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In general, national surveys conducted in the early 1990s reported that between 15-25% of married Americans reported having extramarital affairs.
Treas and Giesen found that people who had stronger sexual interests, more permissive sexual values, lower subjective satisfaction with their partner, weaker network ties to their partner, and greater sexual opportunities were more likely to be unfaithful.
In one study by Blow, rates were higher in more recent marriages, compared with previous generations.
A study by Liu found that the likelihood for women to be involved in infidelity reached a peak in the seventh year of their marriage and then declined afterwards; whereas for married men, the longer they are in relationships the less likely they are to engage in infidelity, except for the eighteenth year of marriage, at which point the chance that men will engage in infidelity increases.
Support for this theory comes from evidence showing higher divorce rates in countries with lower sex ratios and higher monogamy rates in countries with higher sex ratios.
Differences in sexual infidelity as a function of gender have been commonly reported.
Sex ratio theory is a theory that explains the relationship and sexual dynamics within different areas of the world based on the ratio of the number of marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women.
According to this theory, an area has a high sex ratio when there is a higher number of marriage-aged women to marriage-aged men and an area has a low sex ratio when there is more marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women.
Rates of infidelity among women are thought to increase with age.
For example, one study found that some women in more financially independent and higher positions of power, were also more likely to be more unfaithful to their partners.
These findings suggest there may be various factors that might influence the likelihood of some individuals to engage in extradyadic relationships, and that such factors may account for observed gender differences beyond actual gender and evolutionary pressures associated with each.
There is currently debate in the field of evolutionary psychology whether an innate, evolved sex difference exists between men and women in response to an act of infidelity; this is often called a "sex difference".
Those that posit a sex difference exists state that men are 60% more likely to be disturbed by an act of sexual infidelity (having one's partner engage in sexual relations with another), whereas women are 83% more likely to be disturbed by an act of emotional infidelity (having one's partner fall in love with another).
One measure of infidelity is covert illegitimacy, a situation which arises when someone who is presumed to be a child's father (or mother) is in fact not the biological father (or mother).