Manual Flings & Affairs: Book Eight

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The Globe and Mail
Contents:


  1. Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee
  2. The recipe for happiness? An enduring marriage and an affair with lots of sex - Telegraph
  3. Portrait of an adulterer: secret shots of 50 married men I met on dating websites

There is zero condoning but there is also zero judgment. For some people, this nuanced, dual perspective is very welcome. When you write about this, people instantly think that you must be justifying infidelity. I have my enemies. None of these people have actually read my work or been at a presentation of mine. You expect people with differences of opinion to reach out and try to find out why their colleagues think the way they do, rather than distorting the whole thing based on one very misunderstood idea.

The last thing that one can say about me is that I promote affairs. People actually perceive affairs quite differently around the world, from "bitter condemnation" to "outright enthusiasm. I'll never forget the woman in Morocco to whom I said that in America, you're encouraged to leave your partner if they stray. She says, "All of Morocco would be divorced if we had to lose our straying husbands.


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In Mexico and Argentina, women talk about the rise of female infidelity as a challenge to the chauvinistic male status quo. Still, the double standard is alive and well in many parts of the world. Straying is a male privilege backed up by all kinds of theories to explain why men are "natural roamers. You've seen a surge of heterosexual wives cheating in recent years. Women's infidelity could only occur in greater numbers because of contraception. They could finally experience sexuality without the threat of pregnancy.

Also, mobility, economic independence, greater equality which allows her to finally say, "I want something too," a greater sense of entitlement and individualism in the society at large and less fear of the consequences. You describe cheating wives who are bored with "mothering" their husbands and with the role of "house manager" that's been foisted on them. I'm not saying this to justify their affairs but for quite a few women, if you really want to know what they want to experience emotionally and sexually, you have to go look at those affairs.

They have a truth about themselves in their affairs that they often do not have in their marriages.

The Affairs of Men

You believe that for some, infidelity can actually restart a marriage that's been stuck in a domestic rut. An affair can be a make it or a break it for a couple.

It can be the death knell that finishes off a relationship that was dying on the vine. Nobody has an affair to improve their relationship, just as nobody would recommend getting sick because it reinvigorates your perspective. You've found that a not insubstantial number of married couples experience an erotic charge after one person cheats. Polly, one of your patients, tells you that since her husband's affair, "sex has been the most erotic we ever had — frantic, ardent and urgent.

It is the story that is less told. People are reluctant to share this, but crisis and the fear of loss can reignite a desire in them that they haven't experienced in years — not for everybody, for sure, but for some people. When your partner has an affair, the desire of the third person sheds a new light on that partner. She described some complicated, postcheating sexual dynamics with her husband, including orgasms "heightened by grief. She wasn't a victim. She was a woman who was hurt and who claimed her passion. It hurts no less, but she took the pain to a place where she wanted to fight for something, to say, "I want you back.

Your patients are embarrassed to admit that marital sex can, at least momentarily, get better after an affair. The majority of people who write to me are straying women and wounded husbands — the shame of staying is even bigger for men whose wives have affairs. These are the two groups that are now most vulnerable and speak the least. Meanwhile, in the clinical literature, "the other woman" is never mentioned. She's not a human being. Another quiet cohort is the man in my book whose wife has Alzheimer's. He goes to visit her daily at the nursing home.

How many years is he going to live with her not recognizing him? He wants to have a connection and meets another woman at the home. The two of them are in a beautiful relationship with each other while they are each taking care of their partners.

They are facing the ambiguous loss of their partners: The majority of the people we work with are not actually chronic philanderers. They are people who have been faithful for years, decades. In the midst of their affairs, an adulterer might visit his wife's mother in hospital when she's sick. Or he might talk to his wife's niece who's been cutting herself and take her out for breakfast.

You see responsible people who are doing right by their beloveds and their families, who are at the same time having a relationship or flings that are deep breaches of trust. You can have another version where the person is completely absent, travels all the time and is never home.

She felt she should pay half, but as a student, the expense was mounting up. So she started meeting men for coffee or a drink in the pub. She also started restricting the dates to one-offs; early on, she met up with some of the men several times, but it was becoming awkward.

Infidelity from Tokyo to Tennessee

Caruana was strict about not wanting physical contact with them, but one tried to kiss her on a third date. She realised then that one date was enough. Many of them said this was their first time and seemed very nervous, but others were serial adulterers. They had all, however, put a lot of thought into how to have an affair — pseudonyms were used, and every one, she says, had a secret phone. The men knew she was an artist, but none had any idea they were the subject of her work.

The recipe for happiness? An enduring marriage and an affair with lots of sex - Telegraph

Then she started using a disposable camera, whipped out on the premise of photographing something on the table. So many of the men talked about how they could go and have sex with a prostitute, but using those sites was to get something else. There is this fantasy of an affair, and I was able to show the reality — the mundanity, the loneliness.

It was just pattern after pattern. Some of the men would talk about sex and be very desire-driven, but there would still be hints of that loneliness. Did she ever feel bad about deceiving them? Of course, it would be misleading to suggest that married dating does not have a certain morality of its own. Just as there are rules for dating non-married people, a new set of rules is necessary to navigate the way through the secretive world of married dating on the internet. For many interviewees that I spoke to, whose names have been changed, negotiating the new rules can be a fraught business.

Married people have less spare time and are often more specific and cautious in their search. Amy liked a man in his advert, but was put off by his wearing a shabby grey cardigan under his suit jacket; Kate was delighted on meeting Benjamin, elegant, clever and amusing, until it emerged he was into very experimental sex; when Oliver met Scarlett at her house for a first date, a swinging party was already under way, which was not what he had in mind.

This is one of the successes of the websites: Both parties can quickly establish that they want the same thing and that they are equally committed to secrecy and discretion. If anything, married women are at an astonishing advantage in this 21st-century world of modern adultery, not least because of the disparity in sexual desire in modern marriages.

Recent sex surveys all prove that the received wisdom about men wanting more sex than their wives is not an unfair stereotype but a fact. The gap in sexual desire between men and women is observed in every country and culture where such surveys have been carried out. Unsurprisingly a sexless, or low-sex, marriage, in which couples have sex less than once a month, appears to be the most common root cause for married internet affairs. In Britain, according to the British sex survey of sexual lifestyles, couples aged up to 60 had sex around 10 times a month in the first two years of their relationship, with a sharp decline to an average of twice a month after six years together.

The ratio is around one woman to every 13 men, giving the women the power to dictate terms, from dates at the most expensive restaurants and luxury gifts to financial rewards. Take the case of Peter, a rich year-old judge who lives in a beautiful historical country house with his lively wife. He regularly travelled into central London to sit as a judge in important commercial disputes.

Portrait of an adulterer: secret shots of 50 married men I met on dating websites

He also stayed in the same hotel, with views over the Thames. After several years of this routine he began to welcome the idea of a sexy girlfriend to entertain him during his weekday stays. He signed on to a dating website. When he met his first date, Maya — beautiful and in her thirties — he could not believe his luck.

They had a cheerful and flirty lunch, sitting in the sunshine. At the end, they discussed meeting again. Maya suggested a monthly fee for unlimited time with him at his convenience. Peter laughed, assuming she was joking. He considered an expensive dinner generous enough. But as he worked his way through a similar series of first dates, that were also not followed up, he realised that Maya was right: There are, however, as many success stories.

Claire had been happily married all her life to a much older man. When the marriage became sexless she started a sexually rewarding affair with a younger man that lasted eight years. When her husband died, she remarried another kind, loyal and considerate man. But she sought out an affair again, on a dating website for married people, because she wanted the excitement of a lover who would always be a novelty.