2016 research in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour describes notable differences in promiscuity between genders, and between online and offline behaviour.
The study, entitled ‘Infidelity in Dating Relationships: Gender-Specific Correlates of Face-to-Face and Online Extradyadic Involvement’, brought together researchers from Coimbra, Harvard and Lisbon.
It examined gender-specific correlates of infidelitous behaviour online and offline, sampling 561 women (average age 23) and 222 men (average age 24).
Rates of face-to-face infidelity were 23.4% for men vs. 15.5% for women, whereas ‘online sexual’ rates were 15.3% and 4.6% respectively.
A range of factors were found to be predictive of both emotional and sexual affairs, with a history of infidelity and a low relationship satisfaction among the significant variables.
Women with higher education were approximately three times more likely to engage in online sexual promiscuity, and women who had previously been victims of promiscuous partners were more likely to be emotionally unfaithful.
Being in long relationships and having sexual encounters at a younger age were also correlates of face-to-face emotional perfidy.
The study encourages future research into the causes of unfaithfulness, and contributes to a “comprehensive approach of factors influencing the likelihood”.