However, in a time of threat from disease, female infidelity may be driven by an additional factor. Genetic immunity from disease is obviously necessary for the wellbeing of a women’s offspring, yet because there are no real obvious visual indications of genetic immune functioning in men, beyond perhaps appearing to be in good health, it may be difficult for women to select men on this criterion. The only way in which women can attempt to increase the probability of strong immunity in their offspring in a time of infection in the environment, is to engage in a multi-male mating strategy, which would provide the genetic diversity afforded when their children are fathered by different men, and make it more likely that at least some offspring will possess the necessary genetic immunity to protect them. Therefore, the threat of disease in the environment may increase the likelihood of women seeking sexually diverse mating strategies driven by such bet-hedging behaviour.
However, it is also important to point out that such a mating strategy is not without its risks—for example, it could result in loss of reputation and disapproval, rejection by a present partner or in some cases physical attack.