An estimated 7 to 12 percent of married women have had an extra marital affair at least once in their married life in Tanzania.

In contrast, it is estimated that between 450 and 60 percent of married men have cheated on their wives. That is to say, more men compared to women get involved in extra marital sexual relations in Tanzania.

Portrait of a cheater

Women between the ages of 25 – 45 are more likely to cheat on their husbands as opposed to men of all age groups meaning that more older men than older women indulge in extra marital affairs.

Why is the ratio higher among men?

Socio-economic reasons

Whereby men earn more money, travel more and have more contact with women outside their immediate families. It is frowned upon women to have male friends, even of the platonic type which makes women more inward looking compared to men who are expected to be extrovert and to have many contacts of both sexes.

Biological make-up

It is said men have a higher sex drive than women. Women tend to be involved with domestic matters bringing up children, taking care of homes and often hold jobs or are engaged in business to the extent they lack the stamina or inclination to indulge in extra marital relationships.

The macho image men cultivate ie the more partners they notch, the more manly they are, in contrast, women who have many sexual partners are called ‘slags’.

Also, women’s acceptance of traditional gender roles that women are supposed to be faithful while all men are polygamous at heart is another underlying factor.

Paternity which insists children born in a marriage should be the husband’s children while a man is not derided for having children outside a marriage.

Social orientation especially when a woman is getting married which involves preparing a young woman for marriage with faithfulness being a top priority in the training.

More women compared to men are afraid of the backlash of having an extra marital relationship for example, fear of being found out, fear of divorce, fear of having her children taken away from her, fear of losing her home, fear of losing her status as a wife, fear of stigma and being ostracized by her community.


Women indulge in extra marital affairs because their husbands do not satisfy them sexually is a myth. Quite a number of women who cuckold their husband’s do so not from sexual need as much as from a need to get attention.

Says Hilda “my husband is so busy that he forgets I exist so I once indulged in an extra marital affair to get the attention of a man”

Women have extra marital relationships because they need extra income which their husbands cannot provide is often cited as a reason, but Latifa tells us “my husband earns a good income and is an excellent provider. He is also considerate to me and the children. But I craved excitement having married young. I wanted to have fun albeit with disastrous results”.

Man cheat so women have to cheat on their spouses is not often the case as Mary illustrates “my husband to my knowledge has always been faithful but there is this urge in me demonic really which makes me sleep with other men. Later, I regret it but at that time I lose all reason”.

Impact of cheating

Millie Jackson sang in the 1980s “And lying and lying while you are holding him tight something in the cheater’s heart knows its wrong ……………..”

Latifa says “I hated myself after wards. I had this feeling of being unclean especially when I looked at my husband and children. I wanted to scream, I’m a fallen woman”.

Jenny still suffers from the trauma, of her illicit relationship.

Bahati’s extra marital affair led to an HIV infection, or so she thinks although the HIV infection could have been brought by her husband who is also quite promiscuous.

Bahati has this to say “my husband started cheating when I became pregnant for our first child.

I was too weakened by the pregnancy to make a protest. Ten years later, he was still at it.

I heard he has fathered children by two different women in the course of our marriage.

I felt angry, rejected, had a low self-esteem and in frustration, I had an affair with a man, a neighbor who is also married. I did not use protection and six months later, word spread in the neighborhood that my lover and his wife have HIV.

I kept quiet, and will pretend that my husband brought the Virus into our marriage because of his promiscuity”.

Hilda got beaten by her lover. Apparently he is violent. Hilda says “We were in a hotel room in the afternoon. I told him I had to get dressed and go home as my mother in law was visiting. He turned nasty threatening to phone my husband to tell him about our affair. I told him to ‘go to hell’ that’s when he started hitting me. I was badly hurt and phoned my friend who picked me up, took me to her house and treated the bruises on my face.

My friend phoned my husband to tell him I had been mugged. He came with my mother in law and my sister in law to collect me. I felt sad for him. He is kind and my mother in law has always shown me affection. I couldn’t look at my husband in the eye.

Two weeks later, my husband received a note which said “Do you know what your wife is up to?” We received many such notes finally I broke down and confessed to my husband”.

Men addicted to affairs with married women

There is a type of man who always gets attracted to what is unattainable. The more distant the woman is, the more their interest.

However, the moment they catch their prey they lose interest, moving on to another pursuit of an unattainable woman.

This type of man often has low self-esteem among their peers and sleeping with another man’s wife gives than a sense of accomplishment, makes him feel like a man.

Women need to be wary before they embark on uncharted territory of cheating.

The price might be very, very high.


“Together We Can Make it Happen”

Leila Sheikh

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.