Infidelity statistics – How common is cheating?

By Benjamin Jorgensen / November 09, 2022

Updated: 11/9-2022

This is by far the most comprehensive mapping of infidelity ever made.

In this dataset we have surveyed and aggregated over 1,920,000 data points from 23,872 respondents. It is by far the largest study of cheating ever made.

Please get in contact to get the full dataset – available for SPSS, Stata, R, & SAS.

You may use material from this report and dataset as long as you refer to this original report. For special requests, the full dataset, or questions, please email lead researcher Benjamin Jorgensen at benjamin@bedbible.com

Reported infedelity from 1960-2021

Through our research we have collected and aggregated data on cheating.

We asked respondents in two ways:

  1. Have you ever cheated on any partner ever?
  2. Have you cheated on your current partner?

% who reported to have cheated on a partner (any partner)

YearOverallMenWomen
19605%7%2%
19619%14%4%
196211%16%6%
196310%15%4%
196410%14%5%
196513%14%11%
196614%21%7%
196714%22%5%
196814%21%7%
196912%18%5%
197012%17%7%
197112%19%5%
197214%21%7%
197314%22%5%
197414%21%7%
197516%24%8%
197616%23%9%
197715%22%8%
197815%22%8%
197917%24%9%
198015%20%9%
198115%23%6%
198216%24%8%
198314%23%5%
198415%23%6%
198518%28%7%
198617%25%9%
198717%25%9%
198816%24%8%
198915%23%6%
199014%20%7%
199115%23%6%
199215%24%6%
199317%23%10%
199415%20%9%
199518%25%10%
199618%27%9%
199717%23%11%
199819%23%14%
199916%17%15%
200017%18%15%
200118%21%14%
200214%21%7%
200315%22%7%
200416%23%8%
200518%27%8%
200620%28%12%
200717%25%9%
200820%29%11%
200919%24%14%
201019%27%11%
201120%27%13%
201222%31%12%
201321%31%11%
201420%27%13%
201514%15%12%
201615%16%14%
201715%15%15%
201818%19%17%
201919%25%12%
202020%28%11%
202121%28%14%

Secondly we asked respondents in each year if they have cheated on their current partner.

% who reported to have cheated on their partner (current partner)

YearOverallMenWomen
19606%8%4%
19616%7%5%
19628%8%7%
19636%7%5%
19648%8%7%
196511%16%6%
196610%15%4%
196710%14%5%
196813%14%11%
196912%14%9%
197010%15%5%
197111%14%7%
197212%18%5%
197312%17%7%
197412%19%5%
197514%21%7%
197614%22%5%
197714%21%7%
197816%24%8%
197916%23%9%
198015%22%8%
198115%22%8%
198215%24%6%
198315%23%7%
198415%25%5%
198515%22%8%
198616%24%8%
198715%23%6%
198816%25%7%
198913%21%5%
199014%22%5%
199115%21%8%
199215%22%8%
199315%23%6%
199415%23%6%
199514%24%4%
199614%23%5%
199713%20%6%
199812%19%4%
199915%21%8%
200014%19%8%
200113%20%6%
200213%19%7%
200311%17%5%
200411%16%6%
200510%16%4%
200610%15%5%
200711%16%6%
200810%15%4%
200910%14%5%
201014%21%6%
201112%19%4%
201213%20%5%
201313%19%6%
201411%17%4%
201511%17%5%
201611%16%6%
201710%16%4%
201810%15%5%
201911%16%6%
202010%15%4%
202110%14%5%

Infidelity based on age and gender

As already indicated in the first two data table diplayed above we have included demographic data on things such as age and gender. The tabulated data can be found in the below table (2021 data). It was not possible to collect data on respondents over 80 years old without making data collection unreasonably expensive.

AgeOverallMenWomen
183%4%1%
193%4%2%
205%5%4%
215%6%3%
226%8%4%
236%7%5%
246%8%4%
256%7%5%
268%8%7%
278%9%6%
288%9%6%
298%9%7%
309%9%8%
3110%10%9%
3210%11%8%
3311%13%9%
3412%14%10%
3512%13%11%
3612%14%9%
3714%15%12%
3813%14%11%
3913%15%11%
4013%16%10%
4114%17%11%
4215%19%11%
4314%17%10%
4415%18%11%
4514%17%10%
4616%19%12%
4717%21%13%
4817%22%11%
4917%21%12%
5017%22%11%
5118%23%13%
5218%23%13%
5318%24%12%
5417%23%11%
5517%22%11%
5617%21%12%
5718%23%13%
5820%25%14%
5919%23%14%
6018%22%13%
6118%24%12%
6217%23%11%
6318%25%10%
6418%24%11%
6516%21%10%
6616%23%8%
6714%20%8%
6814%19%9%
6915%21%8%
7014%19%8%
7113%20%6%
7213%19%7%
7311%17%5%
7411%16%6%
7510%16%4%
7610%15%5%
7711%16%6%
7810%15%4%
7910%14%5%
809%13%5%

How common is admitting to cheating?

Diving into the aftermath of infidelity, one of the things that we took a look at was how common it was for the cheating to stay a secret in the relationship, or become known for the partner.

Overall|GuiltPartner had a right to knowCaught by partnerFeared STD
No admission49.8%|
Admission50.2%|41%32%17%10%

Additionally we asked the group of 50.2% how long time passed before the infidelity became known to their partner.

How long time passed before the cheating became known to your partner?

Time% who answered in this group
<1 week47.7%
<1 month26.6%
+6 months25.7%

Lastly we asked them to answer, what happened after they told their partner about the infidelity.

If you cheated on a partner and admitted it, what happened? (past partners also count)

What happened?% who answered in this group
Broke up immediately54.5%
Tried staying together, but are broken up now30%
Still together15.6%

How do couples handle infidelity?

The following tabulation should not be taken as a strictly causation study nor evidence. The below tabulation simply show a statistical correlation between the response of the partner too becomming aware of cheating, and the result on the relationship status. It does not mean that mimicking the responses will have an effect on your relationship.

Response to infidelityNot togetherStill together
Let their partners look through their phones 55.7%45.6%
Avoid certain friends 48.5%38.1%
Limitations on going out 43.3%23.1%
Let their partner access their social media 39.2%25.3%
End the affair 30.9%20.1%
Withhold sex 28.9%25.3%
Only communicate with the opposite sex with permission 27.8%7.2%
Get tested for STDs 23.7%33.2%
Limit alcohol intake 19.6%4.9%
Respondents could choose multiple responses.

Cheating per country

In the following we were able to gather data on 50 countries. Tme, economic, or simply access possibilities were contraints that prevented data on more countries from being gathered.

RankCountryOverall
#1Thailand51%
#2Denmark46%
#3Germany45%
#4Italy45%
#5France43%
#6Norway41%
#7Belgium40%
#8Spain39%
#9Finland36%
#10United Kingdom36%
#11Canada36%
#12Greece36%
#13Luxembourg36%
#14Austria35%
#15Brazil35%
#16Iceland35%
#17Netherlands35%
#18Portugal35%
#19Sweden35%
#20United States35%
#21Argentina34%
#22Australia34%
#23Bahamas34%
#24Croatia34%
#25Cyprus34%
#26Latvia34%
#27Liechtenstein34%
#28Mexico34%
#29Panama34%
#30Slovakia34%
#31Estonia33%
#32Ireland33%
#33Czech Republic31%
#34Hungary31%
#35New Zealand31%
#36Monaco29%
#37Costa Rica28%
#38Lithuania27%
#39Malta27%
#40Switzerland25%
#41Chile22%
#42Barbados21%
#43Antigua and Barbuda16%
#44Poland16%
#45Andorra15%
#46Trinidad and Tobago13%
#47Saint Kitts and Nevis12%
#48Slovenia11%
#49Uruguay10%
#50Vatican City3%

Europe versus The United states on: “What do you consider cheating?”

To explore the subject of what infidelity and cheating actually means to people we have also tabulated the data on this aspect. In this way it is possible to find regional or country specific differences.

Here, most notiably we tabulated all european countries in our dataset against all US-based respondents. Additionally we included gender in the tabulation and asked respondents to answer what they would consider cheating.

US, AllUS, MenUS, Women|Europe, AllEurope, MenEurope, Women
Vaginal intercourse98%97%99%|84%81%86%
Oral intercourse98%97%98%|81%78%84%
Anal intercourse96%95%98%|79%76%82%
Kissing84%81%86%|73%67%78%
Heavy petting81%75%86%|67%62%72%
Spooning67%63%71%|40%35%44%
Cuddling65%63%68%|37%30%43%
Getting close emotionally62%53%71%|40%32%47%
Sleeping in the same bed57%51%62%|39%35%42%
Holding hands50%47%53%|29%25%33%
Going out as friends37%29%44%|20%17%23%

How did you meet the person you cheated with?

The last aspect of the dataset has to do with how the cheating part actually met and engaged in the cheating.

We tabulated this data solely on gender for the below example:

How did you meet?All|WomenMen
Friend36.8%|40.6%32.9%
Work31.0%|33.3%28.6%
Other19.7%|17.5%21.8%
Bar16.0%|12.4%19.5%
Social media7.2%|7.1%7.3%
Dating service9.8%|4.7%14.9%
Vacation or business trip5.6%|4.2%6.9%
School0.5%|0.7%0.3%
Cheating-specific dating service1.6%|0.2%3.0%