Help me commit Ethical Adultery
July 26, 2007 9:15 PM   Subscribe

MistressFilter: My wife thinks it would be a good idea if I saw another woman to help fulfill my sexual needs. That's loving and supportive of her, but I have one problem... how?

I'll spare you the gory details. She's got a low libido and is not sexually adventurous, I have a high libido, and we want to stay married. This is a potential solution that works for both of us.

I'd like to conduct everything on the up-and-up for the most part and that means somehow meeting a woman who isn't fazed by my marriage or would prefer discretion because of a relationship of her own, ideally for a medium- or long-term friendship/relationship of some kind. This is obviously something rare and perhaps impossible but if at all possible I'd like to avoid having to go around declaring "I'm in an open relationship, want to hook up?" to women who would find that more creepy than refreshingly honest. A "friend with benefits" or "booty call" relationship is something I've never been a part of and have no idea how to go about establishing. The phenomenon was largely unknown in my crowd during my single days and it's still not especially prevalent in my age bracket.

I tried AdultFriendFinder a year or so back, and it was an absolute wasteland. The email account I used for the purpose is now a total spamtrap, and I didn't make contact with a single human being.

I tried OKCupid around the same time and met one very attractive and interesting person in a similar situation, but it never translated into a friendship. OKCupid has turned into another place bereft of potential partners since then.

CraigsList is pointless for any male to post to, let alone an attached male.

The swinger scene is a bust right from the start. My wife's support of this endeavor falls short of active participation in the process of finding partners.

So how do I start making semi-romantic friends with open minded normal to high-libido women? Or at the very least, increasing the chance that I would meet such a person? I've already got a satisfying social circle, so answers like "just make friends who are women" aren't going to get to the heart of the matter. I'd like to make friends with women who are looking for an alternative physical relationship. Online personals would be a great tool if part of a sufficiently accepting community, but I'm not aware of one that actually works. The standard personals sites all seem to focus on singles seeking marriage and I'd prefer not to waste the time of people who won't want to meet me. Suggestions as to where else I might look are welcome.

(If you want to tell me what a terrible idea this is, speculate wildly, ask for details or offer a date, will reach me and you can spare jess the trouble of deleting your answer. If you sincerely want to help I want to hear from you.)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (37 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

Maybe you could find a married woman who is in a similar situation.
posted by solongxenon at 9:26 PM on July 26, 2007

Craigslist -> Erotic Services.
posted by mullingitover at 9:38 PM on July 26, 2007

Dude. You need a hooker.
posted by gergtreble at 9:56 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

go to and find wine tastings, dining out or social sports (volleyball in the park, not stadium) activities and you will run into a bunch of nice people. the reason you are not finding someone compatible is that you walk around with a big sign on your forehead saying "I need sex." that's not really appealing to most people. find new hobbies, be social, meet people and you will eventually meet someone. that of course will make sustaining your relationship all the harder but as the great tobias fünke once said open marriages never work anyway, people just fool themselves into believing they do.

I hate to tell you this but there are about fifteen billion men in a two block radius from you with similar ideas of a good time, meaning they are married and would like something on the side. that's why craigslist was a bust for you. there is a lot of competition for very small "I want to be sexed by a married man" market.

agreed on the swinger scene not being for you. they have an abundance of horny, single men already.
posted by krautland at 10:02 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

You need a hooker.

I disagree.

unless he spends north of 3k on an evening he's only going to get something unsatisfying and depressing. sex with a nasty streetwalker is a great fantasy for narrow-minded altar boys but the reality is an icky letdown.

take a look at cl>>erotic services and you will see what I mean. most of the "providers" on there are people you wouldn't want to be on the same block with if you have any kind of self respect.

that being said ... 3-5k will get him a nice evening. note how I did not write "spectacular" or "out of this world." that's an illusion anyway.
posted by krautland at 10:08 PM on July 26, 2007

This is a bad idea, especially the "semi-romantic friends" part. If you get romantically involved with your new sex partner it will not do great things for your marriage. Frankly, you are better off with a strictly sexual partner, perhaps even one you pay.
posted by caddis at 10:12 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Anonymous, I assume that your wife and you have tried therapy and she's sought professional (doctor, etc) advice for her low libido... so I hope that the arrangement you're seeking it an absolute last resort for both of you.

If you haven't sought professional care then you should take a few steps back and go that route - bringing a third person into your life can really, really, ruin your relationship with your wife. But, I assume you've taken this all into account... so...

It sounds like you're trying hard to make a lasting, non-sketchy connection with someone willing to go along with this arrangement. And I think thats a good goal. Ignore gergtreble's abusive comment - there are people out there who will go along with this, its just a matter of finding them and building trust.

It's a challenge for sure. But I've seen it happen among coworkers and friends enough to know that mature married people can work out all sorts of seemingly strange and contrived relationships.

Where do you meet this person? Honestly, I think you're going to have to put yourself out there in areas where you're likely to meet someone normal. Coffee shops, bars, etc - whatever you like. Leave your wedding band at home. Meet someone, take them out to dinner, go for a walk along the park, mention your open relationship. Repeat as necessary to find that person willing to get into it.

I guess one thing that could complicate this is if your wife wanted to meet this person and approve of them, that would add an extra dimension of complexity to the situation. Also, I don't know what age you are, or what you're income is but I've known quite a few younger women who were looking exactly for an older man (with a wife or not) who could take them out to a nice dinner, maybe go for a shopping excursion or whatever...

Good luck.
posted by wfrgms at 10:14 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

caddis writes "This is a bad idea, especially the 'semi-romantic friends' part. "

Seconding the notion that romantic entanglements will poison the well, so to speak. This was why I recommended CL's Erotic Services. Don't fool around with trying to make the sex anything more than a simple quid pro quo.
posted by mullingitover at 10:17 PM on July 26, 2007

you are better off with a strictly sexual partner

I doubt that. not even the person with the highest sex-drive in the world can be horny 24/7 and the gratification sex alone brings is very much like adrenaline - intense but wearing off quickly. besides - the kind of partner he will find that way will be vastly different.

the whole idea is bad though. it won't work. you cannot separate church and state as cleanly as he would like to think. these two people are incompatible if they cannot work this issue out together and will fail. I am merely trying to deal with the cards given since he doesn't wish to hear this.
posted by krautland at 10:28 PM on July 26, 2007

(I have no opinion as to the ethics of this.)

I disagree that you should slip off the old wedding band and strike out on the town and then AFTER meeting an interesting person mention that you're looking for an unusual relationship. In fact, I think it's a really awful plan that is doomed to fail.

Once upon a time, for instance, I met a really interesting man at a party, we totally hit it off, he asked me for my number, he said "By the way, I'm married, but--"

Not only did I then snatch the napkin with my number on it back, but I still, years later, tell a slightly meaner version of that story. Yes! I'm a jerk. Most other women you pull this trick with will be jerks, as well. Be particularly careful about doing this if you have some kind of community reputation you'd like to maintain.

Plus, the odds of making a genuine connection are already slim, and the odds of then magically making that connection with a lady who just happens to be totally okay with the situation are... vanishingly small. So I think this is really something you need to be upfront about from the very beginning. Yes, the pool of women interested in this is probably very, very small. But wouldn't it be better to zero in on that pool right from the start?

You seem bright and articulate! Do you think you could just keep posting on Craigslist? I feel that there must be at least some married ladies in a very similar situation, but due to supply and demand issues, you'll have to be persistent. On the up side, I'm pretty sure that many of the men looking for your kind of situation are creepy dudes who are interested in cheating on their wives without telling them about it, so you, with desire for an honest and moderately open arrangement, must be near the top of the list of what your target demographic is looking for.

I third the suggestion that looking for the extracurricular sex PLUS romance is not a good idea. Having romantic feelings for a lady and having frequent sex with her seems like a quick way to get a divorce. Having a sexual relationship with someone you feel friendly toward may or may not work in the long term, but I think the odds improve if both of you are in primary relationships you have no intention of imperiling.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 10:43 PM on July 26, 2007

The way this situation works for me is whether I am posting or replying online, just about the first thing on the table is "I'm in a long-term relationship I care about and won't leave, and I have time and emotional energy for another lover". There are plenty of people who have good marriages but lousy sex lives within their marriages. You are drawing from a more restricted pool than the dating you are used to, but this pool knows what it wants and doesn't spend a lot of time vacillating. On preview: "extracurricular" sex plus romance works fine for me, I wouldn't want to get as close as I do to a partner yet not do romantic stuff like have weekends in Mendocino or PV.

The Ethical Slut provides insight into the way polyamory works.

I've met lovers through craigslist misc. romance, and IRL at a speed dating event.
posted by jet_silver at 10:51 PM on July 26, 2007 [4 favorites]

Seconding the recommendation for "The Ethical Slut." I have many polyamorous friends who swear by it.

It does sound like what you are looking for is more along the lines of polyamory than swinging. There are many groups and communities online you might look to that specifically deal with polyamory discussion. It might help, can't hurt.
posted by angeline at 11:17 PM on July 26, 2007

Consider coming to Amsterdam? It may seem a bit expensive but you can't put a price on sexual gratification. The prostitutes here are experienced and inexpensive. Nothing like the CL tramps.
posted by mateuslee at 12:05 AM on July 27, 2007

Your wife is assuming that it'd be sex and nothing else. This is a recipe for a disaster when it comes to your marriage. In the end, it'll do more harm than getting your needs met. Readjusting your ethical values to get laid seems questionable if you need a moral justification for having sex with another woman whether she gave you the 'permission' or not.

It is frankly very difficult to disassociate the emotion that comes with sexual activities, which is why you'd wanna do it with someone you love. If she has low libido to an extent that is affecting the marriage to that extent, she needs to realize that it's not normal for her to not wanna have that intimate times with you.

I am not sure how serious she was when she said it, but I would fall for it.
posted by icollectpurses at 12:11 AM on July 27, 2007

A Unitarian Universalist church I went to a few times had an actual polyamory group. That's all I know about it, that it existed (and had meeting times listed in the handout for the services).

Check out a UU congregation near you. Might meet some new friends. UU's tend to be more, ah, open minded than average. Worst case, you make some more non-sexual friends.
posted by ctmf at 12:12 AM on July 27, 2007

If your assumption is correct that your wife is happy with "semi-romantic" involvements as well as casual hookups:

Stop looking.
Get involved in activities you enjoy - with or without your wife - make new friends, meet people.
Be open about the fact that you have an open relationship.
See what happens next.
Plenty of people are not "looking for" an alternative relationship but won't dismiss one out of hand if it lands on their doorstep.

In any case, think through
- what happens if you accidentally fall hard for someone you are seeing.
- what happens if your wife meets the other person and dislikes her, or thinks she's out to break up your marriage, but you disagree.
- what happens if you meet someone and get together, but your wife has a much harder time with it than she thought she would.
- does your wife expect you to keep this a secret? does she expect you to hide your activities from her? Either of these things can be tough for a third party.
- what happens if your wife meets someone else and (tit for tat!) wants to get "semi-romantically" involved.

Visit alt.polyamory (you and your wife both). Plenty of people there have experience with this kind of situation and will have some sound advice. They are generally intelligent and eloquent and will not dismiss your plans as unworkable.
posted by emilyw at 2:02 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

The ratio of Polyamory folks [or Libertarians] to non-Poly folks online seems skewed to me. In real life, it's much. much lower.

Having said that, I'm sure you can find another person who is into the lifestyle if you keep looking online. You might have to do some driving.
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:19 AM on July 27, 2007

A couple of other questions to ponder:

Are you supposed to keep this a secret from mutual friends? As in, are you going to put friends in a weird situation knowing you're "cheating" on your wife, but not knowing if they should tell her or not? Would it embarrass her for her friends to know you're banging someone else?

Does "low libido" mean never? Because it may become that if you start sleeping with someone else. (STD issue)
posted by ctmf at 3:24 AM on July 27, 2007

Go to bars to meet women. Take a male friend, but one only. Get talking to people.
posted by nthdegx at 4:30 AM on July 27, 2007

My wife thinks it would be a good idea if I saw another woman to help fulfill my sexual needs.

Lots of good ideas in theory are very bad ideas in practice. I suggest that you and your wife go to couples counseling to see if your marriage is worth saving. Get a third party's take on the situation.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:26 AM on July 27, 2007

Suggestion #1
Develop a really good relationship with Mother Hand and her 5 lovely daughters. Then suggest your wife participate in the frolic, to provide emotional support. (Less guilt, and maybe it will enhance your marriage) This is how I dealt with a partner who had libido that was stronger than my own.

Suggestion #2
Take a walk on the wild side. There are plenty of guys who would enjoy helping you with your problem in an uncomplicated way. The 'uncomplicated' part tends to come more natural to guys. And they don't especially care what you see with your eyes closed, so long as you're enjoying yourself.
posted by Goofyy at 5:41 AM on July 27, 2007

follow-up from the OP:

"While a sexual services provider might be an obvious solution, there are two problems that render such advice less-than-helpful: Firstly, paying for it is against the ground rules of the agreement that gives me this freedom. I guess I should have mentioned that earlier. Secondly, it's not exactly practical to pay a few hundred bucks for sexual services once or twice a week. I wish I had that kind of money to throw around!

In case it wasn't clear, I'm asking for practical advice as to how one goes about meeting someone for an ongoing affair."
posted by jessamyn at 6:05 AM on July 27, 2007

Ah, the many flavors of polyamory. It sounds like you're looking for something like a secondary relatitionship. (I've been there.) Go to the web site, find a local group, find like minded people and talk with them.

I second the Ethical Slut recommendation.
posted by MarcieAlana at 6:20 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

What about finding a younger career woman who doesn't want to be in a serious relationship but does want her sexual needs fulfilled? Frankly, I would have no clue as to how one might find a younger career woman who doesn't want to be in a serious relationship but does want her sexual needs fulfilled. Just be sure that she is fully aware that you are married and committed to your wife.
posted by HotPatatta at 6:28 AM on July 27, 2007

I have no personal experience with Ashley Madison, but I've heard them advertised and their services may be just what you're looking for. Their motto is "Romantic Rendezvous for Attached Adults."
posted by amro at 6:45 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

(I should add that I haven't looked at that website, it's blocked here at work. So, no idea if it's NSFW.)
posted by amro at 7:44 AM on July 27, 2007

I'm polyamorous. I'm in a very happy marriage that's in good shape for the long haul. I have an active and healthy dating life as well.

Go back to OkCupid. You know how you can search by interest? Search for people near you with the keywords "poly", "polyamorous", or "polyamory". If you're near a sizeable city, you should have dozens of options.

Also try It hasn't been as fruitful for me as OkCupid, but I have met a few very nice women through it.

There's probably also a polyamory community somewhere within driving distance. Communities like this have social gatherings, meetups, parties. These are not swinging parties. More like regular social gatherings where everyone knows they don't have to conceal the fact that they're polyamorous.

If you are having no luck with the people in your area, you might consider meeting someone who lives a few hours' drive away, or look at towns you frequently visit for vacations or business trips. My wife and I dated a nice couple who lived across the country, and we took turns flying back and forth. We saw each other about three times a year.
posted by pornucopia at 8:26 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

1)you can try to hook up in bars for one nighters

2)get a hooker from time to time

3)save up for a realdoll.

I would suggest option 3 no matter how lame it is.
posted by spacefire at 9:57 AM on July 27, 2007

Why is this so complicated? Go out to the bar, and leave the damn wedding ring on. In my experience that about triples the drawing power of any man, any way.

I don't explain this. I just observe it.
posted by rokusan at 10:19 AM on July 27, 2007

There are tons of dating websites out there that cater specifically to this. Try Married Cafe or just search for "married personals." Be careful though. Those that are truly looking for a discreet relationship will most likely put up fake photos so you never know what you will get.

Also, a good friend of mine used to scout out the local upscale piano bars for casual hook-ups. Since she was married, she specifically looked for a wedding ring before striking up a conversation with a man so you might get more bites by leaving yours on.
posted by Ugh at 11:56 AM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't see why a unequal libidos requires adding a sex partner. This is why god invented masturbation, no? The great equalizer!


Add another vote for keeping this casual, not a relationship/affair. If you and your wife aren't both excited to have a 3rd person involved in the marriage, it will become a lot more messy than you think.

What about sex clubs. If you're near an urban area, one likely is around. You'll pay a cover charge but nowhere near the cost of a hooker. Like everything else involving casual sex, the men far outnumber women. Whether on a matching site, in a sex party, a night club, or sex club, the numbers present you with a marketing problem. Which is why it's all about product differentiation, my friend. What can you offer a woman beyond your mere horniness? She'll have easily 2 dozen other men vying for her attentions. Why should she want to pick you above all others? What will you do to make her feel special, what unique pleasure can you bring her, what new experience can you give? Know your strengths, and be bold about communicating them.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 12:35 PM on July 27, 2007

I understand where your wife is coming from. If I were married, there’d be two instances where I’d be hurt if my spouse cheated: if he stepped out to get something he could get from home (but go wild on fetishes, etc) or if he rubbed my face in it. Your wife has given you her permission. Drop the subject. Seriously. She’s probably feeling insecure because of the low libido, don’t give her any more ammo to wound herself with. Everything else I’d say Ynoxas said very well here. And Dan Savage wrote great columns on low libidos here and here.

I’d still encourage you to go the professional(ish) route.

Between the Craigslist erotic services and the extremely expensive escorts, there's a huge amount of mid-range escorts available. Whatever your city OP, you can find some at Eros (definitely NSFW)

Erotic Services on CL is like everything else on CL – you’re going to have do some serious searching to find what you want at terms you can accept. Even if you don’t find anyone at Eros, the pictures are great fodder for solitary activities. The business models for hookers are the same for any service industry. There are some out there who like only seeing x men a week, for an afternoon/evening each. They might be asking 300/hour in their ad but once they decide they like you it’ll be 300 for 3-4 hours.

Also, check out NSAs and misc romance and even W4M on CL for those women looking for a sugar daddy, benefactor, or friend with benefit$. For whatever reason, they only want to “see” one person and they want more of a relationship, less of a business transaction. They’re also rather cheaper than professionals. Of course, like professionals, you’re still paying them to go away afterwards.

Still costing money, but not quite as expensive is phone sex -- and not the cheesy kind either. If you want the cheesy kind, it’s so easy to find. Otherwise, check out this group (again with the NSFW).

And to clear up some confusion: high dollar escorts are like expensive restaurants. In most cases, when you’re paying through the nose, it’s for something other than the product (hookers with their social class & Ivy educations, restaurants with their vision, both with their cachet). Either way, your base needs are shoddily met, if at all.
posted by whitneykitty at 12:42 PM on July 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't know if the service is still available, or what it's called - but a few years ago, I remember reading an article about a professional service that arranged dinner and possible subsequent hookup for married professionals.
posted by Xere at 1:18 PM on July 27, 2007

It can work. As many people have already mentioned, this behavior tends to be called polyamory (or 'poly' for short).

If you're lucky, there is a local polyamory group in your area. (especially if you're near/in a densely populated area.) Find that group. Go to a meetup, get on the mailing list, and you will most likely start to meet people. Of course, not everyone who is polyamorous in the area goes to there meetings (I don't), but chances are pretty good that you'll start to network with more like-minded people.

Speaking from experience: TALK to your wife early and often about things. Stop/slow down if she has any problems. It may take years for her to be really ok with this arrangement. It's one thing to give permission, but it can get much more intense when the idea becomes real.

I didn't really get into The Ethical Slut, but you may find this page helpful. Also, look for online communities, such as alt.polyamory on usenet. You may also want to pose you questions and concerns to a group like mono_poly on livejournal, which specializes in the intersection of poly and mono relationships.

Good luck!
posted by darkshade at 4:03 PM on July 27, 2007

I don't know how especially kinky you are, but the BDSM community has lots of this behavior and doesn't have to be scary! The people are really, really nice and it can be a very safe enviornment to explore.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2007

Before I say what I need to, let me just point out that telling someone with High Libido that they're just going to have to masturbate and deal with the situation is really not that okay. Alright, it's bullshit. There, I said it. I've BEEN the High Libido person. I WENT over three years without sex because my then-boyfriend (BOYFRIEND, not husband) was extremely Low Libido. To the point of us not even hugging or kissing outside of friendly type stuff.

Which is a whole other jar of worms.

We got along in every other aspect alarmingly well. The only problem was the sex/intimacy, which there was none, which was a huge piece of the pie - even though it was just one slice. I ultimately left because no, I can't survive without sex and affection. Call me shallow or a slut or what have you, but I need to be wanted in order to feel some sort of anything.

So you can't just say "well, masturbate - that's your lot, buddy! don't like it? LEAVE!" His wife has GIVEN the OK to have a sexual relationship with another woman. He's allowed to. He loves his wife and wants to be with her. She wants to be with him, and realizes that he has a need she can't fulfill. I admire that, I think.

Ok, now onto my advice for the actual poster:

We don't have details on how far exactly your wife would be involved, as far as meeting your new "Friend" and whatnot, so I don't think poly would work for you. I mean, it might - I have no idea. But if your wife isn't going to be doing her own poly thing or hanging out with your new "Friend" or even meeting her, then I wouldn't think it'd be a good idea.

As far as finding someone, I haven't seen plentyoffish mentioned yet. From what I've seen, you're able to say "married" or "prefer not to say" in the marital status area. I got a lot of hits on there... then again, a) I have a vagina and b) I had a decent pic up. From what I've heard, men will rarely get emails. So you have to email a lot of women that might fit what you're looking for.

Or do what my boyfriend did on POF: email continuously and say you want to woo her and think she's amazing and would love to take her out for coffee, and she'll probably say (And this is a direct quote from myself) "you know........... why the hell not. Might as well give this dude a chance. I don't have anything else better to do."

Oh, the grandkids will love that story.
posted by damnjezebel at 7:14 PM on July 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

HA! Just came across a similar website (as I mentioned in an earlier comment) today, in a tabloid. It's not the same one, but it seems to be similar. is the address.
posted by Xere at 3:15 PM on September 2, 2007

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