Her cheatin’ heart

Pub date January 7, 2009

› andrea@altsexcolumn.com

Dear Andrea:

Three years into my relationship with my girlfriend, I found her panties stuffed in her handbag and it turned me on. When I found out she had cheated on me and the panties were worn the night she cheated, I couldn’t stop masturbating to them. We stayed together, went through counseling, and eventually got married. However, two months later, she was on a business trip and ended up sleeping with some guy she met at a bar. She’s been very apologetic and it bothered me a lot at first, but a big part of me seems to get really turned on every time I find out or suspect she is cheating. She’s never continued an affair, and unlike most women who cheat, I actually think she does it for the sex.

It sounds bad, but I know she loves me and I love her, and she is starting counseling to figure out why she does this. But it still really turns me on. I have confessed to her about the panties and she thinks I’m a dirty guy, but she deals with it well. I like talking dirty to her during sex and calling her a dirty cheating wife. She says she’s not really into sleeping with other men or the dirty talk, but I think she really is and is too embarrassed to tell me. I know that the excitement from her cheating came from her doing something I wouldn’t know about. And I have offered her the chance to have sex with other men, but she says she doesn’t want that. What do you think? Interestingly, she seems to be more into the sex and more turned on sleeping with me (even kinkier) after she has cheated. Of course, she might be thinking about how bad she just was and what she just did.

I don’t know if I can really handle her being with other men, and she’s expressed that she doesn’t want to be with other men, but I can’t help but feel like our sex is too good afterward to not try this, and that she’s only saying that because she wants to have the freedom to cheat, should the opportunity arise, without me knowing. I think it’s a turn-off and not really cheating if I were to know about it before it happens. Any thoughts?


Wearing Horns

Dear Horny:

Yeah. I’m thinking this is not going to work. Or rather, it is going to require a radical rethink if it’s going to work — any of it.

It’s not that I think your marriage is doomed — I really don’t — but I do think you’re being very silly. Just because your wife is obviously turned on by her own bad behavior, and just because you are just as obviously reaping the benefits, doesn’t make the whole thing a big nudge-nudge, wink-wink sex game. She isn’t "cheating on you" (that sort of game is pretty common and, while best left to the experts, can certainly be done without ruining a marriage), she really is cheating on you. You’ve given her every opportunity to make it into a fun consensual game and she says she doesn’t want to sleep around and she doesn’t want to talk dirty, and she doesn’t want your permission to do any of that and she really just wants to go see a therapist and figure out what’s driving her to do this stuff she doesn’t really want to do, so don’t you dare consider trying to drive her to cheat for the great post-cheating sex. I do realize you’re being given mixed signals, so it isn’t entirely on you, but I suggest putting down those used underpants and putting your energies into something more constructive for a while. Maybe the gutters need cleaning.

It is entirely possible that she does get off on being bad. I’d call it probable, even. But, at the risk of sounding like The Voice of Joyless Grown-Uppitude, so what? If we all did everything it turns us on to think about, we’d all be dead, diseased, or in jail. And besides, have you read your own letter? You say yourself that you’re not sure you can handle her being with other men. So let’s see … she can’t handle it … you can’t handle it … maybe … she shouldn’t do it?

I’ll tell you what: why don’t you back off on the dirty talk and leave her underthings alone while she goes to therapy? Maybe the two of you could go together for a few sessions. Then later, when she’s no longer mired in the self-loathing she brought upon herself by cheating on you in the first place, and you are feeling more secure because she’s not cheating on you, you can revisit the cheating-wife fantasy. Until then, everybody just grow up already. There’s more to life (and marriage) than "But I want to!" My son pulls that on us all the time, and we don’t fall for it — and he’s all of two years old.



Andrea is teaching Sex After Parenthood at Day One Center (www.dayonecenter.com), Recess (info@recessurbanrecreation.com), and privately. Contact her at andrea@altsexcolumn.com for more info.