15th Apr 2012 12:00pm | By Carol Driver
Fancy a bit on the side? Forget about doing the dirty on your doorstep, we review the best websites for affairs
Men and women aren’t meant to be faithful – so says Eric Anderson in his latest book The Monogamy Gap (TNT 1490).
But if you want to embark on a fling or extramarital affairs, where do you look? It’s not as easy as it might sound to find a bit on the side: heading to your local bar isn’t advisable, nor is dating someone from work. You will get found out.
However, there are plenty of websites catering for those in relationships who want no-strings-attached fun in London. You just need to know where to look.
Illicit Encounters, illicitencounters.com
As I log on to the Illicit Encounters website, there are 170 women and 187 men online. At 9.50am. How can so many people be looking for sex so early in the day?
“I’m looking for someone who is true to themselves,“ one exclaims. “I’m looking for a romantic bloke who will spoil me rotten,“ giggles another. “Own car and own home – as well as a wallet that can run to four-star hotels – essential,“ confides a third.
These are up-for-it women, who know exactly what they want, and how to get it. Something which, to me, blurs the line between romance, hot sex and a form of prostitution. Within 10 minutes, I have seven messages from other members, all responding to my almost-blank profile without a photo – these guys are eager.
The site has more than 47,000 members in London, and is free to sign up to, but if you want to send and receive messages, it can cost anything up to £499 a month.
So is it worth it? Gem*, 28 a paralegal who lives in Islington, seems to think it is. Despite having been in a relationship with her boyfriend, who she met at uni, for four years, she signed up in 2011.
Gem has a penchant for older men, and her other half is the same age as her. Through the site, she meets guys in their thirties and forties. Some dates have led to one-night stands, others have amounted to nothing.
“I’m a party girl, so when I tell my boyfriend I’m out with mates, he doesn’t suspect anything,“ she explains. “I want some excitement – and that’s what I get from the site.“
Dumping her other half, who has no idea of the double life Gem’s leading, isn’t an option. “He’s husband material,“ she says. “I wish I’d met him in the future. I will marry him. I won’t ever tell him what I’ve been up to. He’d be devastated if he knew. But I don’t feel guilty.“ However, not everyone on the site is so nonchalant. When I speak to George, 34, he sounds wracked by guilt. Curiosity got the better of him and he signed up to the site five years ago – before he married his then-girlfriend and she gave birth to his two children.
George, who lives in Clapham and works as doctor, said he had a break from the site when his second child was born, to try to make it work with his wife, who he’s been with since they were teenagers, but the lure of what he felt he was missing out on was too much.
“I’ve had two long-term relationships with women I’ve met on the site,“ he says. “One moved to New York, which was probably for the best as we really hit it off. The first time we met, we arranged a day together in London, then I had a hotel booked for the evening.
“We knew we would have sex. It was exciting, it was different. My heart was racing. It wasn’t kinky – I’m not on the site to fulfil any perverse fantasy. I thought about my wife afterwards, and I felt guilty. But after waking up next to this woman, and having sex again, I didn’t feel so bad.“
George admits he has no intention of stopping – the desire for the excitement of a new relationship outways his desire to stay home with his wife and kids.
“I know if she found out, she would be gutted. I would be gutted if she was doing it to me, but it’s obviously not strong enough to make me stop. We don’t have the intimacy I crave – we only have sex a few times a year,“ he says.
So how does he cover up his infidelities? “I often work late and work away for weekends, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary if I tell her that’s what I’m doing,“ he says.
But, Illicit Encounters says he’s got more chance of getting caught by his partner than Gem. Only 5 per cent of women on the site have been caught cheating by their other half, whereas 10 per cent of guys had been rumbled.