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Surprising Science

Men and Women Equally Unfaithful

When the power imbalances between men and women are eradicated, say psychologists, women philander as often as men do. That’s because sexual infidelity is related to power, not gender.

What’s the Latest Development?

Gender difference has long been associated with infidelity: Men are scum, the phrase goes. But new research is challenging this notion. “A group of researchers in the Netherlands surveyed a cross-section of 1,561 professionals, comparing the sexual infidelities of men and women who identified themselves as having similar careers and similar amounts of power. What the scientists found was that powerful people cheat on their spouses, regardless of gender.” The study raises interesting questions about intentions and infidelity. 

What’s the Big Idea?

The leader of the study, psychologist Joris Lammers, says that modern society will continue to erase gender differences, for good or for bad, as men and women become increasing equal in their societal roles. According to Lammers’ research, infidelity has more to do with status, or the possession of self-confidence, than with a biologically-driven necessity for sex. “As a social psychologist, I believe that the situation is everything and that the situation or instance is often stronger than the individual,” said Lammers.


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