Are Affairs About Sex?

People have a misguided idea that when people commit adultery, they “affair up.”  Think of the many movies we’ve seen where the good-looking, well-to-do man sees the woman of his dreams across a crowded room, and against all odds they overcome obstacles like being married because they were “meant to be.”  Think of the romance novels where the wife is a frigid nag, and the poor husband has to endure her abuse until one day he meets the young, beautiful, charming, sympathetic heroine of the story.  Or the songs about leaving to be with their “destiny”!  It’s no wonder people get the wrong message.

But,  if affairs really were about looks and money, it seems logical that the most beautiful women would have the absolutely most loyal husbands.  See these women?  They are as close to our definition of beauty here in the USA as anyone possibly achieve, and each one of these stunningly beautiful women had their husband not only cheat on them, but leave them cold!

halleberry  jennifer

76th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals by Gregg DeGuire            demi_moore



See these men?  They are good looking, rich and powerful, and each one of them had their wives leave them cold too (or did you forget about Ben and J’lo?).


 RP   Ben Affleck  shaq  quaid

Affairs are not about “looks” “money” “sex” or “affairing up.”  The Other Person is not sexier, doesn’t look better, isn’t richer, and isn’t a better lover…usually.  That’s because affairs are not about improving as a person or about love!  Affairs can not be “love stories” because love literally means committing to one person and thereafter treating that person in a kind, caring way.   It’s an action, not a feeling.

In real life people usually have affairs with someone a little under them, because it makes them feel better about themselves.  Men have affairs with the secretary; women with the co-worker at work.  It’s not at all unusual for the Affair Partner to have had an affair before or to have a police record, and yet people overlook the facts in order to continue their fantasy.  And that’s because affairs are about unmet needs.  Men fall for the secretary because she listens to him like he’s interesting, she acts like she desires him, and she wants to spend time with him–she acts like she understands what he’s going through.  And women fall for the man at work because she respects him, he pursues her, he acts like he wants her and like he thinks she is smart, funny, and interesting–he acts like he understands what she’s going through.

Are affairs about sex?  99 times out of 100 the answer is “No.”

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11 thoughts on “Are Affairs About Sex?

  1. So good, Cindy! I really am realizing just what relational “holes” I’ve had for most of my life and the pseudo fillings I’ve been using to disguise them. Jesus is the only true fill-up! Thank you for a great Sunday Cheryl T

    Sent from my iPod

  2. I loved this post. My affair had absolutely nothing to do with sex at all initially and for the entire 7 years it continued, I could have done without it. There is so much truth here.

    1. So why didn’t you NOT have sex then if that’s not what it was about? Such a bunch of BS! Ultimately it was the sex that made it true cheating!

      1. Actually I disagree, but that’s because my definition of cheating is giving any less than 100% of my affection and loyalty to my spouse. If I give even a portion of affection or loyalty to someone else, I promised to FORSAKE ALL OTHERS…and thus turning to someone else for connection, for comfort, for understanding, for friendship, for interest…those all count as cheating my spouse out of what is duly his to have.

  3. Interesting how the men always say it “meant nothing” and that it was “just about the sex.” Then you find out the sex wasn’t so great so they kept on trying? Please!! A man will rarely admit an emotional connection, he sees this as a “weakness” but the need for sex and conquest as “manly.”

  4. Now and then, a TV show gets it right. I’m recalling an episode of Reba, whose husband cheated and left her. Reba was portrayed as prettier and smarter and more together, so it was a big question mark why he would leave his wife for another woman. He finally answered, “Because she needed me. You didn’t.”

    I’m not saying THIS is why people cheat, only that I think the real appeal is filling some hole the person–rightly or wrongly–feels.

  5. A friend of mine is a therapist who works with many couples recovering from infidelity. She once told me that in most cases, the affair partner is “less” than the spouse in many ways. The cheater is looking for something that he or she thinks isn’t available from the spouse, not necessarily sex (although sex is often how this is acted out), but the fulfillment of some kind of emotional need.It’s not necessarily something that isn’t available from the spouse, it’s more likely something that is missing in the cheater, such as a loss of confidence, or wanting to feel younger. The affair partner isn’t really capable of fulfilling that need – it’s just a fantasy, a projection. This is why the overwhelming majority of affairs do not lead to lasting relationships. Eventually the cheater realizes that the affair is not satisfying and that the affair partner is not the idealized person they fantasized about.

  6. Wow! Boy did you say that well…I’m impressed. About 90% of the time it absolutely is about something missing in the cheater that they are searching for, and they fantasize that the OP can fill that hole. There are a very few (and I mean 10% or fewer) where it’s what I call a true Exit Affair–they want to leave their marriage and don’t know how, so they blow it to smithereens.

  7. I gave up sex for the kudos…affair lasted two years mostly online. We had sex three times and it was awful. But the words made me feel beautiful. I didn’t want to have sex with him. I felt I had to to keep the kudos coming. In reality he just used me. He never even had feelings for me. It was an ego thing for him. stealing a married woman away from her husband. When I got caught he ran like a chicken. How stupid I was.

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