Depending on the context, men and women can experience social consequences if their act of infidelity becomes public.The form and extent of these consequences are often dependent on the gender of the unfaithful person.One measure of infidelity among couples is the frequency of children secretly conceived with a different partner, leading to "non-paternities".Such covertly illegitimate children amount to about 1–2% of newborns in studied populations.In general, national surveys conducted in the early 1990s reported that between 15–25% of married Americans reported having extramarital affairs.People who had stronger sexual interests, more permissive sexual values, lower subjective satisfaction with their partner, weaker network ties to their partner, and greater sexual opportunities were more likely to be unfaithful.Correspondingly, monogamy and commitment are more commonplace.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.
In addition, recent research finds that differences in gender may possibly be explained by other mechanisms including power and sensations seeking.
In marital relationships, exclusivity expectations are commonly assumed, although they are not always met.
When they are not met, research has found that psychological damage can occur, including feelings of rage and betrayal, lowering of sexual and personal confidence, and damage to self-image.
Strategic pluralism is a theory that focuses on how environmental factors influence mating strategies.
According to this theory, when people live within environments that are demanding and stressful, the need for bi-parental care is greater for increasing the survival of offspring.