Robin Milhausen and Kristen Mark at the University of Guelph and Erick Janssen from The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University recently polled 506 men and 412 women who reported involvement in “monogamous sexual relationships lasting from three months to 43 years”.
They examined the link between our gender, our “sexual personality,” and our likelihood to cheat.
According to the results of the poll number of men and women who are likely to cheat is almost identical: 23 percent of men and 19 percent of women admitted infidelity.
But the reasons for cheating turned out to be really different. For example for women the main cause for cheating is sexual dissatisfaction, while the thing is different.
Men who were easily aroused and men who suffered from “performance anxiety” were more likely to be unfaithful. Their sexual satisfaction within their “monogamous relationship” was irrelevant–they’d cheat whether the sex with their partner was good or not.
Scientists claim these differences to be a part of “sexual personality”. This is a broad term which descries the range of traits that dictate how easily people become turned on or off by certain cues.
Erick Janssen from The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University explains the result of the research:
“We discovered that there are distinct connections between “sexual personalities” and infidelity. In the past, there has been research on demographic predictors [for infidelity] including whether you’re male or female, married, what religion you are, and some studies have looked at the link between relationships and sexual satisfaction. But there was not much work in terms of what kind of a sexual person you are and to what degree that might have an impact [on infidelity],” Mr. Janssen said.
The question arises what the term “sexual personality” means and how it is possible to measure one’s “sexual personality”.
Mr. Janssen explains in his interview to Huffpost: “Everyone has personality traits–people can be more or less extroverted or introverted, for example, and the same applies to sex. For over 15 years the Kinsey Institute has explored the role of “sexual excitation proneness” or “sexual inhibition proneness.”
Basically it’s about how easily people become turned on or off by certain things. Sexual excitation is about how sensitive people are to different triggers and cues and how easily they become turned on. Sexual inhibition is about how easily you’re turned off by potential dangers or risks or threats.”
“Whether you become aroused in a situation depends on the balance between those forces. They are independent processes. You could be someone who is very easily turned on at the same time very easily turned off: you could lose your arousal when the phone rings, or, you think of your grocery list, and it’s over.
Other people are not as easily inhibited. We’ve done a lot of research on this in terms of sexual risk-taking. People who are turned on easily are high on sexual excitation.
People who are low on sexual inhibition are more likely to engage in risky and aggressive sexual behaviors. In this study we wanted to see whether those behaviors are relevant to sexual infidelity, which, in a way, is a form of risky sexual behavior,” Eric Janssen explains the essence of the major indicator of infidelity.
At the same time there have to be those who are not going to cheat. The scientists say that there are two types of inhibition: those people who are easily aroused no matter the circumstance and those who are difficult to be turned on because of concerns about their performance and anxieties. Strangely enough, almost paradoxically, that one predicted infidelity.
Scientists haven’t determined specific characteristics that people should watch out in their possible partners: “You might think that if you are with someone who doesn’t care about sex to begin with, that person might be less likely to cheat on you sexually. But even that we don’t know for sure,” Mr. Janssen noted.
“We looked at whether age, marital status, the importance of religion, but also happiness and sexual satisfaction in the relationship had an effect on infidelity—none of which proved to be very relevant. Although, for women, general happiness in the relationship was an important predictor of infidelity. We also asked people to indicate if they felt compatible with their partner in terms of how often they had sex, wanted to have sex, and their sexual values.
And for women, how compatible they felt with their partner in shared sexual values was also a predictor [for cheating]. With men, none of those things mattered as much as their own sexual personality traits. They could be happy and sexually satisfied in a relationship and still might say they cheated.
The sexual excitation proneness in males is important. In men, more than women, being very easily turned on is a contributor to infidelity,” he explained what makes people more likely to cheat.
Besides, for men, infidelity is unrelated to whether they say that they their partner shared similar sexual values. For women, though, similarity in sexual values is relevant to their sexual satisfaction.
To finish with Mr. Janssen pointed out that men are more likely to cheat than women: “But both men and women engage in these types of behaviors. This type of woman or this type of man might be more likely to commit infidelity, and yes it can be because you’re unhappy in your relationship, but this research shows that it’s not necessarily due to how happy or unhappy you are.” [via Huffpost]