In a new study published in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 643 college students from the State University of New York were recruited by completing an anonymous online questionnaire about their sexual orientation, sexual history, and specific sexual behaviors, including cases of sexual infidelity.
The findings were that men who knowingly have sex with a woman who is already in another relationship tend to exhibit different sexual behaviors .
Propagating the genes
The researchers found that 27.4% of the participants reported cheating on their partner, and 34.3% of these participants reported that the person they were cheating with was also cheating on their romantic partner. Furthermore, 26.8% of the sample reported having been the ‘other’ man or woman .
The findings provided evidence that men changed their sexual behaviors when they knew there was a sexual rival. Participants reported that orgasms were easier to have, more intense, and longer lasting when men knew they had sexual rivals. Men also tried harder to satisfy their partner when they knew there was a rival, while women did not .
As explained by study author Gordon G. Gallup Jr .:
Such changes in male sexual behavior are believed to represent a set of evolved strategies that work to minimize sperm competition with their engaged partner and thus increase the rival male’s chance of conception.
The study, like all research, includes some limitations. For example, the study did not assess motivations for involvement in infidelity or other aspects of the relationship .
The question asked was whether the participant had sexual relations with someone other than their partner. This leaves open a wide range of reasons and circumstances. It is also unclear whether the participants answered sexual questions about long-term lovers; Men and women may be able to have long-term sex outside of their primary relationships (eg, friends with the right to touch).