Why Do Men & Women Have Affairs?

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 08:23
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Dear Dr. Betty,

Your topic hasn't included affairs! Why do men/women have affairs? I'm in a situation where I can have an affair with a younger man (16 years my junior) I'm 46 I actually persued him because we started flirting with each other and I asked him if he was interested in starting up an affair with me. Even though we have done some oral play we haven't gone into full penetration as yet. I love my husband of 28 years but he doesn't turn me on anymore he tries but when I suggest we do something new he just raises his eyebrows.

This other guy is totally different and is well aware that I want him to be submissive more that I am. This whole affair will be fanciful in the bedroom something that we are not getting from both our partners (yes he is married) but just recently. I know it's not the right thing to do, but the desire out ways the consequences in my mind. All I can think of is the moment and how wonderful it will be, I don't know how I will feel really after the event. I have never done this before but I feel empowered by doing this. Because of our schedules we will meet up in a couple of weeks. Have you ever had an affair?


Dear J,

When you ask why do people have affairs is like asking why do people want to have sex with other people? The question everyone needs to ask is why do we pretend to be monogamous? It's not really viable for a large part of the population as human nature wants variety in all things including food, habitat, dress, sex, entertainment, creativity, etc.

I blame organized religions for the concept of marriage and monogamy being the only expression of love. Truth is that monogamy is primarily practice by women as we are far more sexually inhibited than many men. Next I accuse the MYTH of romantic love conquering all. Since so few of us can live that way, therefore we are all guilty of being "sinners" which makes us easier to manipulate by Religions and controlled by Governments.

During the seven years I was married, I cheated the first year to make sure I could. But the guilt was so awful, I turned to sublimation and worked in my art studio around the clock. I became a proficient painter as well as a practitioner of masturbation. Once single again, I knew I would never agree to be monogamous for any reason. So I became a committed single who went on to create a second career as a sex educator. Most folks agree that experience is our best teacher EXCEPT when it comes to sex! So on and on it goes. While I don't deny there are a handful of happily married monogamous couples, I believe if we looked more closely we would see they are not very sexual people who most likely thrive on routine.

So enjoy your new affair and do so without hurting your husband. You will love him all the more with the addition of sexual pleasure in your life. While I honor honestly as my preference, in our sexually conflicted society perhaps the concept of "Don't ask don't tell" makes the most sense.

Dr. Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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I disagree with your advice

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 14:46
lsjb (not verified)

I disagree with your advice and i think it's morally bankrupt.  Having an affair which is typically undisclosed, cannot happen without hurting a  partner.  This man is in a new marriage and I think there is something important to that aside from the "monogamy is unnatural" theory.  And what about this guy's poor new bride.
If you want to have an affair, at least be open, give your partner the chance to tell you how he feels about it or -- just think about yourself, as Betty says, and have fun.
Come on.


Fri, 04/25/2014 - 17:15

Dear J,

Everyone our age, who has been in a committed relationship for any length of time must end up questioning monogamy.

Men and women have affairs because they're bored. We are social animals, clever and curious. We want to be interested, to be entertained and that applies to sex as well as the rest of our lives. 

At the same time, most of us are searching for an emotional intimacy that comes from shared relationships, from commitment, from time spent together and experiences shared. We need partners who are with us for the journey, who continue to explore and excite us physically whilst sharing our thoughts, emotions and feelings.

So the real question is whether you can have an affair without feeling guilty? Will having an affair trash the rest of your life?

And the only person who can answer either question is you.

Having an affair doesn't have to be a disaster. I believe people who say it's been cathartic, a life changing or affirming event.

But for me, it always seemed like too much hard work to balance the needs of another man in my life, another ego. & I doubt that I'd have the discipline to segregate my home life from a series of affairs with temporary lovers - too lazy. I never wanted to risk what I already have though maybe I just haven't been bored enough. I doubt Betty's assertion that we're just not sexual enough, possibly risk averse, certainly conflicted but life is complicated.

So I'm still working on my existing relationship, trying to be more open to try new directions with my lover and grow old with him. It's a balancing act.

However it works out for you, wishing you well.


Sat, 04/26/2014 - 17:50

There are always going to be people we find attractive. We all enjoy imagining having our fantasies fulfilled and finding that perfect partner who will do for us what our current partner doesn't. But we have to ask ourselves about the potential consequences to the other people in our lives, and to those in the life of the person we're thinking of getting involved with. This isn't a trivial matter. As important as sexual pleasure is, it's far more important how we treat those we share our lives with---not to mention how we treat ourselves. If we have a primary relationship that's worth having at all, it ought to be worth taking the time and trouble to spice it up and try to re-kindle some of those original sparks. Everyone's circumstances are different and I couldn't say that every affair is 'wrong', but as a general principle, trying to find happiness through deceit doesn't work in the long run, however exciting it might be for a little while.

Beware of affair

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 09:55
Anonymous111 (not verified)

Dear J, 

I agree pretty much completely with Patrick's comments. If you are unhappy in your marriage, fix it or get out. If you think your partner is OK with you flirting and being intimate outside your marriage, then there is no need to hide and you can ask for an open relationship.

But an affair is always deceit and rarely leads to good things for any of the parties involved. You have a responsibility for your marriage and your partner. Your spouse simply does not deserve to be betrayed. Your spouse trusts you. Or, in the words of The Little Prince: "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose..."

Marriages do fall apart because of issues in the sex department - no doubt. I believe sex is a glue to hold marriages together more often than not. You have to recognize that and you have to see where it falls on your priority list. If it's a must-have for you - again, fix it or get out.

The one thing that I have found to be very common amongst waywards is that a) they totally underestimated what they were getting themselves into, falsely thinking they could just have some fun, get our unharmed and go back to normal life, b) affairs are an addiction (yes, that is right!) and they inflict pain beyond the fantasy of the affair, c) D-day almost always comes and it comes in unexpected ways, d) nothing is the same after the affair, regardless of how it ends. 

You are wise to question getting into the affair before jumping into it (although that does seem to be a matter of definition). You have to think about the consequences. If you imagine they could be bad, imagine them to be a 1,000 times worse and then you have still not imagined reality, probably.

I am all for wonderful, liberating and great sex - else I would not be on this website - but affairs are an entirely different story. Be careful and take care

what we say & what we do

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 04:00

This thread is quite interesting because of the contrast between what we say and what we do which is very well reflected in the comments.

The number of people strongly disapproving of adultery in the US has risen from around 51% in the 1970s to more than 60% (and these figures relate to "liberal" college graduates so other socio-economic groups are much more disapproving)

At the same time the number of people who admit to infidelity in a relationship is high (men:57%, women: 54%) and would be even higher if people believed they would never be caught (men: 74%, women 68%).

So why do most of us have (or want to have) an affair if we think it's the wrong thing to do?

Betty has essentially nailed this in her reply.


The other woman

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 06:27

I have been 'the other woman' twice.  First man loved the chase and was straight up about not wanting to leave his wife, and the second man was not happy in his marriage and they did eventually divorce.

I don't think infidelity is as straightforward or black and white as people think.  These 2 men were so completely different, their reasons very different and I'm sure there are many more reasons why people look outside their relationship. 

It's not about statistics

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 07:56
Anonymous111 (not verified)

Dear J,

There are many reasons why people have affairs and each person gets into them for different reasons and in some cases there is a combination of reasons. The range of affair types spans from "opportunistic/ONS affairs" via "exit strategy" and "double life" to "emotional"  and "revenge affairs." Mele describes perfect examples. 

The "Why" is always the big mystery in an affair situation and it would certainly help you to be very honest with yourself about the reasons (is sex really the only reason?)

When I read your post all sorts of red flags went up because I can already see the affair addiction happening ("I know it's not the right thing to do, but the desire out ways the consequences in my mind.") Your statement speaks volumes and frankly, that is the only reason I am even responding here. 

Your situation is not about how many people in the U.S. are approving or disapproving of affairs. This is YOUR individual case and your decision to make.

It is also not about the AP, who makes his/her own decision about getting into an affair. But you have no idea how the AP and/or your AP's spouse will (re-)act once the affair is over or discovered. Your AP might turn on you the minute you end the affair and could really mess with your private and/or public and professional) life. Unexpected consequences...

There are also implications on your self-image and your mental health. Unless you are without conscious you are likely to struggle with guilt. Your statement about knowing that it's wrong to have the affair indicates -at least to me- that you are not without feelings and you are very likely to suffer from guilt. You already do!

Whatever anybody tells you, just know that you will pay for the affair in one way or another. There are far-reaching ripple effects during and after the affair that affect many people, especially your family (by the way, do you have children?). Entering the affair, you should be certain that you are willing to deal with the consequences of your actions. 

I am not judging what you do. Best of luck.

Affairs and the mythology of love

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 14:14

For the health of a monogamous relationship, it makes a huge difference whether two people have freely chosen monogamy, or whether custom has forced it upon them. For many of us it's the latter, so it's not surprising that eventually many of us will become bored, resentful, addicted to 'variety', or find some other reason to stray. Our culture is full of romantic myths that promise lifelong happiness with that one perfect person. Most of us believe them at some point, so we're disillusioned when we find that our partner is an ordinary human being, that everything in our relationship doesn't fall happily into place any longer, and that we're going to have to work at it if we really want a lasting, fulfilling life partnership. It's so much easier to blame the 'boring' person we so foolishly and wrongly chose. But we still believe the myths, and we still want to think that true happiness lies just over the next hill, or maybe over in the next bed with that exciting new woman or man.

But because boredom and dissatisfaction are a state of mind, we're going to carry them over into our affairs too. I think that's what Anonymous111 meant by calling affairs an 'addiction'. It's certainly possible to choose a partner unwisely or to change over time, and people in this position need to feel free to move on and seek happiness elsewhere. I think that most affairs aren't like this, however. They're a case of wanting to have one's cake and eat it too, of wanting to cling to the familiar while also lying one's way into a new romance that's as doomed to fail as the old one because besides being deceitful, it's as much based on romantic myth as the marriage was. It's natural to want happiness; it's unlikely we're ever going to get it through cultivating deception. What's wrong about affairs is that they're fundamentally dishonest. They tread on the feelings of people we love, or at least used to love and once gave our word to. We can certainly move on if we need to, but in my opinion we need to do so honestly and caringly. How we treat people matters.

Affair addiction

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 14:33
Anonymous111 (not verified)

Hi Patrick,

Just wanted to respond to your interpretation of what I meant by saying that affairs are an addiction. I did not mean that one transposes the boredom from the marriage to the affair. 

I believe (and know) that affairs are simply addictive by their very nature. Once you licked the blood, once you tasted the sweetness of that affair sex or emotion, you felt the high of that fantasy love (because affair love is nothing but a fantasy), you cannot let go of it any more. Ending an affair is exceptionally hard, and the withdrawel symptoms are totally comparable to any other drug addiction. You have to go cold turkey from the AP and still, the affair fog and the extraordinary pain seems to last forever. (And by the way, the same goes for the AP, which can lead to some completely unexpected consequences once the affair is over.)

Even if you have been successful in hiding your affair to that very day (let's assume no D-Day), skuling back into your marriage is not just going to happen that easily.

I think that a person like J who never had an affair should know about that. When J talks about the fact that the desire outways all possible consequences, it's obvious that the clear thinking is already out the window. The addiction has already set in, imho.

I had submitted a post earlier to this point, but I don't know if it went wrong on my part and therefore into Nirvana or if it was edited - does not matter. 

Largely, Patrick, you and I are on the same page on this topic. 

And may I say at this point, I like pretty much all of your posts, typically :-)

I understand the need to have

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 15:16
Elin A (not verified)

I understand the need to have sex with different people. It doesn't have to be about being unhappy with your marriage, although that is the reason many people finally end up in affairs.
But I strongly disagree with the keeping it secret. If you want to fuck outside your marriage, re-negotiate the marriage or get out. Dishonesty is foul play.

Just read a Tweet from an academic study about how polyamory

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 16:55
Betty Dodson

 can oxygenate a marriage. That was their term "oxygenate" the loss of H2O when two people try to get everything from one another. Quite an impossible task for most. I have a dear friend who is a therapist and she's ademant about monogamy. So she's gone through four marriages. Seems that's an impracticle solution especiially when children are involved. I always come back to our old seventies saying, "Different strokes for different folks." I'll see if I can find a link to the study.
YAY, I found it.

Addicted to affairs

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:06

Thank you, A111, I've enjoyed your posts as well, and we do often seem to be on the same page. I think your cautions to J about unforeseen consequences are right on the money. People who have affairs aren't in any sense 'bad people', but they may well be starting off on a path that will end up changing their lives in ways they never intended or wanted.

Thanks for clarifying. I agree about the addictiveness of affairs. The allure of the other person, and for some even the adrenaline rush of danger and forbidden fruit, do make for powerful stuff. My idea is also that affairs can be prompted by desires that are simply unsatisfiable by their very nature, and so a cycle of moving from affair to affair can begin, an eternal search for a kind of elusive satisfaction that the seeker never finds because it's really somewhere else---perhaps in the form of internal contentment and self-compassion. And Elin, while I question the wisdom of most open relationships, at least they're out in the open and both partners have agreed to abide by the same rules. As you say, they're honest.

Betty, I just saw your post about 'oxygenating' marriages

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 18:30

Betty, I just saw your post about affairs 'oxygenating' marriages. Again, I'd question the reasoning. I suppose this could happen once in a while without causing total disaster, IF the partners both take lovers, are honest about it, and make a firm agreement that their partnership comes first no matter what and will survive any challenge. But affairs, like emotions, are unpredictable. A couple who did this could be risking a lot of heartache. Maybe, however, the outside lovers will be so pathetic that they'll make that boring old spouse seem wonderful again! Your therapist friend with the four marriages may be one of those people who's looking for what can't be found: the 'perfect' lover, partner, and companion, instead of a real human being we love anyway despite any and all flaws.

A twitter  is a comment not a

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 10:08
lsjb (not verified)

A twitter  is a comment not a study.  "oxygenating " is a matter of opinion. Even if its true it does not speak to the problem this person is presenting.  Your advice is only about sex, its not about people. Polyamorists typically face great conflicts in their primary relatioships.  However, they are open and in constant communication and proud of t he way they negotiate their "monogamy."  You might want to get your information of outlets other than twitter.

Reasons to be faithful?

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 12:12

First, I feel a need to congratulate J for achieving 28 years married and to recognise that she loves her husband. Love and sex are not the same thing at all. She has a lot of capital invested in this relationship, physical years and experiences, emotional and financial capital. She has worked at this relationship and now finds herself in an unexpected place.
Whilst I've enjoyed this thread I struggle to find any positive reasons for J to stay monogamous listed by any of us commenting, which seems a bit telling. There are lots of reasons not to have an affair listed but they're all so negative and fearful. Maybe I'm missing something.
So then I tried to think of something positive to say about monogamy.

Sex is better with people we know and care about and by better I simply mean more intimate. If you can improve the sexual relationship with your husband, think how  much better your life with him will be and how much fun you can have on  the journey to better sex.
I thought about what we did, 20 years into the relationship as the children started to grow up and away.

Think up a sexual wish list of things you have always wanted to try, wanted to do more or wanted to do differently.

Your partner of 28 years is more motivated to please you than anyone else in the world so he is the easiest person to work through your wishlist. What do you think his wish list would look like? This is a partnership, a dialogue with give and take.

After all these years together we get stuck in our roles, so maybe it would be a good idea to seek outside help from a therapist to move you both out of your comfort zones, ideally a sex therapist but you could maybe build up to it by starting with a more conventional marriage counsellor to kick-start the change process. I'm sure Betty could advise on this.

If it turns out that your husband is unwilling to take steps to work on his marriage, then you have a different problem (not sex at all) to work on and some difficult decisions ahead.

Wishing J all the best for the future.

Dear lsjb, For your information Twitter fueled the Egyptian

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 13:35
Betty Dodson

uprising as well as Occupy Wall Street. It's very powerful and useful. Welcome to the new age of online communication. Larence Lanoff one of our bloggers posted a link to a study that was done by several legimate academics that you so admire.

are you by any chance reading

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 13:54
lsjb (not verified)

are you by any chance reading all these posts.???

Very interesting discussion regarding a difficult subject.

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 20:03

I would like to throw my
experience into the mix. My husband and I have been married 36 years. Our sexual
relationship started to go downhill shortly after we got married, for reasons I
did not understand then, and now have some insight into it. My husband had emotional
challenges that prevented us from having the kind of trusting, loving
relationship we could have had. Sexual difficulties were just one symptom of many
of how dysfunctional our relationship was. Sex became strained and sporadic, then
after years, we stopped trying altogether. That was well over 10 years ago.

Five or so years ago, I was
teetering on the edge of depression. There were several factors, but the main
one was that I grieved the loss of a sex life.  As I entered my fifties, I realized that I am
a very sexual person, and I very much grieved what I could not have. I felt
hopeless and desperate. I started seeing a counselor, who recommended
masturbation, something I had not really explored much. In my quest for
information, I found Dodson and Ross, which helped me in oh so many ways. (thank
you Betty!)

Four and a half years ago, while
I was teetering on the edge, my husband had a stroke. I was still depressed and
struggling with my forced celibacy, but had a whole new set of circumstances to
deal with. Without really looking for it, I found myself involved in a long
distance, internet relationship with a man who is also in a sexless marriage.

Over the next four years, he and
I arranged to get together as often as possible, usually every 2-3 months. We had
the best sex of our lives. It was truly wonderful and worth it, and was
actually quite perfect in many ways. However, after about four years, I could
not deal with the guilt anymore of leading a double life. Actually, I’m not even
sure guilt is the right word, because I don’t think there is truly anything to
feel guilty about, other than the deceit. I think we both are entitled to be
sexually fulfilled, and if we can’t get that within the confines of our
marriages, then why not get it outside of them. But neither of our spouses
would ever be open to that possibility, so we lied and snuck around. This
aspect was never comfortable for me. After four years, the novelty started to
wear off, and the “guilt” and fear of discovery became greater than the desire
for sex, so I broke off the relationship.

I believe that a person can be
married, or in a primary relationship, and still love someone else. I certainly
believe you can have sex outside the marriage and it not hurt anyone. As a
matter of fact, I think having an affair made me a happier person, and my
marriage has improved . My husband and I now get along better than ever, and
although I still miss and crave sex, I will not seek it out. It is not an
option for me to “fix it or get out”, there is no getting out, and there is no
fixing it. I do not want to abandon my marriage of 36 years, which I am very
invested in. I do not want to risk the potential devastation in either of our
homes that could ensue if our infidelity were to be discovered. So I will
remain in a sexless marriage and make the best of it.

Thank God I learned about
masturbating, which is a great outlet, but certainly no substitute for great
sex with a great partner.

I would say, if you can spice up
your sex life with your husband and remain monogamous, that would be the best
option, with the least risk. If he is open to either or both of you having
other partners, then you could explore those options, knowing there is risk
involved there also. If you do choose to go with the “don’t ask, don’t tell”
option, and have an affair, do so knowing that it is not easy or without cost. And
you really have to be honest with yourself about whether the risk is worth the
cost. Only you can decide that.

thank you

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 03:12

Thank you for sharing your story. Life is so complicated, so full of choices and compromises. Wishing you well. NLH

Thank you, Collette

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 04:15

I appreciate both your thoughtfulness and your honesty. Your situation is complex; you've reminded me that sometimes there are no easy solutions or one-size-fits-all rules. It seems clear from what you wrote that what you really wish is that the intimacy you first shared with your husband had never deteriorated, and that you were driven to have an affair through sheer desperation. You say that what's wrong with your marriage isn't fixable; I trust you on this, but I wonder what's been tried before to repair the damage, and why you're so sure that nothing could help today.

I agree with your advice to J that for couples committed to one another, honesty is the best policy, and spicing up a stale marriage through rediscovering some of that old passion could be immensely rewarding without risking the potential emotional devastation of an affair. If your husband had also had an affair and you discovered it, would you have been able to understand his actions as you can understand your own? In any case, I think you've given us a valuable perspective from someone who has actually struggled with these issues first-hand. Honesty is a very important principle, but so is compassion.

Patrick, thank you for

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 21:52

Patrick, thank you for reading and listening. If the shoe were on the other foot, I don't know how I would react. To clarify, I feel no guilt about having sex  outside of marriage. I think it is highly unnatural for many of us to be faithful in monogamy long term. For one thing, our desires, tastes, appetites change over a lifetime. How unlikely it seems that if you get married at 19 like I did, that one man will be your sexual everything for your entire life. What I feel guilt about is the dishonesty. And I think if the shoe were on the other foot, that is what would bother me about it. Not the sex part.
You ask why the marriage isn't fixable. To be brief, our marriage is about as good as it's ever been, so for that I am glad. What's not fixable is the sex part. My husband is unable physically, and is not the kind of person who would partake in an activity just to bring me pleasure. I'm not judging, it simply is not in his DNA. As our recent counselor said, he was damaged by his family of origin. He might improve, but he's never going to be whole. He not only is unwillingly to do anything sexual, he also gives me no physical affection. For instance, a year or so ago, we were lying in bed, and he reached over and I thought he was going to touch me affectionately. He reached right past me to pet the cat. This is how it's been for so long that even if I thought there was something to be "fixed", I don't think I could go out on that limb anymore. Too much water over the damn. As for my recent lover, he is a generous, affectionate man and lover. It has been wonderful to have that experience in my life. I miss the hugging and affection as much or more than I miss the sex.  His wife has no interest in sex, but at least she will give him some physical affectiona and tenderness.

Collette, thank you again for

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 00:21

Collette, thank you again for telling your story. It's not easy to be in a situation that makes us go against our own values. My reaction reading about your husband is that it's just so sad for both of you. He must have been very badly damaged indeed. It's hard to fathom a person's being so emotionally crippled that they're blocked even from expressing the most basic warmth towards their partner. It sounds as if you've been dealing with an almost total absence of affection for decades. I do have some small idea of what you're talking about because I've also had a partner who could be painfully unaffectionate, although not to the same degree as your husband. It's extraordinary that you've managed to endure this situation for so long. I won't ask why, but you must have some very good reasons.

I'm not sure how 'natural' monogamy is, although there's some evidence that it goes far back into human prehistory. But I do think it's a valid choice if made for the right reasons, i.e. a deep commitment to grow together and to enhance one another's lives through both the best and the worst the world has to offer. This level of commitment isn't proof against temptation; there are always attractive people, after all. But remembering it might bring us back to what's really important to us, which is the person we share our life with. That's one striking thing about your story, because you're clearly committed to your marriage despite not having your partner's commitment in return to enhance your life in many of the areas that are important to you. I don't believe many of us could have handled such a situation. I don't think we can expect any one person to meet all our needs, but we ought to be able to expect them to care enough to try. Sometimes, however, for whatever reason, that's not possible. I respect your choices and appreciate your sharing with us.

Attitudes Change With Experience, I Think

Sat, 05/10/2014 - 11:38

Cheating.......now there's a topic. I got married knowing that my husband would eventually cheat on me. When I met him, he was cheating on his then current fiancé (who I knew nothing about until later) and I knew for a fact all his married male friends cheated because they bragged about it and hit on me when my hubby wasn't looking. All these guys cheated with no guilty conscience and acted as if it were their birthright...and that entitlement also included prostitutes. It was pot luck. In my naivety I thought maybe in my marriage he'd prove me wrong and really loved me enough to stay faithful....a stupid, romantic notion. About fifteen years into the marriage, and he was definitely cheating with anything that had hips and a pulse, I actually considered cheating on him. I didn't because of my own Judeo-Christian moral compass, but I wanted to and I had the opportunity many times with his closest friends, even his own brother was after a quick tryst. I had emotionally left the marriage, felt unwanted and unloved and became very alone and isolated. I could definitely understand the impulse to stray. Now at my age I would never stay with one man, but that has nothing to do with love as so much to do with independence. I do not like surrendering myself to anyone, I'd rather share on equal footing, which is hard to do with most men in my date range (60s). Would I go younger? No, simply because men my age are generally clueless as it is about female sexuality, at 16 years younger......I'd bet my marker that he's a long shot at having good sex and it would be lousy simply because guys don't put that much effort in casual sex, if they aren't really into a woman for the long haul, they are even less interested in her satisfaction...IMHO. Anyway, a fascinating discussion!

Love, infidelity and honesty

Sat, 07/08/2017 - 03:53

Hiya NorthLondonHousewife

You may recognise my situation from a different alias a couple of years ago :)

I've been happily married for 40 years next month. My wife is staunchly old fashioned and conventional in her attitudes. She has her roles and I have mine. No feminism there! She depends on me for more and more carre, which I happily supply. We love each other deeply.

However, my wife has been stricken with arthritis pain for many years, and has had neither interest in, nor ability to partake in, sexual activity for well over ten years.

On the other hand, I am horny. Sure I have my achey limbs and sometimes things don't work, but I NEED a sex life. I ADORE pleasing women.

I have a "girlfriend", a lovely lady some 12 years younger than me. My relationship with her (she was my subordinate in our place of employment) led to my dismissal. Never mind that she was suicidal at the time and has blossomed into a happy, wonderful lady. Unfortunately circumstances have resulted in no partnersex for some months. We still get on very well - just no opportunity.

So, conventional wisdom says that I have to be honest with my wife? Well, that very honesty would destroy my wife, and a 40 year marriage. What's the point? We remain a totally committed partnership, we love each other.

I'm totally comfortable with what I do, but I'd love to hear some comments. In my positiion, what would YOU do?



Tue, 07/11/2017 - 04:41


You ask what I would do, and I'm wondering why? If everything in the garden is wonderful, why write asking for an opinion? 

Let's be clear, your situation would not work for me personally, not if I was you, your wife or your sexual partner. It wouldn't work if I was you because the dishonesty towards someone I love would make me feel dirty. It wouldn't work from your wife's perspective because of the fundamental lack of trust you're showing in her and the relationship. From your partner's perspective, it wouldn't work for me because of the lack of direction and consequently the lack of emotional intimacy.

And none of this matters obviously, because I'm not the one in this triangle.  We all make and live with our own choices and if you were all happy with it, then it's no one else's business, least of all mine.

But if people are genuinely comfortable with what they're doing, they don't even pause to consider other people's opinion or to canvass support for choices they know to be right for them, so what is making you doubt your own choices now? Are you okay with where you find yourself or are you looking for a reason to change things?

You say that you love your wife, but that your behaviour in a relationship with another woman would destroy her. You write that you have a sexual relationship with another woman but it doesn't seem to involve regular partnersex. You provide support and care for you wife. You get on well with your non-sexual sex partner. You seem to be great at friendship and supportive relationships with women with not so much sex.

I'm not in your position: Why are you?

Wherefore Why? ?Sex and Attachment are different? Affairs

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 21:09
???? feminist indignation ???? (not verified)


       In this post’s treads the thing that pops out is a simple secret starts the affair more

convoluted issues keep it going. Because this is a sex blog it is surprising

posters speak pointedly to their desire for safety and support from within

their relationship. While outside sex is a great it surprisingly does not seem

to be the secret we are being asked to know.  Great sex outside of the relationship is fine but as North London seems to so accurately pinpoint from all directions; it is the lost connection, theabsence of the need be known, the need to know the other person, a need for

reciprocity, craving to find the lost of emotional support, trust and safety

that as well as the fear of loosing one’s attachment anchor, are really

troublesome. Why she asks? The simple answer is we need these things and thus

make mistakes in getting them. These mistakes when viewed through the lens of

her countryman’s John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory have certain logic of

attempting to restore partner’s safety. Wherefore?

       It appears the repair to a breaking relationship (if possible) is not about the

wild sex experienced with others, or really the loss of sex. Repair is about

building a safe house from which there is no need to have secrets with others.

It is the establishment of a secret that begins the road to the affair. Ira

Glass’s mother Shirley did ground breaking work on this subject. The beginning

is likely innocuous – imperceptible, “the kids drove me berserk last weekend I

was alone….”

        It sort of goes without saying every relationship is vulnerable most of the time, just some are more so than others. In fact when John and Julie Gottman do couples therapy around affairs “sex with the other” is never mentioned because it is deemed irrelevant.

         Yet people’s sexual needs have to be explored supported and honored within marital relationships. There is always a sexual mismatch just as there is always biological sensual

ignorance. It seems from Dr. Susan "Sue" Johnson work that when

couples can connect, understand attachment and care for both their own

emotional needs as well as those of a partner all the aspects of living

together get easier including sex. It is the attachment bond that builds the

stability to support each other to go forth into the world, not sex.

            As Betty notes, sex in many forms is often culturally taboo due to a few of the reasons she sights plus many more. This makes it difficult for even securely attached couples to learn about basic human sexuality and male/female erotic physiology. What I hear from these

posts, is that while sex may be lacking (rightfully angrily so) it is the loss

of the ability to connect and share emotional support which leads to a secret

with an outsider thus the affair and thus the guilt, fear and more longing to be

closer. Because sex and attachment are not at all the same thing, sex does not

replace attachment even if sex with new people is often much freer, infatuating

and exhilarating.

         We learn how to do attachment and create secure bonds from other people. At birth we begin learning and adapting our attachment styles to survive with our attachment figures - our parents. What kind of bonds a person learned with their first attachment figures one’s

parents plays a significant role in the attachment styles they later bring to

even work relationships and most critically with a bonded partner. Dr Sue

Johnson identifies 3 styles of attachment; Anxious Avoidant or Secure.

         This blog is about sex - not attachment and boding. Betty’s sensual learning through group sex and her learning from her clients is integral to helping couples with better sex. Couples still have to grapple with their attachment issues in order to engage Betty’s vast sexual

knowledge. In life there is so much to learn: to be a citizen in community, to

be a child, to be a parent, to be a securely bonded partner, to attach, to be

an attachment figure and a sensual person in a bonded relationship. Secrets

with outsiders interrupt meeting needs for safety and trust within bonded


         Since this post and treads are about the pain of affairs and lack of sex…

         Here is a toast! To! learning more secure attachment, may it open the door to better sex and many other tangible actions of bonded partnership.  Attachment; anxious, avoidant and secure is learned, unlearned and relearned or forgotten at our peril.

         Enjoy sex!

Religious Views

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 17:41

I per my religious views and belief, I should be satisfied with the person that I have married with and it should be it. I should find satisfaction and happeness in it - and I am happy. ;)

Scott Porter

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