64 Interesting Facts about Affairs

By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 26, 2016
  • A 2011 study found that in half of the patients admitted to the hospital for fractured penises, they occurred during an affair. Researchers believe that a man may be extra excited during an affair and he may be having sex in an awkward place.[17]
  • A 2012 study reports that “sudden coital death” is more common when a man is having extramarital sex in an unfamiliar setting than when he is with his spouse at home. Extramarital sex may stress out the heart also because the lover is often younger than the primary partner, and sex often follows excessive drinking or eating.[6]
  • Cheating usually occurs in the phase of companionate love, when couples begin to settle down, have kids, and solidify the life they built together. While they are fulfilled in some areas, like being a provider, other areas may be lacking, such as romance.[16]
  • A sudden change in a husband’s sex drive could be a red flag for an affair. When a man starts cheating, he becomes hyperactive sexually. After the affair is solid, he may pull away from his wife again.[3]
  • Women tend to cheat for emotional satisfaction. Men cheat more from sexual motivation.[1]
  • Infidelity is not the leading cause of divorce. While an affair can destroy a marriage, the main reason for divorce is money.[1]
  • The truth about deception
  • Cheating men rarely tell their wives they cheated. Without being asked, just 7% of men admitted to their wives that they cheated. Approximately 68% of men never admit to cheating or do so only after their wives have concrete evidence of the affairs.[10]
  • While cheating affects all demographics, there are certain groups who are more likely to cheat, including high-school dropouts and couples in which one partner is largely dependent on the other’s income.[1]
  • There are certain red flags that signify a partner may be cheating, such as a sudden shift in behavior, either positive or negative. If a partner suddenly becomes super critical, he or she may be setting up the other person to be at fault for his or her affair. Another sign is partners becoming unnecessarily generous, such as with gifts—often they are doing it out of guilt.[12]
  • Online cheating, without physical contact, can be the most dangerous type of cheating. Becoming emotionally invested in someone else means the cheating person has checked out of the marriage.[3]
  • A study by infidelity site Victoria Milan revealed that over half of the couples on their site reported feeling the itch to cheat more when the weather warmed up.[13]
  • While couple’s therapy can be enormously helpful for both partners, there is no specific timetable or way to heal from infidelity. Some experts suggest allowing the betrayed partner to discuss the affair for 15 minutes every day for as many days as needed.[1]
  • Infidelity does not mean the marriage is over. Over 50% of marriages survive infidelity, although they may still break down from other underlying problems in the future.[10]
  • In one study, 56% of men who cheated said they were in very happy marriages; only 34% of women said the same.[16]
  • Cheating and gambling may be genetically linked
  • A Binghamton University study linked genetic variation with infidelity. The same variation is associated with alcohol consumption, gambling, a love of horror films, and openness to new social situations.[1]
  • A study by infidelity site Victoria Milan revealed that more than half of wayward women expect the man they’re cheating with to pay for their nights out. More than 70% of cheating women expected gifts from their lovers, while less than 20% of cheating men felt that they should buy the woman a gift.[4]
  • A man may realize that the affair is hurting is wife, family, and his own life but will still cheat. His personal needs of being wanted, valued, and appreciated by another woman will win out—especially if he feels unwanted, undervalued, and taken for granted at home.[16]
  • No matter what people say, if a partner is unfaithful, it is not the other spouse’s fault, no matter how terrible the spouse or the marriage may be. When a person cheats, he or she is making a conscious choice to do it.[3]
  • According to a 2012 survey, 66% of Americans believe that people cheat on their spouses at work conferences and trade shows.[5]
  • A University of Washington study found that among spouses who cheated, 46% of women and 62% of men did so with someone they met at work.[7]
  • A July 2011 study suggested that men who were easily aroused and men who suffered from performance anxiety were more likely to cheat—their sexual satisfaction within their monogamous relationship was irrelevant. Conversely, women who felt sexually unsatisfied were more likely to cheat.[10]
  • According to a 2013 study, women have had more affairs in the past two decades than in previous years, though men are still more likely to cheat than women. One reason is that women have more economic independence and can meet a better class of mate.[7]
  • Nearly all affairs follow very specific patterns. They generally fall into four stages: 1) developing a close emotional bond (talking, chatting on the Internet), 2) keeping the relationship a secret, 3) dating phase (meeting for lunch, playing tennis), and 4) intense sexual and emotional liaisons.[12]
  • What a kid I got, I told him about the birds and the bees and he told me about the butcher and my wife.

    - Rodney Dangerfield

  • Approximately 52% of people who are unsatisfied with their sex lives reported that they would be tempted to act on an attraction; only 17% who were sexually satisfied said they would be tempted.[19]
  • Business trips are the most common settings for infidelity. More than one-third (36%) of men and 13% of women in one study reported that they gave in to temptation on a business trips. The temptation to cheat was especially high during the 6th –9th years of marriage, when relationships are the most fragile anyway.[19]
  • Nearly 1/3 (32%) of women who admitted to acting on sexual temptation said it was with an old boyfriend or crush, compared to 21% of men. For many people, old flames never die.[19]
  • In surveys that ask adulterers whether they want to leave their marriages, the majority says no.[19]
  • Researchers note that infidelities have increased even when divorce has become available, accepted, and largely nonstigmatized.[16]
  • Ruth Houston, founder of InfidelityAdvice.com, says that anywhere from 38–53 million men in the U.S. have cheated on their wives—or, one in every three couples will be affected by an affair.[10]
  • Approximately 9% of men and 14% of women said they had sex with someone else as revenge for their partner’s infidelity.[19]
  • More than 60% of affairs start at work.[3]
  • The most common place affairs begin is on the job
  • Approximately 69% of husbands who cheated never considered it a possibility.[10]
  • While the Internet has certainly made cheating easier, as far back as 1953, sex researcher Alfred Kinsley learned that about 50% of husbands had had at least one affair by the time they were 40.[10]
  • The founder of Ashley Madison, an online dating site targeted to married people, says that the most sign-ups occur around New Year’s and that Los Angeles is the company’s biggest market.[9]
  • The website Ashley Madison, an online dating site for married people, was named by combing two of the most popular baby names in an attempt to attract women to the site. Launched in 2001, they have over 21 million members from 30 countries. Its motto is “Life is short. Have an affair.”[9]
  • Approximately 70% of the clients on Ashley Madison (an online dating site for married people) are men—and among those who are active, the male-to-female ratio is 1:1. The majority of the men are in their late 30s to early 40s and they are married. The women are a bit younger and fall into three categories: 1) the suburban housewife who wants “validation of her desirability,” 2) the quintessential mistress who wants things like trips and expensive dinners, and 3) women who have been married a short time and suddenly wonder what they have gotten themselves into.[9]
  • Adultery is illegal in 23 states, though it is rarely ever enforced. The punishment ranges from a $10 fine to life imprisonment.[1]
  • Even after an affair is over, the cheating spouse may miss the rush of the chaos
  • Even after rebuilding a marriage, a husband may miss the affair. While a husband may love his wife and want to salvage his marriage, he may not forget entirely about the affair. He may miss the other things about the other woman: fun, zero responsibilities, sex, and the rush of the chase.[3]
  • The percentage of all Americans who believe that an affair is always wrong: 81.7%. The percentage of Americans who have had an affair who believe that it is always wrong: 62.7%.[18]
  • In 2012, the most popular day to create a new Ashley Madison account (an online dating site for married people) was June 18th, the day after Father’s Day. The second most popular day was May 14th, the day after Mother’s Day.[18]
  • Only 12% of men surveyed reported that their mistress was more physically attractive than their spouse. Over 88% felt their wives were as physically attractive as the mistress or more so.[12]
  • The number one way the “other woman” differed from the cheating’s man wife is that she made him feel wanted, loved, and appreciated.[16]
  • The most common occupation of male cheaters on the online dating for marrieds site Ashley Madison: finance. The most common occupation of female cheaters on Ashley Madison: education.[18]
  • International studies reported that 30% of all members registered on traditional dating sites for singles are either married or are in a relationship.[10]
  • A German company, Perfect Alibi, claims to provide 350 clients a month with cover stories for cheating, such as fake invitations to weekend business trips.[16]
  • Donna Silva, an employee for Ashley Madison (an online dating site for married people), sued the company when she developed “repetitive stress” injury after creating 1,000 “fake female profiles” to lure men to the Brazilian Ashley Madison site.[14]
  • Close friends who cheat create an atmosphere that makes cheating a part of everyday living. About 33% of faithful men said that they were aware of immediate family members having cheated, while 53% of cheating men answered “yes” to the same.[16]
  • Boredom was the reason 71% of men in a national study cheated and 49% of women cheated. Even people who were very happy in their relationship admitted to curing their sexual boredom with someone else.[19]
  • Boring bedroom syndrome can lead to an increased risk of cheating
  • According to Ashley Madison (an online dating site for married people), the top ten most unfaithful cities are Los Angeles, CA; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, AZ; Tampa, FL; San Francisco, CA; Dallas, TX; Raleigh, NC; Milwaukee, WI; West Palm Beach, FL; and Louisville, KY.[2]
  • Single men who seek to have affairs with married women are sometimes called “MISTEResses.”[12]
  • The top five Las Vegas hotels for cheaters are 1) The Wynn, 2) Palms, 3) MGM Grand, 4) Caesar’s Palace, and 5) The Bellagio.[2]
  • Men who cheat have a higher incidence of fathers who cheated than do faithful men.[16]
  • The main steps in overcoming an affair are to 1) sever ties with the other lover, 2) become transparent with one’s spouse until trust is restored (read each others’ texts, email, social media accounts, STD test results), 3) be honest about the affair, 4) take a break together, and 5) rekindle the passion. Some experts suggest devoting 15 hours a week to couple time, such as date nights, to rebuild the romance.[16]
  • Something more than just friends?
  • An overwhelming 86% of men and 85% of women said they don’t think they have friends who tempt their partners. They are very wrong, however. When asked the reverse question, nearly half of men (45%) and more than one-fourth of women (26%) are attracted to the friends of their partners—and tempted to act on it.[19]
  • The most important step in moving past an affair is knowing both parties in the marriage are open to fixing things.[16]
  • One study found that if a partner is faking an orgasm, he or she is more inclined to cheat. One study found that both men and women who faked orgasms were far more likely to be unfaithful.[8]
  • Women fear that men with deeper voices are more likely to cheat on them. Men think women with higher-pitched voices will cheat on them.[8]
  • After blondes, redheads were second most likely to cheat, followed by brown-haired women and black-haired women.[8]
  • President John Kennedy once remarked, “If I don’t have sex every day, I get a headache.” Some of his more famous mistresses included Marlene Dietrich; Mimi Alford, a White House intern; Marilyn Monroe; Judith Campbell Exner (Mafia moll); Angie Dickinson; Ellen Rometsch (a German prostitute); Blaze Starr (a stripper); Mary Pinochet Meyer (a socialite); Pamela Turnure (his wife’s press secretary); Gunilla Von Post (a Swedish socialite); Gene Tierney; and “Fiddle and Faddle” (White House secretaries).[10]
  • A study in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking argues that social networking sites, such as Facebook, lead users to reconnect with old flings which, in turn, is leading to more affairs and divorces.[8]
  • "Back-up" husbands are on the rise in the digital age
  • A recent study revealed that most female cheaters use their smart phone for their affairs. The iPhone is their device of choice. Nearly 64% of the women polled said they would log on when they are in the same room as their spouses.[15]
  • Approximately 68% of men who cheat feel guilt during the affair. Though, obviously, guilt doesn’t seem to be enough to stop a man from cheating.[16]
  • One in four members who responded to a survey conducted by Ashley Madison (an Internet site for those seeking affairs) was a “born again” evangelical Christian. Catholics comprised the next largest group (22.75%), followed by Protestants (22.7%). The other religious groups rounding out the top 10 were Agnostic (2%), Mormon (1.6%), Muslim (1.5%), Jewish (1.4%), Atheist (1.4%), Jehovah’s Witness (0.5%), and Hindu (0.3%).[11]
  • A man is five times more likely to cheat if he earns less than his wife or girlfriend.[16]
References

1Berman, Laura, PhD. “Cheating 101: Nine Surprising Facts about Infidelity.” Everyday Health. 2014. Updated January 24, 2013. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

2Biderman, Noel. “Do Not Disturb: AshleyMadison.com Reveals The Top Sin City Hotels For Extramarital Affairs.” AshelyMadison. September 21, 2012. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

3Birch, Jenna. “12 Surprising Facts about Cheating.” Woman’s Day. 2014. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

4Burton, Natasha. “Cheating Chicks Expect Lovers to Pay for Everything.” Cosmopolitan. April 19, 2013. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

5Cheating at Work? Survey Suggests 66 Percent of Americans Fear Infidelity at Trade Shows.” Huffington Post. August 20, 2012. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

6Cheating Study: Men Who Cheat are More Likely to Have Heart Attacks.” Huffington Post. May 23, 2012. Accessed: September 6, 2014.

7Cheating Wives on the Rise.” Huffington Post. July 2, 2013. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

8Churchill, Alexandra. “10 Weird Facts about Cheating.” Women’s Health. February 28, 2014. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

9Daum, Meghan. “Ashley Madison’s Secret Success.” LA Times. January 10, 2009. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

10Haltzman, Scott, M.D.The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.

11Hillin, Taryn. “You May Be Surprised How Many Born-Again Christians Use Ashley Madison.” Huffington Post. June 4, 2014. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

12Landers, Elizabeth and Vicky Mainzer. The Script: The 100% Absolutely Predictable Things Men Do When They Cheat. New York, NY: Hyperion, 2005.

13LaVelle, Ciara. “Global Warming Makes Couples Cheat, Says Dating Website.” Miami Times. May 28, 2024. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

14Loriggio, Paola. “Woman Hurt Typing Fake Profiles for Dating Site, $20M Suit Alleges.” City News Toronto. November 10, 2013. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

15Macri, Anthony Neal. “Is Your Wife Really Playing Angry Birds?Ashley Madison News. October 17, 2012. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

16Neuman, M. Gary. The Truth about Cheating: Why Men Stray and What You Can Do to Prevent It. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008.

17Rettner, Rachael. “Extramarital Affairs May Increase the Risk of ‘Broken Penis.'" Live Science. September 30, 2011. Accessed: September 6, 2014.

18Wayne, Teddy. “Ashley Madison: Online Married Ladies Seeking Immediate Offline Boinking.” GQ. October 2013. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

19Why People Cheat: ‘The Normal Bar’ Reveals Infidelity Causes.” Huffington Post. Updated January 31, 2013. Accessed: June 17, 2014.

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