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Inﬁdelity in Heterosexual Couples: Demographic, Interpersonal, and Personality-Related Predictors of Extradyadic Sex
Kristen P. Mark • Erick Janssen • Robin R. Milhausen
Received: 4 September 2009 / Revised: 10 December 2010 / Accepted: 12 February 2011 Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011
Abstract This study aimed to assess the relative importance of demographic, interpersonal, and personality factors in predicting sexual inﬁdelity in heterosexual couples. A total of 506 men (M age = 32.86 years, SD = 10.60) and 412 women (M age = 27.66 years, SD = 8.93), who indicated they were in a monogamous sexual relationship, completed a series of questionnaires, including the Sexual Excitation/Inhibition (SES/SIS) scales and the Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire, and answered questions about, among others, religiosity, education, income, relationship and sexual satisfaction, and sexual compatibility. Almost one-quarter of men (23.2%) and 19.2% of women indicated that they had ‘‘cheated’’ during their current relationship (i.e., engaged in sexual interactions with someone other than their partner that could jeopardize, or hurt, their relationship). Among men, a logistic regression analysis, explaining 17% of the variance, revealed that a higher propensity of sexual excitation (SES) and sexual inhibition due to ‘‘the threat of performance concerns’’ (SIS1), a lower propensity for sexual inhibition due to‘‘the threat of performance consequences’’(SIS2), and an increased tendency to engage in regretful sexual behavior during negative affective states were all signiﬁcant predictors of inﬁdelity. In women, a similar regression analysis explained 21% of the variance in engaging in inﬁdelity. In addition to SIS1 and
K. P. Mark (&) Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, 1025 East 7th St., HPER 116, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA e-mail: email@example.com E. Janssen The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA R. R. Milhausen Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
SIS2, for which the same patterns were found as for men, low relationship happiness and low compatibility in terms of sexual attitudes and values were predictive of inﬁdelity. The ﬁndings of this study suggest that, for both men and women, sexual personality characteristics and, for women, relationship factors are more relevant to the prediction of sexual inﬁdelity than demographic variables such as marital status and religiosity. Keywords Inﬁdelity Á Extradyadic sex Á Sexual excitation Á Sexual inhibition Á Sexual behavior
Introduction Sexual inﬁdelity, which can be deﬁned as extradyadic sex within the context of a monogamous relationship, is considered to be among the most signiﬁcant threats to the stability of adult relationships, including marriage. For example, Betzig (1989) compared 160 cultures and found that inﬁdelity was the single most cited cause of divorce. In Western countries, it has been estimated that between 25 and 50% of divorcees cited a spouse’s inﬁdelity as the primary cause of the divorce (Kelly & Conley, 1987). Research on inﬁdelity in heterosexual relationships suggests that around one-third of men and one-quarter of women may engage in extradyadic sexual relationships at least once in their lives (Kinsey, Pomeroy, & Martin, 1948; Kinsey, Pomeroy, Martin, & Gebhard, 1953). Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, and Michaels (1994) and Wiederman (1997), both using nationally representative samples, found that approximately 20–25% of men and 10–15% of women reported engaging in extramarital sex during their marriage. However, inconsistencies in how relationships (e.g., whether monogamous by agreement, marital, etc.) and inﬁdelity (e.g., whether inﬁdelity includes one-time interactions, long-term affairs, or both) are deﬁned, and differences across samples (e.g., whether relying on married couples or
2005. Personality Factors When not caused by marital conﬂict or low marital satisfaction. and intrapersonal. Fisher et al.’’these behaviors can be expected. the existing literature suggests that extramarital or. emotional connection. with equally mixed results (Buss & Shackleford. 123 . extradyadic sex in supposedly monogamous relationships. 2007). 1994). Individuals with higher incomes are more prone to engage in inﬁdelity and this may be because their professional and personal lives include more opportunities to engage in extradyadic relations (Allen et al. 2005. Some studies have found that low relationship quality is associated with inﬁdelity. 2005. while others have found no relationship at all (Janus & Janus. income has been found to be related to inﬁdelity.. However.g. Smith. 1983).. 1983). McAlister. Several studies have found that education is associated with inﬁdelity.. Atkins et al. inﬁdelity may be associated with opportunity and permissive values. In the brief review that follows.. & Jackson. Spanier & Margolis. extramarital affairs can be a consequence of marital problems.g. 2000. these ﬁndings underscore the relevance of taking into account individual differences associated with sexual desire or other sexual propensities when attempting to predict which couples may be most vulnerable to sexual inﬁdelity. & Gore. inﬁdelity or extradyadic sex refers to a partner (or both partners) having sexual intercourse with someone outside the relationship. 1993. 2010. the literature leaves us with an incomplete and inconsistent picture (Blow & Hartnett. in that highly educated persons are more likely to report engaging in inﬁdelity than less educated individuals (Atkins.. Most studies fail to make a distinction between extramarital sex and extramarital affairs. the vast majority of men and women believe that it is‘‘always’’or‘‘almost always’’wrong for a married person to have sex with someone other than his or her partner (e. or both (Previti & Amato. although to an unknown degree. As is the case for other demographic variables. Treas & Giesen.. 1985). Interpersonal Factors Interpersonal factors. Wiederman. their cause. Spanier & Margolis. Religiosity has also been found to be a predictor. as some studies have found a relationship among men but not women (Saunders & Edwards. Gordon. & Weidler. other studies have found the reverse or no relationship at all (e. and although relationship status has not been found to be a signiﬁcant predictor for inﬁdelity in men. 2001. Whisman. However. Bequette. 1997. married women are less likely to report inﬁdelity than cohabitating or dating women. For example. Glass & Wright. Some studies have found that more women than men tend to believe that falling in love justiﬁes extramarital sexual involvement (Glass & Wright. & Dolcini. which may involve different attitudes. Burdette et al. Preveti & Amato. 1984). According to some studies. Gender is the most commonly studied demographic factor. 1983). 2004. and employment is not fully understood. Burdette. Obviously. & Chatav. Catania. more recent research seems to suggest that the gender gap is narrowing (Barta & Kiene. 1997). Choi et al. 2000). 1994. in and of themselves. 2000). 2009. especially ones related to relationship quality or satisfaction.g. using nationally representative survey data. In addition. 1993.Arch Sex Behav focusing on other types of relationships). 2005.g. unless otherwise stated. Spanier & Margolis. 1997). 1992). 2007.. both of these can. Yet. Treas and Giesen (2000) found. & VanYperen. It has been speculated that. Relationship status is another variable that has been examined. 2007) and when transgressions other than intercourse (e. the impact of education is likely to be moderated or mediated by other factors. These factors have largely fallen into three categories: demographic. interpersonal. For example. a higher likelihood of sexual inﬁdelity among men and women with stronger sexual interest levels. Due to the potentially negative impact inﬁdelity may have on relationship stability and individual well-being. 1984). 2010). Clark.. a marital relationship implies a higher level of commitment and offers a protective beneﬁt (Preveti & Amato. 2004). Treas & Giesen. perhaps for women. However. to be underreported.. Buunk. 2005. Inﬁdelity has consistently been reported more often by individuals who endorse no religious afﬁliation than by those who do (Burdette et al. given the negative connotations of words like‘‘inﬁdelity’’and‘‘cheating. and outcomes. However. 2007..g. Although measured with only a single questionnaire item. Choi. Sherkat. Ellison. & Jacobson. Mattingly. women report as many acts of inﬁdelity as men (Allen et al. the impact of education. kissing) are taken into account. 2004. of inﬁdelity (Allen et al. or correlate. Buss & Shackleford. 2001. determinants. Prins. is common. 2010. Mattingly et al. Allen et al. Yet.. Pachana. 2005). Treas & Giesen. Some researchers have found that around one-half of participants who had cheated on their partner and who sought therapy (due to problems in their primary relationship) had met their extradyadic partner through their work (Wiggins & Lederer. Wilson. Also. have also been evaluated in a number of studies. 1997. Baucom. be expected to be associated with an individual’s sexual make up or propensities. many researchers have attempted to delineate factors which place individuals and couples at risk for inﬁdelity. low marital satisfaction has been found to be associated with the occurrence of extramarital sex (e. Early studies reportedly found that men engaged in inﬁdelity more than women (Wiederman. make it difﬁcult to arrive at reliable estimates. income. Mattingly et al..... 1994). more generally. 2005). Demographic Factors Although studies exploring demographic predictors of inﬁdelity abound.. other studies have failed to ﬁnd signiﬁcant associations between extramarital sex and marital happiness or adjustment or even with quality of marital sex (e.
it assumes individual variability in the propensity for these processes. especially for more sensitive sexual questions. harm avoidance. however.. using the SIS/SES scales (Janssen. All participants indicated to reside in North America (USA and Canada) at the time of data collection.g. The current study aimed to assess the relative importance of demographic. 2004). Research suggests that social desirability is reduced in online studies..g. 2007). in a study with heterosexual men (Bancroft et al. and Reproduction. Several studies (e. cybersex) with others. and high psychoticism (Buss & Shackleford. and sexual personality factors in predicting inﬁdelity in heterosexual couples. in that it proposes that the weighing of excitatory and inhibitory processes occurs within individuals in any given situation. High levels of sexual inhibition. in a twin study. 2002a. & Dorman.. and so on and were asked to conﬁrm that they had read the statement and that they were 18 years or older. many of which would rely on marriage as a criterion for monogamy (ignoring. 2002a) have found that sexual excitation and the two types of sexual inhibition show only a small degree of overlap with more global personality traits of behavioral inhibition. using the Dual Control Model as its main theoretical framework. 1998). low agreeableness (Barta & Kiene. As is the case for sexual excitation. Varjonen et al. although most of this research has focused on nonsexual variables. Janssen & Bancroft. Buss & Shackleford. interpersonal. In contrast to the majority of previous studies on inﬁdelity. see Bancroft et al. Janssen. Sexual inﬁdelity can be conceived of as a form of sexual risk taking. for example. b. For example. an extensive series of studies have focused on the trait dimension of the model and. 2005. sexual functioning. sexual desire levels. 2005. Janssen & Bancroft. moderate levels of sexual inhibition can be considered adaptive. Graham. 1997). have been found to be associated with an increased vulnerability to sexual dysfunction (especially SIS1). Thus... Method Participants Participants were 918 self-identiﬁed heterosexual men and women who completed an online questionnaire posted on the website of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex. and also of the lifetime number of one-night stands. 2005). at the same time. sexual preferences. and. some studies focused on the Big Five personality traits and found that extraversion (Barta & Kiene. 2007) proposes that sexual desire. Janssen et al. rather than solely relying on the admission of certain sexual activities (e. or sexual personality traits. 2005). inﬁdelity was deﬁned as extradyadic sex that occurs within the context of a selfdescribed monogamous relationship and that could. The dual control model of sexual response (Bancroft & Janssen. jeopardize (or hurt) their relationship. low conscientiousness (Barta & Kiene. and reward responsivity. for review. found modest heritability for both sexual excitation and sexual inhibition proneness and others (Carpenter et al. 2009. Carpenter. Buss & Shackleford. 2008. Over the past decade. 2007). Janssen et al. less is known about sexual propensities. (2007). particularly when combined with high levels of excitation. A number of studies have shown that the propensity for sexual excitation is related to sexual responsiveness. Weiler. Finally. see Bancroft. Turchik and Garske (2009) found signiﬁcant correlations between SES and SIS2 and various sexual risk behaviors in both men and women. and their association with sexual inﬁdelity. & Bancroft. arousal.. Vorst. some attention in the literature has been paid to personality variables in relation to extradyadic sex. Similarly. and low levels with an increased likelihood of various forms of risky sexual behavior (especially SIS2. 2010 for a newly developed measure of sexual inhibition and excitation) have revealed substantial variability in both men and women in sexual inhibition and excitation scores. Further. according to the respondent. Although 1613 individuals completed the online questionnaire. 2007) have found and conﬁrmed a general factor structure involving one sexual excitation factor (SES) and two sexual inhibition factors: sexual inhibition due to the threat of performance failure (SIS1) and sexual inhibition due to the threat of performance consequences (SIS2).’’ Participants ﬁrst read an informed consent statement in which the questionnaires were described in generic terms as being about mood and sexuality.. 2001. Gender. as it often involves some awareness of potentially negative consequences. Finn. Miller. Turner et al. Pigg. and associated behaviors depend on a balance between sexual excitation and inhibition. The Kinsey Institute website lists a variety of online studies that are available to visitors of the research section of the website and who are invited to ‘‘help us in our research effort by completing one of our online surveys. neuroticism.. Participants were not paid or given other incentives to participate in the study. Whisman et al. Janssen. Varjonen et al. 2008. the current study focused on a sample of men and women who indicated being in any type of monogamous relationship. & Sanders. 2000. 2002a. It is a state/trait model. the possibility of open marriages). & Wicherts. supporting the notion that the scales assess propensities that are relatively speciﬁc to sex. high neuroticism (Barta & Kiene. In contrast. SIS2 was a signiﬁcant negative predictor of number of partners in the past three years with whom no condoms were used. sexual compulsivity.. 2009. see Milhausen et al. could be expected to contribute to men and women’s sexual inﬁdelity. kissing.Arch Sex Behav Recently. we only included those who indicated being in a monogamous relationship and who identiﬁed as 123 . Graham. Janssen & Bancroft.. data were collected on the Internet. however. Vorst. 1997) all contribute to a greater likelihood of engaging in extradyadic relations. 2007). For example. and lifetime number of casual sexual partners (for review. with distributions close to normal. 1997. as compared to investigations utilizing traditional pencil and paper survey approaches (Pealer. low levels of sexual inhibition.
0 years (SD = 10) and men were signiﬁcantly older than women (M = 32. 32%).4) 235 (57. 2008. or hurt. The majority of participants (65%) indicated that religion was slightly important or not at all important to them.9 vs.’’The response options for these three items ranged from 1 (‘‘very compatible’’) to 10 (‘‘very incompatible’’) and the Cronbach alphas for this scale in the current sample were .96 years (range. more than a ﬁfth (21.2) 98 (19.05 381 (75. Sexual satisfaction was assessed by a single item: ‘‘How satisﬁed are you in your sexual relationship with your partner?’’ and the response options ranged from 1 (‘‘very satisﬁed’’) to 10 (‘‘very unsatisﬁed’’). providing support for the three-factor structure (Carpenter et al. do you feel you and your partner are when it comes to…’’and then were asked to assess compatibility in terms of ‘‘frequency of sexual contact. Janssen 146 (28.2) 171 (33. Happiness in current relationship was assessed by the single item: ‘‘In general. each focusing on a different aspect of compatibility.19 . only people between the ages of 18 and 63 and those who provided an answer to the inﬁdelity item were included.Arch Sex Behav heterosexual. Slightly fewer men were cohabitating with their partner than women (11% vs. 3 months to 43 years).6) 72 (17.21 v2 Cramer’s V Interpersonal Variables Happiness in current relationship. Most participants had attended or were still attending post-secondary institutions. and compatibility with current partner were assessed.9) 142 (34.5%) indicated that they.’’‘‘importance of sex in your relationship.0) 71 (14.3) 41 (10. and (3) the propensity for sexual inhibition due to performance consequences (SIS2). your relationship).4) 71 (17.’’The study protocol was approved by the University’s Institutional Review Board. Janssen et al. Additionally. how happy are you in your relationship?’’Response options ranged from 1 (‘‘very happy’’) to 10 (‘‘very unhappy’’).0) 37 (9.63* .6) 164 (39. with the latter. African American..31 22. Personality Related Variables The primary personality variable incorporated in the current investigation was the propensity for sexual inhibition and sexual excitation. part time No. during their current relationship.2) 335 (81. 1979) a Includes American Indiana/Eskimo. 39%).86 for women.4) 14 (3.’’and‘‘attitudes towards (or values and ideas) about sex. Hawaiian. ever had‘‘cheated (i.3) 22 (4.15 .4) 3. The sample consisted of 55% (n = 506) men and 45% (n = 412) women who were in a relationship for an average of 6.6) 106 (25. This 45-item questionnaire measures three factors: (1) the propensity for sexual excitation (SES). The items had the same stem:‘‘How compatible.89 for men and . sexual satisfaction. t(916) = 7.05 tested using Holm’s sequential Bonferroni procedure (Holm.8) 1.7) 186 (36.0) 92 (22. The factor structure was derived from a combination of exploratory and conﬁrmatory factor analyses. (2) the propensity for sexual inhibition due to performance failure (SIS1).93.16 164 (32. women were more likely than men to be still attending (57% vs.7) 126 (30..2) 74 (14. or similar.0) 59 (14.5%) of participants were Caucasian.0) 271 (53. More men (69%) than women (38%) indicated that they were employed full time. Of the 506 men and 412 women constituting the ﬁnal sample.5) 145 (28.71* . while examining the ﬁt of competing models. The majority (88.5) 135 (32.6) 49.3) 16 (3.9) 57 (11.4) 102 (24.7) 161 (39.. 2008. p\.8) 69 (13.9) 153 (37.0) Women (n = 412) N (%) 37.7 years.47 7. and mixed race 123 .2) 77 (15. Measures Table 1 Demographic characteristics of men and women Men (n = 506) N (%) Marital status Single/never married Cohabitating Married Separated/divorced/widowed Race Non-Whitea White Hispanic/Latino Importance of religion Very important Important Slightly important Not important at all Education completed Completed high school Attended college/tech School/university Still attending college Tech school/university Income Poverty level/lower income Lower middle income Middle income Middle upper/upper income Employment status Yes. 40%). 17%) and there were fewer men than women who were single and never married (25% vs.62 .2) 18 (4.1) 128 (25. unemployed No. The average age of participants was 31. engaged in sexual interactions with someone other than your primary partner that could jeopardize. full time Yes.10 298 (58.8) 17 (3.01).8) 15 (3. Asian. Onehalf of the participants indicated that they were married.07 * p\.76* . 27. 2002b).4) 129 (25. Compatibility in the current relationship was assessed with three items.6) 140 (34.. assessed by the Sexual Excitation/Sexual Inhibition Scale (SES/SIS) (Carpenter et al.2) 110 (21.e.6) 88.5) 157 (38. Demographic comparisons for men and women are shown in Table 1. but male participants were more likely to be married than female participants (59% vs.71* .1) 96 (23. temporary/seasonal 346 (68.0) 61 (12.
Macapagal. The majority of the participants reported masturbating once or twice a week (20%) or several times a week (30%). This trait measure builds on the Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire (MSQ) which in previous studies has been found to predict various aspects of sexual risk taking (e. comparisons between those who had engaged in inﬁdelity and those who had not were conducted for demographic variables using chi-square analyses and t-tests. level of education.67 for men and .‘‘When I am having sex. and personality variables which had been identiﬁed in previous research as being associated with inﬁdelity. p\.. I have to focus on my own sexual feelings in order to stay aroused. sexual satisfaction. 2010) was included. For each of these questions. In the current study.. ‘‘When a sexually attractive stranger accidentally touches me. Typical items include: for SES.’’ for SIS2.‘‘Regret.74 for women in the current study. t(903) = -4. Individuals who reported engaging in inﬁdelity were slightly but signiﬁcantly older than those who did not (M = 31. For each mood state. Bancroft. Janssen.04)..5. outdoor place and I think that someone is nearby. Over one-half of the participants indicated they engaged in vaginal Data Analyses First. & Mustanski.43. 2007).’’was used in the current study to speciﬁcally explore the effects of mood on one’s tendency to engage in sexual behavior one regrets later. Additionally. 19% of women).’’Response options ranged from 1 (‘‘much more than usual’’) to 5 (‘‘much less than usual’’). Most participants indicated that they were having regular sex. & Vukadinovic. and anal intercourse engaged in over the past 6 months.52. & Long. Also.88 for men and . 2003b).05). with the explicit addition of‘‘not necessarily my partner. anxious/stressed or happy/cheerful. importance of religion. and employment status. the Revised Mood and Sexuality Questionnaire (MSQ-R) (Janssen.72 for women.71 for women. individuals who engaged in inﬁdelity compared to those who had not were less likely to consider religion to be very important (6% vs. t(916) = -2. the ability to become aroused. I am not likely to get very aroused. level of income. For example.’’Cronbach alphas were .. ‘‘If I am having sex in a secluded. 2002a). and on sexual activities one might regret later. 53%).. p = . Propensity for sexual excitation and sexual inhibition and tendency to engage in regretful sexual behavior in positive and negative mood states were included as personality variables. questions were asked about the effects of that mood on sexual desire.11. and for SIS2 they were . Also. Carpenter et al. 2008. or several times a week (35%).’’ The response options for each item ranged from 1 (‘‘strongly agree’’) to 4 (‘‘strongly disagree’’). correlations and chisquare analyses were used in order to assess the bivariate relationships between inﬁdelity and a number of demographic. There were no signiﬁcant differences between those who had engaged in inﬁdelity and those who had not in terms of the amount of sexual activity. Strong. 2002a. Individuals who had engaged in inﬁdelity reported signiﬁcantly more one-night stands in their lifetime (M = 6.g.64 for men and . 13%).11).90 for women.3. Janssen et al. v2(1) = 5. over one-half of the participants indicated that they engaged in sexual activity several times a month (24%). The subscale consisting of the sum score of four items. I easily become aroused. interpersonal. and perceived compatibility with current partner. Bancroft.g. Demographic variables included: marital status. 2003a. p\. Then.9 vs. Janssen. persons reporting income and education higher than the median were contrasted with those below the median. SD = 7. Cronbach alphas for SES were . Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted separately by gender. masturbation frequency. vaginal intercourse.2 years. for SIS1 they were . Strong. An example item is:‘‘When I feel anxious/stressed.6 vs. The MSQ-R asks participants to indicate what happens to sexual responsiveness when feeling sad/depressed. Categorical demographic and interpersonal variables were recoded 1 Multiple regression analyses using continuous variables were also conducted. participants were asked to indicate whether being in a certain mood state typically decreases. 19%. Varjonen et al. Results Sample Description There were no signiﬁcant gender differences in the report of inﬁdelity (23% of men vs. ﬁndings were identical to those based on dichotomous variables. Those who engaged in anal intercourse once or more over the past 6 months were more likely to have engaged in inﬁdelity than those who had not (26% vs. I am likely to do something sexual that I regret later.’’for SIS1. masturbation frequency. the scales have shown to have adequate internal consistency and test–retest reliability (e. 123 . M = 3. once or twice a week (21%). 30.81 for men and .01). SD = 8.30.’’The fourth item asked about the effects of feeling happy/cheerful on the desire for sex with somebody. The same question was asked with the substitution of‘‘sad/depressed’’and‘‘happy/cheerful’’in place of‘‘anxious/stressed. although there was no signiﬁcant difference in vaginal intercourse frequency (p = . increases or does not inﬂuence their desire/behavior. Demographic comparisons for those who had engaged in inﬁdelity during their current relationship and those who had not engaged in inﬁdelity are shown in Table 2.Arch Sex Behav et al. Vukadinovic. and were more likely to be employed full-time (63% vs. speciﬁcally. Interpersonal variables included: relationship satisfaction. using median splits1 such that the category of risk was considered against all other categories. as previous research suggests that persons with higher income and education are more likely to engage in inﬁdelity..
5) 75 (38.8) 333 (46.7) 176 (24.1) 639 (88.7) 27 (3. Asian.5) 22 (11. and perceiving religion to be of low or no importance) with characteristics more often associated with faithfulness (e.08 10.8) 1 (. none of the demographic variables found in previous literature to be associated with inﬁdelity were associated with inﬁdelity.1) 65 (33. being employed full-time. and mixed race sex several times a month (27%).8) 175 (89.6) 43 (22.1) 118 (59.9) 79 (40.9) 157 (21.4) 164 (22. having a high school education or less.37 28 (14.3) 77 (39.7) 9 (4.0) 50 (25.09 . men who reported to have engaged in inﬁdelity were less likely to have more than a high school education (82%) compared to those who did not (89%).64 243 (33.1) 8 (4. once or twice a week (27%).6) 169 (23. Among men. and so on).8) 33 (16.05 tested using Holm’s sequential Bonferroni procedure (Holm.06 . Anal sex was reported to have occurred less frequently.5) 142 (19. making a middle or higher income.7) 343 (47.56* 378 (52.8) 106 (14. temporary/seasonal 123 (62.1) 143 (19. part time No. and the ﬁndings were counter to past research.9) 10.8) 90 (45.Arch Sex Behav Table 2 Demographic characteristics of persons who engaged and did not engage in inﬁdelity v2 Engaged in inﬁdelity (n = 196) N (%) Gender Male Female Marital status Single/never married Cohabitating Married Separated/divorced/widowed Race Non-Whitea White Hispanic/Latino Importance of religion Very important Important Slightly important Not important at all Education completed Completed high school Attended college/tech School/university Still attending college Tech school/university Income Poverty level/lower income Lower middle income Middle income Middle upper/upper income Employment status Yes.g.1) . Hawaiian..8) .6) 13 (6.1) 92 (12.8) 11 (5.11 Includes American Indiana/ Eskimo. Bivariate Analyses Demographic Variables Demographic variables were dichotomized to contrast characteristics associated with inﬁdelity in previous research (being unmarried.1) 3.5) 232 (32.6) 319 (44.69 76 (10. Unemployed No. only level of education was signiﬁcantly associated with inﬁdelity.24 51 (7. having more than a high school education.08 * p\. 123 . with the majority of the participants (68%) never having engaged in anal sex and about a quarter of the participants (25%) engaging in anal sex once a month or less.2) 8.32 388 (53.8) 29 (4.4) 31 (15. being married.9) 39 (19. 1979).8) 30 (4. or several times a week (28%). Bivariate relationships among the demographic and interpersonal variables of interest are shown in Table 3. Among women.2) 115 (58.10 .4) 51 (26. African American. full time Yes.1) 74 (37.3) 324 (45. The same pattern of results emerged when the comparison of inﬁdelity groups was conducted separately for men and women a .5) 4.08 .11 . Speciﬁcally.4) 43 (22.63* .1) Did not engage in inﬁdelity (n = 719) N (%) Cramer’s V 2.3) 219 (30.8) 255 (35.08 .
5) 208 (62. 63% of men who reported having engaged in inﬁdelity reported lower compatibility of this type.6) 37 (31. Likewise.8) 160 (41. Speciﬁcally. compared to 59% of men who did not.Arch Sex Behav Table 3 Bivariate associations between demographic and interpersonal variables and engaging in inﬁdelity v2 Gender Predictor Engaged in inﬁdelity N (%) Did not engage in inﬁdelity N (%) Cramer’s V Men Marital status Married Other Importance of religion Not important Other Happiness in relationship Very unhappy/unhappy Other Sexual satisfaction Very dissatisﬁed/dissatisﬁed Other Perceived compatibility Very incompatible/incompatible Other 87 (73. Speciﬁcally.53* 181 (46.54 126 (37.0) 217 (65.5) 81 (68.4) 101 (26.0) 263 (79.59 .5) 62 (52.4) 8.8) 207 (62.09 2. 1979) Very incompatible/incompatible Other Interpersonal Variables Lower relationship happiness was associated with inﬁdelity in both men and women.2) 56 (47. Again. Men 123 .09 . Sixty-nine percent of men who reported lower sexual satisfaction engaged in inﬁdelity.2) 36 (30. Likewise. compared to 29% of women who did not.13 154 (46. Regardless of inﬁdelity status. For both men and women.8) 235 (60.30 * p\.73 .2) 1. compared to 47% of men who had not.0) 81 (69.08 3.41* .19 . About 48% of women (including those who had engaged in inﬁdelity and those who did not) reported low compatibility in terms of frequency of sexual contact.3) 37 (47. Two-thirds of men (74%) who had engaged in inﬁdelity reported lower compatibility in terms of frequency of sexual contact.4) 40 (50.88 . compared to 40% of women who did not.4) 125 (37.10 16. 40% of women reported low sexual satisfaction.5) 177 (53. Perceived sexual incompatibility was also more commonly associated with inﬁdelity among men than among women.9) 18 (23. Similarly.1) 34 (43. perceived incompatibility related to sexual attitudes and values was associated with inﬁdelity.5) 168 (43. 51% of women who had engaged in inﬁdelity reported lower compatibility regarding attitudes and values related to sex.0) 287 (74.7) 31 (26.6) 42 (53.5) . about 38% of women reported low compatibility in this area.4) 41 (52.6) 153 (39.6) 207 (53.08 19.5) 3. Lower sexual satisfaction was only associated with inﬁdelity in men.62* .0) 39 (49. compared to 46% of men who did not.6) 114 (34.5) 2.1) 40 (33.6) 60 (76.40* .45 .2) 37 (46.9) 218 (56.20 17.05 tested using Holm’s sequential Bonferroni procedure (Holm.33 Women Marital status Married Other Importance of religion Not important Other Happiness in relationship Very unhappy/unhappy Other Sexual satisfaction Very dissatisﬁed/dissatisﬁed Other Perceived compatibility 70 (21. 62% of women who engaged in inﬁdelity reported lower relationship happiness. 70% of men who engaged in inﬁdelity reported lower compatibility in terms of importance of sex compared to 51% of men who did not.4) 78 (66.0) 45 (57. Personality Related Variables Men who had engaged in inﬁdelity scored higher on sexual excitation and on sexual inhibition due to performance failure.8) 228 (58. 72% of men who engaged in inﬁdelity reported lower relationship happiness compared to 47% of men who did not.20 3.
17 Wald 2.03 .34 (5.17* -2. and scored lower on sexual inhibition due to performance consequences.05.35 .80) Did not engage in inﬁdelity M (SD) 59.95) 31.50 (.13 7.51 -.03 (8.27 .46 .04 .06 -.40 .53 Table 6 Predictors of inﬁdelity among women (N = 408) Predictors Age Marital status Importance of religion Happiness in relationship Sexual satisfaction in relationship Compatibility frequency of sex Compatibility importance of sex Compatibility sexual values SES SIS1 SIS2 MSQ regret * p\.32 .37 .03 -.36 SEB .60 .40 .04 .99 (6.25 . Seventeen percent of the variance in engaging in inﬁdelity was explained by variables in the men’s model.70** 6.46* -2. Additionally.05 tested using Holm’s sequential Bonferroni procedure (Holm.30) 26.93 1.44) 2.57 (4.17 .59 2.07 .65 2.2 and lower than 10. men were 7% less likely to have engaged in inﬁdelity. 1991).23 .80 .38 .32) 27.32 .30 -.05.14 .32 .03 (6.72) 2.32 .23* Exp (B) 1. A total of nine predictor variables were included in a multivariate logistic regression analysis with occurrence of inﬁdelity during the current relationship as the dependent variable (see Tables 5 and 6).02 .38 .02 .10 .50 1.12 2. Regression Analyses Variables which were signiﬁcant at the bivariate level and those which were considered to be of theoretical relevance to inﬁdelity were included in the multivariate analyses.88 . indicating the absence of multicollinearity (Fox.29 .75) 55. *** p\.26 -.97 .05 8.07 -.19* 3.43 123 .0 1. those who had engaged in inﬁdelity scored higher on sexual excitation and sexual inhibition due to performance failure. Additionally.23* 6.00 1.84) t Cohen’s d Men Sexual Excitation (SES) Sexual Inhibition Due to Performance Failure (SIS1) Sexual Inhibition Due to Performance Consequences (SIS2) Inﬂuence of Mood on Engaging in Regretful Sexual Behavior (MSQ-R) -3. For every one unit increase in SES. Only personality variables signiﬁcantly predicted engaging in inﬁdelity among men.97) 29.31 (7.72* 2.69** 13.89* 7.03 .59 (4. Multicollinearity tests revealed that tolerance levels and VIFs were higher than .11 1.90 (3.08 1.37 (.01 .41 .69 (8.40 . For every one unit increase in SIS2.25) 2.42 .78) 28.93 1.77 .28 .04 1.00 .06 .87 1. 1979) also scored lower on sexual inhibition due to performance consequences.62 .35 1.70 (4.80 .35 . Twenty-one percent of the variance in engaging in inﬁdelity was explained by the variables in the women’s model.02 1.80 (6.35* -2.30 .07 5. men were 4% more likely to report having engaged in inﬁdelity.Arch Sex Behav Table 4 Bivariate associations between sexual personality variables and engaging in inﬁdelity Gender Predictor Engaged in inﬁdelity M (SD) 61.26* Exp (B) .07 .39 .01 B .53 7.92 2. ** p\.82* -2. men who had engaged in inﬁdelity had a higher tendency to engage in regretful sexual behavior in negative or positive mood states. respectively.59 (.08 .50 1.09 1. A single unit increase in engaging in regretful sexual behavior during negative affective states was associated with a 53% increased chance of engaging in inﬁdelity.26 -. ** p\.96 -.02 .01. for every one unit increase in SIS1.61) 31.01 1.16* -3.72 .02 . similarly.75 1.02 . Among women.54** .27 Women Sexual Excitation (SES) Sexual Inhibition Due to Performance Failure (SIS1) Sexual Inhibition Due to Performance Consequences (SIS2) Inﬂuence of Mood on Engaging in Regretful Sexual Behavior (MSQ-R) * p\.46*** 4.52** 1.40 .77 (. Age was included as a covariate.35 . women who had engaged in inﬁdelity had a higher tendency to engage in regretful sexual behavior in negative or positive mood states (see Table 4).27 .05* .6 .79) 33.07 .35 (5.28 -. Interper- Table 5 Predictors of inﬁdelity among men (N = 503) Predictors Age Marital status Importance of religion Happiness in relationship Sexual satisfaction in relationship Compatibility frequency of sex Compatibility importance of sex Compatibility sexual values SES SIS1 SIS2 MSQ regret * p\.66 2.001 B -.51) 27.43 SEB .17 Wald 2.99) 2. men were 6% more likely to have engaged in inﬁdelity.49 1.01 .65) 58.
Over one-ﬁfth (22%) of the participants indicated that they had‘‘cheated’’in their current relationship. jointly. 2009) and gay men (Bancroft et al. 2009). both men and women who reported that mood inﬂuences their tendency to engage in regretful sexual behavior were more likely to report inﬁdelity.g. seem to point at the possibility that some individuals who have problems with their sexual functioning (speciﬁcally. it may be that some individuals want to evaluate if. Turchik & Garske. SES predicted inﬁdelity. In other words. These ﬁndings.. Men and women scoring lower on inhibition due to performance consequences (SIS2) were more likely to report sexual inﬁdelity. were more prominent predictors of inﬁdelity in women. but only those relevant to inhibition. and more directly related to the focus of the current study. monogamous relationships..6 times more likely to report having engaged in inﬁdelity.Arch Sex Behav sonal and personality variables predicted inﬁdelity among women. Janssen. women were 8% more likely to engage in inﬁdelity.. the ability to achieve and maintain sexual arousal) may seek out high-risk sexual activities in order to buttress arousal problems. This ﬁnding parallels other research conducted with samples of heterosexual (Bancroft et al. which may also partly explain its role in predicting sexual inﬁdelity. in which higher propensity for sexual excitation has been associated with various aspects of sexual risk-taking although this has also been found in heterosexual women (Turchik & Garske. it may be useful to conceptualize inﬁdelity as a form of sexual risk-taking. (2003a) found a positive association between SIS1 and the number of casual sex partners in gay men. 2004. 2001. 1993). suggests that the interconnected nature of sexual and relationship factors may be 123 . Several studies (e.. In addition. For example. the desire to engage in inﬁdelity may be fueled by a desire to mitigate negative emotions. see Bancroft et al. Ellison. Though similar amounts of variance were accounted for by variables in the men’s and women’s models. indicating that women were more likely to engage in inﬁdelity when they were dissatisﬁed in their relationship or felt incompatible with their partner in terms of sexual values. When it comes to mood. 2008. experiencing sexual problems in the context of the extradyadic relationship may be less threatening for individuals with arousal difﬁculties. more research is clearly needed to help explain the relationship between inhibition of this type (SIS1) and risky forms of sexual behavior. such as getting caught or contracting a sexually transmitted infection. but only in the male participants. However. The pattern of results from the current study. interpersonal. Prins et al. positive mood states. and Heiman (2009) found a positive association between SIS1 and sexually aggressive behaviors in heterosexual men. 2005.. In addition. women reporting low relationship happi ness were 2. Finally. relationship variables. see Bancroft et al. 2004). interestingly. whether this involves a casual or. 2009).. For example. Lehert. 2003a). 2006) have found that a signiﬁcant minority of men and women experience increased sexual interest or response during negative affective states. including age. or believe that. Byers. even a coercive sexual encounter. Interestingly. women were 13% less likely to have engaged in inﬁdelity. Bancroft et al. may lead to feelings of invulnerability to negative consequences. it is possible that individuals who score high on SIS1 may feel less pressure to perform sexually when engaging in sexual activity with someone outside their primary relationship. Evidence from a number of studies suggests that individuals low in SIS2 are more prone to sexual risk-taking (for a review. women who perceived low compatibility in terms of sexual attitudes and values were 2. 2009). Burger. This somewhat counterintuitive ﬁnding is. and of sexual risk behaviors in male and female college students (Turchik & Garske. For some of our participants. For others. For every one unit increase in SIS1. Lykins et al. Peterson. of the tendency to engage in casual sex among heterosexual women (Carpenter et al. their arousal difﬁculty is speciﬁc to their primary relationship and engage in inﬁdelity for that reason. demographic predictors.. such as happiness in relationship and perceived sexual compatibility. It may be that individuals with arousal difﬁculties feel less pressure to perform sexually with a partner to whom they are not emotionally committed or in a relationship context which is not longterm. not inconsistent with ﬁndings reported in the literature on other types of sexual risk behaviors. marital status and the importance of religion. Also. 2009). 2001.. performed similarly in the men’s and women’s regression models. Also. apparently. More generally. and personality-related predictors of inﬁdelity in a convenience sample of individuals in heterosexual. Bancroft et al. In interpreting these ﬁndings. For every one unit increase in SIS2. the ﬁndings of the current study indicated that a stronger tendency to lose one’s sexual arousal when facing possible risks (as reﬂected by higher scores on SIS2) appears to have a protective effect for engaging in inﬁdelity. including sexual inﬁdelity. 2003b. In particular. not lower but higher scores on SIS1 were associated with increased reporting of inﬁdelity in men and women... Nicholls. the propensity for sexual excitation has been found to be relevant to sexual desire levels and overall sexual responsiveness (for a review. 2008). In contrast to SIS2. Sexual personality variables. 2005. & Guthrie.9 times more likely to have engaged in inﬁdelity. Dennerstein. Previous research has indicated that relationship variables are particularly important to women’s sexual functioning and satisfaction (Basson. at least in men. Likewise. SIS2 has been a signiﬁcant negative predictor of number of partners with whom no condoms were used and lifetime number of one-night stands among heterosexual men (Bancroft et al. like happiness (also covered by the MSQ-R). were not signiﬁcant in any of the multivariate models. Discussion The objective of this study was to identify the demographic.
and the ﬁndings suggest that sexual personality characteristics and. Whisman et al. in particular by improving our understanding of the association between demographic. the current study failed to distinguish. & Janssen. However. middle. 1999. (2000). Several limitations of this study need to be acknowledged. and about two-thirds of the sample indicated that religion was not at all or only slightly important to them. D. Gordon. This could include nonsexual personality variables including. Burdette et al. Another limitation that needs to be considered involves the fact that we did not ask participants which behaviors comprised the ‘‘sexual interactions’’ they engaged in with their extradyadic partner. interpersonal. sexual excitation did not predict sexual inﬁdelity.. at least in this sample.. 1994). Further. K. we believe that the current study contributes to theliterature due to its operationalization of inﬁdelity. Future research could examine the predictive value of interpersonal and personality factors in non-heterosexual populations. none of these studies focused on personality traits that are more directly relevant to sexuality. Participants explicitly indicated that they were in a monogamous relationship (instead of relying on marital status. 2007. 2007). Snyder. Understanding inﬁdelity: Correlates in a national random sample. Relevant in this context is the ﬁnding that. Whisman et al. C.. as compared to men. oral sex) but as behaviors that were perceived as potentially jeopardizing one’s relationship. between casual sex and sexual affairs. Acknowledgments The research reported in this publication was supported.g. sexual inﬁdelity was less strongly sexually motivated or impacted by high levels of sexual arousability or sexual desire. Treas & Giesen. Evidence from a numberofstudiessuggeststhatwomenaremorelikelythan men to link sexual and relationship satisfaction (Basson. S. S. 2007). we believe that the ﬁndings of this study add to the literature. in this. it may be that if a woman is not satisﬁed in her current relationship. extraversion and low conscientiousness (e. involving vaginal sex. D... 2008). The current study provides a more comprehensive assessment of potentially relevant factors. Erick Janssen. 2000. Related to this.g. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. (2005).. Our study was. for example) and inﬁdelity was not just deﬁned in behavioral terms (e. job characteristics). Atkins. including studies relying on random samples (e.. for women. E. 1997. not included in our analyses.g. First. for women. 15. Janssen. in part. S.. Atkins. at least not when comparing our ﬁndings to previous research... E.. 2005) and traits such as impulsivity and sensation seeking as well as relationship variables relevant to levels of connection or quality of communication. relational. are relevant to the prediction of inﬁdelity. H. Journal of Sex Research. by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (R01 HD043689. for whom sexual excitation was a more important predictor than relationship variables. Buss & Shackleford. Intrapersonal. We asked about current relationship satisfaction and past inﬁdelity (although within the same relationship). interpersonal. The dual control model of male sexual response: A theoretical approach to centrally mediated erectile 123 . Choi et al. References Allen. such a bias could have been expected to lead to underreporting of inﬁdelity. This seems to further suggest that in women. Few studies on inﬁdelity have gone beyond the exploration of demographic predictors of inﬁdelity.Arch Sex Behav one of the reasons women engage in inﬁdelity. (2001). Laumann et al. the sample was relatively well-educated. the ﬁrst to include demographic. 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