But today, the Internet and its democratization of pornography not only make yesterday’s stigmatized bedroom activities seem mundane but also force us to ask what defines cheating. I’ve found little agreement on what counts as cheating among today’s youth. Your partner won’t stray as long as you keep your sex life exciting.“If you’re just in some chat room [masturbating], and you are watching other people you’re chatting with, that’s not really cheating, is it? If you’re in a relationship, spicing up the physical intimacy won’t prevent cheating.2 Perhaps one of the most tragic misconceptions about cheating is that people stray because they have fallen out of love with their partners.
Nor do more socially conservative times erase infidelity.
America today may seem more sexually relaxed than in the buttoned-down years immediately following World War II, yet pioneering research by Alfred Kinsey found that married men cheated at rates of around 50 percent.
(Whether they cheat for sexual or emotional reasons remains unclear.) 3We generally agree on what counts as cheating.
In Kinsey’s day, the meaning of cheating was simpler — it involved physical contact with another person. What about a live Internet sex show, or “camming” — online sex via webcam? One said, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s just chat or camming, you’re cheating.” Unsure about what form of cybersex might upset a partner, the strategy of almost all of the men I interviewed, gay or straight, was don’t ask, don’t tell.
My in-depth interviews with 120 straight and gay undergraduate men in Britain and the United States, as well as broader research into monogamy, have shown that people are unfaithful more often than not.
As we munch on heart-shaped chocolate, let’s take another look at what we’ve wrongly assumed about fidelity.I found that, though 78 percent of the men I interviewed had cheated on their current partner, only a handful said they cheated because they were near the end of their emotional relationships.And women may respond to similar pressures: According to a 1999 study in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 68 percent of female undergraduates also cheat.Have an affair.”), it’s easier than ever to break marriage vows. Although society cherishes monogamy, the expectation of exclusive sexual activity is unsustainable for most couples.We may need to investigate other relationship models: open arrangements, or what sex columnist Dan Savage calls “monogamish” relationships, in which couples have flings, affairs or threesomes.I just needed some other sex.” 5Most married people don’t cheat.