Lessons from Brazil – Cheaters


I’m breaking the ‘guy code’ to say this, but if self-reporting can be trusted, 95% 90% of guys (in my unscientific surveying) in Brazil cheat on their women female counterparts. I’ve been told so, in private, many times from guys from different socio-economic backgrounds, ages, (of different) skin color, you name it. I’m talking about guys with wives, fiances, long-term girlfriends, or new girlfriends, it reaches across the spectrum. Cheating is not only rampant, but admitted to in the most nonchalant manner.

Now, obviously either the women know or don’t know, but I get the feeling they know and simply think there’s nothing much better out there. On the flip side, single, young(ish) women sleep around a lot, as well, and seem to think nothing of it.

I seriously feel like I’m in Bizarro World and what’s backwards is forwards here. Monogamy is the exception to the rule, unless, of course, you are of the bible-carrying kind. If your experiences are others, please do tell.


I may start referencing US culture less in my Lessons from Brazil series. 

I’d say that in the US, the going rate for cheaters, and the like, is around 60% for the men. From my perspective (see comments) it will be catching up with Brazil soon enough.


22 thoughts on “Lessons from Brazil – Cheaters

  1. “Their women”? Archaic choice of words.

    Cheating rates are estimated to be about the same for men and women as evidenced by the number of non-related children men are raising w/o their knowledge (uncovered in a genetic testing issue in the UK.)

    • I would have written “their men”, just the same, but I see where you’re coming from.

      I’m not quite sure what you are saying, though, on the cheating. I see how children could be correlated with cheating, but I don’t see it as too strong of a connection. And if done in the UK, then I assume it’s not also the case for Brazil since different places, cultures, etc.

      • There’s a lot of info out there about cheating, and it shows that it is about the same. I’m just referring to 1 study that uncovered this fact accidentally of female cheaters! lol One gender, apparently, doesn’t do it more than the other.

        Surprising, huh?

  2. Why in the world would the rate of cheating in the US “surely catch up” to the rate in Brazil? I don’t necessarily think that it’s an increasing trend.

    Also, my two cents, I really like how you compare the cultures of the US and Brazil in these posts. It’s really interesting how you know the two cultures well enough to do that! Don’t cut that out! :)

    • Well, as certain off-shoots of post-feminism (see link at bottom) combine with mainstream cultural trends coming out of the US, I think we’re headed for destruction of the family unit. Women are getting married and/or having kids a lot later, putting their profession first. Divorce has always been high, Americans sue each other a lot more than they would find amicable means to settle a dispute, all US youth culture (and ‘youth’ now means up to age 40, if you consider examples a la Sex and the City, etc) says what’s important is self-gratification. Listen to any song on the radio, it’s all about “tonight”, “getting drunk until you throw up”, getting high, and having lots of one-night stands. ‘Global warming’ will also likely have an effect on the amount of kids per family in the near future as couples won’t want to be a burden on the environment (though this goes more with the idea of the destruction of the family). There’s a ton of examples, but these are just a few that tell me it will probably increase over time.


      Thanks on the upvote for keeping the US in the mix. I’ll bring it back next time.

      • I think the family unit was decimated in the 60s-70s as an unintended consequence of the women’s movement.

        The actually divorce rate is at 30%, that 50% stat is incorrect but is so oft repeated…..people think it’s fact. :-(

        There is only one thing that affects number of offspring- how much education a woman has (mens’ education levels does not affect off-spring)

      • What does all that have to do with men having no respect for their wives in Brazil?. In order to solve a problem you have to stay focused on that problem. The country (Brazil) is chauvinistic, its about machismo down their. Maybe the Brazilian women need to take the streets and burn their bras!

  3. It’s part of the latino culture, but your post seems to be worse than it is. Some places are worse than others in Brazil when it comes to cheating. I got the feeling that in the northeast a man cheating is much more accepted than in the southeast and south.

  4. Maybe 95% were some 40 years ago. It doesnt seem to be like that anymore. I found this survey that seems to be more accurate: Em estudo realizado entre 2002 e 2003 pelo Projeto Sexualidade (Pro-Sex), do Instituto de Psiquiatria do Hospital das Clínicas de São Paulo, com 7.103 voluntários também de ambos os sexos, nas cinco regiões do país, o índice de traição masculino ficou em 50,6% e o feminino em 25,7%.

    • Yeah, I’m just going off my own experiences talking to guys. 9/10 tell me they cheat, and they say it in a way that tells me they think it’s fun and part of life.

      Plus both what I report and what the study reports are based on self-reporting, ie, being forthcoming with such information. The study done by Pro-Sex could be faulty or it could be accurate, depending on what type of person was approached to do the survey and what kind of person would volunteer that info to a random survey. Likewise, the guys reporting to me could just be making it up in order to sound more “manly”.

  5. Well, if we’re sharing anecdotal statistics, I can think of a few acquaintances who are/were in the cheating camp but that’s nowhere near the 90-95% you’re seeing. Not to get religious on you but this reminds me of an expression that I think is more common in Portuguese than in English: “Diga-me com quem andas e te direi quem es”. Anything else you want to share? :)

    • Not much reasoning behind me calling out other cheaters if I’m one myself. I’m totally against it and think it’s completely immature behavior. Anyone who solves a relationship problem by going outside their relationship is not right in the head. Then again, I’m just referring to those I randomly run into in many different venues and, as I mentioned, they’re coming from very different backgrounds. That tells me it’s not just one type of guy. It’s embedded into latin culture, as Fábio commented.

      • You’re preaching to the choir. I was just contesting your numbers which I find way off compared to my own experience. You cast doubt on the survey Fabio brought up, and while they are valid concerns, I’d be more willing to believe in those numbers than in any anecdotal evidence, either mine or yours. I’d like to think that they made some effort to study a statistically valid sample of the population.

      • It also may be a Rio thing since I’ve spent most of my time in Brazil in Rio. No point in comparing Boise to L.A., so to speak. I’ve brought up this whole idea of Brazilians cheating to 10 people here, also from random backgrounds, and they all share the same view. But if I’ve never seen any of these guys cheating, perhaps neither have these 10 people I’ve recently talked to. Perhaps, as Phil comments, “it enhances their image to be known as someone who sleeps around.”

  6. I believe that the opportunities to cheat are the same in the USA and Brasil. It is up to the man or woman in question to “go for it”. As a mature American, I can tell any of my younger
    brethren-It’s just not worth it. Life is NOT a soap opera and no one can pay me enough to deal with those complications. Most of all my Brasilian wife’s love and trust means the world to me. As to Brasilian men, most have a Peter Pan complex and it doesn’t help tat they live in a paradise were women outnumber the men by an outrageous amount.

    It comes down to character in the end.

    PS: when I retire to Goias in the very near term, I can pick up the slack of comparing Brasilian life to that of my experiences growing up in New York City and then moving to Tennessee to finish out my career.

  7. Interesting post, and I really enjoyed reading the comments. Self-reporting may not be a very reliable indicator of the actual amount of cheating going on in any society, especially if people think that it enhances their image to be known as someone who sleeps around. I tend to think that the genetics-based study may be more valid.

    There’s been a lot of talk about the breakdown of the family. While the “good old days” may look really great from our perspective, there were all sorts of things going on under the surface that were not good at all. Women were expected to put up with physical abuse from their husbands, they had fewer choices about pregnancy, their options for work outside the home were limited, and if they happened to have married a really bad guy, they were often stuck in the marriage since divorce was illegal, difficult, and/or expensive. We also need to remember that there has been marital infidelity by both men and women for as long as people have been getting married, it’s just that nobody talked about it as openly in the old days.

    I view the admittedly radical changes in the family structure as a transition from the old way to a new way. Part of our problem may be that we’re still trying to make the old way work, and instead should be refashioning the idea of the family unit from the ground up. Women are unlikely to willingly revert to the sort of repression that existed before feminism (and still exists for many women). So the challenge is to come up with a way to form strong family relationships that respect the rights of everyone involved.

    Rampant infidelity will undermine any family, though, so if there’s not a commitment by both partners to some sort of fidelity, the marriage or relationship is doomed to fail.

  8. i am late to this discussion as usual. i am fresh out of stats too :)

    on their female counterparts LOL. i think the corno monthly would report alternate data ;) they can’t ALL be cheating with single women. unless, of course, they are paying for services rendered. which they DO do a lot of, now *that* is different than in the US.

    my russian (female) friend thinks american men don’t cheat because they are too busy watching football or playing computer games.

    can’t speak about statistics, but my personal experience with brazilian vc american men is that they are more intense, furiously jealous and definitely WAY more worried that the woman is cheating on them. go figure. i don’t know when they get to cheat with such busy schedules ;)

  9. Pingback: How the Youth of Brazil Fool Around | Eyes On Brazil

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