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Double Standard Concerning Sexual Fidelity:
Women Receiving More Disapproval for Sexual Infidelity Than Man

Professor Dr. Rita D'Amico (Florence/Italy) examined in an empirical study guilt in heterosexual couples. The results obtained for romantic infidelity are emblematic. More than one third of females indicated strong guilt even when they wished to betray their partner. In contrast, two thirds of men claimed that desiring an extramarital sexual relationship was not negative.

The psychologist remarks: "One possible explanation of this finding is that women in our sample were sensitive to traditional norms regarding romantic infidelity, that imply it should be avoided by women more than by men. In Italy, like in many other countries, there is a double standard concerning sexual fidelity, with women receiving more disapproval for sexual infidelity than men.

As a consequence, it is not surprising that women report guilt when violating such a social norm. On the other hand, men's infidelity is often tolerated and even admired. Thus, it is understandable that men feel less guilty about a betrayal or a wish to betray. This result, then, can be considered as further evidence of the importance of cultural values in determining gender differences in emotional experiences."

It’s All About Relationships
Comunian, Anna Laura; Gielen, Uwe P. (Eds.)