Why Sexually Satisfied People Are More Likely To Cheat
June 1, 2020 by Justin Lehmiller
Cheating and infidelity are common. Studies reliably find that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 married adults in the US report having stepped out on their partner at some point—and that’s just the number willing to admit to this behavior. Reports of cheating tend to be even higher among dating couples.
Why do so many people cheat? They do it for a wide range of reasons, and one of the big ones is a lack of sexual fulfillment. However, what you may be surprised to learn is that research has found that people who are sexually satisfied often cheat, too.
In fact, in a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers actually found that—among newlywed couples—those who were more satisfied in the bedroom were actually more likely to commit infidelity than those who were less satisfied.
This study is the subject of a recent article I wrote over at Men’s Health. In this article, I talk about some of the other surprising predictors of infidelity that emerged in this study, but I also explore some of the various theories on why sexually satisfied persons commit infidelity.
I spoke to a few sex therapists for their insights and one of the things I learned is that infidelity often isn’t about sex in these cases. For example, people sometimes pursue sex outside of their relationship (even if they’re very content with their sex life) as a means of coping with underlying anxiety—or as part of a quest for self-discovery.
This is important to recognize because it changes the way we think about the nature of infidelity—it doesn’t always stem from sex and relationship problems. It also means that being in a great relationship doesn’t mean you’ll never have to worry about infidelity popping up.
To learn more about why sexually satisfied people sometimes cheat and other surprising predictors of infidelity, check out the full article over at Men’s Health.
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To learn more about this research, see: McNulty, J. K., Meltzer, A. L., Makhanova, A., & Maner, J. K. (2018). Attentional and evaluative biases help people maintain relationships by avoiding infidelity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 115(1), 76-95.
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Dr. Justin LehmillerFounder & Owner of Sex and Psychology
Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.Read full bio >