Down. Sex is freely advertised and engaged in today, while 500 years ago, women were shunned just showing their ankles... But people were still horny. They had to get their rocks off somehow, and ALOT more people were married back then, to women who were taught not to enjoy sex.

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I would guess it is way up for women and not too much higher for men, but I have never heard any reliable numbers. Western cultures have historically tolerated adultery than most people realize, especially for men. In the middle ages, upper class women were frequently married off for political or economic alliances. It was common for the middle age man (at least according to modern myth) to keep a mistress or visit prostitutes, and for the women to take a lover. In 1800's Europe, many famous men and women had "private" affairs that everyone knew about. It wasn't uncommon for a man or woman to leave their spouse and take up house keeping with someone else. As long as they remained married to the original spouse and the man continued to provided support, no one much cared.<br />
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I think in America the numbers are up for both men and women. Through most of our history, the cultural taboo was strong enough to discourage many people from going there; especially women. The ignorance around sex, the lack of effective birth control, lack of mobility, the backlash from relatives and neighbors, and smaller societies where secrecy was harder to keep, also played a huge role in keeping the numbers down. <br />
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Now days few people seem to care, birth control is fairly reliable, and abortion is available on demand. The taboos are gone, with many even believing that adultery is no big deal. My vote is way up in America.

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Good answer. I had thought, it might be different for the men and the women, because of difference/denial of access of women in certain societies.

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I'm not sure if anyone has actual statistical data from the 16th century on adultery rates, but I'm of a mind to agree with TheLeela. Marriage was basically a social obligation and one you couldn't easily get out of - so to me a lot of adultery just seems far more likely. Nowadays people can get divorced and find another partner. So I imagine they'd be much higher in the 16th century. <br />
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The idea that nowadays we have no morals and only think about sex is just a bullshit reactionary myth. The only thing that has changed are censorship laws and methods of communication so you get to hear a lot more about sex than you once did.

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Good points. Only thing, I wonder, does getting to hear a lot more about it, cause it to be more and cause it to be seen as okay, as well ?

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People are still pretty much the same, so the desire's probably as strong as ever. But on the other hand people aren't pushed to marry young any more, so fewer people get as far as marriage while still wanting to mess around. And modern technology makes it easier to find people out. So I'd have to say down (but not by as much if you count cheating on your bf/gf as adultery).

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Adultery is going higher as people are more able to connect w/other humans in a relatively easy way.The old days there wasn't a way to broadcast to 1 million people in one day that you are looking for an extramarital affair.

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This stupid question would not have been asked 500 years sgo

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Haha, yeah. Thats for sure then, questions in general, and stupid ones at that, have gone up in 500 years.

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I hope so

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