Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Female Infidelity

  • Christina BentancourtEmail author
  • Joseph A. Camilleri
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2052-1



Female who is intimate with someone other than her partner.

Human mating is socially monogamous, where males and females create long-term pair bonds that share space, resources, and responsibilities for raising offspring. Not all such relationships are sexually monogamous, however, because significant proportions of males and females engage in extra-pair copulations. Extra-pair copulations are observed across various fish, bird, mammal, and insect species (Birkhead 2000). In humans, data from the most recent General Social Survey showed that 20% of men and 13% of women report having sex with someone who is not their partner (Wang 2018). Prevalence rates vary across location, sampling, and measurement methods, with some studies reporting female infidelity rates up to 25% (Whisman and Snyder 2007).

Theoretical explanations for the relatively high prevalence rates of female infidelity address its possible functions. Unlike men, women cannot...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Westfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joseph A Camilleri
    • 1
  1. 1.Westfield State UniversityWestfieldUSA