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Ruth Houston

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Cheating Husbands and Cheating Wives Give Different Reasons for Having Affairs
By Ruth Houston   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, February 27, 2005
Posted: Sunday, February 27, 2005

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Men and women who cheat on their spouses or significant others give different reasons to justify their extramarital affairs.

The latest infidelity studies indicate that percentage-wise the gap is closing between cheating husbands in comparison to the percentage of cheating wives. However, even though more men are now becoming victims of infidelity, the fact still remains that 70% of infidelity victims are women.  What’s interesting though, is that men and women who are cheating on their spouses give different reasons to justify their extramarital affairs. 

The Top Reasons Men and Women Cheat

The top 3 reasons men cheat all relate to sex.  However sex is not usually the motivating factor for cheating wives.  The top 3 reasons women cheat relate to unmet emotional needs or a desire for attention.  Listed below are the most common reasons cheating husbands and cheating use to justify their extramarital affairs:

Why Men Cheat

The most frequently cited reasons for infidelity among men include

  • more sex (the desire for a more active sex life)
  • sexual variety (a desire for different kinds of sex)
  • opportunistic sex ( taking advantage of an opportunity to have sex without the fear of getting caught)
  • to satisfy sexual curiosity (about a specific female)
  • a feeling of entitlement (the belief that it’s a man’s prerogative to cheat)
  • the “thrill of the chase”
  • the desire to feel important or special
  • sexual addiction

Why Women Cheat

The reasons most frequently cited for female infidelity include

  • a desire for emotional closeness and intimacy (someone caring to confide in and bond with on an emotional level)
  • a desire for attention (wanting be the center of a man’s attention again)
  •  to reaffirm her desirability (To feel validated as a woman)
  • to re-experience feelings of romance
  • a desire to feel “special”
  • boredom
  • loneliness
  • sexual excitement

Men Cheat for Sexual Reasons, Women Cheat for Emotional Reasons

Granted, these are not the only reasons men and women cheat. There are other reasons as well.  But the bottom line is that men are cheating on their wives primarily for sexual reasons, while women are cheating on their husbands mainly for emotional reasons. But these are the most frequently given by cheating husbands and cheating wives who are willing to discuss their extramarital affairs.

Numerous studies on infidelity bear that out.  In one study, 75% to 80% of the men who admitted to having extramarital affairs said that sex was the primary reason.  Only 20% of the woman who were having extramarital affairs said they did so for purely sexual reasons. 

How More Marriages Could be Saved

The most amazing thing about the studies is that the majority of infidelity victims (70% of married women and 54% of married men) have no idea their spouse is having an extramarital affair. 

In another study, 60% of the people who admitted that they were cheating, said their partner did not know about their affair.  This leads me to conclude that if more people knew how to recognize the warning signs of infidelity, more marriages could be saved.  The first step to solving a problem is knowing that the problem exists.  To receive a FREE Report with details on the major signs of infidelity, entitled21  Categories of Telltale Signs, send an e-mail to  with Infidelity Signs” in the subject line.


© 2005 Ruth Houston



About Ruth Houston:


Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the author of Is He Cheating on You?- 829 Telltale Signs, a comprehensive guide which documents practically every known sign of infidelity. She has been quoted in the New York Times, the Toronto Sun, the New York Post, Cosmopolitan, the Christian Science Monitor, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Marie Claire and numerous other publications here and abroad.  Ruth has also been a guest on over 100 radio and TV talk shows in the US, Europe, the Caribbean and South America including  Good Day New York, 1010WINS,  TalkAmerica, the Mike Gallagher Show,  Telemundo, BBC, ClearChannel, The Breakfast Club, and Caracol Radio Network.  In addition to researching and writing about infidelity, Ruth also conducts infidelity seminars for women’s organizations, and does individual infidelity consultations.


To contact Ruth Houston for an interview, an individual infidelity consultation, or an infidelity seminar, call 718 592-6039 or email  For more information on infidelity, visit  


Web Site: Is He Cheating on You?

Reader Reviews for "Cheating Husbands and Cheating Wives Give Different Reasons for Having Affairs"

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Reviewed by Tanay Das 3/16/2010
There may be thousands of reasons for husbands and wives to cheat each other but the bottom line is that they are bored of each other and are in the look out of new partners.That's it!
Reviewed by Walt Hardester 2/22/2009
thanks for the Percentages on cheating. What over all percent of men and women cheaton their spouses for any reason.......BTW, I found this article on Yahoo Search for percentages. I too am a member of AD.
Please visit my den sometimes. You are bound to get a chuckle.

Reviewed by Doug Jones 8/23/2007
Reviewed by Julie Donner Andersen 4/23/2007
Men cheat for sex; women cheat for emotional intimacy. Nothing new here.

"This leads me to conclude that if more people knew how to recognize the warning signs of infidelity, more marriages could be saved."

OK, this is new. However, signs or not, once the affair is revealed, very few marriages can be saved.
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/9/2005
good article
Reviewed by Judy Lloyd (Reader) 2/28/2005
I had a man say to us about cheating on his wife. "Well I needed comfort." What about her did she not need his comfort. A cheat will make all sorts of excuses.

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