Sexual affairs are the most commonly recognized affairs. In his book, You, Him, and the Other Woman, Paul Coleman, PsyD, suggests that while purely sexual affairs can be truly “gut wrenching,” they’re usually less complicated to deal with in comparison to emotional affairs or sexual-emotional affairs. Though popular thought states that men are more likely to engage in sexual affairs, it’s a misconception. Women are just as capable of having sexual affairs like men.
Whether a one night stand or a long term affair, sexual affairs are usually borne from a desire for sexual gratification, but can occur for several reasons. Some who are caught cheating state that they had a “moment of weakness,” which may include being under the influence of drugs and alcohol. An engaged man may sleep with his ex-girlfriend just to make sure “he still doesn’t have feelings for her” while preparing to marry his current fiance. Sometimes, the chemistry is there, and a woman may figure it’s safe to have a secret fling “just one time” to see how good it would be.
The reasons continue. An otherwise-faithful spouse experiences the “seven year itch” when sex at home become stales and predictive. A newlywed couple might feel the novelty of their relationship has worn off within the first year of marriage, and both stray because they feel “stuck.” A common strain on marriages, the birth of the first baby, can also spur infidelity. Couples have been known to experience distance from one another as the family dynamic shifts. Witnessing his wife give birth can create a loss of the husband’s sexual attraction to his wife. Or the still amorous husband may feel closer and more aroused by his wife, but find that she’s no longer interested in sex. To meet his needs, he discreetly fulfills them elsewhere.
Despite cheating on you (possibly without a condom), your cheating boyfriend will plead with you tooth-and-nail for forgiveness, trying to convince you that you’re the one for him. “She meant nothing to me. I never loved her,” he’ll say. “She was just sex. It was just sex. You’re the one I want. I love you more than anything and you mean the world to me.” Unfortunately, these words don’t assuage the searing pain of discovery once you learn all he’s done to conceal the affair from your knowledge. Those actions drove an invisible wedge into your relationship’s intimacy long before you even knew the truth, erasing your trust in him.
While sexual affairs can also include online infidelity, cybersex, phone sex and use of pornography, for now we’ll say that sexual involvement with anyone other than the committed spouse of beau can be considered sexual infidelity, especially if preventative measures are taken by the cheater to keep their activities a secret.
Signs of a sexual affair are include:
- New use of prescription or over the counter sexual aids, such as Viagra.
- New, unexplained use of birth control or condoms.
- Discovery or loss of clothing, such as another woman’s clothes in his glove compartment, or his favorite T-shirt missing in the laundry.
- Unexplained hiding of clothes or sudden interest in doing the laundry
- Mysterious stains or scents on clothing and underwear (lipstick on his collar, vaginal scent on his underwear.)
- Unaccounted time and disappearing acts. For example, going to the store for a simple item yet taking over an hour to come back.
- A sudden change in sex drive where your lover’s normal sex drive increases or decreases beyond the norm.
- Sudden changes in sexual behavior. New interests in different sexual experiments.
- Unexpectedly renewed interest in physical appearance. Example: a slightly overweight or unfit woman may take up diet and exercise, and get a makeover.
- Excessive showering, especially as soon as they get home.
- Partner is not as accessible during certain times of the day, such as when they are supposed to be at work.
- Working extra hours – but you never see the extra money.
- Random change of character, specifically making the person more introverted, quiet and private.
- Intuition – that “gut feeling” that something is wrong. You don’t know how, but you know.
- Not being able to maintain/sustain and erection. Trouble ejaculating.
- Being “too tired” to have sex with you.
- Accusing you of cheating.
Can Sexual Infidelity Be Forgiven? Should I Take Him Back?
Any infidelity can be forgiven. Forgiveness is for the forgiver not the forgiven, and is essential for surviving infidelity.
Whether or not you should take a cheater back depends on whether or not you feel you’ll be able to trust your cheating husband/wife again, among other things. You will need to know whether or not the events were a part of a bigger problem within the relationship, or simply a part of his potentially philandering character. Was this one night stand the first and only time they’ve cheated, or have you had nagging suspicions and this is the first time you’ve caught them? Is your husband usually reliable, waiting patiently for that “headache” or “lockjaw” of yours to go away, and then gave up in a moment of weakness after a long sexual drought? Does your wife or girlfriend feel entitled to have someone else finish the job you started if you aren’t able to? Does your partner feel entitled to seeking sexual satisfaction at any cost, without regard to your feelings?
It’s safe to say that, in the grand scheme of things, one of the biggest indicators of whether or not a relationship can be saved depends on the cheater’s attempt at damage control. A truly remorseful cheater will not only beg for forgiveness, they will be open to almost anything that you require to show that they are sorry for the pain they’ve caused. Whether that means a loss of freedoms, long counseling sessions or buying you a new car (it’s happened), a person who truly cares will put their ego to the side. On the other hand, someone who feels justified in their behavior will be more likely to deflect blame, or deny being completely guilty. They might be quite comfortable with the bed they’ve made, whether you stay or go. Should you stay, more than likely, they will feel you’re accepting of their behavior, and things will not change.
These thoughts also don’t take into account extra factors, such as children, lifestyle, religious beliefs, moral values, etc. Therefore, at the end of the day, you must analyze your relationship to see what will work best for you.
FINAL WORD OF CAUTION: Due to the nature of sexual affairs, it will also be best to immediately get tested for any and all STDs, including AIDS. Your partner may or may not have had protection, putting you at risk. Get tested regularly and immediately resume use of condoms, birth control and other sexual protection if you decide to sleep with this person again.