What is considered to be an affair?

Dear Sex Educator,

I need input – feel very ignorant. I have been married for more than ten years. I have kids and what I think is a wonderful husband. I have girlfriends from work, and we have every Wednesday as Girls Night Out. We go to a local inn for a karaoke sing along. Recently, an extremely handsome guy from work came out with us. He started flirting with me, and suggesting things. I refused, but he kept at it (probably due to alcohol and because the girls were yelling “go for it!”). After more dancing and more alcohol, I ended up in a room upstairs with this guy. He gave me oral sex; I did not give it back to him. He masturbated in front of me. I felt strange watching! He told me what we did was not sex because he did not put his penis inside me. He also told me that I had an orgasm because I wanted this as much as he did.

Can a woman orgasm against her will? Was this an affair? Did I want this and not realize it? He says this is all he ever wants from me (oral). Will this change – will I not be able to control him in middle of passion? Is it possible that he just wants oral sex with me always? It felt good, of course, but I feel strange about it. I don’t understand any of this. Please help!

To start with, you can have an orgasm even if you aren’t sure you wanted to be doing what you were doing. I personally would consider this sex, though you may define sex differently. The way we define sex at A Woman’s Touch is any intimate contact that produces pleasure and arousal that feels like sex to you. Many people don’t have intercourse at all when they have sex. So I think that what you engaged in with this man was sex.

Was it an affair? Well, some people think that any kind of sexual contact outside of marriage constitutes an affair; others think you have to have repeated contact to qualify as an affair. You did have what I would call a “fling”. What that means to you is whatever you choose to make it mean.

Did you want this and not realize it? Maybe. Or maybe you were swept up into the moment, and alcohol intoxication helped sweep you along. It’s hard to resist the kind of pressure you were experiencing, so I wouldn’t necessarily read a lot into it. Even if you enjoyed it, that doesn’t necessarily mean you went out looking for it. And even if you were looking for it, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are unhappy in your marriage. You may just have been a bit curious, and the encouragement of your friends allowed you to do something you wouldn’t normally do.

Now the question you may want to consider is: Do you want to continue contact with this man? Regardless of whether you have only oral sex, regular sexual contact with him would probably constitute an affair. How would your husband feel about this? Is that something you want? Is there something else going on (boredom with your life routine, boredom with your sex life with your husband, something else)?

I want to encourage you to trust your instincts rather than the man you had this experience with or your girlfriends. No one else is in your specific situation, so no one can know what this would mean to you and what impact it would have on your life. So what do you want? If you believe you’re happy in your marriage, you probably are. It’s always possible that you would enjoy some change in your sex life in your marriage; that’s pretty easy to do, and your husband would probably like it too. Many of us experience these momentary “flings”, and it doesn’t have to mean anything other than you were drunk and being encouraged by your friends.

So listen to your gut instincts, pay attention to what your heart is telling you, and go from there. And if you decide to keep seeing this man, remember that sexually transmitted infections can be passed through oral sex, so be sure to use a condom on him. I’d encourage the use of a cut-open condom, an oral sex dam, or plastic wrap when he has oral sex with you. The last thing you want to do is give your husband a sexually transmitted infection as a result of this. I trust you to find your way through this. Do find an impartial person (a friend who wasn’t involved in this original incident, or a sex therapist) to talk to about it, if need be, so that you can get clear what’s important to you.

The Sex Educator