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Men and women see physical, emotional infidelity differently

Men get more upset over physical sexual infidelity, while women are more upset by emotional infidelity, Kansas State University researchers suggest.
By Alex Cukan   |   April 29, 2014 at 12:12 AM   |   Comments

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MANHATTAN , Kan., April 28 (UPI) -- Men get more upset over physical sexual infidelity, while women are more upset by emotional infidelity, Kansas State University researchers suggest.

Gary L. Brase, Lora Adair and Kale Monk of the Kansas State University asked almost 500 young adults -- half men, half women with a median age 19 who were 83 percent white -- to complete several questionnaires on a several topics, including relationships and cheating.

For example, they were asked: "Which would distress you more: Imagining your partner enjoying passionate sexual intercourse with another person or imagining your partner forming a deep emotional attachment with another person?”

Fifty-eight percent of men said it was more distressing for a partner to have sexual intercourse for just one night versus being emotionally involved with another person, with no chance of sex.

"Although these two types of infidelities can occur together, the distinction created by a forced choice methodology can provide insight into which of these types of infidelity is relatively more distressing and reveal patterns of responding that can inform evolutionary predictions about sex differences in sexuality and parental investment," the study said.

"Men can never be absolutely certain that an infant carries their genes. Investing resources into another male’s offspring is a doubly damaging action from a genetic point of view. Not only is a male squandering resources that could be devoted to his own offspring, but he is actually helping a competitor’s offspring."

The findings were published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology.

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