Extramarital affairs have become so commonplace in China that the number of women engaging in them have more than doubled over the past decade, according to a recent survey published by the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald and reported by WantChina Times.
The percentage of married women who have had affairs surged from 9% in 2000 to 21.5% in 2010. This reflects an ongoing societal shift in which women are enjoying more personal freedom and social and financial equality. It also reflects their greater bargaining power in the sexual arena caused by a worsening shortage of marriageable women due to the impact of the one-child policy combined with the traditional preference for male offspring.
Men too have changed in their attitude toward affairs. Unlike the traditional image in which the man provides financial consideration to the woman, only 16% of men gave money regularly or sporadically to their extramarital partners. What’s more, over half said they had no interest in relationships involving monetary payment.
Extramarital affairs aren’t allowed to affect family lives, claimed 45% of respondents. About a fifth reported that affairs did have some impact on their marriages but they had no intention of leaving their spouses. They also expressed indifference to the opinions that spouses or others had about their affairs.
On the upside, those who cheated reported better sex with their spouses than those who didn’t. Apparently some of the lessons learned during the affair were applied with their spouses and families.
The survey also revealed noticeable relaxing of attitudes toward partners who cheat, with some male cheaters saying they would not mind if their wives had affairs as well.
The internet has become an important source of partners for extramarital affairs, according to those who reported meeting multiple partners online for discreet no-strings affairs.
Other more broad-based surveys suggest Chinese are more tolerant of extramarital affairs than many other nationalities. Only 74% of Chinese find them “morally unacceptable” compared with 90% of Filipinos, 84% of Americans, 81% of S. Koreans and 76% of Canadians, according to a Pew survey on global attitudes conducted in spring of 2013. But the Chinese aren’t as liberal as the Japanese or Russians, only 69% of whom frown on cheating.
Chinese remain less liberal than most Europeans, Latin Americans or Africans. The freest of all are the French, only 47% of whom frown on affairs, followed by Germans (60%), Italians (64%), Spaniards (64%), S. Africans (65%), Czechs (66%), Chileans (67%) and Senegalese (68%).