Study: Fear of sexual dysfunction increases risk of infidelity

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The research team used an online survey to question 506 men and 416 women in relationships where sexual infidelity was not permitted. Half of these respondents were married and their average age was 31.

23% of men and 19% of the women claimed to have done something sexual with another person that could jeopardize their relationship if discovered. Several factors significantly correlated with these rates of infidelity. People with high incomes are more likely to cheat as are people in unhappy relationships. Also, cheaters were half as likely to be religious and slightly more likely to be unemployed.

However, this study found that a person's sexual personality is a more important cheating indicator than these demographic or relationship factors. For every unit increase of the survey's scale in a man's sexual excitability, he was 4% more likely to cheat. Women's sexual excitability wasn't related to cheating, but their relationship satisfaction was. Being unhappy in a relationship or feeling incompatible increased a woman's likelihood to stray by between 2.6 and 2.9%.

For both sexes, fear of sexual consequences and anxiety about sexual performance influenced infidelity. When a partner has little concern about such things as pregnancy, STDs, or getting caught, he or she was more likely to cheat. One unit of increase in concern about these consequences made women 13% and men 7% less likely to cheat.

Anxiety about one's own sexual performance had the opposite effect. People who worried about their ability to stay aroused or reach climax cheated more frequently. Women were 8% and men 6% more likely to cheat for each unit increase they reported about concerns for their own sexual dysfunction.

When trying to predict if a partner will cheat, you may be better off looking at their sexual traits as opposed to such things as their profession. The importance of demographic elements when gauging a partner's likelihood to cheat nearly disappeared when also considering his or her sexual personality.

This study was originally published in the Journal Archives of Sexual Behavior. More information can be found on the topic at

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A new study out of the University of Indiana found that men and women are more likely to cheat if they worry about their sexual performance.

A fear of sexual inadequacy coupled with a lack of concern for the consequences of an affair prove to be two key indictors that a partner will cheat. Researchers have a few theories as to why this is. People with sexual dysfunctions may look to partners outside their relationship to escape the stress and anxiety that accompanies sex with a partner who knows the history of their sexual problems. The riskiness of an affair may provide the boost in arousal needed to overcome some sexual problems like erectile dysfunction or an inability to reach climax. Straying partners may also be looking to validate their rationale that their sexual issues stem from their current partner's inability to satisfy or appeal to their sexual appetite.

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