Managing Infidelity: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

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Anthropologists have not systematically examined extramarital affairs. Our cross-cultural study found that within every culture men and women actively resort to mate-guarding tactics to control their mate's extramarital behavior. A person's level of interest and involvement does not change with a culture's notion of descent, level of social complexity, or the degree to which a culture is normatively permissive or restrictive in sexual matters. In effect, sexual propriety is the presumed right of both sexes. Our findings are consistent with both the sexual jealousy and the pair-bond hypotheses, which hold that every marriage or love relationship is organized around a presumption of sexual propriety.


Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology

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