Women Take Cheating More Seriously Than Men, Survey Says

Men are more liberal when it comes to what counts as cheating, but women are far more likely to sleep with a diverse range of people...

Two people in bed looking at their phones

by Sophie Wilkinson |

Men and women have different rules on cheating, new statistics say. Everything from browsing a dating app to going to a strip club to paying for a webcam sex show to, um, literally sleeping with someone else other than your partner, is more likely to be classed as cheating by women than men.

Getting down to the nitty gritty numbers - and no, none of them contained the number 69 - this means 21% of women think going to a strip club is cheating, compared with 15% of men. And 73% of women think kissing someone other than your partner is cheating, compared with 51% of men. Paying for sex is cheating, say 89% of women and 79% of men and while 94% of women consider having sex with someone else other than your partner to be cheating, just 89% of men agree. Funny, isn’t it, that paid-for sex is considered slightly more permissible by both sexes than free sex isn’t…almost as if paying for it makes it more transactional and less personal.

Of newer, technologically-assisted ways to get involved with people other than your partner, browsing dating apps is considered by 49% of women as cheating, compared to 32% of men. Paying or cybersex or a webcam show is considered by 75% of women to be cheating compared with 50% of men, sexting is cheating according to 80% of women and 62% of men.

In the study, conducted by ComRes for BBC Radio 5, 2,066 adults were polled on all sorts of desires and in many other ways, women were shown to be far more liberal than men when it came to who they would seep with. Women are more likely to consider sleeping with someone of the same sex (17% compared to men’s 12%), more likely to sleep with someone who didn’t share their political or religious views, or someone from a different country, social class or ethnicity. Perhaps this needs to be remembered the next time 'free love' is used as an excuse for cheating...

Men were, however, more flexible on the desired age of their sexual partners - 58% would consider having sex with another adult more than 10 years their junior, compared with just 28% of women. Somewhat more surprisingly in a society that sees many men dating women young enough to be their daughters, 46% of men would consider sleeping with someone more than ten years their senior, compared with 44% of women. Bear in mind, though, that this is about sex, rather than a sustained relationship.

Overall, 50% of men are happy with their sex lives, compared with 53% of women. Which is pretty dismal when you consider that, well, sex is meant to be quite fun. Are we all setting our expectations too high? Or is it all really that bad? Is the digital age of intimacy not providing us what we’re actually after when it comes to sexual pleasure? Has porn disrupted our sense of what good sex should be? Are we all a bit confused about what our sexual intentions might be?

Another huge question is: why didn’t this poll do a deep dive into how the sexes viewed each other’s behaviors when it came to cheating? For example, do men consider women e.g. sleeping with someone other than their partner to be cheating in a way that they wouldn’t consider men doing the same to be cheating? Conversely,, do women hold men to higher account than other women, or is it vice versa? Cheating isn't necessarily sexist, but could the ways we view it be considered sexist? And what impact does that have on relationships, loyal and not?

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us