Much of the time, when people mention affair sex, they assume that it is so good that it is almost mind blowing. They assume that it has to be this good in order to make it worth the risk. Many spouses who have someone cheat on them also make this assumption, even if their spouse does everything in his power to insist that this isn’t true.
For example, you might hear a conversation like this: “my husband is trying to claim that his affair wasn’t about sex. In fact, he’s insisting that the sex wasn’t even good. He says that sex is better with me and that the other woman didn’t really know what he likes. But he says that the point of the affair was never about the sex. He was supposedly attracted to her because she listened to and supported him, or so he claims. I think that he is just saying this because he doesn’t want for me to have hang ups about sex if we stay together. Every one knows that affair sex is good, don’t they?”
Well, everyone assumes this. But I’ve had people comment that their affair was most definitely not about sex, just like this husband. Many of them say that the affair was more about excitement, emotional attachment and support, and having someone who seems to appreciate them without expectations.
For example, a husband might say: “when people see the other woman, they always assume that I was only in it for the sex. I wasn’t. I won’t say that we didn’t have sex because we did. But that was never the draw for me. I have been friends with the other woman for a long time. I made some bad investments that meant that I had to cut back on my spending. This made me wife treat me differently. She was always mad and she was always making sarcastic comments about me. The other woman isn’t like that. She’s happy to just go and have a picnic lunch and talk. She doesn’t expect me to buy her things and she doesn’t want to be taken care of. She’s content with just me. This is such a huge relief when contrasted with the expectations of my wife.”
I hear these sorts of comments a lot. And I hear them from people who have no reason to lie to me. I don’t know their spouses so I can’t possibly put in a good word for them. They just want to unload their feelings onto someone, which is often why they had an affair in the first place.
And I am not saying that this excuses them. There are no excuses. But, I think affairs based on emotions are just as dangerous, if not more so, than affairs that are based on sex. Anytime your spouse gets their marital needs met by someone else, that’s a problem.
But many therapists and professions will tell you that an affair is so much more than just sex. I’m not a professional, but I certainly do believe this. Sex is only one aspect of the relationship, but it is certainly not the only aspect.
Many people can’t possibly believe that a man would risk his marriage or his family for bad sex. The thing is, sex is not his payoff. His payoff is getting his emotional needs met. His payoff is the fact that the other woman doesn’t make him feel pressured. She makes him feel relevant again.
Now, is this reality? Most definitely not. If the affair continued on, it’s very likely that the other woman would develop expectations over time. People love to think that their affair partner doesn’t want anything from them or doesn’t have expectations or demands. But it isn’t realistic to expect that things are always going to be this way. The more serious and long term the relationship, the more expectations there are going to be.
And then this happens, the husband will often lose interest because he can get the expectations at home without much trouble at all.
Of course, the original question was about sex so let’s go back to that. Many people will tell you that affair sex is wonderful and some of them truly believe that. But most people will tell you that sex with the same person over time (like your spouse) is also good sex because that person knows you. They know what you like and what you don’t like. You’ve likely fine tuned your physical connection over the long term.
The person in the affair can’t say this. The relationship is often just beginning. Sure, there’s a bit of novelty but even that wears off quickly. Sometimes the sex starts off being perceived as good or even great, but once it’s no longer new, it’s nothing special.
I can’t possibly tell you or guess at what the sex was like with your husband and the other woman. But I can tell you that not everyone says that the affair sex was always good. Many will tell you that it was nothing special, but that was fine with them because the intercourse wasn’t the draw. The way the other person managed to make them feel was the draw. Or the relief they felt from some stressor or short coming was the draw.
Regardless of whether the affair was based on sex or something else, the healing is the same. Recovery is necessary for both sexual and emotional betrayals. You can read more about my own process on my blog at http://surviving-the-affair.com
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