Behavioral Convergence in Extramarital Sex in the United States

Yanyi Djamba , California Department of Public Health
Sitawa R. Kimuna, East Carolina University

Marital infidelity is a serious problem because it can lead to separation, divorce, and even death. Yet, little is known about the changes over time in levels of extramarital sex by race and gender. This study uses data on ever married adults from the General Social Survey to examine the prevalence and factors associated with extramarital sex in the last 25 years. The results show an increase in percent of extramarital sex from 15% in 1991 to 18% in 2016. Previous figures indicate that black men and black women had higher prevalence of extramarital sex, compared to their white counterparts. However, these differences are not significant in 2016, suggesting a convergence of behavior where women are catching up to men and whites to blacks in extramarital sex. We also discuss the significant associations found between extramarital sex, age, and work status under the principle of diminishing returns and opportunity theory.

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 Presented in Session 184. Reproductive Behavior and Sexual Health of Middle and Older Adults