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9 infidelity ‘things’ and more…

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Salon’s  9 things you might not know about infidelity is one of those numbered titles that packages tidbits of information from the significant to the pandering. And though the author does a fine job of gathering, presenting and contextualizing (sort of) the information, there is never a question in my mind about the transparent motives of articles like these: seduce readers with and for the numbers.

It is all in the packaging. Lost leaders abound.

Opening sentences handshake the readers to the tone and subject:

Monogamy is a nice idea in theory, but in practice, humans are less adept at it than they might admit. 

Yes, so we have read. The author, Kali Holloway, then launches into the biology of two of the nine “things” such as the correlation between ovulation and frequency of infidelity as well as a lesson on spermatology: the race to the egg is a competition including beating the opponent out of the race altogether. 

Next up, sociology. Having participated in society only in the last 100 years, women surpassed previous records of infidelity running a closer race to cheater men:   

A 2010 study from the National Opinion Research Center found that over the last 20 years, the number of married women who admitted to affairs rose a staggering 40 percent. Which we can all agree is a lot. Nearly 22 percent of men copped to sex outside of marriage, a number that’s remained fairly consistent since 1991. For women, that percentage rose to 14.7 percent. A number of theories are floated for this change, including increased financial independence for women, the fact that women spend more time in co-ed working environments (most affairs begin in the workplace) and changing attitudes around women’s sexuality.

Now this next came as a surprise:

Most cheaters, across the board, don’t get caught. A recent survey found that 89 percent of spouses engaged in extramarital affairs are able to keep their infidelity on the down-low. But women are better at keeping their affairs a secret than men. 

Though it somehow does not surprise me. My theory: most spouses do not want to know (read: denial) or silently sigh a relief in the face of infidelity. I have no numbers to back up that hunch. All I know is, sex is complicated, monogamy or not. Conflicting sexual appetites, ebbing and flowing of phases of the moon as well as the decades, and a hundred and one sexual hangups originating from family, society and biology, all contribute to the complications inherent in trying to maintain interest in, let alone quality or quantity of sex in the long term relationship.

Holloway cites a Forbes interview for the following statement by a dating site CEO in item number 6: 

“You often don’t catch the women. Because women naturally think more contextually. They consider long-term vision and potential consequences much more thoroughly before acting.”

Based on which evidence: anecdotal? experiential? statistical? A CEO?

People who make $75,000 and up are 1.5 times more likely to cheat than those whose annual salaries are $30,000 or less. Those with graduate degrees are also more likely to seek sex outside of marriage, being 1.75 times more likely to have an extramarital affair than people who haven’t graduated high school. Living in a city also ups one’s chances for cheating by a factor of 1.5 times.

The take home from these statistics? The struggle to survive financially takes up too much time–none to spare for the affair. No doubt social values of a society in which the measure of an individual is in the size of his or her wallet has something to do with it. The equation of money to power weighs heavier on those with lower salaries and affects confidence, logically. 

As we near ages that end in zeroes, the chances for infidelity increase.

Mortality. Enough said.

…people who use Twitter every day tend to have shorter relationships than those who don’t, regardless of age. And not that it’s totally germane, but daily tweeters were also more likely to masturbate on a daily basis

Ok, how in the world does one measure that last info-bit and who even thought to ask?

And along the same vein (pun intended), appealing to salacious appetites for the sexual, inane, absurd and obvious:

…penis fractures and extramarital affairs may correlate according to a too-small-to-be-significant study that the author includes–just because–in an otherwise responsible gathering of information on recent infidelity findings. The study authors appear credible, at least, and if they are not as strong as the National Opinion Research Center out of the University of Chicago, the author comments upon that fact.

And while the trend for the numbered article annoys me, caters to the soundbite mentality of pop readership, I too cannot resist the draw of itemization, the buffet of tidbits of data big and small, serious and amusing, but most of all, the back story of the findings, the minds of the surveyors who seek quantification and categorization of minutae and the commonplace. 

The story, for me, breathes in the cracks of the facts, the why’s and wherefore’s.

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