Turns Out More Women Are Turning To A Same Sex Affair When They Cheat
For most people, marriage is a sacred bond. It is the closing of a door on your relationships past, a barbaric yawp from the rooftops which tells the world YOU ARE MINE AND I AM YOURS AND WE ARE FOR EACH OTHER ONLY; an eternal ‘dibs’, all swathed in ribbon with flowers pinned to it.
And we love it. We root for you lovebirds. We give you toasters and John Lewis vouchers and cash for your honeymoon as a token of our investment in your marriage. That ring is a symbol of your together-foreverness, but sometimes that ring ceases to mean a thing and, for whatever reason, one of you finds yourself in the midst of an affair.
With cheating becoming so easily accessible in the age of the app, choosing your ideal fuck-buddy is as easy as swiping right. So does this effortless formula for cheating inspire us to experiment with our sexualities? It seems so.
Extra-marital dating website Gleeden.com recently surveyed its members, asking them whether they would consider having an affair with a member of the same sex, with 18% of heterosexual women said that they were interested in a homosexual encounter when they registered – a rise from 15% in 2009, when the site first began. And whilst there was also a 3% rise in the amount of men from 2009 who would also consider switching teams in the case of an affair, the number sits much lower at just 6%.
This is actually way more common than you think. The phenomenon of women discovering their attraction to the same sex after marrying a dude has earned them the moniker “late-blooming lesbians”. We already have several high-profile celeb cases: Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon was in a relationship with a man for 15 years before meeting her wife in 2004, and more recently Orange is the New Black writer Lauren Morelli left her husband of just a few months for Samira Wiley, who plays Poussey Washington in the series.
So why would hetero women choose a same-sex tryst over an affair with a guy? Well, according to Gleeden’s members, more than half (52%) did admit to having a real desire for people of the same sex. But 76% said that a sexual experience with a woman would spice up their everyday sex life, creating a welcome break from their usual routine, whilst for others the idea of violating the classic taboo of a lesbian fling is enough to get the juices flowing, as it were.
“It has been well established that women have more ‘erotic plasticity’ than men,” says Juliet Grayson, a sex and relationships therapist and author of Landscapes of the Heart: The Working World Of A Sex and Relationship Therapist. “This means that once a man’s sexual orientation is fixed, then they tend to stay with it, whereas women are more likely to be open to changing their sexual orientation throughout their lifetime.
“Maybe they also feel that sex with another woman would be less devastating to their husband or male partner than if they were unfaithful with a man.” Grayson, however, is quick to point out that her own experience counselling couples goes against this, and that men whose female partner had sex with a woman felt completely devastated by this as well.
So what do guys make of all this? Is there an element of American Pie optimism when it comes to your GF doing the dirty with another woman? Not really: according to an IPSOS survey conducted in 2014 for Gleeden, a one night stand would be forgivable for 44% of men in the case of a homosexual relationship compared to 40% in the event of a heterosexual affair.
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Let’s consider this notion for a minute. It’s hardly a surprise, is it? We exist in one of the most liberated periods in history. The idea of two people of the same sex enjoying each other sexually no longer has the nation clutching at its pearls. In the past, our orientation would be set in stone: you were either straight, or gay.
Now, those solid sexualities are no longer boiled down to those two strict dichotomies, but have liquefied, the fluidity of our sexual persuasion becoming universally accepted. We no longer have to put ourselves in a box – you are not this or that, you can be this and that and maybe a bit of this over here as well.
“For me, it’s not all women, just one woman,” says Sarah*. “I’m not really attracted to any other women apart from my girlfriend.” Sarah tells me that she had always dated men until she met her new partner, a woman, at work. She had never been attracted to women before, but maintains that when it comes to her lesbian relationships, it begins and ends with her girlfriend.
However, research suggests it is possible for women to ‘switch sexualities’ over time – what Grayson referred to as erotic plasticity. In 2010 Christan Moran, a researcher at Southern Connecticut State University presented her research entitled Sexual Fluidity and Late-Blooming Lesbians which showed that, after interviewing over 200 married lesbians, there was “great potential for heterosexual women to experience a first same-sex experience well into adulthood”.
Moran studied the lives of hetero women over 30 who were married to men but began having sexual attractions to women. Moran told the Telegraph that it was possible “that a heterosexual woman might make a full transition to a singular lesbian identity”.
Did Sarah agree with this statement? Well, she’s not sure. Whilst it may be possible for some women to cross over to the other team without glancing back over her shoulder, Sarah is not so sure that would be her future should her relationship with her girlfriend come to an end.
There’s plenty of other research that indicates an increase in women becoming late-blooming lesbians. Regardless of any investigations, we know that men and women are more sexually liberated than ever before. I mean, by now we are used to a woman’s sexuality being flexible, so why can’t their affairs be, too?