Cheating is ever-present in our society, and the reasons for it are many. In fact, what people consider cheating varies. Some only count sex as cheating, while others put flirting in the same category. Whatever you decide to label as cheating, you should know what the statistics for 2020 are.
The Top 10 Cheating Statistics and Facts That Will Blow Your Mind:
- 10% of adults in a relationship have formed another intimate relationship online.
- Men are doubly likely to be serial cheaters, while women tend to cheat just once.
- Most children who are the product of an affair are unknowingly raised by men who aren’t their biological fathers.
- 70% of women said that developing a deep emotional connection with someone else constitutes cheating.
- Men are more likely to cheat for sex.
- 25% of men and around 35% of women who were satisfied with their bodies were more likely to cheat.
- Genetics make up 40% of cheating instances in women and 62% in men.
- People believe that everyone but their partner is cheating.
- Only 15.6% of couples that include someone who cheated are still together after the affair.
- 47% of those surveyed stated that the biggest reason for confessing their affair was guilt.
Cheating Statistics by Gender
1. Approximately 20% of American men admitted to having sex with someone other than their spouse while married.
Data from the recent General Social Survey (GSS) shows that men are more likely to cheat than women. In comparison, only 13% of women reported the same thing.
2. Meanwhile, infidelity among women has increased by an astounding 40% in the last 20 years.
While male infidelity has remained steady over the last two decades, the GSS shows that infidelity among women has increased in the same period. This does little to influence the overall affair stats, as the number of cheating men remains higher than the number of cheating women.
3. An astounding 70% of female participants said that developing a deep emotional connection with someone else constitutes cheating.
Data shared by YouGov’s poll of 1000 people show that there’s a big difference between men and women when it comes to emotional cheating. Women are more likely to recognize and care about emotional infidelity, while only 50% of male participants said the same.
4. Infidelity statistics in the US show men are doubly likely to be serial cheaters, while women tend to cheat just once.
Sandra Leiblum, director of the Center for Sexual and Relational Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School states that men are more likely to look for sexual novelty. They don’t expect it to continue, but are rather looking for a sexual outlet.
5. Men are more likely to cheat for sex.
Even though women also like sex and have sexual needs, the percentage of men who cheat because they want more sex is a full 44%. Another 38% simply stated that they wanted more satisfying sex. Excitement is a very powerful motivator for cheating, evident by the fact that 30% of people state excitement as their reason for cheating.
6. On the other hand, 40% of women are prone to emotional cheating.
The same source tells us that women cheated because they needed emotional attention. Further cheating stats indicate that 33% needed to feel they were still desirable, while 20% admitted they had fallen in love with the new partner.
Where Do Most Affairs Take Place?
7. 10% of adults in a relationship have formed another intimate relationship online.
The age of the internet is shedding some light on emotional affairs. In fact, a 2008 Australian study came out with these next adultery statistics: approximately 8% of those in a relationship engaged in cybersex and/or sexting with someone else, while 6% actually met their internet partner.
8. Ashley Madison counts 60 million members.
The internet is the perfect place for some discreet fun, with apps like Tinder and websites like Ashley Madison making cheating much easier. The latter site has been growing for years, even after privacy breaches.
9. A third of people look for potential partners to cheat with at the gym.
According to infidelity statistics from 2018, you don’t have to worry about your partner cheating on you in a club or bar, because these aren’t the only—or the most common—places people go to find potential partners. According to a poll by IllicitEncounters, one in three people have gone to the gym to meet a potential partner to cheat with.
Social work events are next in line by popularity, with 26% of participants admitting they’ve met someone they cheated with at such a function. Another interesting fact is that gym affairs are short-lived, while affairs that begin at office events tend to last longer.
Factors Behind These Cheating Statistics
10. People feel differently based on the gender of the person their partner has cheated with.
The journal Personal Relationships published a study in 2015 where participants in heterosexual relationships answered questions about hypothetical situations where their partner cheated. Both men and women were more likely to react with anger at the thought of their partner cheating with someone of the opposite gender. Men were more likely to end the relationship in the same hypothetical scenario, while more women said they would end the relationship if their partner cheated in a same-sex affair.
When it comes to women cheating with the same gender, most men admitted they would find it arousing.
11. Cheating statistics from Rutgers University show that around 25% of men and 35% of women who were satisfied with their bodies were more likely to cheat.
A study conducted by Rutgers University determined that a better body image is linked to a higher chance of becoming dissatisfied in a relationship and cheating as a result. The same study found that up to 40% of men and around 42% of women who cheated did so because they had appealing alternatives.
12. Those who’ve cheated once are more likely to cheat again.
The University of Denver published a new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior titled “Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?” The study aimed to answer the question in the title, and the statistics on cheaters cheating again are in. Those guilty of infidelity in one relationship are three times more likely to be unfaithful in the next, compared to those who have been loyal in the first relationship.
13. A study from the University of Queensland has shown that genetics make up 40% of cheating instances in women and 62% in men.
Even though it seems that genes are just an excuse for cheating, there are studies that suggest our hormones could be one of the causes of infidelity. This same study also explains that infidelity is more common among those with specific types of oxytocin and vasopressin receptor genes. Vasopressin is a very important hormone that has a lot to do with trust, sexual bonding, and empathy.
14. Adultery stats show that those who are economically dependent on their spouses are more likely to cheat on them.
A 2015 study by the American Sociological Review suggested that people who are completely economically dependent on their spouses were more likely to cheat. This proved especially true in cases where men were dependent on women, with 15% admitting to cheating. In the case where women are dependent on their husbands, only 5% admitted to being unfaithful.
15. Religious partners are more likely to stay faithful.
Affair stats show that only 14% of adults who attend religious services at least once a week reported having ever cheated on their spouse. The percentage is the same for those who attended services several times a month or year. However, those who attended once a year or less were found more likely to cheat, with 19% of adults admitting to infidelity.
16. Political views can influence the likelihood of cheating.
American demographics show that political identity can significantly influence the likelihood of infidelity, stats show. 18% of democrats admitted to being unfaithful to their spouses, while only 14% of republicans admitted to the same thing.
The percentage of those who don’t tie their political identity with either democrats or republicans falls between the two aforementioned groups, at 15%.
17. Education doesn’t play a role.
For the longest time, it has been believed that those with higher education levels were less likely to cheat. However, upon further research, no link was found between education levels and the percentage of people who cheat.
The numbers speak for themselves: 16% of college-educated individuals admitted to being unfaithful, while 15% of individuals with less education reported cheating on their partners. It’s interesting to note, though, that 18% of individuals who started college but didn’t finish it for whatever reason cheated on their spouse at some point.
What Happens After People Confess?
18. Most often, people believe that everyone but their partner is cheating.
According to NBC’s adultery statistics, six in ten cheaters believe that their partner has no idea about their affair. One in ten feels that their partner was suspicious of the affair, and only 6% of both men and women actually admitted to the affair when confronted by their partner.
19. 47% of those surveyed stated that the biggest reason for confessing their affair was guilt.
Reasons for confessing to the affair can vary. 39.8% said that they did so to let their partner know they were no longer happy with the relationship. Believing the partner had the right to know isn’t far behind, with 38.6% confessing because of it.
However, infidelity statistics show that only 25% of cheaters admitted to the affairs, while roughly the same percentage got caught, leaving us to conclude that the signs of infidelity are often harder to catch than we’d like to think.
20. Not everyone decides to break up right away.
Even though breaking up is the most logical course of action to some, not everyone immediately parts ways after cheating. Things can get complicated in the case of infidelity recovery, as statistics note that 61% of cheaters’ partners choose to set rules and consequences in response to the affair. Common rules included limitations on going out, withholding sex, having shared access to social media accounts, and avoiding certain friends. 27.8% weren’t even allowed to interact with the opposite sex without their partner’s permission.
21. Only 15.6% of couples that include someone who has cheated remain together after the affair.
(Health Testing Centers)
As we can see, the majority of couples do part ways. Another 30% of couples said they tried to stay together but ended up breaking up. Finally, affair statistics show that infidelity and divorce go hand in hand for the majority, 54.5%.
22. Whether a person regrets cheating frequently depends on their relationship status.
(Health Testing Centers)
Research has shown that those who were in committed relationships were more likely to regret cheating on their partners (72.7%). The percentage of married people who regret cheating is somewhat lower, at 67.4%, but the data shows the majority still wish they hadn’t done it.
23. One-night stands are much more common than long-term affairs, statistics show.
Even though we like to think affairs last for years, short-term affairs are much more common. In fact, several studies note that 25% of all affairs don’t even last a week. 65% are likely to end in the first six months. That leaves only 10% of affairs that end up being long term.
Affair Statistics & Family
24. The younger generation is less likely to cheat than their elders.
Nicholas Wolfinger conducted an analysis at the Institute for Family Studies and found that Americans older than 55 are more likely to report having sex outside their marriage than Americans younger than 55. This is completely opposite recent data from the year 2000, when the General Social Survey noted older Americans are less likely to have sex with someone other than their spouses.
25. However, stats on cheating show infidelity among people under 30 is becoming increasingly common.
(Wall Street Journal, Truth About Deception)
Contradictory evidence from the Wall Street Journal suggests that infidelity is becoming more common among people under 30 due to factors like spending more time away from their spouse and having more opportunities to cheat on them. One other factor to take into consideration with these adultery stats is the habit of having multiple sexual partners before marriage.
26. Approximately 2% to 3% of children are actually the product of infidelity.
(Current Anthropology, Truth About Deception)
Most children who are products of affairs are unknowingly raised by men who aren’t their biological fathers. However, DNA testing is making it easier and easier to check the paternity of children.
27. Kids with parents who cheated are twice as likely to cheat on their partners when they grow up.
(Journal of Family Issues)
The infidelity rates of people whose parents cheated when they were kids are as high as 44%. In comparison, only 22% of those whose parents remained faithful to each other cheated on their romantic partners. However, it’s interesting to note that unfaithful parents didn’t affect the way their children viewed cheating in general.
28. In the case of a cheating spouse, statistics show that 60% of married cheaters didn’t wear protection.
(Health Testing Centers)
Conversely, 64% of those who were in a committed relationship but cheated used condoms. When it comes to dividing this issue by gender, roughly 60% of men remembered to use protection. Women aren’t too far behind with just a little over 58% saying they used condoms.
Using condoms and other forms of contraception is necessary for preventing STDs and unwanted pregnancies. The high statistics on cheating without protection noted above may have something to do with the fact that cheating leads to hurried and often unanticipated sexual encounters.
29. Children that grew up in incomplete families are more likely to cheat on their partners.
In this case, only 15% of adults who grew up with both parents admitted to cheating on their partners. In comparison, 18% of those who didn’t grow up with both parents were found guilty of being unfaithful.
Whether children grew up with their biological or adoptive family is insignificant, as long as two parents were present.
Why do people cheat?
People cheat for various reasons, including sexual dissatisfaction and longing for a deeper emotional connection. According to dating websites geared toward a cheating spouse like VictoriaMilan and AshelyMadison, people most often cheat because they crave affection.
In fact, even though most people believe that cheating is always about lack of sex or falling out of love, the majority of participants in the surveys on the aforementioned sites said they still loved and cared for their partners.
What is cheating?
The University of Michigan conducted a study in 2013 and asked people to rate 27 different cheating behaviors on a scale of 1 to 100. These included touching or grabbing sexual areas, buying gifts, going to dinner with someone other than your partner, sending explicit texts, meeting up with your ex, and even exchanging phone numbers with someone other than your partner. Other behaviors included paying bills, texting late into the night, going to internet chat rooms, and clubbing.
What the study showed is that there was no explicit definition of cheating. Some people believe that certain behaviors are more damaging than others, while others don’t agree with their opinions. The only possible exception to the no-definition rule might be sex.
Is flirting cheating?
The answer to this question widely depends on who you ask. According to Terri Orbuch, PhD, a professor at Oakland University, flirting doesn’t necessarily have to be about the desire to be sexually or emotionally close to someone other than your partner.
Flirting can simply be a signal you’re sending to someone that you want to interact with them. Of course, it’s always advised to talk with your partner about their stance on the issue. Even though flirting may not be intended as cheating, it can be interpreted in the wrong way and end up hurting your partner.
What nationality cheats the most?
When it comes to infidelity in the world, Thailand takes the cake, with 56% of the population admitting to adultery. Denmark isn’t too far behind, with 46%, while Italy is just up there, with 45%.
Finland, ranked tenth, is fairly open-minded when it comes to having something on the side. Brits, who rank ninth, are usually perceived as cold and not passionate, but the aforementioned website for extramarital relationships—Ashley Madison—counts over 1 million users from the UK.
What percentage of affairs end in divorce?
Marriages where one partner cheats often end in divorce. According to the American Psychological Association, 20%–40% of divorces are due to infidelity.
What can we conclude from this data? For one, there are different types of cheating. Your gender can influence your cheating tendencies and habits greatly, as well as the type of cheating you’re more prone to. Infidelity is definitely one of the reasons for divorce, but it can be overcome. Finally, these cheating statistics help highlight the importance of talking to your partner to avoid dissatisfaction that might cause them to stray.
- American Psychological Association
- American Sociological Review
- Barking up the Wrong Tree
- Current Anthropology
- Evolution on Human Behavior Journal
- Health Testing Centers
- Journal of Family Issues
- NBC News
- Paired Life
- Personal Relationships
- Psychology Today
- Refinery 29
- Rutgers University
- Truth About Deception
- Wall Street Journal
- Women’s Health