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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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
Here's a story for everyone. A man was involved in an accident and became parallized and could not work. His wife cared for him but got tired of cleaning up behind him , taking care of the kids, and being the principal breadwinner. She drifted away from the man and decided to get involved in a relationship with someone at her job. Her husband found out and became depressed because he was no longer being loved by his wife, He planned a vacation and took his family there. After they all came home he killed all of them and himself. Now, who was selfish in this case?
That would still be the wife's fault.
But see this is what I getting at, when a man can no longer provide his manhood is compromised. The guy from what I remember could not work anymore or do the things that a provider/protector could do. So his wife not being loved, ventured out of the relationship. This stuff happens, maybe not the killing or murder part in this case. But women will cheat if they are no longer being protected/provided/loved, this is why it hurts for a man more than it does for a woman. If a guy cheats, a women may be less inclinded to forgive him but more inclinded to move on. When a woman cheats on a man, he is more inclinded to forgive but less inclinded to move on. There are many many "dogs" that have been created by women because of hurt feelings. Almost every guy that I met that was considered to be a "DOG" was formerly a nice guy that was hurt by one or more females.
I have a man I can't trust. He cheats so much, I'm not even sure the baby I'm carrying is his.
That would make a lot of sense since marriage is based on religion, since god doesn't exist then of course things like this will happen.
You can be with the most beautiful, sophisticated, nice, educated, ETC woman in the world, but after 2-3 years soome one who is uglier, not nice, fater, etc will turn you on more and you will cheat!!!
This is how men are and will be until the end of time.
If you are married and you think your wife can't cheat ....you're a doomuss. I had relations with a few wives..and the wives were ALWAYS the one pursing me.
in your dreams
This is B.S. Don't tell me that more marriages can survive a man cheating rather than his wife simply b/c she knows it wasn't emotional for him. B$%$#@@#t! Men just cannot get over the idea of someone sleeping w/ their wife.
I've been married 18 years, my husband has cheated on me 3 times (2 in the first 3 years, then about 7 years later) I have never cheated. We have 2 kids, the youngest is 17. I think if you want to cheat, you should divorce. I stayed with him for the kids, but now wonder if that was right, because I still resent him for cheating and more. I tried to let it go, but the cheating was like bricks that a bad marriage was built on. So, now age 40...I'm thinking that when my youngest turns 18 and leaves the house, maybe I will, too. but i'm also afraid that I will regret that..you know, "the grass is always greener". Bottom line, cheating sucks and will permeate your relationship, you can never truly get it out.
Do it now. 17 is old enough to understand, especially these days.
see now the man who killed 13 in Rio De Janero here
Frank, let me tell you why you are just dreaming or lying: Actually I am a 30 y/o attractive male personal trainner who worked for 7 years as a model in NYC (most personal trainers are not attractive, actually, if you have ever beeing around in a gym) but I have almost never had a woman coming up to me for anything except polite questions about training (and most female clients I have are not that attractive either!). Good try, though.
Wait a minute. I am a teacher but one of my good friends is a personal trainer, in CT. I would estimate that he has had some type of relations with 2 out of every 5 women he trains; and he gets hit on by 3 of 5. He is 30. So I hear you Frank.
Either they think you're gay or ... Naw they think you're gay. Just kidding, reality is women WANT to be chased after, a woman in an marriage is just looking for someone to talk to them most of the time but bedding them is simple afterwards. Either their men don't "love" them enough emotionally, or they're bad in bed but yeah you're still green kid. Too bad if you have the looks for it you should be having the time of your life.
I get my fossil records this month. (turning 60) and I can remember when infidelity and divorces were relatively rare. One has to wonder what is driving folks to marry but not keep their vow.
Divorce might have been rarer, but cheating was just as common if only more discreet.
It is sad to see all of the angry responses on this site. Do women and men hate each other that much? Is everyone that cynical? Worse, are you all that unforgiving? I have numerous girls cheat on me when I was dating and I forgave them. If my wife were to cheat on me and she was remorseful and apologetic, I would forgive her. I would expect the same from her if I did the cheating. In the end, marriage and relationships are not about keeping score, they are about fighting and struggling to help each other make it through this life. Mistakes happen, lies are told, everyone sins but can you put aside your pride enough to work through it all if the other party is willing to work through it as well. If not, then marriage may not be for you.
That sounds more like staying together due to desperation. Perhaps a 'one time thing' could possibly be in the realm of forgiveness. But if someone cheats on you over a period of time, they are habitually lying to you, and have no respect for you.
Everyone deserves better than that.
THEY CHANGED THE IMAGE!!!! HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!
Who cares, they are only women! Listen, here is the truth, women get older and desperate. Men can pick and choose throughout their life. Let them cheat, in 5 years they'll be ready to trade in for a younger model anyway. Now you just get to have the sleek new model sooner than later.
Seak profesional help....in the red light district.
yea man...hugh hefner is a hottie
I was one of those Males who has been cheated on by his woman. But the thing is .. I don't even blame her .. I Blame myself ... For putting on the Captain Save A cape ... Going by her Agenda as in according for me to be .." Understandable to her needs " while her needs were being met getting double D- clutched left and right ... ... I blame myself for listening to her instead of handling business as I SHOULD have ... I blame myself for taking her side rather then my own family for they saw and I was foolishly BLIND to see it coming .. SHE WAS DOING WHAT SHE IS NATURALLY BY NATURE ATTRACTED TO ... ALPHA MALE MEN ... I was that BETA MALE at the time ... HOWEVER .. LESSON LEARNED. Could care less what the next female I come into contact does .. "Well Anthony I could get any man I want " .. THEN BE OUT!! Worked too damn hard to rid of that old Simpish fool I was to go back and say .. " Oh Baby lets sit and talk about our needs" .. while Gung Slanger from God knows where is having her upside down in positions I've never heard of ....
Confessions of a future "DOG"
OH YAWN at that DOG CRAP ... please ... Im the best Gentlemen probably you would ever come in contact with .. the only difference is .. I'm no longer wearing a CAPE. I just value myself now.
This is so true.. The tables are slowly but sure turning.. Prime example of why I think men are more emotional than women(like the guys who answered this post lol). A woman can handle her man cheating, men on the other hand.. not so much. Which makes me 2nd guess this whole "a man can cheat with no strings attached" So if that is his thought process then why can't he get over his wife cheating if this is the case? hmmmm
You must have known some very weak men. My friends and I wouldn't care at all if our women went out and cheated. We make the money, we're the ones who don't age as disgusting as these old maids do, and we will gladly get rid of the ball and chain we have now in order to get a new sleek model. A few years after they cheat they will be old, desperate, and alone...haha!
It should not be acceptable for either gender. If your man or woman cheats on you, they have no respect for you and can't be trusted. The only answer in either case is to boot them to the curb.
Seek professional help....in the red light district. Typing error last post..
Since when did it become acceptable to tolerate this behavior? Anyone who accepts this type of behavior has ABSOLUTELY no self-respect. If you are married and someone in the relationship cheats, that other someone should be walking with dignity and a lot of money!
SHOULD, yes...but the reality is that usually it's the woman who walks away with the kids and the money - regardless.
After spending 25 years in a marriage where my ex was constantly lusting after everything with boobs, my second go round is "one should never stop looking" applying to both genders, committment is a funny word and really means little to nothing anymore and can be twisted to accommodate all behaviors (even when we have cheated ie. I'm still committed LOL). Yep, I believe this article, female infedility is definitely on the rise (My man never stops looking so why should I?). Girls will be girls! And, girls don't need the connection as much as they used to, we are running on the heat of desire and power! We all get to suck it up! Boys will be boys and girls will be girls! Girls are redefining themself just as boys have. Trashey behavior? You bet!
Two wrongs still don't make a right. It's quite simple, both for your ex and you: if you don't want to be in a committed relationship, don't cheat. Either live as a single person or have an open relationship. Then you can do what you want WITHOUT being trashy about it.
First sentence of this article really threw me off. Why is it that it's, in the writer's opinion, even harder to recover from or hurts more when the woman's the one doing the cheating? It hurts either way for either party. I'm sorry, but I don't come from the school where it's "acceptable" or even expected for a man to cheat. I've never cheated in my life but I've been cheated on twice.
What happened to the simplest of standards when it comes to being in a relationship? Props to all the people holding their own (who probably wouldn't even read this article) and remaining by moral dignity (both men and women), good human beings in this department.
interesting how many fantasies and incredible stories people tell here after reading this article. It's like all loons feel free to explain their fantasies in detail, whatever they wish had happened to them but never did. Nice therapy, I guess.
How do you know? Yes, the Internet can make people lie through their teeth - but it's funny how it can also make people brutally honest when they otherwise wouldn't be...
This article is spot on. Men generally cheat to fill a physical vacancy and women generally cheat to fill an emotional void. I have seen it time and time again, and it is always the same,...the husband can be a great father, good in bed and a substantial bread winner, but if he fails to fulfill those emotional needs, all of that other stuff might as well be thrown out the window.
Thats a lot of pressure on the guy.. I suspect that a lot of women do not know what they want.. female cheaters tend to cheat, leave the relationship and CONTINUE being unhappy no matter who they are with.
Actually, women who cheat are only unhappy with the person they are with. They are not unhappy people by nature. Been there, done that. This article is correct in its assertion that women cheat for different reasons than men, and one of the big ones is that they have given up on the relationship and are thus open (consciously or not) to advances by other men who might detect that.
Relationship books and articles explain this – it is the same thing, both are missing the connection/fullfillment. Women get connection/fullfillment from emotions and men get connection/fillment from physical. When infedility stricks it is a death nail to the relationship, doesn't matter who is cheating. And, while people forgive the trust, loyalty, honor has been betrayed and is gone. Anyway, you don't find committment, loyalty and honor in our society any more, thus just keep looking and moving up when the opportuntiies present themself. For men this is a younger, better body and for women this is a fatter wallet! So for all of us other there on the rat wheel – keep fit and make a great living and you might find someone to smack lips with.
@ John Galt
Your literary reference is off. Anna Karenina would be more fitting
Define cheating! For a woman, a man looking at another woman is cheating, for a man it is only looking, not cheating, same for self satisfaction, women think that it is cheating even if they do not think that their husband or boyfriend has needs, so when they say that women tend to cheat because for them they tried to fix things and it is over, maybe we could say that women do not give a lot of effort in finding a solution to the problem. Men are being accused of everything all the time, but women only want what they like and men are to blame if we don't comply to their ideas.
The forbidden fruit is sweeter ! It's the mind that has to be fed. Divorce as soon as possible and if not readily possible because of the current financial situation, make a contract in writing on living arrangement. It's a waste of time and energy trying to live a lie.
Moral of the story: Relationships are more trouble than they're worth.
You got that right!
So, it's like "don't try to walk because you may trip and fall"?
You are afraid to fall. Weak.
If serious relationships were as essential to living life as walking was, then yeah you'd have a point John Smith. But, the fact of the matter is you can live a perfectly happy and fulfilling life without them.
And quite frankly, no one has any right to look down on people that opt not to revolve their life around the idea of marriage and happily ever after. Especially not now, with how much of a disaster marriage has become for many people.
'afraid to fall'
No, more like I see others do it, it looks awful! So how do I stay away from the edge of the cliff?
Well said John Smith
I've been in a relationship for the past seven and a half years, and it's the happiest I've ever been. The problem is that people settle for someone that's not good enough. I believe men generally are worse at this than women. If men were more choosy - but first made sure THEY were the type the good women want - then more men would be happy. I am a man saying this.
I think it's very unfair to say that women cheating is worse than men cheating. cheating is cheating and no matter what the reason or excuse for it, it is wrong and has the same effect on a relationship.
LOL, How did I know that's what many women would get from this article?
Lindsey, you will failed relationships, too, if you are not capable of understanding the meaning of that article. Use your mind, not your feelings to enlighten yourself.
Men and women need different things from their partners in order to be fulfilled. Whether it's the man or the woman who ends up cheating, it is because they are not getting what they want from their partner.
Lindsey, you're either a feminist or a border line. To say that its same when women cheating and men cheating is like saying men and women are the same, with same desires, emotions, general interests, etc...
Had to chime in on this one! Yes, women cheat just like men the reason is irrelevent, it happens. The last three chicks that I was with had husbands or live in boyfriends that were not doin right (at least that's what they said), and I became the cool dude that cared enough to listen and give advise about what to do. Who knew that I would end up giving more than advice in the end. I never meant for it to be like that, but it did make me very wary about completely trusting a woman to be faithful. Before this experience I think I was pretty naive about how willing women can be to cheat if they are not happy in their relationships.
Well, would you expect a "cheater " to tell you how wonderful thier husbans is and then cheat with you? Imagine how terrible you might fell if you helped her cheat on the "perfect" guy. Most cheaters lie as well.
well the first time it might have been a fluke but by the third time maybe you should have realized and backed off. I'm not saying it is your fault but it must not feel good to be a home wrecker for the third time.
You should try dating women instead of chicks!
3 words about the author – Male Chauvinistic Pig.
Three words: bitter, unattractive feminist. I'm guessing you really meant all men are pigs.
Did you bother to read the article? Seems to be a straight forward look a cheating on both sides of the relationship. The article actually appears slanted towards women. Cheating to fill an emotional gap would appear better than just filling a void. The real trick is are the women really filling a void created by thier partner lack of attention or is it being insecure about not getting thier way and looking for some other patsy to play the part.
So, what does that make the woman who cheated on me? Or, am I the pig who caused it? Now, go make me a pie and nit that pie into something useful!
I was thinking the same thing. The author trivializes the feelings of women. He also whitewashes cheating by men, even excusing it as no big deal. His list of signs a woman is cheating is pathetic. Apparently if a woman isn't sitting at home anxiously awaiting the arrival of her "man" so she can pander to his every whim, then she's cheating on him.
To the author – Good grief – evolve already, would you please?
Yea! Listen to what IT is saying.
Really? Why? Seems like he touched a nerve. Are you one of the cheating wives? Funny how many stories can be written about men cheating and thats all find and dandy but a guy writes a story about cheating women and he is a Male Chauvinistic Pig. I would really like to know why you feel that way?
HAHA! Yeah, we sometimes forget that men and women are exactly the same in every way except for a few small anatomical differences. We should ignore the reasons women cheat and continue to focus on the men who do, or the bad guys who make women cheat, right? women are faultless in all things. Sorry, We will try to remember next time. LOL
Three words to describe you – FMC (the middle word is Miserable – figure out the other two). Just like my cheating ex who thinks she didn't do anything wrong.
So Miss Wise...upset because you are too ugly to have someone to cheat on or with?
And if a woman wrote it, she would be considered wise right? Oh wait, you are "Miss Wise".
@miss wize, not so wise after all, define cheating? why his he a pig? because he does not think like you that all men are automatically guilty, even if you as a women does not make realistic demands? or are confused as to what a relationship is about, equal sharing of needs and attention, not just the women's demands and expectations? And yes when you think, you did everything to fix things, but in fact only demanded that your husband did what you want, well it is not acceptable either. He did not say that men cheating was OK, but that because it is based on others ideas than what women thinks of a relationship, things can be worked out easier.
LOL toy boy and proud of it.
Natural is always different. Agree , toys can be even better but when it comes to the right moment of the real gush, it's always nicer to feel it.
I would like to add that some women simply "want to have their cake and eat it too." Just like the man who might claim to have a satisfying marriage and has no desire to leave, the same may be so for a woman. She just may want it all. The deeper love and stability of a marriage AND the excitement and euphoria of an affair. Although, I would also add that IMHO, affairs (of the heart) are a very mixed bag. Never simply the excitement... it can also be very painful... emotionally. Full of longing, confusion, fury! The passions rage on in both extremes.
I like your comment, keenly perceived and well expressed too.
What?? Are you high? Or just clueless?
Man, I wish we could go back to the days where the president getting a hummer was the biggest news in federal government.
I hope you didn't spend much for this column. If you did, I'm sorry to tell you, but you bought a pile of crap. This guys sucks so bad at his job, he might as well run for congress.
Jesus Loves You. But we think your dumb.
I love it when folks comment about the intelligence of another, and can't properly spell a word as simple as 'you're'.
^5 @ Peanut!
Ian: You are an idiot. I can't believe the editorial board let this article through. You are an idiot. Did you get your Ph.D. from an online university somewhere?
Jean, that's quite a fallacy and an unfair one at that. What's wrong with this article and what's wrong with online universities? It may be good to explain yourself or risk revealing your true potential at your hypocritical nature.
I believe he went to Brandeis and NYU. So shut up loser.
The same university that instructs you to use redundancy to strengthen your arguments – idiot!
I think you should take a cue from Fox News and state that opinion over and over until it is believed to be true. So many wingnuts will keep busy replying to you – thanks for doing your part!
Speaking of cheating, did Newt Gingrich really sign divorce papers while his wife was in the hospital getting cancer treatment so he could marry his mistress? No, he was a right-wing, family focused guy, a Christian. He'd never do that.
This article made me puke!
Why waste your time being married??? Clooney gets it; humans are not, have not been, nor ever were monogamous.
this is crazy Ive been married for 30yrs and I still date my wife and keep myself in good shape we have no desire to go outside our marriage this is an integrity issues show lack of morals. In this day and time its like playing Russian roulette all kinds of diseases and emotional issues to deal with why would any sane person participate in such activities......you bunch of back slidden buzzards need to do right by each other.
Did he really say that?
Sucker, she is sleeping with your best friend lol
How do you know? Just because you have no integrity doesn't mean nobody else does.
I like Tacos, do you like tacos? We should have tacos everyday....
Honey is better. Eat your honey every day.
wow! Beelzebubba knows the difference between everyday and every day! Congrats!
Sausage Tacos (sausage in the taco)?
Humans are not monogamous creatures by nature. It's that simple.
This article's pretty true. my wife had a work spouse and I thought for a long time that she was cheating on me. the indicators pretty much proved my theory right. I will say that I'm good now, because the guy ended up dumping her recently. Karma's a BIATCH!!!
I was nailing this chick for a while who didn't tell me she was married at first. It didn't matter to me because I'm single and if she's cheating that's her problem. She started off seeming nice enough, but I found out she was only interested in control and what a guy could do for her. Then when it came out she was married, she tried to make it into some kind of forbidden fruit game. Turns out she was married to a rich geek with a great career and plenty of money and he had no idea what she was doing on the side with me (and probably others). So I set her up, took pics of us and sent them to him. He got his team of lawyers on her and she got dumped in every way. I'm sure she probably found some other rich sucker to suck for money.
I dont believe you....why did you do something so heinous like that to someone whom you had feelings for??
Kevin never said he had feelings for her! And why don't you believe him? This is the perfect place to confess it without repercussion. I hope it's true, because the b*ch got exactly what she deserved!
You are joking right? He cheated all of his political life. Hillary was ok with it. Why should I worry about it.
I had a friend who worked white house security during the Clinton years...Hillary had more women than Bill did!
"female infidelity is on the rise" – Complete BS. For every man who commits adultery, there is a woman involved as well. There is no such thing as more men committing adultery than women.
The one who's cheating is the one who's married.
More guys are cheating with less different women–take 100 men and 100 women and think about it.
Kevin, I slightly disagree. If you are AWARE your partner is cheating, then you are just as much to blame. But I will say that in your case, you did the right thing when you found out about it! LMAO!!!
the women these married guys are messing around with might not even know he's married..
If women were wearing burkas we wouldn't be having this problem...
all my wimmins iz trated like mushroom. I keeps dem in da dark and feed dem bs
Frank: Explore the Cleveland Steamer! 🙂
Female logic: If a man cheats on his wife, it's because he's an immature, impulsive, self-centered jerk. But if she cheats on him, it's because ... he's an immature, impulsive, self-centered jerk who drove her to it.
Truer words has never been said
Best comment so far. Love it the way you said it. It seems like the man has to fear everyone and everything. No matter how hard he works, the wife gets all the attention. Even when she cheats, its the guys fault. He did not give her enough emotional love. What about the 18 hour work days to pay the bills !!!!
Most intelligent comment I've seen so far. Luckily, not all women think that way.
He's an inspiration, he's an inspiration, he's an inspiration to us all!
To prove it, just look at all the women commenting on here about how the write is a stupid pig. Unfortunately for them, statistics support the writer.
I agree with Oyster - but I also agree with Chris. 😉