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


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.

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    • "In addition, this investigation was based on retrospective self-reports that may introduce biases or distortions in the recall of CSA and underreporting of infidelity. However, the prevalence rates of CSA and ESI in men and women in the present study are similar to those observed in the general population (Allen & Atkins, 2012; Briere & Elliott, 2003; Mark et al., 2011), potentially supporting the validity and generalization of the current results. "
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    ABSTRACT: We tested a mediation model in which the relationship between child sexual abuse (CSA) severity and extradyadic sexual involvement (ESI) is explained through sexual compulsivity. Participants were 669 adults currently involved in an intimate relationship who completed self-report questionnaires. Prevalence of ESI was 32% in women and 57% in men survivors, more than twice the rates among participants with no CSA history. Sexual compulsivity was significantly higher in participants with multiple extradyadic partners as compared to participants reporting only one extradyadic relationship, who nevertheless scored higher than participants reporting no extradyadic partner. The hypothesized structural equation model (SEM) was invariant across men and women and indicated CSA severity was positively and significantly associated with sexual compulsivity, which, in turn, predicted ESI. However, there was also a direct association between CSA and ESI. High CSA severity, directly and through high sexual compulsivity, led to the highest probability of ESI.
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    • "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). "
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    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.
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    • "The literature is conflicting about what constitutes infidelity in a relationship: some acts, such as extramarital sex, are commonly included, whereas others, such as emotional ties that extend past friendship, are not (Blow & Hartnett, 2005). Other research has relied on if the partner would be hurt by the action to determine infidelity (Mark, Janssen, & Milhausen, 2011). Studies have found that extra dyadic relationships can have multiple sexual and emotional components (e.g.,Allen & Baucom, 2006;Buss, Larsen, Westen, & Semmelroth, 1992;Luo, Cartun, & Snider, 2010). "
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