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60-Second Mind

More Sex for Women?

A recent analysis of survey responses shows who's cheating: Women, young couples and the over-60 crowd are closing the infidelity gap. Rachel Mahan reports

[Below is the original script. But a few changes may have been made during the recording of this audio podcast.]


It seems like every politician now-a-days is having an affair, but what about everyone else?

A new look at national survey responses reveals that men's rates of infidelity haven't changed much since 1991. Roughly a fifth to a quarter of men surveyed admit to cheating. But women's admissions of an affair rose from 11 to 17 percent during the last decade and a half. 

When David Atkins at the University of Washington broke down the results by age, he and his co-author found that more people over 60 are cheating than they were in 1991, possibly related to the recent popularity of—you guessed it—Viagra. But increasingly, people under 35 are also reporting infidelity. 

The availability of pornography online might have something to do with it, Atkins said. Participants who said they'd seen an X-rated movie were more likely to report an extramarital affair. And compared to older generations, of course, more young people say they've watched porn. 

It's tempting to chalk all this up to our sexually tolerant modern society. Curiously, though, most survey responders said that cheating is wrong, yet that doesn’t appear to have changed their cheating behavior…between the sheets.

—Rachel Mahan

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