Sex & Relationships

New Study Reveals Reason Why Men Are More Likely to Cheat

Research suggests men succumb to sexual temptation more than women because of the intensity of their sexual impulses.

According to new a studypublished by the Personality and Social Bulletin, men’s ability to resist temptation is similar to that of women, but is overridden more often because of the intensity of men’s desire, Pacific Standard reported.

In two studies performed, men gave in to sexual temptation more than women did, not because they exerted less intentional control but because of their strong sexual impulses. 

In the first study, 218 Americans were asked to describe a time “you were attracted to someone you felt it was wrong to pursue.” They were then instructed to answer a series of questions about the affair, strength of desire and resisting temptation.  The results? Men and women did not differ in intentional control attempts, men just failed more often.

In the second study, 600 undergraduates took part in a “partner selection game” whereby they were instructed to accept or reject images of attractive or less attractive potential mates if they were considered “good” or “bad” for them – the time it took to accept/reject desirable partners was measured. The study found that men performed more poorly than women because they experienced “a much stronger impulse too respond ‘yes’ to the desirable opposite-sex targets".

The study also emphasized the importance of evolutionary and self-regulatory perspectives on sex differences.  While human urges date back to our beginnings, the ability to use self-control is a relatively new concept, appearing only about 50,000 years ago, as Tom Jacobs of Pacific Standard explained, which may explain why self-control is sometimes overridden by a desire to mate with the opposite sex.

However, while the studies have several strengths, it notes that its research is subject to limitations in that it did not examine the motivation of individuals to engage in self-control nor did it distinguish between short and long term romantic temptations – rather immediate sexual desires – such key factors evidently play a role in influencing human temptation.

Read more at Pacific Standard.

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.