I get asked a lot of questions about infidelity. It may or may not come as a surprise that a fairly common one goes along the lines of, “Will I ever be able to enjoy really good sex with my spouse again?”
It might be the betrayed or the unfaithful spouse who asks. Either way, what they’re really asking—which quickly becomes clear—is whether their married sex life will ever have that “hot” quality to it again.
Of course, infidelity and sex are complicated things, and how they intersect in a couple’s marriage depends on many variables, from their relationship history and personal sensibilities to how the unfaithful spouse behaved in the post-affair period and how the betrayed spouse managed things.
Some couples find it very easy to become sexual again, even shortly after an infidelity is discovered—some even say they have more frequent or intense sex—while it’s the exact opposite for many others.
Accepting that the many intricacies of sex and infidelity are beyond the scope of this article, I’ll nonetheless venture to say that yes, it is possible to have hot married sex after infidelity. I don’t know if you’ll have it, but it is possible.
But like everything else when it comes to extramarital affairs and broken trust, if you want things to get better, you’ll have to go about it smartly.
What does that mean exactly? Well, again, it means a lot of things. The best I can do here is to present a few important points. General as they maybe, they can nonetheless give you a big picture view of what might need to happen.
First, it’s generally advisable that a couple not try to have what you might call hot sex until they’re well on the road to affair recovery. The affair must be completely over, the healing and forgiveness well underway, and the trust back.
Second, they should have re-established a solid foundation of meaningful physical intimacy. This is often done by starting with non-sexual touch—like holding hands, embracing, spooning and so on—and working up to face-to-face lovemaking. This can help a post-affair couple regain that balance between their emotional and sexual intimacy. Because “making love” has a different sound to it than “having sex” doesn’t it? It has a different feel, too.
For this, I often suggest that people lean on a few principles of Tantric sex, which prioritizes the bonding aspects of intimacy. So this might include taking a shower together before you go to bed, going slow, trying the lotus position, engaging your senses, and having a little pillow talk afterward. (Read 5 Tips to Rebuild Intimacy After an Affair for more on this.)
And don’t be surprised if a few tears follow this kind of sweetness. Many people say they cry after sex, particularly sex that has felt particularly meaningful, as it can when a spouse is reconnecting with their partner in the wake of an infidelity. The oxytocin hormone that accompanies lovemaking can definitely turn on the tears. So just know that you’re not making it weird if you cry. You’re good.
Once those steps are taken—the affair is over, healing and trust are established, and a couple has regained their emotional and sexual intimacy in a meaningful way—there will undoubtedly come a time when they want to add a little more excitement to their evenings.
And like most couples who want to spice it up, they may consider different sexual positions or locations, erotic aids (everything from lubricants to porn), playing with sexual fantasies, incorporating more mainstream aspects of kink like bondage into their repertoire, or some variety of these things.
Of course, all of this will be dependent on each spouse’s comfort level and the particulars of the infidelity. Because it’s vital to remember that, for a couple who has experienced infidelity, not all spice is nice.
For example, engaging in sexual fantasy or role-playing of the “cheating spouse” variety, or watching porn or reading erotica that features an element of infidelity, certainly won’t help matters. Yet unfortunately, if a couple is relying on online porn or erotica, they’re likely to run into this. They might be really into each other until the coy “My husband / wife is away on business… do want to come in?” element arises.
That’s why I often recommend that spouses who wish to spice it up following a marital infidelity stay offline. If they’re into porn or erotica it might be smarter to do a little homework and find something couple-friendly, even if it means ordering an adult film or book.
It’s a similar thing when it comes to sex toys or positions. For example, if a spouse who has cheated springs a toy or a new position on their partner, that partner might think, “This is new… where did you learn this? Did you do this with him / her?” And once those thoughts infiltrate the mind, the body has a way of shutting down.
Again, it might be better to go old school and buy a spice-it-up sex guide for couples. Sit in bed together and flip through the pages. You can choose—together—what toys you might want to buy and try, and what positions you might want to try.
By discovering and deciding on these kinds of things together, you can have the best of both worlds—sweet and spicy. It’ll also keep the mood light and sexy.
And just a word about light and sexy moods. Just like many people say they cry after sex, many say they laugh. That’s normal, and perhaps especially so after you’ve done or tried something different (whether successfully or not!). The dopamine and endorphins, and the effects of physical exertion, can give you the giggles. So rest assured that you’re not trivializing a “hot sex” experience post-affair by laughing. Indeed, laughter can be very bonding.
So there you have it—a few quick tips to increase your chances of having hot sex after infidelity.
If you’re having trouble with that first step—overcoming the infidelity itself, and managing it smartly whether you’re the betrayed or the unfaithful spouse—you may wish to consider my Marriage SOS™ Online Crash Courses that focus on overcoming infidelity.
If you’re struggling with the more sexual aspect of things, and if your situation is more complex or entrenched and you need help from a sex therapist, then get it. Whatever stigma used to exist around getting that kind of help is thankfully long gone. And anyway, who cares? Do what’s right for you and be proud of that.
After all, good sex is part of a good marriage, and people who enjoy a fulfilling sex life tend to be happier and healthier, both personally and as a couple. For those reasons, aiming for a hot sex life—whatever that means for the two of you—isn’t just about feeling good, it’s also about being smart. Thank you for reading.
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Debra Macleod, BA, JD, is an international marriage expert and the founder of Marriage SOS™. Her no-nonsense style, “Fair, but Aware” approach, and 20+ years of experience have made her a resource for major media around the world, from The New York Times and Entrepreneur to ELLE and Men’s Health.