The libraries and bookstores are overloaded with published books about love and relationships, and television programs deal with those topics on a daily basis. One of the most frequently addressed topics in these books and programs is infidelity.
And while digging into the subject, as this paper does, it is apparent that when it comes to infidelity and cheating, men do it more than women. This paper does not try to delve very deeply into the why, but it provides solid scholarship on the data and the literature on the situations that exist in society, and in marriages, that tempt men to stray from their relationships. The substance of this paper is that women are more faithful than men. Young women considering marriage should engage in a patient and thorough investigation into the tendency of men to cheat, and be totally familiar with her prospective husband's past prior to tying the knot.
One of the reasons given for why some men stray from marriage and from committed relationships -- and women don't -- is, according to an article in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, that "physical pleasure" is found to be "lower for [married] women over the age of 40" and yet married men do not "…experience the same drop in physical pleasure with age" (Christopher, et al., 2000, p. 1003). So men's sexual drive continues into middle age, while the sexual drive for women slows down. This might help to explain why men have a "greater likelihood of obtaining new and younger sex partners, relative to their female counterparts," Christopher explains.
Moreover, younger men find ways to stray as well. Males do commit more acts of infidelity no matter whether they are married or not, and whether the infidelity involves sexual intercourse or flirting on the Internet. In fact, Rebecca Brand explains that when a woman finds out her male partner has been cheating through emails with another woman, even though there was no physical act involved, it still can be "…damaging to the relationship and certainly [it] violates many people's expectations for their relationships" (Brand, 102).
The survey prepared for this paper is unique in that 100 individuals were asked to complete a brief questionnaire in a research genre with no formal research setting and no pressure. They were open and willing to cooperate. I hypothesized that these participants would corroborate my viewpoint -- that women are more faithful than men, and this turned out to be the result of the survey. Women are more faithful because they, as a rule, invest more time in the relationship and in the family than men, plus when they have children, they invested many months in bringing that child into the world and technically all the man did is provide the sperm.
Methodology - Results
One hundred individuals -- 48% African-American, 21% Hispanic, 21% Caucasian, 4% Asian and 6% "other" -- took part in this research (see charts in the appendix). The questions were gleaned from other surveys that have been done in professional settings. The participants were given two days to compete their paperwork and they all agreed to honestly, forthrightly answer the questions to the best of their ability (see questionnaire in the appendix). The survey was conducted in the New York City area (36% from the Bronx; 12% from Queens; 34% from Brooklyn; 7% from Staten Island; 8% from Manhattan; and 3% from elsewhere in the area). Just 3% were in their teens; 23% were in their twenties; 31% were in their 30s and 31% were in their 40s; about 15% were in their 50s and 5% were in their sixties. Fifty-five percent stated they were in a "committed relationship" and nearly 60% indicated that "Men view fidelity as the most important part of a relationship" which is interesting because 52% believe that women are "more faithful than men."
The Literature: Women are more faithful and they tell fewer lies
In the Handbook of Public Administration Professor Jack Rabin and colleagues' gender research reflects that women "…tell fewer lies, steal less, fight less, do fewer drugs, are less often drunk, are more faithful in relationships, engage in less deviance in the workplace, and are more law abiding" (Rabin, et al., 1998, p. 770). Other interesting differences between the genders are presented in the handbook, including the fact that men "often" view women in sexual contexts and establish relationships based largely on sexual attractiveness. Women, on the other hand, are drawn to men-based partly on attractiveness but also on their potential for success, their intelligence, and suitability for raising children (Rabin, 770).
Additionally, Rabin points to research that may explain the dynamics of male-female adult relationships. The author reports that boys are taught to play games, and win, by the rules and hence "adherence rather than…interpretation" influences the male gender (770). As for females they are taught to "pay attention to feelings and relationships," and they are taught, "the process is just as important as the end"; men, on the other hand, are "goal-oriented" and more focused on "output" than women are (Rabin, 770).
Women are more "sexually contented" than men
In the Continuum Complete International Encyclopedia of Sexuality, the authors assert that women "are, in general, more sexually contented than men" and that reflects the "still prevailing Catholic image of the woman" (Francoeur, et al., 2004, p. 48). That generalized view of women posits that she is "…to remain passive and take the place to which she is directed" (Francoeur, 47).
As regards faithfulness, in Austria individuals are having more sex than a few years ago, which leads to further interesting data: while the average adult female reports having sex 2.1 times a week, men report having sex "2.6 times a week… [which] indicates that women are 'more faithful' than men" (Francoeur, 47). For every "unfaithful woman," the authors report based on their surveys, "…there are two unfaithful men"; that breaks down to 12% of adult women responded to questionnaires that they had been unfaithful while 20.7% of men admitted to unfaithfulness (Francoeur, 47). That having been pointed out, the survey indicates that "…nine out of ten Austrians responded that faithfulness in a relationship is especially important" (Francoeur, 47).
As to the group aged 30 to 49 years, 24% of males responded that they were "not satisfied" with the amount of sex they were having while 8% of females said they were not satisfied with the frequency of sexual activity (Francoeur, 47). Another statistic that shows men are most active in seeking out sexual experiences is that young men showed the most interest in having "group sex"; indeed, 7% of young men between the age of 16 to 29 related that they seek group sex while only 1% of young women the same age wanted group sex (Francoeur, 48).
Another interesting statistic reveals that 40% of males indicated a willingness to engage in heterosexual anal intercourse and "less than 20% of women" were so inclined. As to oral sex among heterosexual partners, 70% of the men in the research in Austria practice oral sex while only 52% of women said they practice oral sex (Francoeur, 48). In the realm of aging, 45% of males between the age of 50 and 60 indicated they had "sexual intercourse at least once a week" and only 21% of women in the same age bracket said they had sex that often (Francoeur, 48).
Sexual satisfaction and interest tends to fade for married women
According to an article in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, the evidence shows that "physical pleasure" is found to be "lower for [married] women over the age of 40" and yet married men do not "…experience the same drop in physical pleasure with age" (Christopher, et al., 2000, p. 1003). This might help to explain why men have a "greater likelihood of obtaining new and younger sex partners, relative to their female counterparts," Christopher explains.
In a survey conducted by Edwards and Booth (1994) and reported by Christopher, wives that have reached their "late middle years (48-60)" were far more likely than younger wives to indicate that "loss of interest in sex was a problem in their relationship" (1003). Moreover, Christopher reports that both men and women agree in empirical studies that "…it was the wife who was more likely to lose interest…" over 9 years of marriage (Christopher, 1004).
While an overwhelming number of Americans (70 to 80%) "…express complete disapproval of a married person having sex with someone other than his or her spouse," and 77% in one survey quoted by Christopher say extramarital sex is "always wrong," sex outside of marriage is a reality. And among the variables associated with "permissive attitudes toward extramarital sex" are those who were sexually permissive before marriage, low interest in religion, and "being male" (Christopher, 1006).
That phrase, "being male," tells the story in the shortest possible number of words when it comes to the statistics vis-a-vis which of…