I’ll be sleeping with my friends’ wives until I die: I’m addicted to the power of cuckolding other men – and women just can’t get enough of me too

Waking up groggy after a fizz-fuelled lunch is never a good idea. It takes me a good few seconds to realise I’m in a hotel room with the shapely arm of a snoozing naked woman draped over me. I gently remove it and hear her phone ringing.

Looking over, I notice it’s Peter* calling. Her husband and my colleague. I allow myself a smirk because by God is he dull. Wherever he thinks his wife is, I’m fairly confident he won’t assume she’s with me.

After a blast in the shower, I exit the hotel room ten minutes later and, just for fun, give Peter a call to check in on our latest project. I’d met Lydia*, the lady of the shapely arm, two weeks earlier at a work do held in a swanky restaurant overlooking the Thames.

I work in financial technology — often crunched to ‘fintech’ — and in truth I hate these networking events. Fintech has a disproportionate number of men working in the industry and to say they are geeks is putting it politely. But the one spark on the horizon is that these soirees are an opportunity to meet their better halves.

I didn’t, and don’t, set out to sleep with other men’s wives deliberately. It’s just how it happens, writes the anonymous adulterer

Peter and I had been collaborating on a systems launch — we still are — and it was the first time he had introduced me to his wife. I do what I usually do, which is a surreptitious ten-second appraisal. Brunette, curvy figure, yoga-toned arms by the looks of them. Lydia held eye contact for a beat longer than necessary. Bingo!

I’m very rarely wrong about a woman’s level of interest in me. She was easy to find on social media and in fact accepted a lunch invitation more quickly than I’d expected…

Over the decades — I’m 56 — there have been dozens of Lydias in my life. I wouldn’t describe myself as some sort of snake-hipped Lothario, but I do have homes in London and California, and being on the move has undoubtedly served my libido well. I’m currently on my second marriage, and have a daughter, 27, from my first.

The truth is I find male company crashingly dull. I’d far rather be entertained by their partners 

I didn’t, and don’t, set out to sleep with other men’s wives deliberately. It’s just how it happens. To be honest, I get away with it because I’m the last person you’d expect to seduce your wife. I’m not exactly Brad Pitt. I’m a fairly average looking bloke, 5ft 10in, Jason Statham bald with the beginnings of a dad paunch.

But I’m never going to be one of those men you spot on the tennis court who are happiest in male company. You won’t find me at the 19th hole, pint in hand, boring on about my injuries.

The truth is I find male company crashingly dull. I’d far rather be entertained by their partners.

Was this the reason author John le Carre became a serial love cheat, often with the wives of his friends? Or was it — and I relate to this too — his means of feeling an addictive kind of power over other men? According to his biographer, le Carre had at least 11 affairs. The spy novelist and former MI6 officer, real name David Cornwell, claimed infidelities were like ‘a necessary drug for my writing, a dangerous edge of some kind’.

His mistresses included an au pair who looked after his son; the wife of a spy colleague; a journalist, and a former model.

Biographer Adam Sissman noted: ‘Several of the women with whom he had affairs were married to friends of his; this might happen by accident once, or even twice, but with David, it happened again and again.’

I understand. My sexual yearnings are exactly the same. If a woman isn’t attached to a friend or married to a colleague, then I’m afraid the sexual pizzazz just isn’t there.

You might be wondering why and when did all this start. Well, I don’t need Freudian analysis to work it out. The pattern really began when I was in my teens.

I was the youngest of three boys, and a bit of a surprise to my parents, who had only ever wanted two children. I was told this blunt fact often, and perhaps used it, in my young boy’s head, to explain why I seemed to lack the kind of parental love I saw my clever, sporty brothers receive.

Not that I had a Dickensian childhood. I was just rather neglected. Without my parents prodding or praise, I was left to it and, as a consequence, ended up pretty average at everything. While my siblings eclipsed me in the classroom and on the sports pitch, I discovered I was good at one thing. Listening.

David John Moore Cornwell, better known as spy author John le Carre, had 11 affairs, according to a recent biography

David John Moore Cornwell, better known as spy author John le Carre, had 11 affairs, according to a recent biography

It was a skill I honed in the company of my brothers’ girlfriends. As an awkward adolescent, ignored by his family and regarded as nothing but a harmless kid by the girls — at least at first — I became a sounding board for them.

I heard all sorts. Their insecurities, their dreams and why they were head over heels in love with my brothers.

In fact, I learnt so much about the psyche of women during my teenage years that I couldn’t help but become an expert in it. My emotional intelligence grew and grew. I don’t know why but something told me it was important to give them a non-judgmental place to get things off their chest.

You know what comes next. Yes, I ended up having my first sexual experiences with my brother’s girlfriend when I was 15. Granted the girl in question probably felt sorry for me. But the feeling of one-upmanship, combined with the afterglow of orgasm, was beyond edifying.

I felt glorious, as though I was on top of the world. Sleeping with my brother’s girlfriend gave me an added frisson because I was having sex with someone he — one of the golden boys who monopolised my parents’ attention — cared for. At last, I was the one in control.

I learnt so much about the psyche of women during my teenage years that I couldn’t help but become an expert in it 

Fast forward to university, where I fell in with the rugger lads who studied hard and partied hard. I wasn’t particularly interested in having a girlfriend back then — it was just a relief to start forging a life away from the family home. Casual sex was fine — until my third year, that is, when I acquired my first serious girlfriend.

A fellow student who’d been hanging around our crowd for a year, she hadn’t especially captured my attention, until I found out that my best mate had a crush on her. That’s when I became laser focused on making her mine — and I did. We married three years later.

If my best friend was hurt by this blatant act of unbrotherly theft, he never said anything. In fact, I made him my best man at our wedding.

Obviously, the story doesn’t end there because I don’t think a year went by when I wasn’t unfaithful to my wife. It was the early 1990s, we were living in London and while we had a shared social circle, I was already deliberately cultivating another separate network in the business world.

The dot-com bubble meant my services were in demand; money sloshed about for socialising and I was back and forth across the Atlantic, too. By my late 20s I had an apartment on the west coast and was schmoozing Silicon Valley, talking about this start up and that launch. Being a workaholic was a badge of honour then and I’d meet colleagues at networking dos and social soirées. Which is when I’d get to meet their wives and girlfriends, too.

My British accent served as a useful aphrodisiac. If I showed a flicker of interest, a surprising number would slip me their number and we’d meet up on the quiet — sometimes just for a drink, other times for far more.

Of course, they had no idea the encounter held an extra thrill for me because of who they were — the wife of a man I was doing business with. I never felt a smidgen of guilt about my colleagues. Who’s to say they weren’t doing the same. As for guilt towards my own beloved. I’m afraid not.

The fact is, it was a cut-throat world. Few of the men I did business with were interested in a fair negotiation: if they could screw you over on a contract, then they absolutely would.

There is still little or no gentlemanly honour in business deals. That’s why I take so much pleasure in my extra-marital affairs. Yes, I did have the odd dalliance with women who were unattached, but it left me unsatisfied. On one mortifying occasion I couldn’t even finish what I’d started.

If my poor wife ever suspected what was going on, she never showed any sign of it. After the birth of our daughter, she suffered a period of post-natal depression, and I actually got one of the women I’d been sleeping with to befriend her and invite her to mother and toddler groups.

Then, in my 30s, I made a potentially concerning discovery. Several of the women I’d slept with had exchanged stories about me.

I suppose I should have been put out by this, or at least realise the danger of potential discovery by their husbands or indeed my wife. But actually I wasn’t. It turns out they had assessed my performance together and found it not at all bad. I rather saw it as a badge of honour.

I did wonder what would happen if a husband found out — and once raised it with my therapist. We concluded that a husband was hardly going to make it public. Fortunately men of my age don’t share their feelings in public or boo-hoo to their friends.

This was the late 90s, after all, and in that milieu, while extra-marital liaisons weren’t encouraged, they definitely weren’t frowned upon. I suspect some of the women thought if I hadn’t slept with them, there was probably something wrong with them!

Things came to a head at home when my wife’s father died. I think she took stock and decided she didn’t want to be married to me any more. It turned out she’d found numbers, read emails and built her case over the course of several months.

To be honest it was a bit of a relief. I was always waiting for the shoe to drop and when it did, it did so in spectacular style, and she kicked me out.

I don’t think she’ll ever know quite how many women I slept with while we were together and it’s probably best that she doesn’t. I’d undoubtedly got a bit sloppy — and bored with her if I’m honest. After that I did spend more time in the U.S. — to lick my wounds and let things cool down with my wife in London.

And today? I am still essentially playing the same game. I deliberately drift between social circles, and male friends and acquaintances who suspect what I’m up to are swiftly excommunicated. No one wants an embarrassing showdown, do they?

When I married my second wife four years ago I did promise myself that I would change my ways — and I gave it a good go for the first year (and, yes, we met when she was seeing a colleague). I do try to be faithful, but the craving for sex with someone I shouldn’t be sleeping with sometimes overrides all rational arguments.

The thrill is still there and occasionally I act on those impulses. Given I’m now in my late 50s and have more years behind me than in front, that urge is unlikely to change.

As I shake the hand of a new business acquaintance, I still find myself wondering what his wife is like. They all think their other halves are different and would never stray. But honestly, given the encouragement, they really aren’t.

I listen to them, you see. I genuinely hear what women are saying and find it much more interesting than anything their husbands ever say. The skills I learned as a teenage boy have never left me.

Are le Carré and I monsters when it comes to our sexual proclivities? Am I a deviant who just doesn’t care who I use or hurt?

Far from it. Firstly, I imagine there are many more of us than you think, and secondly, no one gets hurt if no one finds out.

It seems le Carre never gave up the thrill of the chase, nor the rush of power he must have felt when he contemplated the men he was cuckolding.

I suspect I will be the same — still eyeing up my friends’ wives until my dying day.

  • As told to Samantha Brick

*All names have been changed to protect identities.

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