There is an article at Mormon Times, titled “All Are Vulnerable to Threat of Infidelity” that offers some statistics and information that surprised me and raised some questions.

First quote that surprised me:

In her book “Monogamy Myth,” author and extramarital-affairs expert Peggy Vaughan said 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair. “If even half the women having affairs (or 20 percent) are married to men not included in the 60 percent having affairs, then at least one partner will have an affair in approximately 80 percent of all marriages,” Vaughan wrote.

Is it true that the majority of married men will have an affair?

While this high number doesn’t seem impossible, I wonder what study parameters or definitions were used to arrive at that number.

I am not aware of any statistics on this sort of thing specifically regarding the Mormon population … but now I am wondering what they would be.

In the same article, Liz Hales then raises a question of what constitutes an affair, how such a thing is defined.

Hales believes there are often discrepancies in infidelity statistics because people define affairs so broadly. Some people don’t consider a one-night stand an affair. “Is it secret or deceptive?” she asked. “Then it’s an affair. Any outside relationship with a sexual or emotional connection that is kept secret can be defined a true-blue affair. No doubt about it.”

There are various factors/components in defining an affair that are offered here – a) emotional attachment, b) sexual activity, c) secrecy.

It seems obvious that after marriage, men and women will still find others (besides their spouses) to be emotionally or sexually attractive. But as the article indicates – some behaviors might be more easily recognizable as problematic than others. If there is an absence of sexual activity in a particular relationship – if a relationship is non-sexual but is emotionally charged – it might be more difficult for some to recognize or concede that something improper is occurring or that there is an affair in progress.

Whether you are married or not – how do you define relationships or draw behavioral lines/rules in life to prevent improper or unfaithful behavior?