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Sex with Dr. Jess


October 31, 2017

Reasons Why People Cheat

Jess talks about the reasons and science behind cheaters on Global TV’s The Morning Show with Jeff McArthur. See her expanded notes and video below.

Why do people cheat?

  • A new study found that unmet interdependence and intimate needs being met tops the list of reasons why Millenials cheat; intimacy refers to communication, passion, and love — not simply sex.
  • Other reasons include a desire for independence, novelty, excitement, the feeling of being desired, attention and alcohol also plays a role.
  • Those who experience anxiety about sexual performance are 7 percent more likely to cheat. Researchers theorize that these cheaters might stray to avoid facing their fears in a meaningful relationship or to make progress with a partner who isn’t familiar with their sexual history.
  • I don’t want to overstate the notion of a propensity to cheat, as personal agency plays a larger role than any tendency, but research suggests that men who report high levels of “sexual excitability” are more likely to cheat. For every unit of increase in sexual excitability, the likelihood of cheating increases 4 percent for men, but no association between excitability and cheating has been identified for women.

What percentage of people cheat?200328182-001

  • The data suggests that 24% report relationship infidelity, but I believe this figure reflects underreporting.

What about people in happy relationships? Why might they cheat?

We often assume that cheating is a response to a deficit in a relationship, but this is not always the case. People cheat for other reasons including:

  • Narcissism.
  • Insecurity.
  • Unhappiness in another area (self, work, personal fulfillment).
  • The thrill of risk.
  • Unacknowledged rejection of monogamy; we are assigned monogamy as a default setting when in fact, the history of monogamy as a universal goal is rather short.

Once a cheater, always a cheater?

  • Absolutely not. We are not the sum of one behaviour or action; you can change behaviours at any time if you want to.
  • If your partner has cheated in the past, taking responsibility for their own actions may be an indication that they won’t re-offend; if however, they make excuses and seek to blame others, I’d be concerned about their risk of cheating again.

How can you reduce the risk of cheating in your relationship?

  • Talk about 3 core areas of needs: practical, emotional/intimate and sexual.
  • Practical: how do you divide time, housework, parenting, finances?
  • Emotional/Intimate: share your vulnerable feelings and show support when your partner opens up.
  • Sexual: how often do you want to have sex? how do you want to feel before, during and after sex?