Adultery is only a joke for those who are not devastated by it. The assumption for thousands of years has been that men are more prone towards adultery due to their genes and their need to spread their seed for continued survival. This may have been true at the beginning of time, but in our over-populated world, have we not evolved enough for our minds to control our behavior? Men may also be more prone to adultery because many men find it easier to separate sex from love than women do. In addition, men may have more power and money so women may put up with adultery because they feel responsible to take care of the children and thus, feel trapped.
Main shifts in the power balance in marriage have altered adultery. The incredible shrinking double standard in matters of sex has created a shift of heroic proportions in the nature of sexual infidelity. According to recent findings with a sample pool of 37,000 persons, 15% of wives have reportedly cheated on their spouse. These statistics appeared in Oprah Magazine in 2004. It is suspected that the percentage for men could be slightly higher but at the same time it would not be surprising if it were slightly lower. While this suggests that adultery is an equal opportunity, what’s surprising about the new research is that men are getting more emotionally involved with their extracurricular partners.
In the past, many male adulterers did not want to disrupt their marriage and the sexual affair usually did not make much impact on the husband’s satisfaction with his marriage. This difference was built mostly on the wife’s sense of powerlessness. Recent findings suggest that female liberation has changed perceptions. Men have become more sensitive — just as women say they wanted them to be — but the sensitivity generally rewards the working woman, not the wife. Nowadays adulterers are more likely to find fulfillment with a work mate. The work relationship becomes rich, while things at home may become pressurized and child-centered. As a result, adultery is more disruptive and threatening to the marriage and more likely to lead to divorce. Working wives even have more sexual opportunities. The sexual revolution, like all revolutions, has shaped unintended consequences. While cultural changes are not thought to manipulate biology, it’s clear that the messages exchanged between men and women have changed activities. Some men now get facials and pedicures just like women. The hottest group to come out of the clothes closet is the man who wants a makeover to liberate his feminine side. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a reality TV show, explores the ways five gay men use their decorating and aesthetic savvy to alter a heterosexual male into a straight guy with style. This “new” urban heterosexual man even has a descriptive term – “metro sexual.” This term was originally applied sarcastically to the self-consumed male consumer of traditional women’s products, such as bath oils, perfumes and face creams (and plastic surgery.) It’s now a label worn with pride by the homo sexualized straight man that’s moved from drab to fab.
According to a poll of over 5,000 women on WomanSavers.com, over 52% said they believe adultery should be prosecuted in courts. In early 2007 an Arizona court prosecuted two married adulterers for the first time in over 30 years. Only time will tell whether other states will follow in these types of adultery prosecutions.
There are cases of adultery among celebrities too. Country music singer and ‘Dancing with the stars’ contestant Sara Evans had divorce with her husband on the grounds of adultery. She had found him having multiple partners and thus ended up the relationship. This isn’t the only case in celebrities, but there are many instances where celebrities cheat their partners and commit adultery.
Honestly speaking, it is very difficult to find the statistics on adultery. The most sought after testing viz. DNA has revealed that 15% of birth certificates identify the wrong man as the father of a child. About 30% of DNA paternity tests do not confirm the identity of the purported father of a child. Since DNA paternity testing includes unmarried females and unmarried males, it cannot be an accurate measure of adultery.
In summary, adultery statistics are rare and outdated and many are flawed due to those who feel uncomfortable telling the truth about their adulterous behavior. Whether cultural changes of women in the workplace and increased divorce rates will cause men to cheat less will remain to be seen.