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'I'm one of millions who had an affair using Ashley Madison. Here's what happened.'

It started with a kiss. The whole situation was all a bit clichéd, to be honest. Horny middle-aged mum spontaneously kisses horny much-younger colleague in a shared taxi on the way home from the office Christmas function. But what happened after was anything but clichéd. 

That kiss opened a Pandora’s Box full of decades of suppressed sexual longing. It made me realise that I was actually a passionate person; it was just that I was not passionate about the life I was living at the time. I had been with my husband for such a very long time. I was in my mid-40s, my three kids were now their teens, and I decided now was my chance to try to truly get to know myself as a sexual being.

And so I googled 'how to have an affair'. I should probably make it clear at this point that this was all incredibly out of character for me. Like so many women of my age, I'd been brought up to be a 'good girl'. I'd always done as I was told and worked hard to ensure that those around me were happy, which I saw as my responsibility. For years, I'd comfortably worn the expectations of society. But that kiss made me realise just how heavy those expectations were and just how tired I was from wearing them for so long.

Of course, ideally at this point I would have paused and told my husband how I was feeling. But to me that was utterly unthinkable. Never in my life had I had truly honest conversations about sex and desire, not even with him. The thought of doing that now with someone who had known me for so long, felt like the equivalent of telling him I now identified as a cat! I simply couldn’t reconcile the 'me' that I was with him and the 'me' that I thought I might be. I felt so much shame over what I wanted.

So I Googled and obviously Ashley Madison - the site for people looking to have an affair - was all over the results. Soon I had an account set up and was being inundated by potential suitors. It's quite a protracted way to meet someone to be honest, as most people don’t share photos and profile information tends to be minimal. 

That said, it wasn't long before I struck gold.

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The date happened quite spontaneously. We met at the beach one evening for a walk. The conversation flowed easily and before we returned to our cars; we went for a swim. When I saw him do the butterfly, I knew he was the man for me! We met again soon after and shared our first kiss. The passion was palpable. I didn't want to rush into anything though and I think we both relished being able to build up the excitement slowly, as we got to know each other. We were like a couple of teenagers, making out at any opportunity we could get.

One hot balmy night soon after, he picked me up after work and we drove down to the harbour. A full moon was hovering over the horizon and pouring its reflection down onto the water. In a secluded spot, we got undressed and had the most incredible sex. It was so lustful, we just couldn’t get enough of each other. Afterwards we went skinny dipping in the river. It was like a dream.

From that point on we were pretty much as inseparable as two people having an affair can be. We would message constantly and have sex regularly and it was like that for a very long time - years, in fact.

I came to the realisation I would have to end my marriage - something I realised I'd been leaning towards for a long time.

Joining Ashley Madison made me realise that I had agency in my own life. 

I'm single now. What happened with Mr Affair Guy is a story for another day. But I don't regret what I did - I am more sexually confident, I know what I want; what I like; what I don't - and how to communicate these things well. I know now how to keep a relationship exciting. 

I feel so much more in control of my life and so much more whole as a person. Having now ventured onto a wide variety of dating apps, I can tell you that there are married men on all of them. It makes me sad that so many people in relationships feel completely unable to tell their life partner what they think, and are resigned to this fact.

I'm determined for this not to be the case in my next relationship and hope that with time there will be less shame associated with being able to express one's desires, whatever those might be.

Feature Image: Getty.

The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons. 

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