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On the 5 reasons for female infidelity

Why do women cheat? Well, that’s a bit like asking why they learn to drive – there are lots of different reasons for doing it, and some women prefer not to do it at all.

However, in a valiant step towards reducing all female sexual desire to some bizarre medical condition, a dude called Robert Weiss (who incidentally works at a place that aims to treat people who have a sex addiction – we’ll come onto this later), wrote an article entitled ‘5 reasons for female infidelity.’

That sounds fairly innocuous – I mean, if we’re just talking about 5 general reasons for female infidelity, then we could essentially list any reason whatsoever and as long as one woman is willing to cite that as the primary cause for cheating, it could make our list. But no. As he explains later in the article, these are the ‘most common’ reasons women cheat.

Why I cheated

I’ve cheated on boys before – I’ll leave the sordid details for something a bit more in-depth, where I’ll have a chance to make pathetic and inadequate excuses for all those hearts that I’ve broken. But right at the top of my ‘why I cheated’ list was this:

I was horny.

In the interests of full disclosure, there was another reason pretty high up on that list:

I was drunk.

There were other factors at work as well, depending on the particular cheating episode (and there have been more than a few, because of my aforementioned bastardry) – sometimes I wanted the challenge of sleeping with someone I never thought I’d get. Sometimes I was simply curious about how a particular guy would be. Other times I was planning on ditching my boyfriend but wanted to make sure I’d secured a nice back-up relationship to spring into afterwards. But ultimately my primary motivating factor was physical rather than emotional: lust.

Laying aside for a minute the fact that I am an amoral shit, there was a hell of a lot more sexual motivation going on here than in the list constructed by Weiss, who instead highlights reasons such as ‘women have intimacy disorders’ or ‘feel neglected’. Well, shit a brick. It turns out that rather than just being a horny slag with the willpower of a smack addict at a poppy farm, I am instead a damaged, blameless individual who requires either treatment or a cuddle.

Male vs female infidelity

Look, I’m not saying that women never cheat because they feel insecure – I am 100% sure that they do. I’m not saying that some people don’t have genuine troubles that mean they could do with the help of a relationship counsellor or sex therapist. As mentioned above, there are myriad reasons why women might stray from a relationship, and I expect Robert Weiss has correctly pinpointed some of them. But are these really the most common? Is it really more likely that you have an intimacy disorder than that you like having sex?

And more importantly, where is the research that actually backs up these ‘5 reasons for female infidelity’? Because as far as I can see, none of the links in the article go anywhere more substantial than a blog that’s over a year old which includes a slightly longer but no less speculative list, and a journalistic puff piece advertising a website for married people to have affairs. I cannot stress enough how much I want you to click those links: please do – see just how tenuous the cited ‘evidence’ is.

Is there a similar article in which Weiss dissects the 5 reasons for male infidelity? If it’s based on the same level of research, and skewed just as heavily to reflect society’s bias about gender and sexual drive, I suspect men would be asked to choose between statements such as  ‘my wife didn’t suck me off enough’, ‘I was horny’ and ‘she had really lovely tits. Wahey.’

What’s my motivation?

We all have different needs and desires, and consequently we all do different things for different reasons.

I, for instance, am writing this article because I am a sex blogger, opinionated arsehole, and all-round horny wench. I like having sex and I feel the need to challenge lazy, tired assumptions that women don’t enjoy sex for sex’s sake. Robert Weiss might have his own reasons for writing the original article, like perhaps the fact that he runs a sex addiction clinic. The women he has encountered (who have come to him for what they hope will be a cure) will probably be more likely to put a medical slant on their reasons for cheating. Or, and do stop me if this sounds a bit far-fetched, perhaps it’s because Mr Weiss has a vested interest in encouraging people to medicalise any instance of sexual activity that could be considered ‘excess’, so that they end up visiting his clinic.

You know, I’m just speculating.

But here’s the problem – if the ‘research’ in the article is anything to go by, the author is just speculating too. Weiss’s speculation, which presents women as feeble creatures incapable of having sexual desires that aren’t motivated by a deeper emotional need, is being presented as ‘fact’, when he’s presented no evidence to back that up.

This is exactly the sort of thing we have editors for: to identify facts, and sort them from self-interested waffle. Self-interested waffle: I’ve cheated on partners before but I don’t want you to think I’m an awful person. Facts: women get horny, grass is green, and the Huffington Post can utterly fuck off.


  • Pedro says:

    This particular gentleman is the head of a presumably successful ‘Sexual Recovery Institute’. It is very hard to monetise sexual behaviour if you don’t turn it into something problematic that people have to “solve” in order to live fulfilling lives.

    It’s very much like this “porn addiction” nonsense and why people are pressured into solving it: unless you add an element of shame and moral turpitude to the equation, why would anyone want to masturbate less unless they were doing it so much they couldn’t do anything else? Taking the “test” on their website and choosing options whereby you display no clearly problematic behaviour still tells you that you are “becoming concerned” about your degree of sexual addiction. This was the “male” test, of course, so I presume being female and wanting to get laid is probably enough for alarm bells to go off.

    If anything, the website where that was posted should have included a warning that that was a sponsored ad, but it’s clearly right not to take any of it seriously. It may have been camouflaged in pseudo-scientific babble, but it’s clearly self-interested propaganda.

  • I had a therapist suggest once that I was addicted to sex and needed to see therapy on that issue (which of course she was willing to be my therapist on). I scheduled an appointment with an addiction therapist, who told me the other lady was full of shit.
    Turns out I just like sex (shocking, I know; it seems women just can’t enjoy it without being labeled, even by professionals). I like how you wrote about needing to draw attention to that.

  • Cougar says:

    Couple of observations on the Weiss piece.

    1) the first four reasons are ostensibly the same thing. “My partner wasn’t giving me enough attention.”

    2) all five reasons absolve the woman in question of any accountability. It wasn’t her fault, it was either her shitty partner or her shitty past.

    Not that I’m saying blame can’t sometimes be placed elsewhere of course, just that the report seems somewhat biased.

    As for the reasons men cheat, I wonder another reason high on the list should be “she threw herself at me and I’m a weak, pathetic fool.” Not that I’m speaking from experience there or anything.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Good point – I’m sure the accountability thing is a pretty serious motivating factor. As is the fact that people are very often weak and pathetic.

      • Hyde's Girl says:

        Because if they had the “she threw herself at me” excuse it might risk looking like women actually like having sex, and we all know that women only like cuddles, chocolate, long walks on the beach and bunnies.

  • Karen says:

    I’ve cheated four times – once because I fell in love with someone else, once because I fell out of love with the person I was with, once for revenge, and once because I was a young, shallow attention-seeking nasty person. I’ve never cheated out of being horny…. Not that I dislike sex, but if you are in a relationship, getting sex isn’t usually a problem. Other stuff is.

  • Karen says:

    Ooops, not that I ever in any way thought there was anything wrong with me that needed therapied :-)

  • Caramella says:

    Cheating, for me, has generally been about lust. And alcohol. But mainly lust – and mainly the same reasons as you. It was because I wanted the man, I wanted the experience, I wanted the validation, but it was always on my terms.

    In the immortal words of Elizabeth in Drop Dead Fred, “I don’t need a man to complete my life; I’m perfect the way that I am; and I hate Charles.” Fuck Weiss and his pseudo-scientific scenarios.

  • Janey says:

    Thanks for this. I cheated on my long-term partner recently, and top of the list of reasons why were
    1. I was horny
    2. I was pissed
    3. I was falling out of love with said partner.
    You’re right, the referenced article diminishes all accountability on the part of the cheaters, while robbing women of any sexual agency whatsoever.
    I also strongly relate to the wonderfully colorful phrase: ‘horny slag with the willpower of a smack addict at a poppy farm’

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