Tiger Woods, Mark “the Luv Guv” Sanford, Jon Gosselin…All three of these geniuses were busted last year with their three wood in the wrong bunker. While the fact that they had affairs wasn’t shocking, the stupidity with which they conducted them was: Woods tried to bed every fame-whore he laid eyes on; Sanford barely covered his tracks when he went AWOL from South Carolina to join his lady love in Argentina; and Gosselin cavorted with a bevy of bimbos in front of the reality TV cameras that follow him everywhere.
But famous men aren’t the only cheaters. According to a recent MSNBC poll, one in five people in a monogamous relationship has a side piece—and that figure includes women. Yet you almost never read about female betrayal in newspapers and tabloids. Why? Because we’re better at hiding it. Sure, it may be a stereotype to say women are naturally sneakier or more cautious than men. But both of those things just may be true.
So if you’re itching for a fling, you should take a few tips from the ladies. To help your cause, we contacted the most adulterous women we know—most of whom have never been called on their indiscretions—and pumped them for their best advice on stepping out on a mate. Study up!
1. MAKE YOUR GIRL A GUY.
News flash: Every woman looks at her man’s cell phone log when the opportunity arises. The same goes for sideways glances at your phone when a new text arrives. Is it your friend Joe commenting on the Cubs game? Or is it that whore in your office you’ve been boning—I knew it, you filthy pig!
If it is, in fact, that whore in your office, by no means should she be in your phone under her real name—or a female name at all. “A little gender swap has saved my ass numerous times,” says Jessica*, a 29-year-old benefits coordinator. “For a while I was boning a guy named Jake, who was in my phone as ‘Jackie,’ and this other guy Mark, whom I entered as ‘Marcy.’ ” When her boyfriend asked who this ‘Jackie’ chick was that was texting her all the time, Jess simply said it was a friend she’d reconnected with through Facebook. “Then, for effect, I rolled my eyes and complained about how needy she was,” Jessica says.
Whatever name you choose, just be sure to adjust the settings on your phone regarding incoming texts. Some, like the iPhone, show not only the texter’s name but the message as soon as it arrives. (Doesn’t happen on the BlackBerry, but you should password-protect that thing just in case.) If she sees a message from “Steve” that reads “I want you inside me,” you could have some ’splainin’ to do.
2. HACKPROOF YOUR LIFE.
If you’ve used the same e-mail password since you got your first AOL account in 1997 and use that same password for other sites, you’re pretty much asking to be spied on. If you’re going to have an affair, you need to create a completely separate e-mail account for your fling. Additionally, you need to log off from that account entirely every time you send a message. Hell, quit your browser and clear the cache, too. It’s a simple thing to do, yet one of the biggest safeguards cheaters ignore—myself included.
In college, while stuck in a dead-end relationship, I found myself hooking up with a new guy. Stupidly, I e-mailed him from my boyfriend’s computer and didn’t log out. The snoop read my last sent message, and soon after I got a call that included the words “slut,” “bitch,” and “how could you?” Oops.
3. ALWAYS BE REACHABLE.
“My main rule of thumb is to never give the boyfriend any cause for suspicion, and not getting back to him quickly when he calls or texts would definitely do that,” says Kelsey, a 27-year-old med student. Returning phone calls right away can be challenging, especially if the background noise doesn’t jibe with your excuse—a quiet motel won’t sound like a game with the boys no matter what’s on the TV. If she calls and it’s a bad time, text back ASAP that you’ll call her when you can hear better—even if you’re mid-coitus.
Or if you stick to this rule as hard and fast as Kelsey does, you could just pick up the phone. “I once answered my boyfriend’s call while a fling was doing me from behind,” she says, laughing. “I grabbed the guy’s thigh to let him know to stop pounding and let me talk, so then he started moving really slowly while I talked to my boyfriend about dinner plans and tried not to moan. The extreme sluttiness of it was actually pretty hot.”
4. TAKE IT TO THE GRAVE.
Women are known for running their mouths, but when it comes to our own affairs, we turn into nuns who’ve taken a vow of silence (except when we’re having all that sex). A woman will never flaunt an indiscretion—unlike men, who need to brag about every sexual conquest. Other women are unlikely to be supportive of an affair, probably because every girl has been a victim of infidelity at some point in her life. So most lady-cheats find it’s best to keep their slutty ways secret.
Every guy, on the other hand, seems to think the unwritten “bro code” is enough to keep his indiscretions between him and his poker pals, his golf foursome, and his mailman. Remember, men talk, too—especially those in relationships, who always tell their girlfriends and wives about friends’ affairs (you know you do this, and you know you do it to look good in comparison). Your best bet is not to tell any of your goofball buddies—and that includes using them for alibis.
5. CHOOSE WISELY.
Perhaps the single most important factor in having your affair go unnoticed is choosing a girl who won’t—or can’t—throw you under the bus. Remember ESPN analyst Steve Phillips, who had sex with that underling? She sent a graphic letter to his wife outlining their tryst, busting up his marriage and costing him his job. If you must stick it in someone else, don’t go with the intern who follows you around like a lovesick puppy.
Instead, try the married colleague you put in long hours with. “I had a great arrangement for a few years with a married guy at work,” says Olivia, a 28-year-old ad exec. “We ran the biggest accounts, which meant lots of late nights. We’d wait for everyone else to clear out, and then it was a free-for-all. We had sex in the conference room, on our boss’ couch, even under our desks once when we thought the cleaning lady might come in. Then he’d go home to his wife and I’d go home to my cat, and no one was the wiser.”
Don’t want to fish off the company pier? Open a branch office, like Danielle, a 29-year-old photographer, who cheats only on business trips. “I love my boyfriend, but monogamy is for the birds,” she says. “I enjoy fucking new guys, then going home to the man who loves me. I’d never want him to run into them, so I only do it in other cities.”
6. DON’T DATE YOUR FLING.
“My number one rule for cheating is pretty simple,” says Mara, a 30-year-old financial advisor. “Fuck, don’t date. Period. Don’t meet up for coffee, don’t confide in each other about your lives, don’t even exchange numbers if you can avoid it. Just fuck.” If you find yourself having Tiger-like text exchanges about your psyche and life (“Having an Asian mother and a military father, you can’t and will not ever be full of yourself”), you’ve got bigger issues than run-of-the-mill horniness, and your cheating license should be revoked. Bottom line: Emotional involvement makes you more susceptible to slip-ups.
7. DON’T OVERCOMPENSATE.
It’s a classic mistake: You feel guilty or you’re just plain terrified of being found out, so you smother your significant other in unusual acts of kindness…and that gets them wondering what’s going on. Amanda, a 33-year-old lab technician who tutors for grad school admission tests on the side, was nearly caught by her live-in boyfriend this way. “For three months I was boning this guy I was tutoring. From the first session, the sexual tension was out of hand,” she says. “Within 15 minutes he had pushed our workbooks off the kitchen table, laid me on top of it, and started giving me head. We started having sex every time he came over, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Not coincidentally, I also started making elaborate dinners on those nights, which I’d have ready when my boyfriend got home.” Since she typically only cooked on special occasions, Amanda’s boyfriend became curious. “He kept asking why I was so inspired, and one night he even said, only half-joking, ‘Feeling guilty about something?’ Luckily the tutoring stopped right after that, and he never found out.” Amanda was fortunate, but the point remains that you should preserve the status quo in your relationship. Don’t suddenly start lavishing your girl with gifts. Take a cue from Kobe Bryant: Spoil your woman with jewels after she’s caught you cheating. Not before.