Infidelity is not Disgusting?

EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 9, Special Issue 2, 2017

Infidelity is not Disgusting?

Salerno, K., & Wade, T. J.

The aim of the current study was to determine whether participants’ scores on three different disgust scales (sexual, moral, and pathogen) (Tybur, Griskevicius, & Lieberman, 2009) are related to their reported level of upset in response to both sexual and emotional infidelity committed by a partner. Tybur et al., (2009) report that disgust evolved as an emotion to help individuals solve the problems of avoiding elements that harbor diseases, and individuals and sexual behavior that lead to reproductive costs. With this in mind, and because sexual cheating could lead to costs such as STIs (sexually transmitted infections), and to men being cuckolded, it was hypothesized that those who scored higher on the sexual disgust scale would report being more upset by a scenario involving sexual infidelity committed by a partner. This was expected to be especially true for men since men are more upset about sexually infidelity committed by a partner. However, the results were not consistent with the hypothesis. None of the disgust scales were related to reactions to sexual or emotional infidelity for men and women. The results are discussed in terms of prior research, and suggest that reactions to a partner’s commission of infidelity do not involve disgust. Disgust may deal more with protection from direct harmful exposures than with protection from indirect harmful exposures via a partner’s infidelity.


How to cite this article:
Salerno, K., & Wade, T. J. (2018). Infidelity is not disgusting? The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium9, Sp. Iss. (2), 64-72.