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People Cheat Less Now Than In The ’70s

People Cheat Less Now Than In The ’70s

Written by Kait Smith for

The good news keeps rolling in for those concerned about infidelity. We recently reported that the rate of divorce due to cheating has decreased, which is great news for those who have tied the knot. Now we’ve got great news for an even broader spectrum of lovers—overall, all couples are being more monogamous than they were in the 1970s.

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How do we know? Researchers from Alliant International University in San Francisco studied 6,864 men and women (some responses were collected in 1975, some in 2000). Individuals who participated in the study, which was published this month in the journal Family Process, were asked about a variety of issues, including monogamy.

Overall they found that men and women, no matter if gay or straight, are much more faithful than our predecessors. In 1975, 28 percent of straight men reported having sex with someone other than their wife; in 2000, that number dropped to 20 percent. Only 14 percent of straight women in 2000 had cheated, while 23 percent admitted it in 1975.

Since marriage was not an option for the gay community in 1975 or 2000, couples who lived together or were in civil unions were surveyed. In 1975, a whopping 83 percent of gay men and 28 percent of lesbians had cheated on their partners. In 2000, both groups saw significant decreases—only 59 percent of gay men and 8 percent of lesbians were unfaithful.

Why the dramatic decrease in extra-marital affairs? The authors say an increase in awareness of HIV/AIDS and other STDs are causing couples to be extra cautious, especially in the gay community. A shift in public opinion on same-sex relationships has also given monogamy a boost among the gay community. Overall, researchers cite relationship satisfaction, relationship quality and commitment to be big factors in the decrease in infidelity.

Do these numbers make you less concerned about your partner cheating?

This article originally appeared on People Cheat Less Now Than They Did In 1975.

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2:25PM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

good news

9:41AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

There are always ebbs and tides in these "issues". If you're being monogamous because of fear of disease are you really monogamous?

12:08AM PST on Feb 10, 2012

thank you, this is surprising - less people getting marriaged, more open marriages, more liars taking surveys,... hmmm?!

11:16PM PST on Dec 25, 2011

That's interesting news....I think its a variety of factors. Do have to agree with Gloria H, though, people who have jobs are working longer hours, and are just too exhausted to fool around on the side.

7:13AM PDT on Sep 15, 2011

Yeah right! How about this;
Maybe those faithful rates are higher in 2000 because men and women have gone through all their various sex partners and only 'tie the knot' later on so they are smarter and put more into making the marriage work, rather than destroy it.

10:22PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011


8:14PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

I have to question these findings. Are they across the board? Cause if they are across the board,they have to be false. I've noticed an increase in the Numbers of Women cheaters over the years.Why? Not exactly sure. Maybe it is they are doing it out of spite, or maybe they just are not as Cleaver in Hiding it as they were years ago. but ,whatever the reason, I have personally noticed an increase Not a Decrease.
And, of the guys I know personally, Not too many of them can claim to have never cheated.

7:46PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

That's nice.

5:59PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

Yeah, 40 years or so tends to make people do a lot of things less...just kidding. Thanks for what i'll take a good news.

5:11PM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

maybe working 2 jobs and picking up the slack left from laid off workers makes people too tired to fool around?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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