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The Good Wife Study

A report on female sexuality & cheating habits

Download the full report

When women have extramarital affairs, their habits, reasons and behaviors differ from men. We sought to understand among our female members why, when and how they’re cheating on their partners. The results gave an insight into the psyche of the cheating woman, dispelled societal and gender myths and brought us one step closer to understanding some of the complicated questions about female sexuality. What we discovered will surprise, enlighten and challenge your preconceptions of why women cheat.

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Are women bored by monogamy?

According to our data, women aren’t more wired for monogamy, as some people perceive. They are just as likely to get bored of having only one partner as men. Many of them find themselves in either sexless or orgasmless relationships over time, which directly coincides with lowered attraction levels toward their spouse.

How does time affect sex within a marriage?

  • 5 years in: Noticed a decline in sexual frequency

  • 6 years in: Noticed a decline in sexual quality

  • The 7 Year-itch: Had their first affair

“Exploring relationships outside my marriage has given me a newfound excitement in my life. I didn't realize how much I needed something like this, just for myself.”

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Female, 30s, Australia 🇦🇺

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Why do women seek an extramarital affair?

Whether they’re in a marriage that’s sexless, unsatisfying, or just functional, an extramarital affair can fulfill women’s needs in ways their primary partnership can’t.

Why is extramarital sex better?

  • 45% Experiment more sexually

  • 42% Have more frequent sex than with my spouse

  • 39% Novelty

  • 38% Explore my sexual fantasies

“More than half of the women I talked to said: ‘I’m in a sexless marriage or I’m not having orgasms, and that’s why I’m cheating.’”

Alicia Walker

Author of The Secret Life of the Cheating Wife: Power, Pragmatism, and Pleasure in Women’s Infidelity

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Are women prioritizing their pleasure?

Sacrificing sex for stability is no longer necessary - if women aren’t getting pleasure in their marriage, they can find it in an affair. They derive emotional stability from their primary relationship but no longer desire sexual exclusivity with their spouse.

Function vs Pleasure

  • 64% admitting to feeling sexually neglected in their primary relationship

  • 47% said their partner rarely or never performs oral sex when asked

  • 40% said their partner rarely or never makes them orgasm

  • 43% of respondents said they’re staying married “for the kids”

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Do women lose interest in sex?

Societal norms and gender stereotypes have led us to believe that women are less sexual than men, lose interest in sex quicker in long-term relationships, and see sex as a chore over time. Our research says otherwise.

  • 95% of females have either gone to or considered going to a sex party.

  • 44% said the primary reason for cheating is that they want more interesting and frequent sex

How did women rate their sex life out of 10?

  • 4 out of 10 With their spouse

  • 6 out of 10 Before they got married

  • 7 out of 10 With their affair partner

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Do women feel guilty for cheating?

The perception that women have a higher moral compass or feel more guilt for infidelity doesn’t ring true. However, they do feel more judged by society for straying.

  • 37% An affair is morally wrong, and I don’t feel guilty

  • 31% An affair is not morally wrong, and I don’t feel guilty

  • 25% An affair is morally wrong, and I do feel guilty

  • 7% An affair is not morally wrong, and I do feel guilty

"Men have been traditionally portrayed as the ones capable of balancing both a spouse and a lover.  But the truth is, women are better at multitasking.  And according to this study, they may be better at cheating."

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Dr. Tammy Nelson

PhD. author of When You're the One Who Cheats

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Are women cheating to preserve their marriage?

Rather than using an affair to exit a sexless marriage, women are using their infidelity to supplement their existing relationships to stay sexually satisfied. They are also able to compartmentalize the functions of marriage versus an affair - while marriage can fulfill their desire for domesticity, an affair provides sexual satisfaction.

  • 22% said one of their rules for having an affair is never getting emotionally involved.

  • 64% of women claim they are no longer attracted to their spouse,‍ but 74% said they still love them.

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Did the results surprise you?

While the majority of women still love their spouse, they don’t necessarily feel attracted to or are actively having sex with them. Women are making their pleasure a priority and changing the way they operate within their marriages, one affair at a time.

*Based on a survey of 2,066 female members of Ashley Madison between July 25, 2019 and September 12, 2019. Ashley Madison is a global leader for married dating with more than 60 million people who have joined since 2002.

Join millions of members and explore the possibilities today.