THE MOST UNFAITHFUL GENERATION
All along the existence of the Human Race on this planet, the only constant has been change. Technological changes have marked all generations. And they have also been affected the way we perceive things. The ways which we address situations, have changed significantly from generation to generation. And as far as faithfulness in a relationship, this has also wavered to a point we can today determine who is most unfaithful.
BABY BOOMERS-THE MOST UNFAITHFUL GENERATION
We owe a great deal to the Baby Boomers. They are ones who went out of their way working hard so that today things are in relative order. To get there, they sacrificed many hours of family time; they married young; and had children much earlier than today. Based on the (IFS) Institute of Family Studies research “those born between 1940 and 1950 are top of the list of infidelity”.
The age range of people over 55, have a much higher probability of starting an extra marital affair according to another IFS article published by the magazine After 50 Living . This is so, because marriage relationships tend to stagnate and give way to looking into an experience for something different.
Truly committed to life is the Generation X. Those (born between 1964 and 1981), have been catalogued as a generation primarily satisfied with their achievements. They saw the birth of internet; and they are now those adults that sometime before also rebelled. In her article in the New York Post, Jennifer Wright (3) reported that only 17% of this generation had extra marital affairs.
The Millennial Generation is the one with the least commitment on day-to-day tasks which looks to live freely without ties of any kind. They have been rated as the generation with smallest index of infidelity. The same article in the New York post said that only “12% of those age 37 and under posted having extramarital sex”.
DOES MORE SEXUAL FREEDOM AT A YOUNGER AGE HAVE AN EFFECT?
Similar reports on similar research supports this by pointing in the same direction as we can see in the article written by Jean M. Twenge, Ryne A. Sherman, and Brooke E. Wells; published in Springer Link in 2015. In fact, a possible conclusion is that the younger the generation the higher percentages of acceptance of pre-marital sex.
On the subject of, Changes in American Adult Sexual Behavior and Attitudes 1972-2012, they found that those who believed premarital sex among adults was “not wrong at all” was 29 % in the early 1970s. It was 42 % in the 1980s and 1990s, 49 % , and in the 2000s 58 %”. When we look at these statistics, it is easier to understand that perhaps that with more sexual freedom before marriage, resulted in lesser interest for extra marital sex when married.
IS THE CONCEPT CHANGING?
All that research is ok and has significant support. But other research, which is also valid, indicates that perhaps the concept of infidelity has been changing, and really who is to say who is most unfaithful?
What if the thing that has changed is the way we perceive the concept of infidelity? What if perception changes over time also impact the responses of those interviewed in most research?
A publication of the National Marriage Project of the University of Virginia ; “In 2019, published jointly with the Wheatley institution and the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University” has a somewhat different position. Millennial do not necessarily consider it as an infidelity if the act happens on-line. 70%+ of Americans do consider cyber sex or sexting, as inappropriate behavior; as well as any other sex behavior/interaction on-line. This number does not reflect the differences when considering different generations (age groups).
For example, 18% of Millennials participated in sexual conversations on-line with someone not their mate, which is high when compared to 3% of the silent generation and 3% of the baby boomers. Generation X was close to the Millennials with 16%. When considering cybernetic sexual behavior, 18% of millennials considered it inappropriate, while 26% of the Baby Boomers considered it so. Jeffrey Dew suggested that part of the reason for this generation gap, is that the younger adults grew up “on-line” and probably feel much more comfortable while interacting there.
DEFINITIONS AND PERCEPTIONS ARE CHANGING
“While the vast majority of Americans remain opposed to sexual infidelity while married, younger adults are significantly more likely to engage in internet infidelity than older generations,”
Given the infinity of stimuli to which we are exposed today, each day is more difficult. Much harder so that neither of the members of the pair falls to temptation. At least as shown in another study, Millennials are more likely to “cheat” because of the need to find out who they are, on their path to maturity.
As published by The Journal of Sex Research , the article Betrayals in Emerging Adulthood: A Developmental Perspective of Infidelity the reasons/excuses are varied. 73% of those polled, attributed it to interdependence. They cheated because their “sentimental and love related” needs were not being satisfied. Some assured that it was a consequence of lack of intimacy, communication, losing the “spark”, or simply falling out of love. Notwithstanding what the majority stated, 20% argued it was for independence. The need to be unfaithful was to feel free of unwanted ties. Others attributed their “stint” to alcohol, to the “novelty”, and to their attraction to that which is prohibited.
The truth of the matter is that notwithstanding the generations involved, infidelity has always been present in society. How we catalogue it, how we confront it, will always be an individual and very personal affair.