Another popular claim is that married men cheat more than married women. This might be true, but people don’t realize what this implies – mainly that unmarried women have more sex than unmarried men.
If we start with the premise from Sexonomics 101, that men and women have the same number of sexual partners, than this post’s claim that men cheat more than women presents some logistical challenges. Let’s look at two possible interpretations of this claim:
- Married men are more likely to cheat one or more times than married women (i.e. 4 of our 5 married men/skittles cheated, while only 2 married women cheated).
- Married men have more affairs than married women (i.e. married men/skittles have more straws terminating with them than married women) regardless of how many men or women are actually cheating.
Let’s go back to our skittles/M&M’s/Beer bottles from 101. Separate an equal number of men and women (they are the married couples), and take away all the straws between them for the sake of clutter (I use faint dotted lines to connect my couples).
For claim #1 to work, more married men have to have one or more unfaithful straws terminating with them than with married women. The only way to do that, however, means one of two possible arguments.
- Most of the married men’s straws terminate at a few ‘energetic’ married women–a female ‘married super-slut’ theory. This means that a smaller selection of married women are responsible for a disproportionate number of unfaithful husbands.
- OR, most of the married men’s straws terminate with unmarried women. Remember, more men are cheating than women, and we are not using the married female superslut theory. Where are those straws going? Single women! Most people initially believe that married men cheat on their spouses with unmarried women, until they realized that this suggests that unmarried women have more sexual partners than unmarried men.*
Now let’s look at claim #2 in greater detail. In this instance, regardless of how many married men are cheating, the number of straws terminating with married men is higher than the number terminating with women. This implies one and only one thing – unmarried women are having on average more sexual partners than unmarried men. In this diagram, I make men and women equal cheaters – three out of five are unfaithful, but I ensure that more straws terminate with married men, resulting in highly sexed unmarried women.
So, if we accept the claim that married men cheat more than married women, we are implying (perhaps without knowing it) that either a smaller number of married women are responsible for a surprisingly large number of married men cheating (the married superslut theory), OR that unmarried women have more sexual partners than unmarried men. Most people will agree with the claim that ‘men cheat more’ while denying the two possible implications.
* Almost always. In this particular instance, a few married female super sluts could sleep with enough single men to balance out the number of sexual partners of unmarried people. Again, not something people claim as likely.
- For this claim, that married men cheat more than married women, you can just as easily consider anyone in an apparent monogamous relationship ‘married’.