A new survey says men and women cheat for totally different reasons

The INSIDER Summary:

  • A company surveyed men and women to find out the differences in how and why they cheat.
  • Men tend to cheat for physical reasons and women tend to cheat for more emotional ones, according to the survey.
  • The same survey suggests women are more likely to emotionally cheat.
  • Men surveyed are slightly more likely to engage in physical acts and not consider it cheating.

Everyone has different reasons to cheat — maybe they were drunk and stupid, have been feeling unfulfilled in the relationship, or maybe they just couldn’t help hitting up that hot person on Instagram.

But a new survey suggests the reasons behind why people cheat may actually have a lot to do with their gender.

The survey, conducted by Superdrug Online Doctor, polled over 2,000 Americans and Europeans and found that the reasons why men and women cheat are actually really different.

When asked the reasons why they strayed from the relationship, people who identified as women in the US and Europe had the same #1 answer: They felt that their partner had stopped giving them the attention they needed.

The other top answers differed a bit between American and European women, but some of the other answers included that the person they cheated with was there for them, the other person was hot, and they were having doubts about their relationship.

When the people who identified as men were asked the same question, however, the top answer was very different. Both European and American men said that they cheated because the person they cheated with was attractive.

Some of the other top reasons why men cheated were that they weren’t having enough sex, people were hitting on them, and the person they cheated with was there for them.

Based on this survey, the men’s answers focused more on the physical act of cheating while the women’s answers gravitated towards emotional cheating. Men also cited much more frequently that they couldn’t resist when a person in public was hitting on them, which the authors of the survey then linked to a different study about women having more self-control than men do.

The study also surveyed the same 2,000 people on times when they felt they pushed the limit but didn’t cheat. They found that women were more likely than men to get emotionally close to someone — the most common form of cheating— or spoon. They also found that men were slightly more likely to have vaginal intercourse or engage in “heavy petting,” but not consider it as cheating.

So while this isn’t a perfect methodology, it does help us confront some tough things about relationships and societal expectations of men and women. If you or your partner have been unfaithful, these answers may help you get some perspective on why the infidelity happened and help you address the issue in your relationship — be it a lack of emotional or physical closeness — should you want to stay together and work it out.