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How common is adultery? A look at studies, statistics and surveys

Adultery is a topic that often concerns both couples and individuals in society. It is an act that has the potential to create deep wounds and destroy trust in a relationship. But how common is adultery? Research gives us some indications, but it is important to remember that the figures can vary depending on the study's method and the participants' honesty. Let's take a closer look at what various studies say about the prevalence of adultery.

Studies indicating how common infidelity is:

  1. The Kinsey Report The Kinsey Report is one of the most famous and comprehensive studies on human sexuality, carried out by Alfred Kinsey and his team in the 1940s and 50s. The report shows that around 37% of men and 29% of women admitted to having cheated on their partner.

  2. General Social Survey (GSS) The GSS is a large, nationally representative survey in the United States that has been conducted every two years since 1972. According to the GSS data, approximately 20% of men and 16% of women have cheated on their spouse. However, the proportion admitting to infidelity has been fairly stable over time, even though attitudes towards infidelity have changed.

  3. The European Values Study This European survey shows that approximately 25% of men and 20% of women admit to having cheated on their partner. The figures vary between the countries, but in general a significant proportion of the population has experienced infidelity.

  4. Surveys among students Show that infidelity can be quite widespread in this age group. A study published in the "Archives of Sexual Behavior" found that 31% of college students had cheated on their partner in the past year.

  5. Ashley Madison Ashley Madison conducted a survey of 1,300 people regarding infidelity. 44% of men in the survey admitted to infidelity, and a further 55% admitted to having considered infidelity. Corresponding figures for women were 39% and 35%. The study also showed that 27% of men and 28% of women seek out an acquaintance when they have been unfaithful.

Adultery among very young people occurs more frequently than for people in their 30s and 40s. Women are most often unfaithful in their 60s. Some studies indicate that adultery occurs 40% more often in the over 55 age group, versus those under 55.

How common is adultery in Norway? The Mirror carried out a survey in 2015, which found that Norwegians were in 6th place in adultery. Behind the French who held 5th place.

The Norwegian psychologist, researcher and cohabitation expert Frode Thuen stated a few years ago that infidelity occurs in approximately 70% of all long-term relationships.

It is important to note that the figures from different studies may vary depending on the definition of infidelity, cultural differences, and the honesty of the respondents. When I perform lie detector tests, I very often find people try to redefine adultery they have committed as something other than adultery. Even if they initially agreed on the definition of adultery before the test. In the polygraph test, such lies could have major consequences, while in a survey, such lies would not have any consequences. It is therefore very likely that the proportion who have actually been unfaithful is significantly higher than the figures in these studies indicate.

It is also important to take into account that some studies define infidelity as physical infidelity, while others include both physical infidelity and emotional infidelity (texting, contact with intentions that something physically sexual should or could happen).


Although the numbers vary, several studies show that adultery is a common and widespread problem in society. It is important to remember that trust, communication and openness are the keys to a healthy and happy relationship.

It is very difficult to rebuild trust in a relationship when one suspects the other of infidelity. For many couples, a lie detector test can be what is needed to get everything back on track. The test punctures the crisis of confidence that arises from suspicions of infidelity. In those cases where there are underlying reasons for the infidelity or infidelity suspicions, the lie detector can puncture the crisis of trust, and make it possible to start the process of repairing the relationship.

If you suspect infidelity, it may be a good idea to talk to your partner and possibly seek professional help to get to the bottom of the situation and restore trust.

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