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Open Mike

Welcome to Open Mike

Open Mike is a forum for readers on a specific topic that will change every one or two months. The forum includes Your Turn, an opportunity for readers to share anecdotes and opinions related to the chosen topic. Conversely editors and writers select the most interesting entries and post them the following month In This Corner!

For our readers who don't have time to write but want to share their opinions, Open Mike also features a Three-Minute Survey - not the typical, simplistic Internet poll, but a set of five questions related to the monthly topic. When the survey is completed, we will publish Survey Says: a brief article analyzing the results.
Open Mike

Survey Says:

Cheat Lie Cheat
Results from our July 2001 - January 2002
Three-Minute Survey

Against their better instincts. Are women staking a claim for cheating bragging rights?

Our most popular survey to date took a quick pulse on the relationship loyalties of our readers and found that cheating and lying are quite fashionable these days. Not that we were shocked to learn this. One of the biggest surprises, however, was the stronger tendency in men to adhere to the principles of monogamy—against their better instincts, if biology is considered.

The percentages of cheaters among men and women were 52% and 66% respectively. In addition, the ratio of serial to one-time cheaters was also higher among women: 1 in 3 for men, against 1 in 2 for the ladies.

So: everyone here is not like everyone else.

Believe it if you like, or not, but this says that women are worse cheaters than men.

Is it scientific? What, are you kidding?

But is it interesting? Quite. Maybe women are more forthcoming—though why would men lie in an anonymous survey?

By the way, three fourths of survey responses came from women, which is a higher proportion than that of women in our general readership. This, however, tends to be the case with our surveys in general: women are just more eager to have a say. Or perhaps men are lazy and apathetic. More data: among women respondents, around two thirds were under 30, and 70% have not yet married. Of the men, 75% remain unmarried, and almost half are over 30.

So having established who really does the cheating around here, our second question looked at the post-cheating panorama. Did you tell about your escapade? Or did you stay silent—and lie by omission? And if you got caught, did you remain steadfast in a proclamation of innocence, or did you break down and confess?

Well, it turns out that when asked to name their top choice between telling the truth or lying, women and men felt the same way. They'd rather lie. Lying must indeed be easier. Men preferred lying 71% of the time, while women chose it in 67% of cheating opportunities.

It's more interesting to note that men got caught cheating more often than their counterparts: 25% vs. only 14% for women. This must be an important contributing factor to men's sordid reputation. A lesson for them?

In question three we wondered what acts would be considered to meet the threshold of cheating.

Sex? Yes, sex of course. Intercourse. Men agree, 23% of them, and women too, 30% of them. OK. But what about a kiss? What about an intimate physical relationship that excluded intercourse—would that be cheating?

Yes again! About half of both men and women accept that non-sex is also cheating. So now: for those of you who were thinking, "Oh, the reason more women admitted to cheating is because they define cheating more broadly than men," think again. Our survey shows men and women define cheating pretty much the same way. What's more, the same proportion of men and women, about one in ten, also thinks that the mere act of flirting is to cheat—so no differences there either.

One other interesting tid-bit from question three: the older people get, the more narrowly they define cheating. The same trend was observed for guys and gals: many, many more young ones than older ones were willing to accept flirting as cheating. And kissing? Same thing: older folks much less likely to call it cheating. It would appear that the older one gets, the more the romantic and idealistic notions of youth get in the way.

The last question, number four, in retrospect, was a rather boring question. We apologize for asking it. Still, people went to the trouble of answering it, so we will go to the trouble of reporting the results.

What would you do if you were on the receiving end of a cheating incident? Forgive and forget? Or call it quits and move on? On the whole, about half and half, though women seem more willing to stay together after a separation or a big fight than men. Guilty consciences?

And so much for that.

So what did we learn? This, in sum: Women cheat more. But they're also better than men at getting away with it. As one of our male colleagues said: We (the women) are having all the fun.



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