Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 643–658

Effect of Cheating Experience on Attitudes toward Infidelity

  • Desiree I. Sharpe
  • Andrew S. Walters
  • Matt J. Goren
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12119-013-9169-2

Cite this article as:
Sharpe, D.I., Walters, A.S. & Goren, M.J. Sexuality & Culture (2013) 17: 643. doi:10.1007/s12119-013-9169-2


The present study investigated how cheating experience influences perception of others’ infidelity. Using vignette characters, we explored the hypothesis that a participant’s experience cheating on a partner and gender of vignette character moderate gender-differentiated perceptions of infidelity (i.e., men reporting more accepting attitudes toward infidelity than women). Participants (N = 320) were asked a series of questions evaluating both how ‘acceptable’ and ‘forgivable’ was a vignette character’s infidelity. Men and women with prior experience cheating found the cheating vignette character of their same gender significantly more acceptable and forgivable than the unfaithful character of the other gender. Participants who reported no history of infidelity found infidelity as generally unacceptable, regardless of character gender.


ExtradyadicGender differencesInfidelity experienceCheating experienceCognitive dissonance

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Desiree I. Sharpe
    • 1
  • Andrew S. Walters
    • 2
  • Matt J. Goren
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaffUSA
  3. 3.University of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA