New research coming out this week is working to explain why middle aged married women cheat on their husbands, and it has nothing to do with the usual excuses men have been sold on over the last few decades. Results from a new study firmly debunks the popular conception that women cheat because they are generally unhappy with their relationships.
Research into why married women stray is being lead by Eric Anderson, a professor of sport, masculinity and sexuality at the University of Winchester in England. His findings as detailed in Live Science…
Middle-age women who cheat on their husbands are looking for passion and sex, but don’t want to divorce their husbands over it.
The new data comes from a sample of married women who used AshleyMadison.com, a dating website aimed at people seeking to cheat on their partners.
The new conclusions challenge the popular conception that women cheat because they are generally unhappy with their relationships.
Professor Anderson explains that much of the ‘unhappiness in the relationship’ hampstering that women throw out their to explain their cheating is really just a way to hide the real reason for their infidelity, simple, good old sexual desire.
“People will often say that infidelity is a sign of a deeper relationship trouble,” Anderson said. But that storyline largely comes from the therapist’s couch, after a woman has gotten caught cheating, he added.
“When you get caught doing anything that is highly stigmatized, you make excuses. The excuse becomes, ‘Well my husband doesn’t treat me well, oh there’s a problem in the relationship,'” said Anderson, who is chief science officer at AshleyMadison.com.
In other words when women cheat it has very little to do with unhappiness in the marriage and more to do with just wanting to hook up with some strange.
We may strive for monogamy in marriage but like it or not, adultery is fairly common in today’s world. The numbers speak for themselves, with up to one-third of men and one-quarter of women in the U.S. admit to having at least one affair outside of their primary relationship at some point in their lives, according to a 2011 study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior.
Some men may have a hard time swallowing the fact that 1 in 4 married women cheat. I find that the harder fact to accept (and a tricker one at that) is the feminists driven storyline that men are unfaithful because they want more sexual variety, where women are unfaithful to get their emotional needs met. Not so, explains Anderson:
…someone’s justifications after the fact may be very different from their initial reasons for straying. Women lose interest in sex with their partners the longer they are in a relationship, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. So it may be that, just like men, female cheaters are seeking an extra sexual frisson.
How did Anderson come up with his conclusions…
Anderson and his colleagues gained access to the profiles and messages sent by 100 married, heterosexual women, who listed their age as between 35 and 45. All told, that included about 42,000 lines of text. Most of the women exchanged a few messages with potential partners before taking their interaction offline or ending conversation altogether.
“They didn’t know I was reading their conversations,” which enabled Anderson to study their self-professed motivations, without them worrying about being judged, Anderson said. (When they sign up for AshleyMadison, users agree to terms of service that include the possibility that their profile information and usage of the site may be studied for research purposes, Anderson said.)
About two-thirds of the women said they were seeking more romantic passion, which always involved sex. And none of the women wanted to leave their spouses, with many even talking up their husbands, the researchers found.
In short, women are happy to have their resources met through their husbands, but still wanted some tingles that only an extra marital affair can give them.
The findings of the study will be presented on Monday (Aug. 18) at the American Sociological Association’s 109th annual meeting.