In one study by Blow, rates were higher in more recent marriages, compared with previous generations.
A study by Liu found that the likelihood for women to be involved in infidelity reached a peak in the seventh year of their marriage and then declined afterwards; whereas for married men, the longer they are in relationships the less likely they are to engage in infidelity, except for the eighteenth year of marriage, at which point the chance that men will engage in infidelity increases.
These differences have been generally thought due to evolutionary pressures that motivate men towards sexual opportunity and women towards commitment to one partner.
In addition, recent research finds that differences in gender may possibly be explained by other mechanisms including power and sensations seeking.
One measure of infidelity is covert illegitimacy, a situation which arises when someone who is presumed to be a child's father (or mother) is in fact not the biological father (or mother).
Frequencies as high as 30% are sometimes assumed in the media, but research Such studies show that covert illegitimacy is in fact less than 10% among the sampled African populations, less than 5% among the sampled Native American and Polynesian populations, less than 2% of the sampled Middle Eastern population, and generally 1–2% among European samples.
It is more common for men compared to women to engage in extradyadic relationships.
A survey conducted in 1990 found 2.2% of married participants reported having more than one partner during the past year.
According to The New York Times, the most consistent data on infidelity comes from the University of Chicago's General Social Survey (GSS).
Interviews with people in non-monogamous relationships since 1972 by the GSS have shown that approximately 12% of men and 7% of women admit to having had an extramarital relationship.
Sex ratio theory is a theory that explains the relationship and sexual dynamics within different areas of the world based on the ratio of the number of marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women.
According to this theory, an area has a high sex ratio when there is a higher number of marriage-aged women to marriage-aged men and an area has a low sex ratio when there is more marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women.