Research group at The State University of New York, Binghamton led by Doctoral Diversity Fellow Justin Garcia says that cheating on your spouse is associated with sensation-seeking genes. Statistics say that 30-60 per cent of married couples in the US engage in infidelity at some point during their marriage. Therefore, the discovery of the infidelity gene is relevant to a large portion of population.
The same gene that has been linked with gambling addictions and alcoholism is also linked to sexual promiscuity and infidelity. The study showed that individuals with variants of DRD4 gene have the probability to have a past of uncommitted sex, one-night stands and acts of infidelity. The DRD4 gene is related with behaviors such as good felling and the self-rewarding mechanism.
Dopamine’s in the Witness Box
Researchers say that the desire to cheat and commit acts of infidelity stems from the brain’s reward and pleasure center which is responsible for the release of dopamine. This increases the chances of those with the DRD4 trait to be vulnerable to have sex out of their marriage.
The system of desire and reward is the motivation that the body needs a dopamine rush. The high risk atmosphere, considerable rewards and capricious incentives are all factors linked to the release of dopamine. In situations where the brain is stimulated – drinking alcohol, gambling, skydiving or having sex- the pleasure response hormone dopamine is on the loose.
Everyone has the gene but just like variances in other factors like height, eye color, etc., the aggregate of data on the gene differs from person to person – subdued or prominent. It is also inheritable, which means that if your parents or grandparents had it, the chances are that you will have it too.
Can’t Blame the Gene
Justin Garcia says, “These relationships are associative, which means not everyone with this genotype will have one-night stands or commit infidelity. [The] genes do not give anyone an excuse, but they do provide a window into how our biology shapes our propensities for a wide variety of behaviors.”
The study by SUNY researchers also says that the DRD4 gene cannot be labeled as the promiscuity or infidelity gene. Further study into this gene trait is required to find out if the presence of the gene is the cause of infidelity or just a parallel. It is clear that transgressors cannot use the genetic factor as an excuse to wheedle out of their infidelity.
Author of Joy of Sex and noted British psychologist Susan Quilliam says that upbringing, experience and culture wield more influence than the risk-taking gene.
A Choice is a Choice
Jenn Berman, psychotherapist and host of The Love and Sex Show on Cosmo radio says, “Certain people are vulnerable to affairs, but in the end, it’s about personal choice. It depends on how well-developed their impulse control is.”
Ultimately it doesn’t matter if there is a genetic factor in our DNA that propagates infidelity tendencies and cheating on the significant other. Mother Nature has endowed human beings with the extravagance or encumbrance of the conscious choice.