Who cheats more: men or women?

Who is more likely to cheat on their significant other: men or women?
The easy, perhaps stereotypical assumption is that men cheat more than women, and some findings do draw predictable conclusions. Earlier this year, University of Connecticut professor Christin Munsch told the Wall Street Journal that financially independent men (who, of course, constitute a significant percentage of the male population) are more likely to cheat.
“These men are aware that their wives are truly dependent and may think that, as a result, their wives will not leave them even if they cheat,” she said.
The conclusion was based on a study of 2,757 heterosexual people aged 18 to 32, in the same relationship for at least a year, as gathered by the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth between 2001 and 2011.
Regardless of financial independence, the 2006 American General Social Survey found that nearly twice as many married men as women admitted to having had sexual relations with someone other than their spouse, the BBC reported.
Women cheat smarter
However, things may not be as simple as they seem. Other recent studies have pointed to a female majority when it comes to infidelity.
YourTango reported a study of 3,000 people by British dating firm Coffee & Company, which showed that while nine percent of men were certain they’d be unfaithful if they fell for somebody else, a much higher 25 percent of female respondents said they would definitely have an affair if they were attracted to a new person.
The discrepancy may be explained by the fact that some women say they would cheat, but when it comes down to it, they will not. But other investigations also suggest the difference could be down to women simply being more capable of keeping affairs under wraps.
According to Dr. David Holmes, a psychologist at Manchester Metropolitan University, men and women behave very differently when they cheat.
“The biggest difference is that women are much better at keeping their affairs secret,” he told the Daily Mail. “If you look at the studies into paternity, even conservative figures show that between eight and 15 per cent of children haven’t been fathered by the man who thinks he’s the biological parent.”
“Men may well exaggerate and women underplay it,” sex and relationships psychologist Petra Boynton told the BBC. “Historically, it was sometimes dangerous for women to admit being unfaithful.”
If you’re gonna lie, lie well
Whether women are less willing than men to admit infidelity in anonymous studies is difficult to assess. However, when a range of studies are considered, along with paternity tests, there is an indication that women may cheat at least as much as men, while simply hiding it better.
This may sound like an indictment of women as being sneakier, but the reality is that cheating of any kind is sneaky to begin with. If someone is going to do it, they may as well do it smart.