THINK that men cheat for sex and women cheat for love? You’re wrong.
Alicia Walker, author of The Secret Life Of The Cheating Wife, carried out extensive research for new book Chasing Masculinity and her findings shatter gender stereotyping on infidelity.
Author Alicia Walker shares some of her unexpected findingsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
She said: “The men in this study enjoyed the sex in their affairs, but valued emotional connection and intimacy more highly.
“The vast majority of women purely sought sexual satisfaction.”
Below, she shares some of her unexpected findings.
MEN are still painted as creatures that can’t refuse sex.
Sayings like “all men cheat” and “boys will be boys” reinforce common assumptions that cheating is in their genes.
Women cheat for sex but men stray for hugsCredit: Shutterstock
But it’s not true. The vast majority of men I spoke to craved intimacy and attention, and when they couldn’t get it at home they looked elsewhere.
Men wanted a woman to compliment them, praise them and listen to the mundane details of their days.
They wanted what we commonly call The Girlfriend Experience, with hours of sensual sex and lots of kissing and touching.
But the majority of women wanted no-strings sex. They actively vetted partners who weren’t needy or dependent.
EVERY single man said their partner’s orgasms gave them pleasure.
Their masculinity rests on sexual prowess, and making their partner climax is proof of their manliness.
Men said their partner’s orgasms gave them pleasureCredit: Getty Images – Getty
They saw their ability to satisfy as a special skill and it boosted their confidence between the sheets.
They relayed statements such as “Your wife doesn’t know what she’s missing” with pride.
THE men believed their partners lacked interest in them and were “impossible to please”.
As a result, they felt like a constant disappointment to their wives.
The dynamics of the marital bed added to their sense of failure as their wives either didn’t orgasm during sex or, in a few cases, they orgasmed but rushed their lovemaking.
All the men said their wives approached sex like one more chore to complete.
Comments from their mistresses such as “Your wife is so lucky to have you” made them feel more manly and content.
How to survive an affair
FAMILY time over Christmas can bring tensions to the fore – and make unhappy partners more likely to cheat.
And with January then always seeing a spike in break-ups, can couples get over an affair?
Sex and relationship expert GEORGETTE CULLEY gives her tips on how to survive – and thrive if you are the one who’s strayed.
SEE THE POSITIVES: While there’s no denying affairs hurt everyone involved, once out in the open they can be a wake-up call and force both parties to look at their relationship honestly.
FIGHT FOR YOUR LOVE: Remind your partner why you love them and send them a memory book of your favourite photos together.
CUT TIES WITH LOVER: There’s no way you can stay friends with the person you’ve been having an affair with. You must promise to cut all contact immediately.
BE HONEST (UP TO A POINT): Answer any questions your partner has but leave out any unnecessary hurtful details. For example, don’t mention your lover was great in bed.
GET MARRIAGE COUNSELLING: Don’t discuss with friends how to move on – they will be biased and make the situation worse. See someone independent who can give impartial advice.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY: Don’t blame your partner for your behaviour. Own up and face the consequences.
SHOW EMPATHY: You’re hurting, but imagine how your partner feels. Be compassionate.
BE PATIENT: Don’t expect instant forgiveness. When someone has been betrayed it takes time for them to trust again.
WHEN it comes to adultery, men are painted as “cheaters” and women as the “wronged party”.
But recent research shows that a number of men desire monogamy and are true to one person, while many women have more than one sexual partner – openly and secretly.
Many women have more than one sexual partner – openly and secretlyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
WHILE men outnumber women in online venues designed for seeking extra-marital affairs, women are more likely to go through with meeting men in person for sex and actually embark on an affair.
The women were very clever about how they went about their cheating, carefully weighing their options and choosing someone that did not upset the apple cart.
To the outside world they maintained their image as the perfect wife – remembering birthdays and going to the PTA events, and corporate dinners with their husbands – while being very good at hiding their big secret.
They liked retaining the privileges from having marriage status, but secretly rejected the usual monogamy.
WOMEN don’t beat around the bush with what they expect from their affair partner.
Married Avery, 45, describes her process: “I open talks with a series of blunt questions. I ask penis size, availability, what kind of association they are looking for, what sex acts they enjoy.
Most of the women would avoid guys who wanted more than just sexCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“Some men are very put off by it. I’m a direct girl. If that bothers you, you’re not the guy for me.”
Most of the women would avoid guys who wanted more than just sex.
They vetted partners specifically to avoid romantic entanglements and “love.”
They couldn’t afford to take on partners who might later threaten the security of their families.
They held no illusions about their affair partners.
WOMEN are often portrayed as sensitive and compassionate but if an outside partner couldn’t satisfy them sexually, they ditched them.
Men would continue to see a mistress who wasn’t great in bed if they had an emotional bond with them.
One man’s story
JAMES, 58, from North London, is married with two children. He met lover Sarah through his work for an insurance company. He says:
“I never imagined I’d have an affair, but then I don’t suppose anyone does.
At the time I met Sarah I was feeling fed-up. My wife was wrapped up in our teenage children and had very little interest in anything I did.
I’d find myself desperate to think of something to say over the dinner table as she found my work boring. Our sex life was near to non-existent.
She had so little interest I felt as though she was performing a duty or doing me a favour whenever we did anything sexual. And she couldn’t orgasm through penetrative sex, which left me feeling I must be doing something wrong.
When Sarah and I were at a work do, we got talking and something clicked. I was drunk, but I can’t use alcohol as an excuse. I loved feeling interesting to someone.
We arranged to go for a drink and I knew it would lead to something.
The first time we kissed I didn’t feel guilty, I felt relieved. She was trembling with desire and I was high on being wanted for the first time in a decade.
What I didn’t expect is for the feelings to last. I love her, she’s my happy secret keeping me me sane through the drudgery of reality.”
WITH affairs helping them feel both masculine and desired, men spoke of being more tolerant with their primary partners.
They described themselves as being more able to let small things go and felt less resentful towards their wives.
Men described themselves as being more tolerant and felt less resentful towards their wivesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
More than nine out of ten men in the study spoke of their desire to remain with their wife, but said they would probably end up divorcing if they didn’t have the relief of an affair.
They knew their wives were great women and their relationship was the envy of their friends.
Their wives were their best friends but a lack of intimacy and sexual desire was a big issue for them.
- Chasing Masculinity: Men, Validation And Infidelity by Alicia M. Walker (Palgrave Macmillan) is out now, £17.99, palgrave.com/gb.
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