On the other hand, when people live within environments that encompass little stress and threats to the viability of offspring, the need for serious and committed relations is lowered, and therefore promiscuity and infidelity are more common.
Sex-ratio theory is a theory that explains the relationship and sexual dynamics within different areas of the world based on the ratio of the number of marriage-aged men to marriage-aged women.
Rates of infidelity among women are thought to increase with age.
In one study, rates were higher in more recent marriages, compared with previous generations; men were found to be only "somewhat" more likely than women to engage in infidelity, with rates for both sexes becoming increasingly similar.
A survey conducted in 1990 found 2.2% of married participants reported having more than one partner during the past year.
In general, national surveys conducted in the early 1990s reported that between 15–25% of married Americans reported having extramarital affairs.
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For example, one study conducted by the University of Washington, Seattle found slightly, or significantly higher rates of infidelity for populations under 35, or older than 60.
In that study which involved 19,065 people during a 15-year period, rates of infidelity among men were found to have risen from 20 to 28%, and rates for women, 5% to 15%.
Another study found that the likelihood for women to be involved in infidelity reached a peak in the seventh year of their marriage and then declined afterwards; whereas for married men, the longer they were in relationships, the less likely they were to engage in infidelity, except for the eighteenth year of marriage, at which point the chance that men will engage in infidelity increases.
One measure of infidelity is covert illegitimacy, a situation which arises when someone who is presumed to be a child's father (or mother) is in fact not the biological parent.