Among millennials, women are more likely than men to say they’ve had sex with someone other than their spouse while married, a new study shows.
Eleven percent of women aged 18 to 29 say they are guilty of infidelity, the Institute for Family Studies report finds, compared to 10 percent of their male counterparts.
It’s the only age cohort in which women are more likely to say they have cheated than men, and the gender gap quickly reverses and widens in older age groups.
Americans born in the 1940s and 1950s, who grew up during the sexual revolution, have the highest rates of infidelity.
Twenty-four percent of men aged 60 to 69 say they have cheated on a spouse, compared to 16 percent of women in the same age group. Infidelity peaks among men aged 70 to 79, of whom 26 percent say they have cheated, compared to 13 percent of their female peers.
The study, released Wednesday and based on data from the General Social Survey, finds that several demographic factors contribute to cheating, including race, religiosity and party identification.
Democrats are slightly more likely to cheat than Republicans, 18 to 14 percent. People who did not grow up in a household with both parents say they have cheated 18 percent of the time, compared to 15 percent from intact households.
People who attend religious services at least once a week cheat at a 14 percent clip, compared to 19 percent of those who attend religious services once a year or less.
Not surprisingly, the data show infidelity has a significant effect on marital breakdown. Among those who cheated on a spouse, 53 percent are currently married and 40 percent are divorced or separated. The divorce rate among those who have never cheated is just 17 percent.
Men who have cheated are also much more likely to be married than women who have cheated. Among men who say they have been unfaithful, 61 percent are currently married, compared to just 44 percent of women.
The report attributes this to the fact that men are more likely to remarry after a divorce than women.