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< Back to question Why do men cheat on women? Show more Show less

Heterosexual infidelity is increasingly common. Statistics vary, but most estimate that 20% of married men have secret extramarital sexual relationships at one point or another. Why? This illicit betrayal can ruin lives and tear families apart. So, what drives men to cheat on women?

Psychological factors cause men to cheat Show more Show less

Infidelity changes the way men think about themselves and view the the object of their affair.
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Men cheat to feel validated

Sexual attraction intensifies when a person feels valued. Men cheat because they feel increasingly validated by the attention of other person.
gender infidelity psychology
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In July 2015, an illicit hacking group calling itself 'The Impact Team' hacked into the website Ashley Madison and published its members personal details. The site soon hit headlines around the world. Most shocking was what this leak meant. The site gives a platform to people in relationships to arrange affairs. In releasing members' details, brought to light just how widespread infidelity is. There were over 40 million registered users on Ashley Madison alone. The site later shared user insights with the world, looking at the causes of infidelity.

The Argument

Tammy Nelson, one of Ashley Madison's in-house relationship experts, revealed that there are two leading factors that drive people to cheat. Either, a person cheats to end their current relationship: the affair is symptomatic of deeper issues and represents the desire of the partner to leave. Or, they are unfaithful because they do not feel validated in their relationship. The site's data shows that this type is significantly skewed towards their male members. The affair becomes "a way of filling that one part of their life that their marriage doesn’t."[1].

Counter arguments

Ashley Madison's data represents a very specific population and type of infidelity. The majority of affairs do not take place via online "hook up" platforms. And we can assume from how new these platforms are, and the millennia that infidelity has existed, the desires of these groups are not representative of the wider issue.


[P1] Ashley Madison has more than 54 million members [P2] All Ashley Madison members are seeking an extramarital affair [P3] Ashley Madison data shows that most men cheat because they are seeking external validation [P4] Men cheat because they are seeking external validation

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P4] Ashley Madison's members represent people looking for a very specific type of affair



This page was last edited on Friday, 22 May 2020 at 11:38 UTC

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