Men and women who have performance anxiety are more likely to cheat, says a new study from researchers at the Kinsey Institute and the University of Guelph.
The reason may be that sexual fumbles are less humiliating when they go down during a one-night stand, versus night in, night out with a long-term partner.
"You don't have to see that person every day," says study co-author Robin Milhausen, a professor and sexuality researcher at Guelph.
The study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour, suggests partners will cheat for a clean slate: "This person doesn't know your history of sexual problems and so it may tempting to have sex with someone who's completely new," Prof. Milhausen said.
The researchers surveyed 506 men and 412 women who had been involved in (purportedly) monogamous sexual relationships lasting between three months and 43 years.
Men who craved risks or found themselves easily aroused by lots of triggers were more likely to stray. With women, it was less about personality and more about the relationship. Those who were unhappy with their partners were twice as likely to cheat; that spiked to three times if a woman believed she and her lover were sexually incompatible.
The sexes didn't diverge significantly on the dalliance scale though: 23 per cent of the men admitted to cheating, with women not far behind at 19 per cent.
The findings come just as CheaterVille.com cast its net on philanderers in Canada this past weekend. The website lets users anonymously accuse exes, friends and just about anyone of infidelity, and post their photo, name, maiden name, location, height, weight and eye colour, among other descriptors.
Cheaterville.com (tagline: "Don't be the last to know") encroaches boldly on the territory of Toronto-based Ashley Madison.com, which now claims more than 10 million unfaithful members.
A sampling, from a Texan post with the honky-tonk title, "broken down train wreck with no heart:" "This woman is lower then a dirt-crawling snake."