Are all men cheaters?

I was talking to a male friend at the weekend about infidelity and he came out with a rather shocking statement.

He said that the only thing that stopped men from cheating on their partners was the possibility of getting caught. He reckoned that if there was a guarantee that the wives and girlfriends would never find out, that ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of men would cheat.

I will say that again just in case you didn’t hear me properly – ONE HUNDRED PERCENT.

Of course he hastily added that he was precluding himself from this figure, (he is married), but actually there isn’t really another group to be in is there? 100% is 100%.

I was shocked, and I said so. “Is there no sense of loyalty?” I asked, possibly naively. “When a man is with a woman he loves isn’t he supposed to lose interest in other women? Or at least not actively pursue them?”

Apparently not. Apparently it’s nature.

“Rubbish,” I argued eloquently, “that’s just a pathetic excuse.”

What made it worse was that this man is a genuine Nice Bloke. He isn’t some kind of terrible womaniser, he’s just normal and nice. Yet here he was stating matter-of-factly that all men are cheaters at heart.

It made me sad. My innocent, romantic self would like to believe that when I finally do meet The One, that he will only have eyes for me, that all other women will pale into insignificance. If not that, then at least that he would have the decency to turn down offers of no strings sex, no matter how sure he was that I would never find out.

Now you may be reading this and thinking ‘it’s probably true to a certain extent, but my husband is different, I’m so lucky’… well let me just skip back a bit for you – ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. I’m not saying they are all doing it, just that apparently they all would be if they knew they could get away with it.

So what do you reckon – is this true?? Please tell me it’s not, it made me so miserable to think it could be.




  1. Anne
    26 July, 2010 / 7:41 pm

    What a sad, cynical view of the world. No, I don’t believe this.

    • 26 July, 2010 / 7:58 pm

      What I think made me sad was that HE didn’t seem sad about it, that it was just seemed to be a given for him.

  2. 26 July, 2010 / 7:47 pm

    On the first edition of Men’s Hour on Radio 5Live, there was a discussion on this. There is a school of scientific thought that genetic factors play a part in the “stay or stray” tendencies. In other words, some men are genetically predisposed to cheating. Of course, social factors play a part too.

    I think the theory that 100% of men would cheat with impunity is a bit pessimistic.

    • 26 July, 2010 / 7:58 pm

      I think Men’s Hour is going to become compulsory listening for all women…

      • 26 July, 2010 / 8:03 pm

        Definitely! When’s it on? I keep hearing about it. You do have to wonder why a station like Radio 5 feels men need their own show, but that’s another post…

    • 26 July, 2010 / 7:58 pm

      Just ‘a bit pessimistic’? What do you reckon then – 95%? I absolutely agree that there are people who are just born more likely to cheat, whereas other people seem to be far more loyal by their very nature.

      • 26 July, 2010 / 8:04 pm

        Is ‘loyal’ what we (men and women) want though? Friends are loyal, as are dogs but partners? Loyalty (I think) suggests a sort of distance that passion could bridge, and that is when some people feel the need to cheat. Of course, some people are just unreliable, unforgiveable and should be made to wear a hat marked ‘cheat’ and sit in a corner but don’t others get caught up in something they never intended?

        • 26 July, 2010 / 8:09 pm

          Absolutely, I’m not wanting to judge everyone who has affairs, I know it’s far more complex than just being ‘a cheat’ or not. I’m all for a bit of passion – it’s rather a weakness of mine as you know – I would just want it ideally to be directed between me and a partner, not a third party!

          What I found sad in this case WAS a lack of passion I think. He seemed so cold about it.

  3. 26 July, 2010 / 7:50 pm

    I’m quite cynical when it comes to things like this, based on past experience and the behaviour of some of my OH’s friends. I’m not sure it would 100% of men, but I’d imagine it’s pretty high. It would be interesting to know what percentage of women would cheat if they knew they would never be found out???

    • 26 July, 2010 / 7:56 pm

      I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that conservative estimates are 60% of men and 40% of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage. That’s not to say women are basically more faithful, just that they often have less opportunity – the figures for women have risen with the number of women in the workplace…

  4. 26 July, 2010 / 7:57 pm

    Interesting point 21stcenturymummy – but I still think the percentage of men would be much higher. Not 100% though – that suggests 100% of men would get another woman to look at them in the first place and there are some shockers out there… Evolutionary principles suggest men are coded to spread the old seed like a dandelion ‘just in case’ and women are basically supposed to stick with the strongest available male. I think we’ve on a bit but how far?!!!

    • 26 July, 2010 / 8:02 pm

      Maybe we haven’t come on that far at all!

  5. 26 July, 2010 / 7:57 pm

    I don’t believe it. 100% might be tempted… but then 100% of women would probably be *tempted*, if faced with their top crush and complete ccertainty that no-one would find out. But people – of both genders – have the ability to resist their urges.

    • 26 July, 2010 / 8:01 pm

      The point he seemed to be making though was that it wasn’t really a case of being ‘tempted’, but that it all came down to the hard fact of whether or not you’d get found out – that men wouldn’t even want to resist.

      Obviously I would drop everything if Colin Firth turned up at the door. Not that I have anyone to drop, but if I did…

  6. 26 July, 2010 / 8:03 pm

    100% ? I doubt the %, but 50% might be more like it. It’s hard to say, it’s not something we talk about (well I don’t with my mates at least).

    To be fair it all depends on the circumstances doesn’t it ? If a man is not “getting it” at home then he’s more likely to stray, but if he’s “getting it” then he’s less likely to. Seems a bit callous and blunt to put it that way, but you know what I mean.

    For the record I can think of more female friends of mine who have cheated than male ones (to my knowledge), make of that what you will.

    • 26 July, 2010 / 8:05 pm

      My friend seemed to be saying though that home situation wouldn’t come into it – if you were offered it on a plate, no strings, you just would.

      You should ask around Steve, see what the consensus is!

  7. Emma
    26 July, 2010 / 8:09 pm

    I imagine your friend isn’t too far from the truth. From working in bars for years and overhearing conversations and seeing what goes on, I think a very high percentage would cheat if there were no come back but I presume this applies to women too!!!! Thankfully there is never likely to be a way of not getting caught so many people will never have an affair!!!

    • 26 July, 2010 / 8:11 pm

      Maybe it’s like any crime – if you knew you could rob a bank and never get caught, you probably would wouldn’t you? Just feels a bit more heartless when there is a person on the other end of it, but I suppose if they never know…

    • ph_jitty
      27 July, 2010 / 12:19 am

      i believe the fact that you’re hearing this in a bar setting plays a factor. my best friend who is male and a lead guitarist has had many woman throw themselves at him and therefore had many opportunities to cheat. it’s simply not an option for some men.

      • 27 July, 2010 / 8:59 am

        Maybe the novelty wears off if you have women throwing themselves at you all the time!

  8. 26 July, 2010 / 8:21 pm

    I think the ones who will ‘cheat’ will cheat regardless of the consequences. There comes a point in everyone’s life when this gets addictive – did Bill Clinton think he was going to get away with it? No but he still did it. Not convinced with 100% though – maybe your friend needs to be more thoughful of his mates – I think there still are some good blokes around. I agree with Emma – even women would do the same…all sins are tempting and never being caught? blissful!!

    • 27 July, 2010 / 8:55 am

      I think you’re right about the addictive element – the thrill of the chase and all that. Maybe it would actually work the other way if people knew they would never get caught – the thrill and the challenge would be gone, so suddenly it wouldn’t seem so appealing!

  9. 26 July, 2010 / 8:33 pm

    Not true. Not true at all. There are two groups of men, those that do or would cheat and those that wouldn’t and don’t.

    • 27 July, 2010 / 8:57 am

      I used to think that, but I’m not so sure anymore – I know people who I really thought were in the ‘would never cheat’ camp, and they have turned out to be cheaters. I guess that was my naivety though, and they were in the other camp all along.

  10. 26 July, 2010 / 8:54 pm

    Maybe not quite 100% but I can imagine the figure being quite high. I don’t have a romantic view of the world. If he’s never going to be found out and temptation is in front of him and back home there’s a missis tired out by children who he’s had an argument with… I can imagine it happening. And I can imagine many women doing it too. Few people are together for life and even fewer are together faithfully for life. Sad really.

    • 27 July, 2010 / 8:58 am

      I wonder how many couples actually ARE completely faithful to each other for life? It must be a tiny tiny percentage.

  11. 26 July, 2010 / 10:45 pm

    I disagree. There are plenty of men who wouldn’t cheat, mostly because they really like the person they are with.

    Your friend sounds like he may not like his wife that much.

    • 27 July, 2010 / 8:58 am

      It does SOUND like that, but I honestly don’t think that’s the case – I think he really does like her, which is why it’s sad.

  12. 27 July, 2010 / 1:57 am

    Ugh I so don’t want to believe this, but I almost feel like it’s a given. My friends and I have sat around having this same conversation MANY times, especially when it comes to celebrities. Even the ones we don’t hear are cheating on their wives, we wonder if when they are on the road (musicians, actors, etc.) do they cheat and just not tell? Is it simply that they are getting away with it, so their image is not tarnished like those of Tiger Woods (who seems to be bouncing back quite nicely I might add!)
    100% is simply staggering, but I do believe it’s the truth! :(

    What about women? Same stats for us ???

    • 27 July, 2010 / 9:00 am

      If you think of all the celebrity cheating stories that get to the papers… that must only be a fraction of what is actually going on, there must be plenty more people getting away with it.

  13. 27 July, 2010 / 6:54 am

    One man cannot making sweeping generalisations and speak for ALL 100% of them!! But I agree, if this is true for men (and who knows maybe it is, but how could something like this ever be tested?!) then the same would most certainly apply to women too.

    Good to hear a grounded comment from a man Socrates.


    • 27 July, 2010 / 9:01 am

      I do hope he was over-generalising – I’m really not sure how he could say 100% but then add ‘but not me of course’!! Either he was lying about himself, or there are plenty of other ‘not me’ men.

  14. 27 July, 2010 / 6:57 am

    I’m with Socrates dude, some will, some won’t. It’s not a formula and you can’t apply a % when it comes to that sort of thing. I shall, of course, be raising as a over dinner topic of conversation tonight and will return if my husband fesses up and it turns out I’m being too romantic.

    • 27 July, 2010 / 9:03 am

      Let us know what he says! I’m guessing it won’t be ‘sure darling, I’d cheat at the drop of a hat!’ :-)

  15. 27 July, 2010 / 7:00 am

    I don’t think the 100% is true or fair.

    I think men do look and appreciate beauty but they are also capable of remaining monogamous. My husband is free to appreciate things he sees but he is the first to say his father told him looking is fine as long as he doesn’t touch.

    I think that most affairs are when emotionally the people are not fulfilled. If your wife doesn’t listen to you, or your husband isn’t understanding and you find that ear by someone else, it may lead to other things.

    I think your friend may want to ask himself whether he is emotionally fulfilled in his relationship, because male or not, I think for him to be able to say something like this means something could use working on.

    • 27 July, 2010 / 9:04 am

      Maybe I will direct him to these comments and give him some food for thought :-)

  16. 27 July, 2010 / 7:15 am

    Hi, it’s shocking isn’t it? I have to weigh in on the side that given the opportunity the majority would take it. Sadly I know this to be true for many of the happily married, nice-guys I know. Why? Because when I was suddenly single almost every single one of the married guys I knew came on to me. Suggesting a quickie or to view his assets, or copping a feel, or coming around late on a Friday night to offer sympathy sex. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve linked to this post from mine today. I’ve written about how a friend felt compellled to give her boyfriend ‘a free pass’ Is this the way of the ‘younger generation’? #boyfriend #cheated #cheating #feminism #fidelity

    • 27 July, 2010 / 9:05 am

      Well that’s interesting, because I can honestly say that when I became single two years ago NONE of my friends boyfriends or husbands hit on me. I don’t know if this says something about them or me though!

  17. 27 July, 2010 / 7:46 am

    Depends on the man. Personally I have never, ever strayed and never will. If you send out signals that ‘you might’ the opposite sex pick up on it, simple as that, and the temptation will be too great. It’s you sending out the signals, not men.

    My reasons for fidelity are: A. that I love my wife too much. B. I don’t have any interest for any other women (see A) and C. I can barely keep one woman happy – how the hell do I manage two? Is it possible? Is it desirable?

    I know it’s all about your reptilian brain and latent DNA and all that bullshit – but come on, we’re a long way from loin cloths and dragging women by the hair to our caves. Using some kind of anthropological social model to explain why you cannot be trusted to remain true to someone you love smells like ‘The Dog Ate It’ excuse (literally in this case).

    • 27 July, 2010 / 9:07 am

      Well with regards then to the whole ‘men not hitting on me when I became single’ thing – I am clearly just sending out the right signals – ‘hit on me and I will absolutely tell my friends and make your life miserable’ :-)

  18. 27 July, 2010 / 10:45 am

    I meant a man sending out the wrong signals…not you. Bloody writing lark is hard innit?

    • 28 July, 2010 / 7:37 pm

      Damn words. So confusing…

      P.S. I showed Bee your serving suggestions post and she thought it was HILARIOUS, so if you noticed you’re being linked to from some kind of random young EMO blog you’ll know why :-)

      • 29 July, 2010 / 8:42 am

        EMO? Showing my age here…methinks. Could she write a guest post for me on yoof terms…

        • 29 July, 2010 / 3:42 pm

          Yes, you are clearly Old and Past It. Whatever IT is. EMO is short for emotional rock, which is basically your modern day goth, but a bit more screamy. (There is such a thing as screamo, which is supposedly music, but is basically young people shouting.) Also nowadays, it involves not eating much and drinking lots of energy drinks until you feel a bit weird.

          I’m sure she would love to guest post for you!

  19. Lucy
    27 July, 2010 / 6:32 pm

    This is interesting as I was recently talking to a psychotherapist who said exactly the same thing. We were discussing why gay couples often have open relationships, and he said, quite matter of fact, that it is only women who prevent men from all living in open relationships, which would be far mroe natural. It’s just that women insist on monogamy. He was also v. matter of fact and shruggy about the whole thing.

    I suspect there is some truth in it to be honest. It’s not that men are bastards, it’s just that they like shagging a great deal.

    • 28 July, 2010 / 7:38 pm

      So it IS a nature thing then maybe? It just seems rather depressing. Unless you’re a gay man of course. Then it would be great.

      • 29 July, 2010 / 4:19 pm

        Not always Jo. I have to have some “attraction” and some “feeling” or I’m not interested. But yes we like it a lot ….

        As for gay men, that’s even worse for “fidelity”, promiscuity is way more common than in heterosexual relationships.

  20. maryfclark
    27 July, 2010 / 7:38 pm

    I think it is probably depressing but true. To say that, like Jessica Rabbit, they aren’t bad, they’re just drawn that way, is to radically over simplify just about everything. There is a certain logic to scattering seeds far and wide…but, equally, there is a logic to sticking close and helping to care for the little plants that spring up. I think it must also have something to do with the shockingly low standard of behaviour that many men are held to; if we have a view of them as cheaters, in a ho hum, they just can’t help themselves kinda way, the incentive to put in the effort that being in a long-term relationship entails isn’t very big.

    • 28 July, 2010 / 7:39 pm

      Well yes, that’s true too – just because there might be a tendancy to stray, doesn’t mean we have to put up with it!

  21. 28 July, 2010 / 1:37 pm

    Hello again Jo. I’ve been pondering this post of yours for a bit (and earlier ones) and sort of come to a conclusion. So, I shall begin, hopefully without too much waffle.

    Ok: guys. Let’s get a couple of things sorted (this is largely opinion from a male perspective, I can’t “prove” any of it):

    1) When it comes to the vast majority of male to female relationships, be they casual sex, romantic or a mix the yes/no element of the relationship mostly comes down to the woman, she’s the one that either says “yes please jump in” or “go boil your head”. Ok, there are other circumstances, with those guys who are “drop dead awesome” and/or have the personality to “pull” but the vast majority of guys don’t fall into this category. So are the guys who aren’t that “into you” the “lucky ones” who have what it takes to take their pick ? Very likely, the vast majority of the rest of men are probably just amazed if someone shows an interest in them anyway.

    I used to have a “circle of friends” who I used to go to the pub with when I was somewhat younger (pre smoking ban days obviously, when pubs were packed of a weekend). I was the oldest one there, average (certainly not any higher than that) looking, employed, hair, teeth etc. Then there was a couple of other “average” guys and 2 “desirable” (not in my eyes but you get the drift) guys. The group also contained 7 to 8 girls. Yes you guessed it the girls always went for the “desirable” guys, never anybody else, and then complained when they got hurt or rejected, so in the time that these guys had 3 or 4 different girlfriends the “average” guys would have been lucky to have 1 girlfriend, and that’s optimistic. So is it any wonder that a guy might well turn down sex ? Considering most of us are just Mr “Average” ….

    2) Marriage isn’t all sunshine, lollipops and roses. It changes, it becomes something else and things can change which most men won’t and can’t find acceptable. Yes, you guessed it: SEX. Like they say there’s nothing quite like wedding cake for decreasing a women’s sexual appetite. I once saw a book about a woman who stayed celibate for a year and how awful it was and so on …. A year ? Heck, I know married guys who haven’t had sex for over 10 YEARS. So, offer them sex and of course many of them will go for it, especially if they don’t think they will get caught.

    3) There’s more women in the populace than men :p

    4) This sums some of this up:


    • 28 July, 2010 / 7:43 pm

      Surely if you are a married man who hasn’t had sex for ten years, the thing to do would be to address the issues at home??

      I know you think that women can basically have their pick of men, but I just don’t buy it. I don’t believe I am always attracted to ‘drop dead awesome’ men, yet I honestly don’t have queues of men at my door, and have certainly not felt in previous relationships that it was entirely me pulling the strings.

      • 28 July, 2010 / 8:57 pm

        It’s probably not as simple as “treat the issue at home”, some issues are untreatable.

  22. 28 July, 2010 / 5:46 pm

    I agree. I think if they knew that they could get away with it they would all be out there sowing their wild oats. Men don’t have the same romance/monogamy complex that women do. Sad but true

    • 28 July, 2010 / 7:45 pm

      Damn it. I want a man with eyes only for me! I’m beginning to think they may be few and far between…

      • 28 July, 2010 / 11:17 pm

        Steve, I think you need to get some anti depressants, get off the internet and maybe go and have a lie down.

    • 29 July, 2010 / 8:36 am

      Yeah and you need to stop making such comments FBI. You don’t know me and I don’t appreciate your comments. This is a “forum” (sort of) for discussion but you can at least be civilised and not make intimations or cast aspersions about my state of mental health.

      • 1 August, 2010 / 9:07 pm

        I am being civilised. With every wounded, whining, spectacularly point-missing post you make you hammer another nail into the coffin of what remains of your dignity and prove once more why you are a bit of a failure.

  23. 29 July, 2010 / 9:32 am

    I am being civilised. You can save yourself time in future by just having a template for your posts containing the following:

    – Life is pain and rejection
    – I don’t like my wife very much
    – I like Gillian Anderson but she took out a restraining order
    – God hates me


    • 29 July, 2010 / 3:40 pm

      Come on now – play nice people. I come on here to get AWAY from the bickering at home :-)

    • 29 July, 2010 / 4:22 pm

      And you can save time by minding your own damn business and stop making aspersions about my personal life. GA has never taken out a restraining order, I’ve never even met her.

      Your comments towards me are offensive. Just because my “views” might be in the minority doesn’t mean I can’t voice them. I’m not insulting anybody though, like you are.

      • 29 July, 2010 / 5:00 pm

        Good God man I wasn’t suggesting anyone had taken out a restraining order against you. It was a joke.

        I’m beginning to understand why you have such a problem with women!

        MASSIVE sense of humour failure.

      • 29 July, 2010 / 5:03 pm

        Oh dear, don’t worry Steve, I’m sure no one actually thinks you have a restraining order against you! I’m sure The FBI are just making a joke – it’s very hard on the internet sometimes to judge tone, but I’m sure no offence was meant.

      • 1 August, 2010 / 8:23 pm

        Steve, you’re so miserable already that I hardly think a bit more offence is going to make your life any more unhappy. Maybe get off the internet, stop complaining and try to be positive? Just a thought.

      • 2 August, 2010 / 10:21 am

        I’m just fine, I’m just not Mr “sunshine and lollipops” like you are, I am a PRAGMATIST. If you wish to be critical then fine, just don;t be offensive about it please.

        For the record I don’t have a problem with women, I just live in a different scenario to you with regards to that. Just because your beliefs/attitudes/perceptions don’t accord with mine doesn’t make you right and me wrong.

  24. 29 July, 2010 / 10:12 am

    OOh this IS an interesting discussion… st the risk of throwing some oil on the fire, how about looking at this from another perspective…

    Q. Why did society first decide that intimacy with anyone other than our significant other was wrong?

    If that 100% stat is true – and I believe it IS, then we are surely setting both our menfolk, and ourselves, up for a fall from the get-go. That romantic view is lovely, but also not very realistic… And we teach that idea to our little girls growing up… who’s ‘cheating’ who here?

    Rather than trying to change men’s behaviour, or seeing their ‘roving eyes’ as some kind of failing of theirs or ours, if we simply remove the ‘faithful man’ expectation from the equation (or ‘woman’ for that matter, tho’ I do think we are better equipped to live a sexually monogamous life), we also remove the notion of betrayal or cheating.

    Just a thought…

    • 29 July, 2010 / 3:46 pm

      Hmmm… very interesting! I’ve often actually thought that would be a really good idea, that I’d love to go into a relationship where we could both just say ‘you know what, it doesn’t matter if we sleep with other people, so long as we are honest, loyal, thoughtful, etc etc etc.’ But it is such a taboo isn’t it? And then probably I’d change my mind and wish I’d never said it :-)

      It is a really good point though about expectations not being well-matched to reality – you are only going to feel cheated on or let down if your expectations aren’t lived up to – take away the expectation and you take away the disappointment.

    • 29 July, 2010 / 4:26 pm

      Infidelity might not be a given “desire” in a relationship here in the UK but in some countries it is not uncommon for infidelity to be somewhat “overlooked”, France for example. Just because we have a “faithful” system here in the UK doesn’t mean other cultures’ perspectives are any less valid than ours. Including polygamy, open relationships and the like.

      If fidelity was so wonderful then why are there so many “swinging” couples ? They are out there, same as open relationships are. I know a couple who are in such a relationship and they actually say being open SAVED their marriage, and honestly seem happier for it. Now I accept this is not for everybody but if it works for some then who are we to criticise ?

      • 30 July, 2010 / 11:22 am

        Yeah, there was some programme on the TV the other week about a man with about 100 kids and dozens of different wives wasn’t there?/ They all seemed quite happy. From what I saw on the trailer at least!

      • 2 August, 2010 / 10:22 am

        100 kids :O 1’s enough thank you, and she’s a never ending challenge to me.

  25. Starr
    23 July, 2011 / 12:34 am

    After 2 marriages and several boyfriends at age 60, I am so sad to say, yes it is true. Not even a promise to God will stop them. I respected 2 ministers and they were unfaithful. I always hoped they were the exceptions and not the rule. They seemed to love their wives and children so much. Their lives were a farce. Men are so good at making you think you are crazy.. Marie Shriver should not be ashamed of trusting someone she loved. It was a flaw in Arnold. Someone told me they do it because they fear death. :(

  26. Gee
    25 November, 2012 / 1:58 am

    Your friend is projecting his own desires into this. Why do you give this individual so much credit. Who is he to speak for every man that ever lived. People who make a blanket statement like this are ignorant. He speaks like someone who thinks that men have a one up on women. And he may seem nice but I get the impression that he’s genuinely arrogant.
    Not all men are obsessed with sex. With some men you may have to compete with their hobby or family member or their obsession with (boats??).

  27. 23 March, 2014 / 9:32 am

    In a word – no. Any man or woman that says all men are cheaters simply acquaint themselves with the wrong men.

  28. 23 May, 2014 / 7:38 pm

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  29. 28 August, 2018 / 12:30 pm

    What a load of bs (sorry) but not only would I 100% not cheat (if I’m ever lucky enough to date again) but know several friends who wouldn’t either, it’s a stupid generalisation , I’ve had a couple of nasty breakups , would be the same as me saying all women are nasty

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