By Choi Sung-jin
Up to 50.8 percent of Korean men have cheated on their wives, a report shows.
Women's share of extramarital affairs was far lower at 9.3 percent, according to the report by the Korean Institute for Sexual and Couple's Heath based on a joint survey with LINA Korea, a life insurance firm.
Dr. Kang Dong-woo, head of the institute, warned against the danger of climacterium in the report. "During climacteric period, people feel psychological void and physical atrophy," he said. "Instead of refraining from having extramarital affairs during this period, they tend to be unfaithful to their spouses more frequently as if they are chasing a mirage outside of home."
Men's climacterium occurs as their male hormones sharply dwindle in the mid- to late-40s, and it was very important to cope with it appropriately, Kang said.
Men suffering sexual dysfunction tend to have more affairs, according to the survey of 1,090 men and women conducted by Research and Research in June. Among men who cheated on their wives, those with sexual problems outnumbered those who had no problems.
"Men with sexual dysfunction often do not think it their problem but that of their wife or their poor marital compatibility," Kang said. "They think their sexual ability will improve with other women."
Noting that some wives would prefer their husbands' sexual ability not to improve for fear of the husband having more affairs, Kang said proper treatment of husbands' sexual problems could reduce the possibility of cheating.
Another factor that pushes up the ratio of extramarital affairs was the wrong view of prostitution. Nearly 41 percent of male respondents and 15 percent of female respondents said buying sex for money was not an extramarital affair, and the ratio of people having affairs was higher among those who thought so.
Conflicts between husband and wives also have a large influence on their sex lives. And marital conflicts affected women more than men, leading to extramarital affairs, the survey showed.
Men had affairs even when they were satisfied with wives, but women tended to have affairs when they were dissatisfied with their husbands.
"A considerable number of wives said they cheated on their husbands because of marital conflicts," Kang said. "This explains why women's extramarital affairs occur mostly toward the end of their marriages."