The good news keeps rolling in for those concerned about infidelity. We recently reported that the rate of divorce due to cheating has decreased, which is great news for those who have tied the knot. Now we’ve got great news for an even broader spectrum of lovers—overall, all couples are being more monogamous than they were in the 1970s.
How do we know? Researchers from Alliant International University in San Francisco studied 6,864 men and women (some responses were collected in 1975, some in 2000). Individuals who participated in the study, which was published this month in the journal Family Process, were asked about a variety of issues, including monogamy.
Overall they found that men and women, no matter if gay or straight, are much more faithful than our predecessors. In 1975, 28 percent of straight men reported having sex with someone other than their wife; in 2000, that number dropped to 20 percent. Only 14 percent of straight women in 2000 had cheated, while 23 percent admitted it in 1975.
Since marriage was not an option for the gay community in 1975 or 2000, couples who lived together or were in civil unions were surveyed. In 1975, a whopping 83 percent of gay men and 28 percent of lesbians had cheated on their partners. In 2000, both groups saw significant decreases—only 59 percent of gay men and 8 percent of lesbians were unfaithful.
Why the dramatic decrease in extra-marital affairs? The authors say an increase in awareness of HIV/AIDS and other STDs are causing couples to be extra cautious, especially in the gay community. A shift in public opinion on same-sex relationships has also given monogamy a boost among the gay community. Overall, researchers cite relationship satisfaction, relationship quality and commitment to be big factors in the decrease in infidelity.