Men aren’t the only ones who cheat, in fact, research shows there’s no significant gender differences in the amount of self-reported infidelity, with 20% of both men and women admitting they’ve cheated in their current relationship.
As for why people have affairs, psychologist Mark Travers shares three research-backed reasons women are unfaithful.
- To fill an emotional void - According to one study, men mainly cheat for sexual reasons, but a key reason women do is to fill their emotional needs. Women may be looking to satisfy needs including communication, empathy, respect and support, which can lead to emotional cheating when they find someone other than a partner who fills those needs.
- Sexual inconsistency - Sex is as important to women as it is for men, so when women lose that sexual “thrill” they felt in the early days of their relationship, they may go looking for it somewhere else. A recent study finds that practicing sexual mindfulness can help couples who feel like their spark is fading. Study authors recommend doing so by:
- Letting go of self-judgment and recognizing that your partner is attracted to more than just your body.
- Talking about insecurities and coming up with a plan together to get rid of these distractions.
- Staying present in the pleasurable moments by tuning into your senses and focusing on things like how your partner’s touch makes you feel and what their voice sounds like.
- Unequal division of labor - Another recent study suggests women may lose sexual desire for their partners due to an unequal division of household labor. If she feels like she’s pulling most of the weight with chores and her partner isn’t willing to do more to help, she may get so frustrated that she no longer wants to be intimate with them. When partners make chores a team effort, it’s likely to improve the relationship overall.