Types of Infidelity

In the minds of most people, cheating is cheating. One person breaks the trust of his or her significant other by secretly engaging in sex outside the relationship, and that’s all there is to it. However, there are countless ways to cheat, and some can be more damaging to a primary relationship than others.

Typically, infidelity falls into one of three categories:

  1. Sexploration
  2. Booty Calls
  3. Full-Blown Romantic Connections


Sexploration is purely sexual activity with no emotional component or connection — casual hook-ups, strip clubs, porn, anonymous sex, etc. Sometimes the people who engage in sexploration think that because the activity doesn’t mean anything to them on an emotional level, they’re not really cheating. Of course, their significant others tend to feel differently. A cheater’s insistence that it wasn’t cheating because there was no emotional connection and, therefore, there is no reason for the betrayed partner to be upset just doesn’t register as valid to the cheated-on partner.

Booty Calls

On the emotional connection scale, booty calls are a step up from sexploration, but they are still relatively casual. With booty calls, cheaters have one or maybe several casual sex partners that they see intermittently when convenient. These ongoing relationships are almost entirely sexual. There may, at times, be the occasional dinner and a show before jumping into bed, but the emotional intimacy is purely superficial.

Full-Blown Romantic Connections

Full-blown romantic connections are exactly what they sound like, two people who feel an emotional bond while engaged in an ongoing affair. Typically, emotionally connected affairs feel more potent to both the cheater and the cheated-on partner. As such, the betrayal feels more severe, and more damage is done to the primary relationship. After all, this type of cheating involves more than just sex and secrets; there is also an emotional shift away from the primary partner and toward the affair partner. This is true no matter how strongly the cheater denies this. And the longer an emotional affair lasts, the more ingrained this shift becomes.

All Types of Infidelity Are Devastating

Usually, a one-time lap dance at a strip club is easier to forgive than a series of sexual encounters (no matter how casual) or an ongoing affair. That said, all types of infidelity are emotionally hurtful and damaging to the primary relationship.

Help Is Available

Seeking Integrity hosts Weekend Workshops for Couples trying to heal after infidelity. These workshops are facilitated by renowned couples and sex addiction therapist Paul Hartman. Space is limited to four couples per session. Call Seeking Integrity at 747.234.4325 for information, pricing, and availability.