When the latest website for people seeking extramarital affairs launched in Australia last April, the nation didn’t tut in disgust as many US citizens did. Instead, according to the site owner, membership was 40,000 strong and is soon expected to reach a million. And notably, the majority of those new members were women.
A recent survey from Sexual Health Australia found that around 45% of women and 60% of men have been unfaithful within their marriages and one in five couples cited infidelity as the reason for a divorce. RedHotPie, who conducted a huge sex census in Australia in 2010-11 found that 44% of women and 47% of men admitted having an affair.
Whatever the figures are, it’s clear that infidelity is on the increase in Oz and more and more people are relinquishing conventional monogamy in favour of something a little saucier!
Libby Anders from Adelaide thinks affairs are an everyday part of life in Australian marriages.
‘An affair used to be considered an automatic deal breaker in a relationship, but these days people are a lot more willing to forgive and forget infidelity and move on from it. When I had an affair and my husband found out, it meant we had to talk about the problems in our relationship. It took a lot of work and rebuilding of trust but we’ve made it work and now our marriage is better than it’s ever been.’
Tom Selby from Perth agrees:
‘I love my wife deeply but our sex drives just don’t match. I’ve tried talking to her about it and making sure I’m doing things the way she likes, but she’s just not that into it. I don’t want to lose my wife but I don’t want a sexless marriage either, so I don’t see the problem in looking for what I need elsewhere.’
Ann Hollands, Chief Executive of Relationships Australia, the country’s top marriage counselling service, believes that affairs don’t need to be the end.
‘Infidelity is rarely harmless and it’s usually a symptom of a deeper problem, so if you’re not feeling happy with your partner the best thing to do is talk about your issues before you embark on an affair. If you do cheat, it is something that you and your partner can come back from and in many cases an affair can require both parties to put more effort into their relationship.’
Whilst it’s difficult to find firm statistics on the subject, it seems many Australians are choosing to have open relationships or become swingers as a monogamy loophole and in Australia’s major cities sex clubs are thriving, although most people tend to keep mum on whether they attend!
But the Great Australian Sex Census found that 13.2% of those couples questioned were swingers or in an open relationship, whilst around 8% of women and 6% of men are enjoying a committed open relationship and around 20% of both men and women had experienced an open relationship before.
So whether they’re in a traditional marriage or a more modern relationship, it seems today’s Australians are more than happy to have their cake and eat it too!