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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About this blog
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.
The way the picture is juxtapositioned it looks like the woman is putting her hand on Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
You're right! And he has got a great big smile on his face!
Okay, someone esle saw that too!
Bahaaahah! Totally does – that cracks me up! 🙂
HAHAHA it does look like her hand in on his knee...tooo funny!!!!!
That's funny....thanks for the laugh! 🙂
I bet there's a lot women out there who would be willing to cheat with Dr. Sanjay Gupta
The answer is to forgive and forget. There are worse things that being cheated on. Like being alone. If you can get past that ego thing. I've had too many friends end it all over one silly or stupid mistake. Face it, it's not normal. The damn Puritansforced it on us when even they didn't practice what they preached. Get over it and look at all the good things.
I disagree completely. IF you and your partner have sworn to a monogamous relationship, then you place your trust with them for that. I agree that not all relationships need to be purely monogamous and people need to realize that with in their personal relationships. But it's less about the infidelity, and more about the trust. If you can't trust somebody to control themselves, get rid of them. At the same time you have to be willing to communicate with them if they are having trouble staying monogamous.
Nope, single is way better than putting up with a b*atch that can't keep her legs closed. Stop trying to make yourself feel better by dragging the rest of us down with you.
I disagree. I've been alone and I've been cheated on. I'll take alone any day!
I don't agree that it's not normal for humans to find a life-long mate and procreate families. The fact that humans have been doing it since the dawn of time is proof that it's how our species rolls. However, it's not for everybody and you're right, they should just be honest with themselves. I also agree that things can be forgiven. I would forgive my husband if he strayed, but then again... I guess it depends on who with!
SO...according to the "Signs" I guess ALL women are CHEATING .....Bummer
This is getting better than those talk shows....
I can honestly say this article hits it all on the dot. My ex-wife cheated on me, and her excuse was because I worked too much. But yet, I had too, just to make ends meet. After she told me and I found out, it destroyed my marriage. But it was for all the good. I met a better woman, we work on things, we know we need to work and when we have our alone time, we spend that time together.
Woman do it for emotions, men just do it. Doesn't make it right. But at the same time, if you're not happy in a relationship, get out of it and don't marry again until you feel like you can do it. My first marriage lasted a year, my current marriage is now on it's nineth year and going strong. If you have that pit feeling about getting married, that should tell you, you're not ready. This isn't the 1950's, it's a new day and age.
There is no need to destroy people because guess what, in a marriage, many things could happen when a divorce finally comes around. Remember, Alimony, Child Support, losing a house, losing a car, attorney fees, etc...you get the picture.
I did not cheat when I was married for ten yrs. although he cheated on me numerous times... but now 9 years later..I find it difficult to be faithful to whomever I am dating now, never been caught but have been confronted LOL...weird but I will never get remarried until I know I won't cheat on my spouse. Oh yea, I'm 38 & a female and I really don't give a shii!
Keep cheat'n women..MOST men deserve it!
great message your sending about yourself. wanna hook up lol.
I had to read this twice.
What? Why are you encouraging infidelity? You're a disgusting excuse for a human being, let alone a woman.
act out much?
You might as well move to a new town honey because whether you know it or not you'er already known as lossy goosy. hate for you to run into jimbob at the home depot with your new husband.
Kat, seems like you have been destroyed and have become a bag lady. it's sad because you may actually meet a good dude and screw it up. Empty that bag ....you don't want to be that woman! It goes against a woman's natural behavior.unless of course she has dady issues or low self esteem.
This article is nonsense.
Warning: Cheating with someone's spouse can come with a high risk of acute lead poisoning.
I think the cheated party should always leave the relationship. It's over. Move on if you can. Females are often financially dependent so it's a sad trap. It adds to the disgust. Leave the relationship. Quit pretending. You are wasting your life.
I agree. That goes for women too! As soon as your man gets bored you are gonna find then on all fours in a sleazy motel room with a trany that goes by the Armani or Luscious. So you better give them what they want.
Frank, so you have a lot of Samanthas as clients. Yes, they exist. But there are a lot more Charlottes, Mirandas and Carries out there that, for the most part, don't seek out the physical.
we all know that this is something happening more and more everyday.
This is absulately wrong, either you're a man or a woman.
But my question is, why is it more acceptable to hear that a man cheeted on his wife and not vice versa?
Women have endured a lot, now it's pay back.
Mimi said, "But my question is, why is it more acceptable to hear that a man cheeted on his wife and not vice versa?"
Tiger Woods didn't have any problems when he got caught cheating, did he?
when famous men cheat the whole world knows. its not right for either party, people just need to be real.
Pay it back to the man who did it and not to a wrong man...You dumb female!!
Not sure what you mean by "women have endured a lot and it's payback time". No one deserves to be cheated on. Two wrongs don't make a right. What ever happened to common sense.
Wow...sounds like someone did you wrong. But now you are painting all women with one brush. If someone is really in love with you, they will not cheat! And MOST people are inherently good. If you have repeat bad experiences, chances are it's time to look internally and really figure out why dirtbags are drawn to you.....harsh, yes...but it worked for me. Happily married and drama free for 5 years. Trust me – there were times I thought I'd live life along or die young.
If you hold onto such a negative, judgemental outlook and are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, it surely will. But when you exude self-confidence, happiness and see the world as good, you will attract good, positive people. In the long run, bitterness only hurts you, and holds you back from experiencing the good in life. The most important thing is to love who you are. Sometimes, that takes a lot of work, but the end result is worth it. Stay positive and good luck to you 😉
So, i wonder if shaving your testies down there makes a woman want to cheat...I don't know, maybe they have a man that's hairy!
my ex used to get his balls waxed which i thought was cool because it made me want to spend more time down there lol
I"m sure it was painful for him but me getting my area waxed was painful for me too.
but he cheated and i kicked him out so that's the end of that
Frank, you're 40, ugly, and overweight. Your female clients are men in chat rooms on the internet. get out of your mother's basement and go visit the real world.
Wow...love all the perfect angels posting!! Keep it up...It's you who are keeping us sinners in line!
If you can't see yourself being monogamous, don't get married. I didn't, & I never date married women, ( well, not since I was 27). Be upfront about it. No drama. We are adults, & should act like it.
Agreed. However, as we start seeing our friends getting married and having families, it's hard to justify not moving forward with that in life especially in the 30's.. so I think we get into a mind-set thinking we can only be single for so long then we have to step up.... and then after a time, the cheating begins... for some... such as the ones who ignore that sinking feeling at the altar.
Thanks, Patricia, for reminding us of a very dumb reason why a lot of women get married: because their FRIENDS did. :-p
Oh Jeethus, Jeethus Christhh!
LOL! Did Mr. Slave ever cheat on Mr. Garrison?
No, I think it was the other way 'round. Garrison is a complete nutcase. At least Mr. Slave knows what he wants!
Mmmm... this article makes me hungry for some MILF.
I've got one already. She's my wife!
i am a woman who has never cheated and never will.I have more respect for myself than that.The one man who did cheat on me? I walked away from and never looked back.
All woman don't cheat.Neither do all men.
CNN, in a desperate attempt to pull together news due to lack of real reporting, propagates this misogynist garbage – "women destroy marriages" crap to play on insecure, angry America. We've had enough of the abuse, most Americans are not like the soulless corporate jerks who run our economy, like the ones who approve this story to stroke their cheating egos and make us hate each other. Suck it, CNN. Many men and women love each other, write about that for once.
I agree completely. With all the crap going on in the world, you'd think they'd be able to talk about something other than "why women are the devil."
Moron. First off, that's NOT what the article is saying, and two, 95% of articles like this are man-hating, it's always the men who cheat and ruin the relationship.
This is truly outrageous. So, women cheating means the death of a marriage, but men cheating only means a bump in the road? The position of the article just goes to show that men continue to see themselves as a superior, in every aspect of life. Women who cheat are as bad as men who cheat, this is true. And perhaps their motives are different. But lets not pretend that they are worse, just because they have "more responsibility to the family." In addition, lets not single out successful women here. Just because a women has her own money and career does not mean she is a cheater or person who does not care about her family. Wow, I wish men were held to the same standards.
alot of women forgive men for cheating, very few men forgive women for cheating. so if a man cheats the women is likely to work things out and be rational. woman cheats, the man is angry and rarely lets go of his grudge.
Thank you for wording this so perfectly. You are absolutely correct.
I don't know if that's *exactly* what they were trying to portray but it was so badly written that it does seem that way...especially bring up careers, lame.
Nobody seems to care about STD or AIDS anymore?
For every cheating man is a woman he is involved with and for every chearing woman there is a man she is involved with. Unless of course either is cheating with someone of the same gender.
So at the end of the day the numbers of each gender involved in cheating is the same
Not necessarily. Just because someone is cheating, it doesn't mean they are having a fling with a married person. Their new love interest might be single.
Also, just because one person is cheating, it doesn't mean that the person being cheated with KNOWS the cheater is cheating.
I agree with one aspect of this article. I have invested 15 years in a marriage/5 years dating prior (my first and only) with 2 kids. I think we're both happy, but it sure isn't fireworks after that long. I have no desire to seek any excitement outside of my marriage. I'm too tired and busy to want to even make any new friends. I like to think I'm pretty level headed, but If I was cheated on at this point, I would completely snap. 20 years wasted at the prime of my life and two heartbroken children, are you kidding? I can't believe that women wouldn't see it the same way
oh Jonboy you are just being overly sensitive and emotional! Well, that is what us woman are told when we disagree with what our significant other has done. I think that we are being tired of being told to get over it and has thus decided to participate in the fun so you guys can just get over it too. Yep, the children will suffer and we will all need the cure for AIDS. Just get over it, it isn't a big deal, no one can be faithful to someone like that and we sure are having fun! hmmmm, I think w are having fun. Actually I agree with you Jonboy, but society is brainwashing us to be immoral (we can't control ourself, so get over it, cut me some foregiveness 1x, 2x, 3x etc.) .
Well....God forbit...If this happens and you snap......you will be looking for diamond among a huge stack of stone...What is the chance of that happening...Go on for your kids!! At the end of your life, you will not regret!
At the end of the day man or woman are made of wordly possession and it will be fool to say that I own you or you own me...Seriously do you even have control over your own body!! Hell no!!! then why do we think we have a control over other human being body!!! This is the leason I have learned in my life
... your comment is exactly what the reader meant when he said then the marriage ends moreso if the woman cheats – in your words you would *snap* and end it..... ultimately seeing the 20 years together as a failure. Women don't see life as a succession of failures and successes and something that a 20-year relationship is worth keeping if she can forgive.
writer, not reader
The difference is that women don't want to cheat. A woman cheats when she has done everything possible to save her marriage. Every woman wants to be in love with her husband, and her husband in love with her.
Says who? I've seen plenty of women who cheated because they just plain wanted to.
If you are married with kids, your responsability is to put your childrens first, for their own good they should have parents who are working together as a couple... you'll see later about cheating thats not important. Parents who cheat regardless of the children who are witness are simply egotistical, selfish human beeings that should'nt have the privilege to have a familly in the first place . If cheating means the end of mental and emotional stability for both of the spouses...then what good does it do at the end?
3 Classic Oxymoron's: Jumbo Shrimp, Holy War, and Honest Women
It is how careful you are in choosing your life-long partner. You must think about it that way before your hormones are drawn by the looks! Gotta think about the values and morals your partner has before you unzip your pants with a woman! Someone with good morals and values "not chruch-fed junk" would not cheat on their partners. The marriage must have both partner-centric and kids-centric asepcts balanced too! Happily married for 20 years with two great kids!
Wow – someone really did a number on you, huh?
I feel as though he's saying that because relationships where men cheat don't end as often, therefore it's ok, physical infidelity is much better than emotional infidelity. A man can love his life, wife and kids and whatnot, but not have enough respect for his wife to not cheat on her.... and that's ok??? Love does not always equal respect, but respect is key to a successful relationship, because otherwise he'll do it again.
Katie hit the nail on the head.
I totally agree. It is just as bad when a man cheats as it is when a woman cheats. Nobody deserves that. What is lacking in these relationships is God.
.. I didn't see anywhere in the article where he said infidelity was "ok" – on any level...
I was married for 23 years. The last five my wife started playing bingo. First once a week then it went to seven days a week. It took me a while to find out she was bingo-ing while I was home working on the yard. Needless to say I am single now.
I disagree Glitter. If a woman cheats, she hasn't done EVERYTHING she could. She could have at least had the decency to say"I want out of this relationship and into my coworker Bob's pants,and I'm willing to throw it all away for that chance." Otherwise she's a spineless worm who wants to have her cake and eat it too. Cheaters are cowards.
Hey Frank, don't paint all women with the same brush just because you're a loser who can't keep a woman happy.
Good for you Daisy but I bet you have other secrets like that credit card account everyone of you women open up without your husband's knowledge show you can shop and enjoy life's pleasures without his knowledge. Then when he tries to refinance the house and the bank runs your credit he is saying "what's this!"
Women are filthier then men, trust me I have been friends with alot of both. Women will really stick the knife in though in alot of cases and sleep with someone that the man knows and is friends with because it builds up their self esteem to know that a friend of so and so was willing to do it. They will always find a way to justify it or in some cases actually just put it out of their heads and act believe it never happened, kinda like all the whoring around they did before they met someone. Their is a reason I am 39, single and never been married, I don't trust women as far as I can throw them
Um...although I agree that it's trashy for a woman to sleep with her man's best friend, I must say I also know of plenty of instances where a man slept with his woman's best friend. I'm sure either scenario hurts just as bad.
If this is the morgino I know, I feel sad for you. Let it go.. still single?? 42? There's a perfect woman knocking on your door, hope you let her in before it's too late.
stereotype much, Frank?
Good writing. I enjoyed it.
This article completely ignores several points. Men leave women because they usually have the means to support themselves financially. The same can't be said of the women most times. The prospect of staying with a cheating husband vs. being left alone in a crappy apartment with 4 kids while working 2 jobs... yeah. Most women are going to try to work it out. It's still a fact that most families are financially dependent on the husband's income.
It also needs to be said that there is a social stigma around men cheating. We hear about it, read articles, see it in movies much more frequently then the reverse. So there is a shock factor when you hear it was the woman who cheated rather then the man. There's much stronger emotions tied to it.
A man cheats and it's almost naturally assumed it's the woman's fault. She wasn't paying enough attention to him, her focus was on the kids, lack of intimacy, etc. And the women who have been cheated on blame themselves, find doubt. A woman cheats and it's assumed she's bitter, selfish, that she is only looking out for her own needs. That she's expected to make her entire life a sacrifice for her family, while none of us attach the same standards to the man.
Not true. I was dirt poor when I left that 38-year-old cougar I was banging when I was 23. I had zero means, but I hated that b*ch so much that it was worth it. NEXT EXCUSE...
Great. So now there will be an even greater number of women out there subjected to domestic violence due to some jack ass reading this mess and thinking he's being cheated on because his wife leaves for work looking nice.
Well you may be right; I've actually been through that! I dumped the fool.
You seem to be a little bitter. I've been married for 35 years. Some of those years have been rocky, mostly in the beginning. I trust my wife explicitly and she trusts me. I feel for you because there is nothing better than a relationship with mutual trust, love and lust. I am getting ready to retire and look forward to spending all my time with my lady. Until you grow up and get over your adolescent feelings you are going to be one miserable fellow.
@in your dreams Frank, your propally gay anyways
people act like no one can be there for each other any more, and have that be enough because its the best. We all can have two sides – one a mess, and the other appreciative of what we have and being there for our mate. People forget to make anything out of themselves this wise and wait for someone else who has too.
This is as silly as the why men cheat articles. However hat's off to CNN for telling like it is. Men probably cheated way more than women 50 years ago because women didn't have economic independence. my grandmother was divorced in 1954 here in the deep South. You can't imagine the humiliation. Now days women probably cheat 50/50. They are just better at lying then men. That is why so many more of them are becoming politicians, lawyers, and television reporters. I know there are still more men in those fields but it won't be for long. A Law Professor at LSU told me there are more women enrolled at LSU and Tulane Law school then men in recent years. CNN said there were a record number of women running during last election cycle. Men are flawed. You give women the same power and they are just as flawed.
That's not true.
Where's the logic in suggesting that a person's likelihood of cheating is directly related to their career status?
We all have the ability to reason whether we are in a position of power, or unemployed.
@Frank: I agree 100% with you. You can never trust women. They really are better at lying than men. You put your trust in them, and they will screw you over. I've learned my lesson.
you cant trust a big butt and a smile
that girl was poison.
OMG Bumble, that made me laugh.