Why Women Cheat

Author Charles Orlando interviewed men and women to find out why they cheated sexually. Men overwhelmingly cheated for sexual reasons, while most women who cheated did so for emotional reasons. The women’s reasons for sex outside of their relationship included “Lack of emotional intimacy”, “Reaffirm her desirability” and “To re-experience feelings of romance”. All of those are things a husband could and should be taking care of for his wife.

I’m not suggesting that when a woman cheats it’s her husband’s fault; we’re all accountable for our actions. However, reducing the temptation to have an affair seems wise. Beyond that, understanding why women cheat helps us to understand some of what is really important to them. She’s not looking for mind-blowing sex; she doesn’t need you to last all night or know thirty different positions. What she needs is to feel loved and desired. And while she wants to feel desired sexually, she needs to connect with your mind and emotions far more than she needs to connect with your body.

[This post first appeared April 3, 2010.]

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5 Comments on “Why Women Cheat

  1. Men do need to take upon themselves the responsibility of the actions of their wives. When they refuse to do so, then they don’t take on the repsonibility of their own actions. Yes, a wife has free will and sometimes she will not respond to his love and his godly actions. However, I have found that many times the wife is only reacting or acting because of the way her husband has or is acting towards her. As a husband, we cannot use her actions as an excuse for our un-Christ-like behavior. She does not make us mad, we choose our own actions. We choose to either act to her like Christ is to us, or we choose to act according to how we feel and by what our families and society has taught us. God has challenged me, and I would like to challenge men everywhere who want to love God with all their hearts to begin to intentionally decide to treat our wives the way Christ treats us. That means when we please God, how does God treat us and when we are disobedient to God, how does God treat us? When we rebel and refuse to do what God wants, how does God treat us, and when we repent, how does God treat us? In every situation, if we treat our wives the way that God treats us when we behave the same way, then we will find that God will be able to work in our marriages. The results will be awesome because we as men are reflecting the true nature of God to our wives and families. The marriage will be able to become what GOd originally had designed it to be. Those who don’t even know Christ personally will notice our marriage relationships and will desire what we have intentionally been able to create because of being obedient to God’s word.

    • My experience differs vastly from what you are saying.

      When my ex-wife had her affair, I immediately took all the responsibility. I told her I had failed her as a husband and leader in the home and asked her to forgive me. Did that lead her to end the affair and return home.


      It fueled a sense of entitlement.

      She was offered the grace of Christ and rejected it.

      The results were definitely far from the awesome you promise. The marriage never became what God intended marriage to be. She got the divorce she wanted, primary custody of our child, even though she was the one engaged in marital misconduct and the church blamed me and refused to act in accordance with the Matthew 18 process when I asked them to help end the affair and restore the marriage. In fact, the pastor went as far as to suggest it was my fault she chose to have an affair.

      Sorry, I don’t agree with the Ken Nair school of thought that if something is bad in a marriage, if a wife is behaving badly, it’s because her husband is deficient. If a wife is behaving badly, it’s because she made the choice to follow sin, not Christ.

      We would not accept such excuses from a man who has an affair. If one were to say it wasn’t his fault, his wive’s actions drove him to an affair, we would run him out on a rail.

      But if a wife does the same thing and offers such an excuse, we accept that her husband was at fault?

      I think not.

      I did treat my ex-wife as Christ treated, and doubled down when she had her affair. The results were indeed far from awesome.

  2. Great reminder to guard our marriages by constantly being on the lookout for unmet needs in our wives. It’s the best safeguard against infidelity! And you are so right about her needs being so different from our own as men. I think we sometimes overlook how important it is for them to keep connected through emotional intimacy and to be cherished through romance.
    .-= Scott´s last blog ..One Flesh (Part 5): One in Body =-.

  3. I’m a woman who regrettably cheated precisely for the sex. The second half of your tip does not apply to me at all. I absolutely do need his body first and foremost. I may not be the norm,

    My husband is actually the romantic one, and I think he was always extremely romantic with me, but that wasn’t what I needed. Being a woman, I thought it was somehow wrong for me to express my desires for more sex, more variety in the bedroom, etc. I never told my husband how much this was killing me, and I ended up having an affair years ago that nearly destroyed my marriage.

    I’m only putting this up here just to point out that men need to find out from their wives what they need…not what everyone else tells you she needs.

    Paul, I’m not saying your tip is a bad one overall. I’m sure for many marriages it would work, but for a few marriages it could be disastrous.

  4. @ Temple – Charles Orlando replied to a similar comment on the linked article, saying:
    @Candy Precisely. Note that this is the majority (read: some women cheat for physical reasons, some men for emotional). But this fits the vast majority.

    I regularly hear from women who seem to be more like typical men than like typical women. My own bride is like this in several areas.

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