can't finds it.
Please comment if you read it.
Yeah, you're an IDIOT.
And I'll post it AGAIN AND AGAIN!!!!!!!!
When I first read this re-posted on another site, I didn't realize it was from CNN. It is positively shameful that a news organization I used to consider reputable would publish something so clearly gendered while also completely devoid of empirical evidence.
The day after my second daughter was born, my wife informed me that the child may not be mine. A DNA test revealed that, in fact, the girl was my child. Turns out that, while my wife and I were in counseling, she was sleeping with her colleague – again and again and again. It wasn't until 12 years later that my wife and I separated. I'm not sure why I stayed for so long, but the pain never went away. There is ton more that I could write, but wont.
There shouldn't be a double standard. The betrayal of trust is awful, regardless of who does the betraying.
Sorry for what you went through, its immensely traumatic. I can relate.
Boys will be boys....
And hoes will be hoes...
This very comment highlights the double standard between men and women. You are saying boys by nature are boys and thus act like boys and cheat, but only hoes a subset of women will cheat.
This isn't new woman cheat alot just like men its the fact that we deny it. People forgot how to be faithful to one another.
What a tool. Get this idiot off the internet.
Unbelievable. Really, truly unbelievable. You characterize women as a different species. You, sir, are someone to be cheated on.
no. no one should be cheated on son. get real would you wanna be cheated on? respect comes into play so does maturity. yall are stupid to say crap like this. seriously unreal. you guys gunna blaim it on your spouses? seriously grow up people.
I cheated on my right hand ...
are you dumb? or are u special ed? dude GET REAL you dont even know what this is about so get out!
On what planet is it better for the man to cheat then for the woman? It's terrible for everyone, and even if the woman is showing signs of unsatisfaction, it doesn't mean she's cheating! I love how he says he has no "hard statistics" but it's clearly something that everyone knows. Woman-hater.
I have been married for 26 years, i have been cheating for 9 months. It started out very innocent and before I knew it my
feelings became very strong for my lover. Now I am so in love with him I could care less what my husband thinks about
me, in fact I have not slept with my husband in 9 months. My lover is 25 years younger than me and I
I have been married for 25 years. I started cheating on my husband 9 months ago with a much younger man. I am in love
with my lover and I could care less about my husband. I haven't slept with my husband in those many months as well.
I am totally happy and satisfied with my lover and the sooner my husband leaves, the better.
Affairs get discovered. I certainly hope your husband does not have a propensity toward violence. I thought I was not a violent man, but learned that an affair can push the most sane people toward violence.
He betta think b-4 he cheats...I'd cut off his ding a ling
i would cut off your boobies!! gotta love equality!!