- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Racy, sexy, unfaithful America? Think again. The majority of American married couples are faithful to each other, says a source that has long been an oracle of lusty lifestyles.

None other than Playboy magazine reports that 75 percent of men and 82 percent of women said they had never had an extramarital affair, according to a “Fidelity Survey” published by the magazine yesterday.

The respondents said they would not be tempted to cheat, even if secrecy were guaranteed. About 50 percent of the men and 66 percent of the women said they never thought of infidelity — period.

“We are bombarded with images of infidelity on TV. Sometimes it seems as if no married couples keep their vows. But how prevalent is cheating?” Playboy asked of the 1,432 adult respondents.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner declined to comment on the survey.

It confirmed that many respondents had bought into the stylish Hollywood version of America’s sexual proclivities. Although they themselves didn’t stray, the couples were under the impression that infidelity was common.

Respondents overall estimated that 44 percent of men and 38 percent of women cheated on their spouse.

Such impressions can be fueled by television, which “exaggerates infidelity” and “omits consequences,” the Family Research Council said. The Parents Television Council notes that in an average year, 65,000 references to sexual behavior are made on television, with the references emphasizing sex between unmarried people over married partners by 5-to-1.

Statistics don’t support the notion that we are a nation of carefree cheaters.

“The vast majority of Americans are monogamous and happy about it, expressing satisfaction with their sex lives and a broad preference for emotional commitment in sexual relationships,” ABC News noted in a survey of American sexual habits taken last year.

Overall, just 16 percent of the 1,500 men and women in that poll said they had cheated on their spouse.

Other findings concur.

About 75 percent of husbands and 85 percent of wives report that they had never had an extramarital affair — according to polls taken by the Journal of Sex Research, a scholarly publication, and “The Social Organization of Sexuality,” a book published by the University of Chicago.

A poll of 1,049 adults by Parade magazine found that 81 percent of married men and 85 percent of married women had “never violated” their vows.

Meanwhile, the Playboy poll revealed that “amorously adventurous couples” were more likely to cheat, and that the chance of cheating increases with age.

Although 18 percent of men and 14 percent of women ages 18 to 34 admitted to extramarital sex partners, the number increased to 30 percent of men and 18 percent of women by their mid-40s.

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