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Middle-aged Women Missing Passion Pick Affairs over Divorce

Update Date: Aug 16, 2014 09:06 AM EDT

Infidelity is a social behavior that researchers have studied for years. These studies have examined what drives people to cheat on their partners. In a new study, researchers set out to understand why middle-aged couples cheat. They found that middle-aged women choose to partake in extra-marital affairs instead of a divorce when they feel like they are lacking passion and sex.

"Being happy in marriage is far different than being happy in bed," said Eric Anderson, a professor of masculinity, sexuality, and sport at the University of Winchester in England and the chief science officer at AshleyMadison.com, a website created for people interested in having extra-marital affairs.

Anderson and his co-workers recruited 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45 who were a part of a heterosexual marriage. The women participated on AshleyMadison.com. The researchers analyzed the conversations that the women had with potential suitors. Overall, 67 percent of the women stated that they wanted to have an affair because their marriage lacked romantic passion, which included sex. When asked how many suitors the women were looking for, those that answered stated one. However, despite going on the website to seek out an affair, none of the women stated that they wanted to leave their husbands.

"Instead, they were adamant that they were not looking for a new husband. Many even stated their overt love for their husbands, painting them in a positive light," Anderson said according to the press release. "Our results reflect not martial disharmony, but the sexual monotony that is a social fact of the nature of long-term monogamous relationships. The most predictable thing about a relationship is that, the longer it progresses, the quality and the frequency of sex between the couple will fade. This is because we get used to and bored of the same body."

The researchers stress the importance of keeping a relationship alive by incorporating both emotional and sexual aspects. Anderson worked with Matthew H. Rafalow, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California-Irvine, and Matthew Ripley, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Southern California. The study's finding was presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

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