How common is adultery?

In the Economist a few weeks ago there was a review of a book about different nation’s notions about adultery.   According to the book the country with the highest percentage of males committing adultery is Togo (37%) and the two countries with the least adulterous males are Australia (2.5%) and Switzerland (3%).

In the study, the percentage of men are those who are married and who have cheated on their spouse in the last 12 months.   It was determined through extensive surveying and might be flawed.   

The numbers seem scary.   Take Australia, the "best" nation with only 2.5% of men committing adultery in the last 12 months.   Is it me, or does 2.5% seem alarming?   Imagine, in the very best place for fidelity in world, 1 in 40 men still cheat every year!  Really unbelievable.   I would hope it would be more like 1 in 200.   am I just naive?   

6 thoughts on “How common is adultery?

  1. Gen

    Adultery is tied to Christianity (or Western monotheisms if we want to be more particular.) In nations without a dominance of Christianity, there’s less of a stigma attached to adultery.

  2. Graham

    You are probably unconsciously multiplying 2.5 x 40 and imagining every man is almost certain to stray in any 40 year relationship. The more interesting question is how many will stray in a lifetime. The 2.5 % may contain a lot of serial adulterers, adulterers in doomed or even separated marriages, and even ‘faithful’ adulterers (in loving relationships extending over years – I’d rather the latter keeping the figures high than promiscuous adultery being v common)

  3. Tony

    Crap. It’s got nothing to do with Christianity and all to do with loyalty and an agreement to be faithful to one another, irrespective of one’s religious beliefs. If there was nothing wrong with it, why then do so many people cheat on their spouses without informing them. One should expect loyalty from a spouse. Adultery is the lowest form of betrayal


    do you know of a religion that legalizes adultery ??
    yes , they just call it polygammy and it is justified by God himself
    like it ????????

  5. Jen

    Gen i totally agree with you, it is the lowest form of betrayal, a betrayal left with scars for a lifetime.

  6. laurie

    polygamy is not adultery, you are confusing yourself. plural marriage partners agree to be faithful to each other. a polygamist who cheats with another partner becomes an adulterer. God allowed it in the old testament as a concession to men’s behavior. He does not create robots, men come up with their own ideas of how to behave.


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