When it comes to adultery, women tend to accumulate more extra-marital lovers than men, according to new research.

Researchers conducted a survey of 4,000 self-professed adulterers and found that women are more promiscuous than men, with women having an average of 2.3 secret lovers compared to men averaging at 1.8 mistresses.

Results from the UK Adultery Survey 2012 show that once women decide to cheat, they are significantly more likely to play the field in search for love compared to cheating men, who report wanting sexual excitement, boredom with their marriage and the need for an ego boost as being the top reasons for being unfaithful.

Women, on the other hand, are far more likely to list improving their self-esteem, romance and emotional fulfillment as the main reasons for cheating.

Female cheaters are also significantly more likely to fall in love with their extra-marital lovers than male adulterers with 57 percent of female participants report being in love with their current affair partner and only 27 percent of male participants reporting the love for their illicit lovers.

However, female adulterers are also more likely to report still loving their spouse compared to men with 76 percent of female participants reporting that they still love their spouses compared to 67 percent of male participants.

The latest findings challenge the traditional view that men are more adulterous than women, Emily Pope of Undercover Lovers, a dating website that connects married people seeking affairs to the other some 600,000 members.

“Once they have made the huge decision to have an affair, women have far more opportunity to actually find someone to cheat with and are generally in control of deciding if and when to consummate the relationship once they do. It is a feature of all dating websites that women are spoilt for choice of male suitors,” Pope said in a statement.

Researchers also found that women are more likely to be the first to think about cheating in a marriage. While male adulterers tend to have their first affair six years after marriage, the female adulterer will stray earlier, at five years into the marriage.

Women who cheat also start cheating at a younger age compared to male cheaters with the average adulteresses starting at 37 compared to 42 for adulterers, according to the survey.

“More and more neurological research is revealing that male and female brains are programmed differently when it comes to relationships,” said Pope. “The results of our survey bear this out, with our adulteresses seemingly seeking something far more emotionally meaningful from their affairs than their male partners.”

Both male and female participants agreed to monogamy was an unnatural state for humans, even though the majority of cheaters claim to still love their spouse and more than 80 percent of both women and men cheating on their spouses intend to stay married.

The survey also found that a great percentage of cheaters are hypocrites, with 41 percent of women and 29 percent of men reporting that they would ask for a divorce if they found out that their spouse was having an affair.