women affairsThis focus of the study mentioned in this post is women who were seeking affairs in a particular manner. So, that’s the starting point.

I do not believe this study has credibility outside the specific population of women whose patterns were analyzed.

At any rate, the new look at why women have affairs reveals a provocative scenario, and raises some big questions.

Traditionally viewed, the role that married women are assumed to take when engaging in extra-marital affairs is thought to be driven by the need for love, emotional intimacy and affection.

Conventional wisdom suggests that women stray outside their marriage because they are emotionally dissatisfied.

Challenging the widely held notion that women seek relationships outside of their marriage for emotional substance, a new study reveals that women seek passionate, physical extra-marital relationships not for love, but for sex.

Yes, just the sex, please. And hold the emotional attachments. (Now, if you were a man, you’d probably add a pizza and a six-pack to that request.)

Yes, men have been branded as strictly physical beings, separating sex from love and therefore seeking out new physical relationships to satisfy sexual urges. The new study indicates that women are just as capable of making a distinction between love and sex within relationships.

This study has big credentials behind it…

The research study was co-authored by Eric Anderson, Professor of Masculinity, Sexuality and Sport at the University of Winchester in England; Matthew H. Rafalow, Doctoral Candidate of Sociology at the University of California-Irvine and Matthew Ripley, Doctoral Candidate of Sociology at the University of Southern California.

The goal was merely to gain fresh insight into the reason middle-aged, married women have extra-marital affairs.
Anderson, along with his team, analyzed the discussions of 100 married, heterosexual women, aged 35 to 45 who were using an extramarital affair promoting website (a hook-up site) to screen potential lovers.

They discovered that married women were not abandoning their marriages, and in fact, were quite committed to the emotional and loving aspect of their spousal relationships.

Big Question: How can anyone – man or woman – claim to be emotionally committed to a spouse while simultaneously engaging in an egregious act of betrayal (assuming these were not open marriages)? In my view, the conversations in question weren’t telling the whole story.

Big follow-up question: How can you expect different results than those obtained if your sample population is made of women who registered at a hook-up site?

Onward. So, yes, most women indicated they had high regard for and emotional loyalty to their husbands. They were not interested in pursuing divorce – just sex. Love, emotional support and affection were not missing from the marital relationship, according to the women.

Big Question: How are we defining high regard and emotional loyalty here?

Researchers also discovered that women were not interested in multiple partners, unlike their male counterparts who frequently seek sexual gratification from many different women. While married women seek affairs because they have become bored or unsatisfied with the sexual aspect of a long-term relationship, they continue to seek out monogamy, even in outside relationships.

Women, it appears, carefully select only one outside partner, and pursue a monogamous affair. Having an exclusive connection with a potential partner is paramount to a woman’s sexual satisfaction.

Big Question: A monogamous affair? I know what they mean, yes. Yet, it requires strict mental and emotional compartmentalization of your life to pull this off. If you are having an affair, you are not monogamous – you’re bigamous. Which is fine if that’s what you want. Just own it and let’s not split hairs, compartmentalize or pretend.

Simply put, these women in particular have decided to get their relationship needs met from two separate sources. Doing so requires splitting your overall needs into segments, compartmentalizing and keeping secrets, most of the time.

Do you think I am harshly judging people who have affairs? I’m not. I’m fine with people who have affairs. I don’t have affairs, but if you want to, then you clearly can make that choice. My issue is with this study, which appears to have very limited credibility (even though it is provocative).

Upon further inquiry, I discovered that the principal behind this study is also employed by the hookup site that provided the data for this research.

Ah – now it all makes sense.

I suppose we can conclude the following:

1. Some women seek outside affairs for sex without the emotional entanglements, just like many men have been known to do.

2. These particular women prefer to keep their affairs to one outside partner at a time, as opposed to several partners. This allows them to feel monogamous – even though on the whole they are bigamous in their relationships.

3. This study neglects to take into consideration the women who do not pursue affairs through adult-oriented hook-up sites. The number of women who engage in affairs through other means must be substantial. Most likely, the majority of women who have affairs meet their partners in other ways.

4. Anyone interpreting this study as applicable to all, most or even a significant number of women is probably engaged in a public relations campaign for a hook-up site – and not scientific research on women in general.

FYI – I am not divulging here my personal beliefs on why women (or men) have affairs. I think that is best discovered for practical purposes on a case-by-case basis.

Mike Bundrant is author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage.

If you like this article, then like my Facebook Page to keep up with all my writing.