Spouse Cheating on You? Do the Math.

The media has been obsessed with the salacious details of the Anthony Wiener scandal.  For a few writers, however, the story has prompted some sober cultural reflection.

In the New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg wonders why female politicians rarely get caught up in sex scandals.  No solid conclusions but the sense of it: men are stupid and narcissistic and women, especially successful ones, feel as if they have a lot more to prove and, thus, less likely to engage in risky behavior.

For Tracy Clark-Flory, writing in Salon, the Weiner scandal has her “seriously reconsidering whether monogamous marriage is realistic.”  She turned to several studies of marital infidelity in search of the answer.

Clark-Flory is upfront about the flaws in these surveys: how much can we trust data that relies on people answering questions about whether they have cheated on their spouses? But the data, it seems, is still instructive.

Modern surveys, apparently, “estimate the number of people who cheat during a marriage at anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of women and 30 to 60 percent of men.”  The “best educated guess,” comes from a University of Texas study, which puts the infidelity rate at about 50%.