The surprising trend in extramarital sex in America

July 5, 2017
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

America's generation gap is surfacing in a surprising statistic: rates of extramarital sex.

Older Americans are cheating on their spouses more than their younger counterparts, with 20 percent of married Americans over age 55 reporting they've engaged in . Just 14 percent of those under age 55 say they've cheated, according to Nicholas H. Wolfinger, a professor in the University of Utah's Department of Family and Consumer Studies.

The Institute for Family Studies on July 5, 2017, published Wolfinger's research brief "America's New Generation Gap in Extramarital Sex," which is based on analysis of data from the General Social Survey.

Wolfinger found that while the overall number of Americans who report having sex outside of has held relatively steady at approximately 16 percent over the past 30 years, that trend has obscured a startling age-related difference.

Rates of extramarital sex by age have diverged since 2000, with increased cheating reported by people in their 50s and 60s, Wolfinger said. Most of these respondents were married between 20 years and 30 years.

But there may be more going on than lengthy marriages and midlife crises, he added. These older Americans also came of age in the wake of the sexual revolution and, over the course of their lifetimes, have had more sex partners compared to younger Americans.

Also, while a majority of Americans continue to disapprove of extramarital sex, attitudes have softened, particularly among older survey respondents.

Wolfinger observes that the General Social Survey asks respondents about extramarital sex, not explicitly adultery. This raises the possibility that the data reflect rising participation in polyamory or "ethical nonmonogamy," extramarital relationships conducted with the active permission of one's spouse.

"No matter how many polyamorists there are today, old-fashioned adultery seems to have risen among older Americans," Wolfinger said. And the consequences are plain.

"Even as overall divorce rates have fallen in recent decades, there has been a startling surge in 'grey divorce' among the middle-aged," he said. "Part of that story seems to be a corresponding increase in midlife adultery, which seems to be both the cause and the consequence of a failing marriage. The declining rates of extramarital sex among younger Americans seemingly portends a future of monogamous marriage. But the seeds sown by the continue to bear unanticipated fruit among older Americans."

The full research brief is available at ifstudies.org/blog/americas-ge … -in-extramarital-sex .

Explore further: Want to avoid divorce? Wait to get married, but not too long, says researcher

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TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2017
Sex is only one half of a whole thing, and that is making babies. If couples are having sex with no result, their bodies are going to begin telling them somethings wrong and that they ought to begin looking elsewhere.

We are tropical animals. We survived and thrived in that environment because we were able to match tropical attrition rates. So our desire to reproduce is relentless and leaves no time to waste in couplings that do not bear fruit.
Dingbone
Jul 05, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
david_king
1.6 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2017
Babyboomers are just about the worst generation in all things so who's surprised to find out they cheat more too?
BackBurner
5 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2017
People over 55 just don't care about the risk of STDs. They're beyond breeding; they fuck for sport if they fuck at all.

It would take someone from Utah to think this observation was insightful, in some way cogent, or in any other way useful.
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2017
Babyboomers are just about the worst generation in all things so who's surprised to find out they cheat more too?

Well, we DID bring you a rockin Space Program, computers, cell phones, the internet, teflon, velcro, Star Trek (and Star Wars). Not to mention - Rock n Roll....:-)
Would you like it if we just took that all back...?
t0ken407
5 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2017
I think you're all missing something here. This is according to those who've REPORTED cheating...just think about that for a second.
EmceeSquared
4 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2017
TheGhostofOtto1923:
Sex is only one half of a whole thing, and that is making babies.

Sex is far more than just part of making babies. Do you have data showing that people with more babies have less extramarital sex? Data corrected for other factors?
EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2017
Is anyone surprised that Baby Boomers cheat on their spouses more than people in other generations do? This is the "Me Generation", the worst generation in history.
Dingbone
Jul 05, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
classicplastic
1.3 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2017
Babyboomers are just about the worst generation in all things so who's surprised to find out they cheat more too?


You little Far Left punks still have a lot to learn about life. Look up the meaning of "presentism" and grow up, already!
EmceeSquared
3.7 / 5 (3) Jul 05, 2017
classicplastic:
You little Far Left punks still have a lot to learn about life. Look up the meaning of "presentism" and grow up, already!


Who wants to bet whether this upstanding citizen was born between 1942 and 1965? Who wants to bet how they voted for president in 2016?
Guy_Underbridge
3 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2017
...with 20 percent of married Americans over age 55 reporting they've engaged in extramarital sex. Just 14 percent of those under age 55 say they've cheated
or looking at it from a different angle, the over-55's may lie less than those under 55.
...or even more likely, the over-55s might be exaggerating their sexual escapades.
Lex Talonis
1 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2017
We are monkeys, we fuck for social, emotional, physical and reproductive reasons.

I call bullshit on the entire survey...

One of my friends put it like this, within the context of a more rural community, "Out of all her friends she went to school with - some 16 or 22 of them, ALL of her friends have had affairs, ALL of them have gotten divorced, and she and her husband have only ever been with each other and only each other, their entire lives."

It's probably been done by feminists, who want to prove than the majority of men are cheaters, who are getting banged by their best friends, mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins etc..

And anyway, why call having sex with other monkeys, "cheating"?

It seems to me that shaming and hating go hand in hand with religion and becoming utterly neurotic, and becoming a cliche chanting feminist.
dnatwork
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2017
Babyboomers are just about the worst generation in all things so who's surprised to find out they cheat more too?

Well, we DID bring you a rockin Space Program, computers, cell phones, the internet, teflon, velcro, Star Trek (and Star Wars). Not to mention - Rock n Roll....:-)
Would you like it if we just took that all back...?


Yah, no. The space program and computers were brought about by the parents of the baby boomers, i.e., the greatest generation. The baby boomers were just getting out of high school when we landed on the moon. Cell phones were invented in the 70's, so same deal. Actually, based on inventions by Hedy Lamarr, so definitely not baby boomers.

Desktop computers, sure, baby boomers. Smartphones, okay. But those are just miniaturized versions of the prior tech.
EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2017
dnatwork:
Well, we DID bring you a rockin Space Program, computers, cell phones, the internet, teflon, velcro, Star Trek (and Star Wars). Not to mention - Rock n Roll....:-)
Would you like it if we just took that all back...?


Desktop computers, sure, baby boomers. Smartphones, okay. But those are just miniaturized versions of the prior tech.


Of course a Baby Boomer will lie to take credit for computers, Star Trek, Teflon, Velcro, the Internet, all of which were actually created by their parents generation or older - because Boomers consumed those things, so the credit is theirs.

More to the point, PCs and rock & roll were created by *outcast* Baby Boomers, while the vast majority of Boomers tried to extinguish them. Innovative, rebel boomers were the exception to the rule of this authoritarian, parasite generation. The "Me Generation" that always took credit for any success of any in their cohort, if they succeeded despite the generation's efforts.
MarsBars
3 / 5 (2) Jul 07, 2017
This is the "Me Generation", the worst generation in history.

MC2, your "worst generation in history" didn't include Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, nor were they lynching African-Americans. They marched and demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam war. Baby Boomers were not responsible for the Cold War.
Who wants to bet how they voted for president in 2016?

Give us the data showing that the overwhelming majority of Baby Boomers who voted cast their votes for Trump. Many millions of Boomers find the US president to be just as abhorrent as other generations do.
...PCs and rock & roll were created by *outcast* Baby Boomers, while the vast majority of Boomers tried to extinguish them. Innovative, rebel boomers were the exception to the rule of this authoritarian, parasite generation.

The vast majority of Boomers bought PCs and loved rock & roll - just look at the sales.

I usually agree with your posts, but not this tirade.
EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (1) Jul 07, 2017
MarsBars:
Give us the data showing that the overwhelming majority of Baby Boomers who voted cast their votes for Trump. Many millions of Boomers find the US president to be just as abhorrent as other generations do.


Baby Boomers were born 1942-1965 or 1967, so aged 75-52 or 50. They voted for Trump by the same landslide margin that the country as a whole voted for Obama over McCain in 2008:
http://www.cnn.co...it-polls
age clinton trump
18-29 55% 36%
30-44 51% 41%
45-64 44% 52%
65+ 45% 52%

They voted that way for Nixon, for Reagan/Bush, for Bush/Cheney. And for the Republican Congresses since 1994. 75% of Vietnam forces volunteered, more than double the rate of 34% volunteered for WWII.
BCL1
not rated yet Jul 07, 2017
Babyboomers are just about the worst generation in all things so who's surprised to find out they cheat more too?

Well, we DID bring you a rockin Space Program, computers, cell phones, the internet, teflon, velcro, Star Trek (and Star Wars). Not to mention - Rock n Roll....:-)
Would you like it if we just took that all back...?


Ummmm. . . I work for a company that makes parts for cell phones. I am 50 years old (Generation X) and I am just about the oldest person here. Sure, there are a few boomers working here, but not many. Everybody is GenX or Millennial.
EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (1) Jul 07, 2017
MarsBars:
The vast majority of Boomers bought PCs and loved rock & roll - just look at the sales.


Buying ≠ creating. The fact is that PCs and Rock & Roll were created by outcast Boomers who were beat up and otherwise marginalized by the majority of their cohort. PC engineers were "nerds" and rock & rollers were "n-word lovers". They triumphed, but despite their generation rather than because of it. And true to the "Me Generation", the rest claimed the success they'd impeded once the winner was clear.

Though it must be said that the generation had a really wide dynamic range. The best of them totally transcended the worst of them, and took the rest of us with them - often at great sacrifice. But the surviving Boomers are living the "take it with you" creed to the limit, especially with regards climate change and Russia (deeply interconnected - and ironic).

I usually agree with your posts, but not this tirade.


Well, never trust anyone under 55 :).
ddaye
not rated yet Jul 07, 2017
Boomers get credit and blame for things their elders did, and some of their elders are wrongly called boomers. Boomers were in the cradle when the economy of the Greatest Generation decided to start catering to them. And much of the very conservative senior vote is older than boomers, who only began retiring in 2010. Those who were part of the Vietnam war protest years just did or are just now retiring.
Lex Talonis
not rated yet Jul 08, 2017
It's a feminist hater article....

I can tell, my mother is a feminist.

The chick who wrote this is a fanatical, rabid, foaming at the mouth, psychologically unstable, knife wielding, man hating, feminist.
Dingbone
Jul 08, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Dingbone
Jul 08, 2017
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (1) Jul 08, 2017
ddaye:
Boomers were in the cradle when the economy of the Greatest Generation decided to start catering to them.


Huh? Boomers were "in the cradle" for the biggest US economic expansion since its founding, post WWII through the mid-1970s. Boomers deserve some of the blame for the 1970s recessions, especially since they were gung-ho volunteers for Vietnam and bigtime voters for Nixon which underlay those recessions.

And much of the very conservative senior vote is older than boomers, who only began retiring in 2010. Those who were part of the Vietnam war protest years just did or are just now retiring.


Yes, a lot of Conservatives are older than Boomers, but the large majority of Conservatives are Boomers. And only a very few Boomers protested the Vietnam compared to those who volunteered, voted for and ignored it.

Boomers look great on TV, but the reality is what they have left behind after being the main event the last 3/4 century.
EmceeSquared
1 / 5 (1) Jul 08, 2017
Lex Talonis:
It's a feminist hater article....

I can tell, my mother is a feminist.

The chick who wrote this is a fanatical, rabid, foaming at the mouth, psychologically unstable, knife wielding, man hating, feminist.


So predictable that you're a psycho because you hate your mother. Whose basement you live in.
vacuumforce
not rated yet Jul 08, 2017
I dunno. Someone phones me asks me what I eat for breakfast for a survey, I hang up.

But someone asks did you cheat on your spouse, don't worry its an anonymous survey, and 1 in 5 says yes?

Is that a statistic you can trust?
EmceeSquared
not rated yet Jul 08, 2017
vacuumforce:
I dunno. Someone phones me asks me what I eat for breakfast for a survey, I hang up.

But someone asks did you cheat on your spouse, don't worry its an anonymous survey, and 1 in 5 says yes?

Is that a statistic you can trust?


You dunno, but you're not a social science researcher. Yours is a distrust not worthy of trusting.
Lex Talonis
Jul 10, 2017
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