October 10, 2019
Daily Mail’s new survey reveals uncomfortable truths about women’s secret lives.
Standing in the hallway of the home she shares with her husband and their teenage daughter, Stephanie Burton drops her overnight bag on to the floor and calls out to her family.
She kicks the bag from her husband’s path as he comes to greet her and, at the same time, makes a conscious effort to push aside the events of the past 24 hours — a stolen night in a hotel with her lover — and return her attentions to family life. To reality.
Reality, for Stephanie, means being a loving wife and mother; the busy woman in the office who gets things done; the daughter her ageing parents turn to for help because she lives much closer than her two older siblings.
‘I just get on with it all, to the best of my ability and without complaint, because all those things are important to me,’ stresses Stephanie, 40, who lives with her lawyer husband Michael and their 14-year-old daughter in Manchester.
‘But there’s another side to me that I now realise was seriously neglected until I started having an affair 18 months ago. Part of me wants to shake off the burden of responsibility once in a while; to be seen as a sexual being, above everything else, for a few hours.’
“Seriously neglected.” You heard her. Not having an affair is like being a victim of domestic abuse.
It sounds hard to understand or accept. Yet the double life that Stephanie keeps a secret from all but her closest friend — someone she says has enjoyed the odd dalliance herself — is less unusual than you might think.
According to an in-depth sex and relationship survey conducted by Femail, one in five British adult women has had an affair — and 40 per cent of those have been unfaithful to their current partner.
What’s more, nearly half of those husbands and partners — 47 per cent, according to the women we polled — remain oblivious to the fact that they were, or indeed are, being deceived.
Today, in the second part of our exclusive nationwide survey, we share the fascinating insights gained by talking candidly to more than 1,000 women of all ages about their sex lives, asking whether they’ve strayed and, if so, what they did to heal their relationship in the aftermath.
The results, and testimony from women like Stephanie, suggest that infidelity for women has as much to do with wanting a distraction from the mundanities of real life as physical thrills.
And it confirms just how dire and far-reaching the consequences can be for both parties.
Translation: they’re bored.
Stephanie, a merchandiser for a large department store, is adamant she has no intention of leaving her husband. It would break up her family, cause heartache and disrupt a life that makes her broadly happy.
‘I love our home, we have a good social life, and I still have sex with Michael once a week or so,’ she says. ‘OK, I find him a bit dull after nearly 20 years together. He’s a workaholic and so consumed with his job that I often wish he’d find something else to talk about.
‘But I love him and can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else. In fact, I hoped our sex life might eventually be reignited by my affair.
So noble! She’s having sex with other men because she loves her husband and wants to improve his sex life! So brave!
Poor Michael is focused on his job so he can provide for his family and this is how the whore repays him.
He works his ass off for her and the kids but it doesn’t matter because when front-hole is bored, front-hole goes front-holing.
‘I’d hate to spoil what we have, and I’m incredibly careful not to get caught. The fact I travel for work makes it easy to get away with the odd extra night here and there.’
though Stephanie’s lover is also married, she claims she doesn’t feel jealousy, or even guilt, towards his wife. ‘Neither of us wants anything long-term. If he announced he was leaving his wife, honestly I’d run a mile,’ she insists.
‘Maybe I should feel guilty that I’m betraying my daughter as well as her dad. But the way I see it, I’m happier at home, while my sexual needs are being met elsewhere. Isn’t that better?’
This is the part when one would write “imagine the outrage if the sexes were reversed.”
“Yeah, I cheat on my wife because she just doesn’t meet my sexual needs. After so many years of marriage I find her dull and boring and she just talks about silly stuff all day. But I love her and I’m doing this for her, so I can eventually feel attracted to her again.”
Of course, many people would disagree with this assessment. Yet Stephanie is extremely self-aware and says she regards her affair as totally separate from her marriage — an exciting diversion with, as she sees it, minimal risk. It’s become a way of nourishing a side to her that family life quells.
‘This is what so often happens in an affair,’ says psychotherapist Lucy Beresford, author of Happy Relationships. ‘Women can feel a little exploited, to varying degrees, in their real-life roles. They’re working hard at being a brilliant wife, fantastic mother, dutiful daughter, and pushing themselves at work, too — but something’s missing.
‘Having an affair becomes a way of attending to the part of their psyche that feels neglected, without the pain and disruption of walking away from their marriage.’
What the psychotherapist front-hole said is nonsense. The part about “nourishing a side to her that family life quells,” on the other hand, is onto something.
Cohabitation is a mistake. It kills attraction. It takes away all the mystery. There’s no suspense. Nothing is hidden because there’s no place to hide. There’s no refuge, there’s no castle, there’s no bunker. It’s all there, in plain sight.
Lucy adds: ‘It is possible to overcome a sense of feeling neglected within a marriage, but you have to acknowledge it to yourself first.
‘Sometimes, feeling abandoned or ignored by our partner is so horrendously painful we bury the emotion and “act it out” by seeking affection or desirability elsewhere.’
There are, of course, many other reasons women are unfaithful: an affair can be an act of revenge on a partner who’s strayed first, or a way of expressing frustration at unreasonable behaviour.
Translation: “IT’S MEN’S FAULT THAT WOMEN CHEAT!!!!!”
“You’re being unreasonable, so I’m going to go have sex with other men.”
Here’s a case study of a woman cheating the night before her wedding.
Actor Paul Carafotes has revealed how ‘wild’ Hollywood superstar Demi Moore scaled a fire escape and climbed through his kitchen window for a steamy night of sex – hours before she married her first husband.
He admits he does feel a little guilty for cheating with another man’s fiancée, but Demi was ‘incredible’ in bed and hard to resist.
This is Demi Moore with her first husband:
This was Paul Carafotes back then:
Quite the contrast.
Paul was prompted to speak out about the affair 39 years ago after being outed as her former lover following a mention in Demi’s shocking tell-all memoir, Inside Out.
In the book, Demi, 56, recalls her whirlwind marriage to Freddy which lasted until 1985.
But she admits she was unfaithful to the musician the night before they were set to say ‘I do.’
‘The night before we got married, instead of working on my vows, I was calling a guy I’d met on a movie set,’ Moore writes. ‘I snuck out of my own bachelorette party and went to his apartment.’
Now speaking for the first time about the steamy liaison, Paul tells DailyMailTV that Indecent Proposal actress Demi wanted a last ‘hurrah’ before saying her wedding vows.
‘It was 1980 and I had done Headin’ for Broadway which was the first movie I did with Fox and then this other movie came up.
‘It was called Choices and I was starring in the movie and Demi came in to read to play my girlfriend. She was fun and charming and she had sort of a little spunk to her.
‘We laughed, had a good time and played around on the set and this developed into a relationship over a little bit of time.
‘And then I guess we had an affair, you know, a leading man and the young ingénue, we were young, I was 21, she was 18.’
Paul said their friendship turned romantic during long rehearsal sessions at his apartment and admits they had ‘indiscretions’ in his movie trailer.
He said: ‘She was beautiful, she had fantastic eyes, she was adorable and fun loving and she had a spark, an energy, she was the it girl, that became obvious with what she did in her career.’
But the night of February 7, 1980 was by far the most memorable for Paul.
And he admits he almost turned Demi down.
‘I had worked 18 hours, I was tired and Demi didn’t work that day. I was sleeping and the phone rang. It was her and she wanted to come over and see me.
‘And I just said, “Ah you know, that’s probably not a great thing to do right now. I’m tired. I’m in bed.” I hang up the phone and she called again, she was persistent.
‘Then I finally said, “look, uh, if you want to come over, I’ll open the kitchen window. You can climb the fire escape, I’m four flights up. If you want to do that, then you have at it.” I went back to sleep.’
Paul said he never expected Demi to take him up on such an unattractive offer.
‘The next thing I knew she was standing there with a bottle of Dom Perignon, standing over my bed saying, “let’s do this, let’s party.” I was shocked, she was wild. What’s a red-blooded boy supposed to do?
‘I had a buddy of mine staying with me over from Boston, he woke up and he was like, “Hey aren’t you getting married tomorrow? Are you Catholic?” She said, “Sure. Yeah,” and he went back to sleep.’
Paul said he decided to take Demi to an apartment he had in Westwood paid for by the production company on Choices.
‘So we went over there and drank the champagne, had a little celebration. That’s basically what happened,’ he recalls.
‘I think she just wanted to have a last hurrah before she got married. She wanted to have some fun, she was young, she was a kid. Maybe she wanted a last throw down and then she was going to be the good Catholic girl, I don’t know.
‘We probably should have done something differently, but you’re young, excited, making a movie, you’re in Hollywood, people are partying having a good time.
‘The next morning I woke her up and said, “hey you’ve got a wedding to go to” and off she went.’