Is having sex with someone other than your partner cheating? New survey finds most people say ‘yes’

Eye-opening sex survey reveals why people cheat on their partners, along with what is – and isn’t – considered to be cheating. How far can you go without crossing that line?

Is sex with someone other than your partner cheating? Yes. Yes, it is. Those are the findings of a new survey of thousands of people in Europe as well as on this side of the Atlantic. Sex with someone other than your partner is considered to be cheating in both continents.

Almost all women (99 per cent) agree that vaginal intercourse is cheating. Most men (97 per cent) agree. Unfortunately, the study didn’t delve deeper into who those three per cent of dudes who don’t consider intercourse to be infidelity are. (What do they consider cheating?)

The numbers are similar for oral sex, with 98 per cent of women saying it’s cheating and 97 per cent of men agreeing. (Again, there’s that free-wheeling three per cent of dudes who don’t see a problem with extra-curricular oral sex.)

Is kissing cheating?

Depend who you ask. The majority if women 86 per cent feel that it is. Twenty per cent of men think that kissing is a grey area. Only 80 per cent say that it is officially cheating.

One quarter of men say that they don’t think ‘heavy petting’ should be thought of as cheating. (Nearly ninety per cent of women disagree with them.)

Only about half of men and women consider holding hands to be cheating. This is a bit of a strange one. While hand holding is not a physically intimate act, it reveals a deeper level of emotional intimacy between the parties. It’s not the hand holding itself that is cheating, but seeing your partner holding hands with someone else sure seems like an indicator that some cheating is going on.

Weirdly, almost half of women (44 per cent) and a third of men (30 per cent) say that “going out with someone as a friend” can be considered cheating. This despite the fact that it has “as a friend” right in the question. I can see how if someone had cheating on their mind, then going out with someone other than their spouse could lead to infidelity. But the act of going out for a drink with a friend? Anyway, a lot of people think it’s a no-no.

Why people cheat

Men and women have different reasons for straying outside of their relationship. Women say that they give into temptation when they feel neglected by their partner. Their top two reasons for cheating are “My partner stopped paying attention to me” and “The other person was really there for me.”

It’s slightly less emotional for men. The top two reasons male participants gave for cheating on their partner were “The other person was really hot” and “People were hitting on me.”

Who we cheat with

Both men and women are most likely to cheat (or be tempted to cheat) with a friend of theirs. (Maybe that’s why such a high percentage of people surveyed say that they consider going out with someone as a friend to be cheating.)

If not with someone they’re already close to, then survey respondents say that they most often meet the other person at work, out and about, in a bar, or on social media.

The biggest difference between where men and women find people to cheat with is that men say they are much more likely to find a partner on online dating apps or websites. (Fifteen per cent of men vs. only 5 per cent of women.)

So, is it worth it: getting that extra attention and affection from someone new? Most people who have cheated say that no, it wasn’t. Sixty per cent of female cheaters say that they regret their decision, and even more cheating men (71 per cent) wish that they hadn’t done it.

View the complete infographic with even more details from the cheating survey.

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