Female sexuality differs from male sexuality in important respects. Traditionally, it has been thought that women are naturally more monogamous than men. Nevertheless, female infidelity is a phenomenon that has been recorded for thousands of years. When women cheat, they sometimes do so for reasons that are different from the reasons that men usually cheat.
The Boredom Factor
In many cases, women whose marriages seem happy and whose lives look idyllic on the outside feel bored, powerless and trapped, according to clinical psychologist Frances Cohen Praver in the article "Why Women Have Secret Lovers, " which appeared in the July 6, 2009 issue of "Psychology Today." This is particularly likely to happen to a woman if her husband is focused on his career, Praver says. Such women may choose infidelity for the excitement it involves and the break in routine.
Quality vs. Quantity
Praver asserts that sex with an extramarital partner is not as good as the sex an unfaithful woman once enjoyed with her husband, although it may be better than the sex she is experiencing at the time the affair occurs. According to Praver, women are more likely to be sexually dissatisfied with the quantity of sex with their husbands, rather than the quality.
Loss of Sexual Attractiveness
Psychologist David J. Ley, in the article "Why Do Women Stray?," which appeared in the July 28, 2010 issue of "Psychology Today," asserts that women often cheat in order to reassure themselves that they are still sexually attractive to strangers. In many cases this need is not the result of any lack of attention from their husbands--some women take their husbands' admiration for granted and seek out new "conquests." In other cases, the inevitable loss of infatuation that occurs as a long-term sexual relationship progresses drives women to seek out the thrill of a new admirer.
Ley refers to research indicating that women who are married to men who are genetically similar to them in certain ways are vulnerable, during their ovulation period, to the temptation to cheat with partners who are genetically different. Mating with a genetically different partner is thought to have survival value because it increases the genetic diversity of any child born as a result of such a tryst.
David Ley, in the article "Why Are Women Cheating More?," which appeared in the May 19, 2010 issue of "Psychology Today," says that female marital infidelity appears to be in the midst of a progressive increase. Nearly half of all married women are expected to cheat at some point during their lifetime, according to Ley. This increase may simply reflect the increased social acceptance of infidelity in recent decades, which encourages more women to admit to cheating. A 2010 survey conducted by AARP indicates that only 22 percent of respondents believed that "non-marital sex" was wrong.