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In one study, rates were higher in more recent marriages, compared with previous generations; men were found to be only "somewhat" more likely than women to engage in infidelity, with rates for both sexes becoming increasingly similar.
Another study found that the likelihood for women to be involved in infidelity reached a peak in the seventh year of their marriage and then declined afterwards; whereas for married men, the longer they were in relationships, the less likely they were to engage in infidelity, except for the eighteenth year of marriage, at which point the chance that men will engage in infidelity increases.
These differences have been generally thought due to evolutionary pressures that motivate men towards sexual opportunity and women towards commitment to one partner.
In addition, recent research finds that differences in gender may possibly be explained by other mechanisms including power and sensations seeking.
There is currently debate in the field of evolutionary psychology whether an innate, evolved sex difference exists between men and women in response to an act of infidelity; this is often called a "sex difference".
Studies show that 90% of cheaters are men, with the remaining 10% women.
In that study which involved 19,065 people during a 15-year period, rates of infidelity among men were found to have risen from 20 to 28%, and rates for women, 5% to 15%.
A survey conducted in 1990 found 2.2% of married participants reported having more than one partner during the past year.
According to this theory, an area has a high sex ratio when there is a higher number of marriage-aged women to marriage-aged men and an area has a low sex ratio when there are more marriage-aged men.Strategic pluralism is a theory that focuses on how environmental factors influence mating strategies.According to this theory, when people live within environments that are demanding and stressful, the need for bi-parental care is greater for increasing the survival of offspring.It is more common for men compared to women to engage in extradyadic relationships.The National Health and Social Life Survey found that 4% of married men, 16% of cohabiting men, and 37% of dating men engaged in acts of sexual infidelity compared to 1% of married women, 8% of cohabiting women, and 17% of women in dating relationships.
One measure of infidelity is covert illegitimacy, a situation which arises when someone who is presumed to be a child's father (or mother) is in fact not the biological parent.