All the women I spoke to were obsessive about covering their technical tracks.Laura, 51, a reflexologist from Hertfordshire, with a teenage son, has had three affairs over the past 10 years with men she has met on various websites.'Usually we just have a snog and a fumble but two have come back to my hotel room.It sounds dangerous, talking about it like that, but I trust my instincts to know who's safe and who's a serial killer.'They probably did online dating when they were single, so that's where they'll immediately head to see what's out there,' says David Miller, who runs Loving Links, an online dating service and one-to-one introduction agency for 'nice, middle-class attached people'.Since founding the business 15 years ago Miller has noted a huge increase in younger female clients.I ended up stuffing all my new buys inside the legs of a manky old tracksuit.I washed them by hand, locked in the bathroom, and dried them with a hairdryer as I didn't dare hang them up.' Tall, strong-featured and dressed in a cashmere sweater and wool trousers, Sheila is the kind of woman you see in the aisles of Waitrose, the front row of the school carol service.
Instead she goes to a motel room to see her lover, Michael, also 46, a medical sales rep whom she met at a conference.
I have mum friends but I missed the buzz of male company I used to have and I missed the irresponsibility of my old life – going out on a Saturday and not knowing who I might meet, where the evening might take me.' To compensate for this, Wendy decided to take two annual week-long holidays alone.
'The kids stay with their grandparents and I go to a spa or shopping somewhere like New York. I do shop and have a lot of facials and massages but I also go out alone to bars in the evening and five times I've met a man.
Six years ago she married Billy, a stockbroker, gave up her administrative job and moved out of London.
'I'd bought into a media image of rich husband, house in the country, stay-at-home yummy mummy,' she says. Billy is away a lot for work and I'm bored and lonely at home with the kids.