Deep Dive: Is It Wrong to Sleep With a Married Woman?
So you met someone you’re crazy about. She’s smart, she’s sexy, and she’s bound to be stellar in bed. There’s just one problem: she’s married. While in the past, sleeping with a Mrs. was considered sacrilege, in modern times, morality isn’t so black and white. Most of our sexual decisions these days are made somewhere in the gray space. What’s a libidinous young male like yourself to do? Sacrifice what could be the best sex of your life to stay on the high road or disregard your conscience and, ahem, plow ahead? In this deep dive, we analyze the question: Is it wrong to sleep with a married woman?
Cover Photo: Vasyl Dolmatov (Getty Images)
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Marriage Is a Spectrum
Contrary to conventional wisdom, marriage isn’t an either/or proposition, especially not this day in age. Some people are in traditional marriages. Others are still married but legally separated. Some are married but live separately from their spouses. An increasingly number of people have open marriages. What exactly is her arrangement? You need to find out. The ideal (if we can claim there is such a thing in this scenario) would be an ethically polyamorous marriage, meaning her husband knows she sleeps around and is OK with it.
It’s All About Boundaries
Affairs get messy fast. Can you assert yourself enough to establish – and stick to – boundaries that you’re both comfortable with? You’d be wise to establish rules regarding contact in between trysts, what sex acts are and aren’t allowed (husbands in open marriages can be quite opinionated on this), how often and where you can meet, and who plunks down the cash for dinner dates or hotel rooms. If she’s polyamorous, will she be sharing information about you with her husband? (Assume yes as married couples on good terms tend to tell each other everything.) What information will she share? (Again, assume she’ll share everything, including your name, profession, whether or not you satisfied her, etc.)
Lies, All Lies
If she’s cheating on her husband with you, it’s time to do a moral inventory. Are you down with her lying to her husband about her whereabouts when she’s with you? Can you trust that she won’t lie to you, too? The saying, “If they’ll do it with you, they’ll do it to you” exists for a reason.
Consider the Consequences
Even if her husband approves of her sleeping around, jealousy can strike at any time. And when husbands get jealous, there’s no telling what they’ll do. There are other potential consequences to consider: what if she gets pregnant? What if she decides she wants to leave her husband and shack up with you? What if her (or your) kids/friends/employers find out that you two are an item? Is she worth all the risks?
You Can't Ride Two Horses
Sleeping with a married woman can be quite the distraction. This might be welcome at first, especially if your sex life up to this point has been dull. But will you be able to continue dating other women while satisfying a married one? Probably not. (And even if you attempt it, single women will definitely frown upon you sleeping with a married woman.) Your married lover will likely suck up all the air in your life, leaving you unable to pursue a more intimate relationship with a single woman who’s actually available – and with whom you could have a real, long-lasting partnership.
Three's a Crowd
As long as you’re sleeping with a married woman, it’s never just you two in the room. Her husband’s existence will always hover over you -- not to mention that they're probably still sleeping together. Do you really want to share your lover?
Separate But Not Equal
Ironically, sex is a small part of what sleeping with a married woman involves. Most of the time you’re together, you probably won’t be fucking; you’ll be talking. Can you handle hearing about her other life, the one you won’t have access to? Or will you feel like you’re being used for sex? (It sounds like fun initially, but trust us, you’ll start to wonder why you aren’t charging for your services after a while.) Can you accept that you’ll never be her No. 1 priority? If her hubby or kids or employer need her, she’ll probably put you on the back burner.
The Forbidden Fruit Factor
Is her married status part of the appeal? If so, you might need to take a step back. Sleeping with someone just because they’re forbidden fruit is a bad premise on which to base any decision about sex. While the thrill might be intoxicating initially, it won’t last, and then you’ll have to deal with the regret of being the kind of douchebag who sleeps with married women just because it’s naughty. A therapist might also wonder why you’re attracted to someone so blatantly unavailable. Is it because you’re allergic to true intimacy?
The Future (Or Lack Thereof)
It’s easy to say you won’t become emotionally involved with the married woman you’re sleeping with, but hearts and bodies don't always agree on things. Married people don’t often leave their spouses, so if you find yourself falling in love with a married woman, you’re fucked, literally and figuratively. You are the interloper and the interloper you will likely remain.
There’s no quick and easy answer to the question, “Is it wrong to sleep with a married woman?” The best we can say is, “It depends.” If her husband is completely unaware of the extramarital activity, we’re going to err on the side of yes, it's wrong. Even though you personally aren’t cheating on anyone, you’re interfering in a marriage. Is that the kind of legacy you want to leave?
If she has her husband’s approval to sleep around, then, sure, proceed. But do so with caution, because the lover is always the one who ends up hurt (or dead, if we look to examples in the movies). Set up ground rules, be honest and upfront about any emotions that develop, and recognize that the affair will be short-lived at best.
Sleeping with a married woman could be fun for a while, but it could also devolve into a maddening arrangement that leaves you wounded. Consider whether she’s worth the potential trouble or if it’d make sense to keep swiping away at Tinder and sticking (it) to single women instead.