Where do women in their 20s and 30s draw the line?
Different people draw the line for unacceptable romantic transgressions in different places. Some would say it’s not cheating if there’s no physical contact, while more liberal minds would argue that it’s not cheating if it happens in a different state (or area code) from where you live.
In an effort to establish some sort of baseline, though, Internet portal R25 polled 200 Japanese women in their 20s and 30s, all of whom have been in an exclusive relationship. R25 presented the respondents, 38 percent of whom admitted to having been unfaithful to a boyfriend in the past, with a number of behaviors, and asked them to answer whether or not they qualified as cheating.
Let’s start with the lowest-ranking response, and work our way up the ladder of perceived infidelity.
6. Regularly exchanging emails or LINE messages with a guy other than my boyfriend (3 percent)
Given that email and text messages have become the most common form of non-face-to-face communication for people in the surveyed age groups, it’s not surprising that written correspondence with someone other than the dude you’re currently dating was generally seen as an acceptable part of a normal social life.
5. Feeling a romantic pull towards another guy (25.5 percent)
While the majority of the women felt that there’s nothing wrong with pangs of emotional attachment towards another man, a not insignificant number held that this opening of the heart was also a violation of their partner’s trust.
4. Going out to eat or have fun with another guy, and no one else (30.5 percent)
From a Western perspective, calling this cheating might seem unfairly strict, but it’s important to remember that socializing works a little differently in Japan. Classmates, coworkers, and other social acquaintances who are on good terms almost always get together in a group, so pairing off denotes a particularly high level of intimacy in the relationship, and one high enough for roughly one-third to think it’s indicative of something more than just a platonic relationship.
3. Holding hands with another guy (58 percent)
We now come to the first majority-acknowledged transgression. While on rare occasions you might see two BFF-level schoolgirls holding hands in Japan, this is generally more physical contact than most Japanese people are comfortable having with someone who’s “just a friend,” especially one of the opposite gender.
2. Kissing another guy (76.5 percent)
Common sense tells us that if most Japanese people don’t hold hands with their buddies, neither do they kiss them, although roughly one in five of the women polled still felt their was some wiggle room that kept this from being cheating.
1. Having sex with another guy (77 percent)
While it’s no surprise that doing the deed topped the list, it’s a little startling to see that there was only a half-percent difference in the results for a meeting of the lips and a meeting of the naughty bits.
The data, as released by R25, doesn’t specify how much overlap there is between the almost identically sized groups that said it’s not cheating if you kiss another guy and those who said it isn’t if you sleep with him. Since there’re person-by-person differences in how much importance people attach to the physical versus emotional aspects of kissing and sex, it’s even conceivable that some of the respondents beleive that a kiss most honestly reflects what the heart wants, and therefore is a more serious infraction than the simple yearning of one’s body to knock against another someone else’s.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that 23 percent of the women polled don’t think anything they do would be cheating. If so, you might want to watch out for them at your next singles party.