Gender and Behaviour

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Exploring extramarital sexual relationships as a precursor to psycho-social problems: a concern for social work practice

Daniel Tuelo Masilo


Extramarital sexual relationships are worldwide experiences that affect many people. They know no boundaries across communities, and even well-known people and public figures are involved in extramarital sexual relationships. The purpose of this desktop study is to explore extramarital sexual relationships as a precursor to psycho-social problems. In order to achieve this purpose, two objectives were formulated, namely, to examine possible factors that contribute to extramarital sexual relationships, and to explore how extramarital sexual relationship result in psycho-social problems. The findings of this study pinpoint extramarital sexual relationships as a basket full of psycho-social problems that include domestic violence, divorce, substance abuse, pregnancy including teenage pregnancy, child abandonment, unemployment, and sexually transmitted infections. The study findings further reveal that as much as extramarital sexual relationships are a private matter between those involved, its impact is felt by other people that include spouses, children, and in-laws, and thus call for social work intervention. Recommendations are proposed on how social workers can address the occurrence of extramarital sexual relationships.

Keywords: Extramarital sexual relationship, families, psycho-social problems, social work

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