Is there a genetic link to cheating?

Is there a genetic link to cheating?

Is infidelity in your genes? A groundbreaking new study suggests there just might be a genetic predisposition to cheating. No seriously!

Could the reason some stray from monogamy be encoded in our DNA? Groundbreaking research spanning two decades points to a provocative conclusion: the tendency to cheat might just be part of our genetic makeup. Dr. Madeleine Fugère, a noted social psychologist, delves into this intricate web of nature versus nurture, analyzing several comprehensive studies that tie infidelity to our ancestral roots.


The notion that our genes could predestine our actions in relationships is not only fascinating but deeply complex. Dr. Fugère’s exploration begins with a seminal 2004 study by St Thomas’ Hospital in London, which posited the idea that the propensity to cheat could be as inheritable as traits like high blood pressure.

By surveying 1,600 twins—both fraternal and identical—the research unearthed a startling 41 percent genetic component to infidelity, situating the likelihood of cheating on par with developing migraines or depression.

A subsequent study in 2015 by the University of Queensland bolstered these findings, especially among men, suggesting that 63 percent of their inclination toward infidelity could be traced back to their genetic constitution. This higher genetic correlation in men, as compared to women, adds a nuanced layer to the ongoing dialogue about gender differences in relationship dynamics.

Interestingly, none of the studies have pinpointed a singular “cheating gene.” However, some researchers speculate that genes associated with risk-taking behaviors, like alcohol consumption or gambling, could play a significant role.

This theory was further explored in a 2010 study by the University of Binghamton and the University of Georgia, which identified a variation in the dopamine D4 receptor gene that made individuals 50 percent more likely to commit infidelity. This gene, linked to the brain’s pleasure system, suggests that our pursuit of pleasure—and perhaps our decision-making in relationships—is influenced significantly by our genetic predispositions.

Despite these genetic correlations, the final say in our actions remains ours. As study author Justin Garcia remarks, while our genes may nudge us toward certain behaviors, they do not dictate our choices. This genetic insight does not excuse infidelity but opens a fascinating discussion on how our biological makeup influences our actions and relationships.


As we navigate the complexities of human relationships, these studies remind us of the profound interplay between our genetic blueprint and our environmental experiences. Understanding this delicate balance does not absolve us of responsibility but offers a deeper comprehension of the forces that shape our desires and decisions.

This whole thing makes me think about something my grandmother used to say … once a cheater, always a cheater. And now it looks like the science is on her side.


author avatar
Tracy Tegan
Tracy Tegan has spent the last seventeen years as a professional blogger about relationships, dating, and issues pertaining to gender equality at In her spare time, she writes romance novels that are available at Amazon.  You can check out Tracy Tegan's latest romance novel, Crescent Moon at Amazon.

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Is there a genetic link to cheating?

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