By Michele Gershberg
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Men in South Africa say they cheat instead of taking second or third wives, Americans lament that love has died in their marriages, and the Japanese believe ex-marital sex isn't adultery if they pay for it.
These are just a few of the cultural excuses for cheating on one's spouse as recorded by Pamela Druckerman, author of a new comparative look at infidelity titled "Lust in Translation: The Rules of Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee."
On a world scale, men in African countries from Togo to Mozambique were most likely to have taken another sexual partner in the last 12 months, with as many as 37 percent saying they had been unfaithful in that time, according to data compiled by Druckerman.
While the French may be the first to eroticize illicit sex in movies and books, only 3.8 of married men and 2 percent of women in France admitted to having affairs.
They were outdone by the strait-laced citizens of the United States, where acknowledged rates of cheating came to 3.9 percent of men and 3.1 percent of women. But on a national average, U.S. adulterers were much more likely to beat themselves up over it.
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This is a bit of a shock. Not that the number of cheating Americans is high, but that more French aren’t cheating. If Pepe Le Pew is any indication, then Frenchmen, particularly French men, are fairly amorous. We need to know more about how this study was conducted. Was there a definitive definition of ‘cheating’? Did someone define what, exactly, ‘sex’ is? The big conclusion seems to be that people in poor or politically turbulent countries are more likely to cheat. It makes sense, to a degree. With no television there’s not much to do but sleep around.