Infidelity in Heterosexual Couples: Demographic, Interpersonal, and Personality-Related Predictors of Extradyadic Sex

Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, 1025 East 7th St., HPER 116, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
Archives of Sexual Behavior (Impact Factor: 3.53). 06/2011; 40(5):971-82. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-011-9771-z
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study aimed to assess the relative importance of demographic, interpersonal, and personality factors in predicting sexual infidelity in heterosexual couples. A total of 506 men (M age = 32.86 years, SD = 10.60) and 412 women (M age = 27.66 years, SD = 8.93), who indicated they were in a monogamous sexual relationship, completed a series of questionnaires, including the Sexual Excitation/Inhibition (SES/SIS) scales and the Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire, and answered questions about, among others, religiosity, education, income, relationship and sexual satisfaction, and sexual compatibility. Almost one-quarter of men (23.2%) and 19.2% of women indicated that they had "cheated" during their current relationship (i.e., engaged in sexual interactions with someone other than their partner that could jeopardize, or hurt, their relationship). Among men, a logistic regression analysis, explaining 17% of the variance, revealed that a higher propensity of sexual excitation (SES) and sexual inhibition due to "the threat of performance concerns" (SIS1), a lower propensity for sexual inhibition due to "the threat of performance consequences" (SIS2), and an increased tendency to engage in regretful sexual behavior during negative affective states were all significant predictors of infidelity. In women, a similar regression analysis explained 21% of the variance in engaging in infidelity. In addition to SIS1 and SIS2, for which the same patterns were found as for men, low relationship happiness and low compatibility in terms of sexual attitudes and values were predictive of infidelity. The findings of this study suggest that, for both men and women, sexual personality characteristics and, for women, relationship factors are more relevant to the prediction of sexual infidelity than demographic variables such as marital status and religiosity.

Download full-text


Available from: Erick Janssen, Aug 10, 2015
    • "Similarly, Martins et al. (2014) found that men reporting Catholic religion were more likely to report online EDI. In other studies, religiosity was not related to EDI at all (e.g., Mark et al., 2011; Shaw et al., 2013; Wiederman & Hurd, 1999). The association between the level of education and infidelity hasbeenunclear(Allenetal.,2005).Althoughsomestudiesfound an association between higher education and a higher likelihood of infidelity (e.g., Atkins et al., 2001; Traeen & Stigum, 1998; Treas & Giesen, 2000), others reported no significant associations (e.g., Martins et al., 2014; Shaw et al., 2013; Traeen, Holmen, & Stigum, 2007) or opposing findings (e.g., Choi, Catania, & Dolcini, 1994). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study examined the gender-specific correlates of face-to-face and online extradyadic involvement (EDI) in dating relationships. The sample consisted of 561 women (M age = 23.19 years) and 222 men (M age = 23.97 years), all of whom reported being in an exclusive dating relationship for an average of 35 months. Participants completed the following self-report measures: Extradyadic Behavior Inventory, Attitudes toward Infidelity Scale, and Investment Model Scale. During the current relationship, men were more likely than women to report engagement in face-to-face physical/sexual EDI (23.4 vs. 15.5 %) and online sexual EDI (15.3 vs. 4.6 %). Both men and women with a history of infidelity in a prior relationship were more likely to engage in EDI. More positive attitudes toward infidelity, lower relationship satisfaction, lower commitment, and higher quality of alternatives were significantly associated with EDI, regardless of gender. Women reporting infidelity of a partner in a prior relationship were more likely to engage in face-to-face and online emotional EDI; a longer relationship and a younger age at the first sexual encounter were significant correlates of the engagement in face-to-face emotional EDI. Women with higher education were approximately three times more likely to engage in online sexual EDI. Although men and women are converging in terms of overall EDI, men still report higher engagement in physical/sexual extradyadic behaviors, and the correlates of sexual and emotional EDI vary according to gender. This study contributes to a comprehensive approach of factors influencing the likelihood of EDI and encourages future research in this area.
    Archives of Sexual Behavior 07/2015; DOI:10.1007/s10508-015-0576-3 · 3.53 Impact Factor
    • "Some studies have shown that married persons have more invested in their unions and face higher exit costs (Treas and Giesen 2000) and so, are more likely to be faithful. Some researchers associate richer, younger and more educated individuals with more liberal attitudes and so, are more likely to engage in extradyadic behaviours (Mark et al. 2011). In contrast, other authors have shown that infidelity tends to be more prevalent across the less educated (Smith 1998; Whisman and Snyder 2007) and older persons (Atkins et al. 2001; Treas and Giesen 2000); while others find no evidence of a significant for age (Burdette et al. 2007; Maddox Shaw et al. 2013) education (Traeen et al. 2007) or income impact (Buunk and Van Driel 1989; Janus and Janus 1993). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Infidelity is experienced in many relationships. This paper seeks to determine the correlates of infidelity intentions among a sample of 512 individuals. Results imply that favourable attitudes, social approval and the perceived ease of attracting a partner are positively related to infidelity intentions. More than this, attitudes were the most significant correlate of infidelity intentions. Attitudes, in turn, were influenced by gender, religiosity and infidelity experiences.
    Sexuality & Culture 03/2014; 19(1). DOI:10.1007/s12119-014-9248-z
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article provides an overview of research on infidelity in an effort to synthesize past studies and orient future studies. It begins with infidelity estimates, followed by a synopsis of evolutionary explanations prominent in both popular and academic writing. Despite the potential utility of evolutionary arguments, I argue that infidelity needs to be understood as a dynamic social process subject to influence by the context in which it is embedded. This conceptualization urges scholars to attend to the component, proximate, and psychological factors that affect one’s decision to engage in infidelity. Accordingly, I categorize empirical infidelity research in this manner. I conclude by addressing new developments and avenues for future research.
    Sociology Compass 01/2012; 6(1). DOI:10.1111/j.1751-9020.2011.00434.x
Show more