According to research compiled at Florida State University and published on Tuesday in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, couples with satisfying sex lives are actually more likely to cheat than their unsatisfied counterparts.
FSU researchers discovered this after attempting to figure out what factors lead to infidelity in an effort to prevent that (and all the break-ups that come about as a result). Their study led them to identify strong predictors of which people will cheat, based around "age, marital satisfaction, sexual satisfaction, attractiveness and history of short-term relationships."
Contrary to some common-ass stereotypes, the researchers found that young people and those with unfulfilling sexual relationships were less likely to cheat, and that people more likely to cheat were comprised of subjects satisfied with the sex in their relationships. Researchers theorized that this may be because they have positive feelings on sex, which sounds like a great way to spin it if your friends learn you were cheated on and you feel the need to try and save face.
Furthermore, researchers found that attractive women were less likely to cheat, and less attractive women were more likely to cheat (as an aside I'd kind of like to know how they deemed people attractive or not). Men were also less likely to be unfaithful if their partners were unattractive. In even more reveals, men with a history of short-term partners prior to marriage have a greater chance of carrying on an affair, while for women the opposite is true.
To come to this conclusion, the FSU team followed 233 married couples for as many as three-and-a-half years, documenting "intimate details about their relationships, including marital satisfaction, long-term commitment, whether they had engaged in infidelity and if they were still together."
The team also tested the newlyweds by having them look at pictures of "highly attractive men and women" in addition to pictures of "average looking men and women." Researchers found that people who "quickly disengaged their attention from an attractive person" had a lower chance of being unfaithful. The time is key, as researchers found that those who turned away quicker than the average time had a 50 percent lower chance of sleeping around.
In contrast to that, participants who took awhile to look away had a higher chance of their marriages failing for banging men/women who weren't their spouses. As an FSU news release summarized:
The tendency to devalue, or downgrade, the attractiveness of potential romantic partners also lowered the risk of infidelity and raised the likelihood of maintaining the relationship. Faithful people evaluated romantic alternatives much more negatively.
The Florida State squad hopes that their findings can provide mental health practitioners some ways to get people who are married to stay married by not fucking other people. They summed up their findings by stating that this is a big deal because the U.S. divorce rate sitting is somewhere between 40 and 50 percent.
“With the advent of social media, and thus the increased availability of and access to alternative partners, understanding how people avoid the temptation posed by alternative partners may be more relevant than ever to understanding relationships," they wrote.