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In general, national surveys conducted in the early 1990s reported that between 15-25% of married Americans reported having extramarital affairs.
Treas and Giesen found that people who had stronger sexual interests, more permissive sexual values, lower subjective satisfaction with their partner, weaker network ties to their partner, and greater sexual opportunities were more likely to be unfaithful.
Strategic pluralism is a theory that focuses on how environmental factors influence mating strategies.
According to this theory, when people live within environments that are demanding and stressful, the need for bi-parental care is greater for increasing the survival of offspring.
Correspondingly, monogamy and commitment are more commonplace.
On the other hand, when people live within environments that encompass little stress and threats to the viability of offspring, the need for serious and committed relations is lowered and therefore promiscuity and infidelity are more common.
One measure of infidelity among couples is the frequency of children secretly conceived with a different partner, leading to "non-paternities".
Such covertly illegitimate children amount to about 1–2% of newborns in studied populations.
The National Health and Social Life Survey found that 4% of married men, 16% of cohabiting men, and 37% of dating men engaged in acts of sexual infidelity compared to 1% of married women, 8% of cohabiting women, and 17% of women in dating relationships.
Studies suggest around 30–40% of unmarried relationships and 18–20% of marriages see at least one incident of sexual infidelity.
Rates of infidelity among women are thought to increase with age.
In terms of infidelity, the theory states that when sex-ratios are high, men are more likely to be promiscuous and engage in sex outside of a committed relationship because the demand for men is higher and so this type of behaviour, which is desired by men, is more accepted.
On the other hand, when sex ratios are low, promiscuity is less common because women are in demand and since they desire monogamy and commitment, in order for men to remain competitive in the pool of mates, they must respond to these desires.