“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

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Comment by kathy: ky on August 21, 2017 at 11:28pm
Don't pay any attention to me. Some days are better than others. Reminds me of something I heard. We don't always get what we deserve and we don't always deserve what we get.
Comment by kathy: ky on August 21, 2017 at 11:22pm
Laila, I've experienced many different kinds of love. But I've never been looking when I found it. I'm honest, open, and have never cheated on a partner but I've left many. Most just played out and we went our separate ways. I've always thought felt I am better suited to be single for the very reason I'll probably find myself in that position again soon. In the end we all die alone. After thirty years with the same man he has terminal liver cancer. I'm mad and afraid. Our lives are so intertwined I don't know how to be alone again. I know I'll learn but it pisses me off. Not at my husband. Just at life in general. I don't think I agree with the loved and lost line. Maybe I will when I'm in a better frame of mind.
Comment by Jonathan Simeone on August 21, 2017 at 11:05pm


I agree with everything you said here. Every relationship that didn't leave us with what we want was still important because of the learning it gave us the chance to do. Without those experiences, we wouldn't be as clear about what we want. Nor would we appreciate true love as much when it happens. Actually, I don't think we could find true love without having first experienced sadness.

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 21, 2017 at 9:53pm
Johnathan--I agree with everything you said and more. However, I am also very aware of human nature. By that I mean that while I hope nothing goes wrong sometime they do. What is important then is what your next steps will be. Do you choose to dance with the devil you know or the devil you don't. There are no guarantees although I wish there were. My answer has always been to do my part and never leave any stone unturned. Some time, love stinks!
Comment by Jonathan Simeone on August 21, 2017 at 9:37pm

Personally, I will not settle for anything less than honesty and monogamy. While I know those traits are hard to find, I firmly believe they are absolutely essential to the kind of loving, supportive relationship I want. 

Part of the reason I'm still single is that I have these kinds of standards. I want to know in my head and feel in my heart that my partner is able and willing to commit herself to me with the compassion and strength I am more than ready to offer her. 

Obviously, none of us is perfect. I cannot promise perfection. I cannot ask for perfection. But I hardly think expecting my partner to be faithful is requiring perfection. Once adultery occurs, trust is forever lost. Once trust has been forever lost, the love will never be the same. 

Call me crazy, but I want that idealistic, romantic love. I know I can't have it every day, even with a woman who wants it as much as me. The trials and tribulations of life mean we aren't always at our best and that we are going to make mistakes. That reality means that every day won't be fireworks and sparkles; however, if two people can absolutely trust the strength of their commitment the expected problems will be overcome. When that happens, they will have the kind of love and happiness that so often appears elusive.  

Comment by BenGee on August 21, 2017 at 6:23pm

@Bertold (you need an exception for consensual adult BDSM relationships >.> cough)

Kidding, in that scene it's ok to hurt someone (for fun) it's not ok to harm them. Thinks you might not have wanted to know but are totttttally true lol

Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 20, 2017 at 8:43pm
Cause no harm. That is a good starting in determine what is right and what is wrong. Of course, to consider requires thoughtfulness, empathy, the ability to reason and logic
Comment by Donald R Barbera on August 20, 2017 at 8:01pm
Laila--I feel you. Unfortunate for me, I am the secret graveyard. They die with me even when I'm too obtuse to understand that the information was meant to be passed on. Still, like you I try to be honorable but I have fallen short of the mark more times than I can count. Still, I find that the path of right is much more difficult than the path of wrong.
Comment by BenGee on August 20, 2017 at 4:33pm


Thanks, I kinda bounce back n forth. I want to find someone and be happily together with them. Trust these days is difficult for me though, not just in relationships, in general anymore. I never give up, but sometimes I purge negative emotions by vomiting them out on Internet forums to strangers lol.

Either way I have bigger problems that need to be fixed before I can consider trying a relationship with anyone.

And finally.... The hardest part is finding said person, that and knowing that the person you've found isn't lying to you and really means it. Well I suppose there will always be risk involved there. Lots of people say things, often they think they mean them too, but when the situation changes they abandon what they said. I try to be a person of principle, I don't betray those principles just cause life gets shitty. It's not an easy way to live, but I derive meaning from it. I like myself because of my commitments and dedication to honoring them. It's a very personal thing.

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.



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