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Did you know that men would be more upset by sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity?

Well, while infidelity usually triggers sour relations, broken hearts, hatred, and mistrust in romantic relationships, a new study shows how men and women react to emotional and sexual unfaithfulness.

In the largest study to date on infidelity, a research by Chapman University in the US has laid down the first large-scale examination of gender and sexual differences in response to potential sexual versus emotional infidelity.

According to Dr David Frederick, the lead author of the study, heterosexual men were more likely than heterosexual women to be upset by sexual infidelity and less likely than women to be upset by emotional infidelity.

Fifty-four per cent of men surveyed would be upset by sexual infidelity if their partners cheated as compared to 35 per cent of women surveyed.

On the other hand 46 per cent of men would be bothered by their partner’s emotional infidelity, while 65 per cent of women surveyed would be bothered by the same.

During the study, participants were asked to imagine what would upset them more between getting physically cheated on by their partners without their partners falling in love with their side kicks, and their partners falling in love with someone else without having sex with them.

Strikingly, the researchers established that men faced the question of paternal uncertainty, which women didn’t when faced with sexual infidelity.

“Men will often assume an evolutionary perspective. They never know if their child is genetically related to them; there’s always a chance that the child could have been fathered by another man!” reads a section of the findings.

“In contrast, women never face the question of maternal uncertainty. Thus, though sexual jealousy is inevitable to both men and women, men will always exhibit heightened responses compared to women.”

During the study, 63,894 participants aged between 18 and 35 completed the survey, with the majority of those polled recording an average of 35-40 years.

Thirty-four cent of men and 24 per cent of women reported to have engaged in extramarital sexual affairs and the study determined that infidelity was the most common cause of marital dissolution.

Infidelity among the unmarried was reportedly higher. The study appeared to dull previous sociocultural studies that generally showed there was no difference in reaction between men and women in the event of both sexual and emotional infidelity.

“There has been significant disagreement on whether or not men and women differ in their response to sexual and emotional infidelity. Most of the previous research has relied on small samples or college samples, but in this study, we attempted to examine a broad and diverse sample,” said Dr Frederick.

The research was published in Archives of Sexual Behaviour.

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