Couples who have a healthy sex life together, stay together.
Not quite: Turns out the quality of your sex life might have zero effect on whether you or your partner cheat, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
For the study, researchers from Florida State University followed 233 newlywed couples, noting their relationship status, satisfaction, and cheating behavior over the course of three years.
And get this: People were more prone to cheat if they were satisfied with the sex in their current relationship (what?!). The explanation: It’s possible that just liking sex a lot might lead someone to cheat, even if they feel good about things in their relationship, researchers said.
Men who had more short-term sexual flings before marriage, or saw their partners as less appealing, were also more likely to be cheaters.
But the study got even more interesting: Researchers also put each couple through a few psychological tests. In one test, researchers recorded how quickly participants looked away from photos of attractive members of the opposite sex.
In another, they analyzed how likely participants were to downplay the attractiveness of a good-looking person.
Being 100 milliseconds faster to break your attention away from a good-looking person decreased the odds of cheating by a whopping 50%.
This is not essentially a behavior people are aware of or can change on their own, though. “These processes are largely spontaneous and effortless, and they may be somewhat shaped by biology and/or early childhood experiences,” Jim McNulty, the lead author of the study, said in a press release.
That being said, if your S.O. seems to make a concerted effort not to check out other people when you’re together, we’d say take that as a good sign.
Of course, the reasons people cheat are pretty complex. Another recent study from earlier this year found that it’s not only about the relationship itself—in fact, it may be more about the cheater feeling insecure, for instance.
Other research shows that married Americans over the age 55 are more likely to cheat.
Being cheated on can rip a hole in your heart, for sure. But if you’re resolute to mend a relationship after your partner strays, you can learn from these women who kept their love intact—and came out happy on the other side.