A Therapist Discusses 3 Reasons Why Women Cheat, And How To Prevent It

Here’s how to narrow the gap between infidelity and loyalty in your relationship.

By Jourdan Travers, LCSW | April 18, 2023

Recent studies show that the infidelity gender gap is narrowing. For instance, an article published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour found no significant gender differences in the amount of self-reported infidelity – approximately 20% of men and women indicated that they had cheated in their current relationship.

Here are three reasons why women cheat and what can be done to prevent it.

#1. Emotional undernourishment

A study published in Trends In Psychology suggests that while men cheat primarily because of sexual reasons, one of the key reasons why women cheat has to do with filling an emotional void.

The quest to fulfill basic needs such as the need for communication, empathy, respect, devotion, and support, can lead women to find a 'safe haven' in emotional cheating. Emotional dissatisfaction hurts just as much as sexual dissatisfaction.

Beyond the widely known ingredients for a happy relationship – like showing your partner basic respect, being supportive of one another, and repairing ruptures quickly – research suggests that shared meditation can be an effective tool against infidelity.

A study published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that meditating in tandem with your partner can increase feelings of closeness and a willingness to disclose intimate details over time.

For a head start, try sitting face-to-face and setting a timer. Close your eyes and meditate in silence or using guided practices. Once you are done, take turns sharing your meditation experience with each other. Remember, being truly intimate is to be present in your relationship.

#2. Sexual inconsistency

Sex holds as much importance for women as it does for men. Thus, lacking sexual 'thrill' that might have been the norm early in your relationship can intrigue women to search for it elsewhere.

One way to make your sex life more pleasurable and meaningful is to practice sexual mindfulness. A recent study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy describes how the principles of awareness, curiosity, and presence of mind, when incorporated into your sex life, work wonders for couples who might perceive their spark to be fading.

According to the authors of the study, here is how you can practice sexual mindfulness with ease:

  • Let go of self-judgment and recognize that your partner is attracted to more than just your body. They love your sense of humor, your ideas, and your emotions.
  • Talk about your insecurities and make a plan together to try to eliminate these distractions. Apart from pleasure, emotional intimacy is the ultimate goal of sex.
  • To practice sex mindfully and savor the pleasurable moments, ask questions like: "How does my partner smell or taste?", "What is the temperature and texture of their skin?", "What does their voice sound like?", "How do I feel when I am touched?", "What thoughts arise in me when I am in my partner's embrace?"

#3. Unequal division of labor

A recent study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that an unequal division of household labor can explain low sexual desire in women.

As a man, a unique way to reignite excitement for your wife is to be open to making changes that help your partner feel more supported in the house. Communication is essential in relationships. Let your partner know that you'd like to explore ways to lighten their load around the house.

Finally, take action. By showing that you'd like to make chores a team effort, instead of making your wife or girlfriend the (unpaid) project manager of the household, you'll likely find that every aspect of your relationship improves, even your sex life.