“The aura of the theocratic death penalty for adultery still clings to America, even outside New England, and multiple divorces, which looks to the European like serial polygamy, is the moral solution to the problem of the itch.”—Anthony Burgess

That adultery is a sin often comes as a surprise to many Christians who although carrying the title know little about the Bible or its teachings on the subject. A survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago showed that 90% of the men and 94% of the women surveyed felt that extramarital sex was wrong. However, out of that same group 25%-37% of the men and 17% of the women had been unfaithful.[1] Obviously, there is a double standard in place or—blinders. To add more fuel to the morality fire an Associated Press survey showed that 22% of married men and 14% of married women have strayed at least once during their marriage. The poll also showed there is no appreciable difference in infidelity rates between women or men. Still, 90% of Americans believe that adultery is morally wrong.

Yet, the subject of adultery barely crosses the lips of the clergy who now ignore adult behavior of this type and maybe with good reason. A survey of Southern Baptist pastors by the Journal of Pastoral Care said that 14% of the pastors surveyed admitted to engaging in inappropriate sexual behavior. Nearly 50%-70% of the same pastors said they had counseled at least one woman who had intercourse with another minister.[2],[3] According to Newsweek Magazine, "Various surveys suggest that as many as 30% of male Protestant ministers have had sexual relationships with women other than their wives."

A survey of nearly 1,000 Protestant clergy by Leadership magazine found that 12% admitted to sexual intercourse outside marriage. Seventeen percent of the affairs occurred with people they were counseling, and 52% involved members, ministers or other leaders of their own congregation. An additional 18% disclosed that they had kissed, fondled or masturbated with someone other than their spouse. When asked what consequences they had suffered nearly a third reported no adverse outcomes.[4]

Three Protestant churches recently addressed issues involving sexual standards for their clergy. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church debated an amendment to its constitution, which required all church officials to be faithful in marriage and chaste if single, but so many congregations threatened to ignore the decree that delegates voted to drop the chastity requirement.[5] Recent studies reveal that 45-55% of married women and 50-60% of married men engage in extramarital sex at some time or another during their relationship.[6]

"In all walks of life, charismatic figures exude a powerful attraction to the opposite sex. Charismatic clergy have the added aura of representing God or channeling the Holy Spirit. That is why Billy Graham, for example, decided early in his ministry never to be alone with a woman other than his wife. Few others are so meticulous. A generation ago, philandering clergy usually lost their jobs. That still happens. In an age when tolerance for adultery seeps into politics and race relations, denominations are hesitant to set too high a standard for their own. What some Protestant denominations believe is that sexual behavior is either too personal to legislate or too trivial to condemn."[7]

Because of the secrecy involved, it is tough to get a handle on how many Americans have affairs. Estimates range from as low as 14% to as high as 70%. According to therapist and author, Peggy Vaughn, about 60% of men and 40% of women will have an affair at some point in their marriage. USA Today published a national study by the University of California, San Francisco showing that about 24% of men and 14% of women have had sex outside their marriages. Affairs affect one of every 2.7 couples, according to counselor Janis Abrahms Spring, author of After the Affair.

One study claims that 70% of married women and 54% of married men did not know of their spouses' extramarital activity. [8] Another study found that 2/3 of the wives whose husbands cheated had no idea of their infidelity because they failed to recognize the telltale signs. Experts say that a gut instinct is the most powerful indicator of a cheating lover. Adultery statistics state that 85% of woman who feel their lover is cheating are correct. Nearly 50% of men who feel their lover is cheating are right. The first clue is seldom obvious. Typically, it is a "feeling" that something is different.[9]

One clear element in the cheating game is that women are the victims more often than men as 80 to 85% of adultery victims are women between the ages of 25 and 50 years old. Interestingly, 10 to 20% of spousal cheating begins as an Internet affair in a chat room or game website.[10] The Internet is becoming a breeding ground for adultery, or at least experts who track the patterns of extramarital affairs say so. Another interesting statistic is rarely do people have one online affair. Over 90% of those involved in cyber affairs become addicted to them and continue them dropping one person for the next as soon as the drama and excitement wear down. Approximately 70% of time on-line activities stay confined to chat rooms or sending email; of these, the vast majorities are romantic in nature. Dr. Michael Adamse, PhD., co-author of Affairs of the Net: The Cybershrinks' Guide to Online Relationships[11]

In fact, the rate of cheating has stayed consistent, according to research expert Tom W. Smith, director of the General Social Survey for the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Smith conducted the highly respected study “American Sexual Behavior,” a poll of 10,000 people over two decades. The study found that 22% of married men and 15% of married women have cheated at least once—similar to the results from the MSNBC.com/iVillage survey. Still, much of this depends on your definition of cheating. Nearly everybody considers sexual intercourse or oral sex to be cheating, but there are some other behaviors that fall into grayer areas.

Only 35% of unions survive an extramarital affair while 65% of marriages break up because of adultery. Studies also found that men are less forgiving of affairs than women. When a woman has a physical affair, she is risking her marriage more than a man who has a physical affair. Women are more forgiving.


[1] National Opinion Research Center, http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/

[2] Probe Ministries, Adultery in the Church, November 14,1998, http://www.probe.org/docs/c-adultery2.html

[3] Models Of Flock Disappointment From American Church History: Parallels With The Duping Of The Y2K Flocks, Americanwasteland.com, January 5, 2000, D. Marty Lasley, http://www.americanwasteland.com/y2kmodels.html

[4] Kenneth L. Woodward, Sex, Morality And The Protestant Minister, What Sexual Standards Should The Clergy Obey?, NEWSWEEK, July 28, 1997, http://www.newsweek.com/id/97987

[5] Sex, Morality And The Protestant Minister, Newsweek Magazine, Kenneth L. Woodward, July 28, 1997, http://www.newsweek.com/1997/07/27/sex-morality-and-the-protestant-...

[6] The New Affair Treatment Considerations, Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, Joan D. Atwooda and Limor Schwartz, 2002

[8] Religious Tolerance.Org, Religious Beliefs in the United States, General religious beliefs, http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_poll.htm

[9] The Truth About Infidelity, Who potentially commits infidelity?: Anyone!, http://www.infidelity-help.us.com/

[10] Mitchell Files Case History, Statistics on Cheating Spouses, 2001, http://shop.store.yahoo.com/eaglesnestpub/statoncheats.html

[11] Affairs of the net: The cybershrink's guide to online relationships, Michael Adamse, Health Communications, 2000

Views: 432


You need to be a member of Atheist Nexus to add comments!

Join Atheist Nexus

Comment by BenGee on August 20, 2017 at 3:54pm


Humans are capable of monogamy. I am one of them. I'm looking for the same thing you are in a partner, and haven't had much success yet. But they are out there. Such people are few and far between though.

Comment by Idaho Spud on August 20, 2017 at 3:17pm

Finding a partner is not easy.  Glad to hear you're not giving-up Laila.

Fidelity seems to be unusual, but I was one of the unusual ones, as were my parents.

Married adultery may or may not be wrong, depending on circumstances, but it's certainly not a sin because there are no gods to make it such.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 18, 2017 at 9:30pm
BenGee--No one should ever make a judgement about things you don't understand. I don't understand autism other than clinical definitions but I have idea of a person l effect. I know no one with autism. And, I'd have no way to know if I did. Nevertheless, doing wrong and knowing doing it us almost unforgivable although I've forgiven when I have been seriously wronged. I think it is my safety valve.
Comment by BenGee on August 18, 2017 at 6:34pm

I'm generally not an asshole to anyone unless someone gives me a damn good reason to be. Even then I give people plenty of chances to hear what I'm actually saying as opposed to what they imagine me to be saying.

You know how it is, people tend to hear what they want to hear, rather than listen to what you're saying. I'll admit I don't have a lot of patience for that bullshit. If they keep insisting I'm saying things I'm not, I'll be an asshole to them. However I don't let my emotions control me, I'll be civil when they earn it. No matter how much I fight with someone if they pull their heads out of their ass and deal with reality and me instead of their imaginary versions of me I'll be polite to them. Such an easy thing to do, yet people sure struggle with it.

I often sound more angry ect than I really am. I've been told this is because I'm Autistic or something, no real clue, don't really care either since adults can't be diagnosed with Autism. Though I admit people never seem to understand my emotional state, and I often make errors understanding their emotions and thoughts as well. Either way, I don't think worrying about relationships is a big deal anymore. It's clear I'm not human enough to be accepted by people.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 18, 2017 at 11:30am

Roland--I don't know how many times I coveted my neighbor's wife's ass because she had a lovely one, but the HG, J and G don't have a restraining order at my house.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 18, 2017 at 11:29am

BenGee--I once attended Catholic school and they made it seem as if God, Jesus and th Holy Ghost were always looking over ypour shoulder like the FBI. For a second-grader, it was most uncomfortable but by the4thg grade I had put most of that crap mout of my head. If Jesus was in the mind reading business he would have been busy on just on me because all I did was think about girls and you know the rest of the story. Some of my classmates never recovered and still live in fear even though they do what the rest of the world considers normal or at least inevitable. I've been married three times. This last time for 34 years. However, I suffered some of the same issues you faced. I'm a straight forward guy. If you're tired of me, tell me and get the hell out or give the option to leave. Now, I must admit to being an asshole in those divorces by bringing in what they call "co-respondents" which are people that may have had something to do with the breakup. It was mean but I am that way. I think I helped destroy another marriage by doing that and I thought to myself,  "that's the way it goes sometimes."

Comment by Roland Johnson on August 18, 2017 at 10:36am

Well thought-crimes shouldn't be crimes; but they most decidedly are in the Abrahamic religions. Their prohibition against coveting one's neighbor's ass is definitively a thought-crime. According to Mosaic law, you will be punished for eternity for having thoughts that Yahweh put there!

Comment by BenGee on August 17, 2017 at 11:02pm

Again Donald. You thinking about fucking someone you're not married to, is decidedly NOT adultery dude.

Seriously man, there's no thought police here. Those kinda ideas are fucking sick, I can prove to you definitively that you can't control what thoughts pop into your head. All you can choose is what you do with them after, and what happens in your head stays in your head. Just like in Vegas. No one has the fucking right to judge you for your thoughts. And they sure as hell would be in trouble if they got judged for theirs. 

Comment by BenGee on August 17, 2017 at 11:00pm


After my divorce I really wasn't sure what to do. I experimented with many things in an attempt to figure out what the fuck to do ya? I mean.... the likelihood that in a relationship my partner is going to fuck other people is astronomically high. I'd have better luck winning the lottery than finding someone worth having a relationship with. So I tried different things to.... increase the odds. Having an open relationship in theory would eliminate the need to hide fucking other people. In practice it's a load of horse shit. Some people can and do successful live that lifestyle, but hell some people can and do have successful marriages. The rest of us are just fucked no matter which way you cut it.

I respect myself and the person I love too much to go fucking around on them like that. Apparently I'm rare though because of that.

As for letting people use and abuse you, you have limited control over that. You can choose your actions you can't choose theirs. I was married and quite happy for almost a decade before she fucked around. You expect me to be able to divine the future? I mean my options are to take the safe route and not have relationships of any kind, certainly no close relationships, or risk betrayal. Those are the only two options you have as well. Both choices carry benefits and risks.

Comment by BenGee on August 17, 2017 at 10:53pm

Wait..... Donald..... Thought crimes are not.... bad. You're beating yourself up because you've had sexy thoughts towards women that aren't your wife?

Fuck man, you'll never win that battle. You can't control every thought that pops into your head. I just people based on what they do with those thoughts. If you're that unhappy with your wife don't you owe it to her to tell her? To say hey this isn't working so you both can move on?

There was no scene with my divorce. Leading up to it, my ex did some pretty shitty things, she'd get mad yell screen throw things. She did that shit while screwing around. It seemed the thing that made her most upset is that I rarely express any strong emotions. When she was flying off the handle I was calm and trying to reason with her, the more outrageous she became the more calm I became. This has far more to do with my growing up with a former marine corps bully with PTSD and a drinking problem.... but that's neither here nor there. The actual divorce though was... physically easy, emotionally a fucking nightmare.

Dude, I tell you what though. If my ex had told me she intended to leave for someone else, instead of just fucking them. I would have respected her a hell of a lot more for that.

© 2018   Atheist Nexus. All rights reserved. Admin: The Nexus Group.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service