'Sex-tember': Affairs more likely to start in September than any other month

Man kissing woman's neck to illustrate an affair taking place.
September has been named as the month affairs are most likely to begin. (Getty Images) (LWA/Dann Tardif via Getty Images)

Loved-up couples be warned: September has been named the month when affairs are most likely to begin.

Overtaking January as the biggest month for infidelity, new research has found those looking to stray are more likely to start an affair in September than any other time of the year.

In fact, it is predicted there will be a 22% rise in cheating at the start of autumn as those unhappy in their relationship look to start afresh.

While researchers said there is typically a rise in post-summer affairs, this September is likely to see an even more pronounced effect as people start to return to the office and kick-start their post-pandemic life.

Turns out the key reason for this increase in September-straying is the strain summer holidays can put on long-standing relationships.

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The survey of 2,000 people by dating site Illicit Encounters, found a third of women (32%) and a similar number of men (34%) said spending prolonged periods of time with their partner on holiday made them think of starting anew.

While you may think the summer would up the sexiness in a relationship, it seems being with their significant other every day on hols made them less attractive to 29% of women and 31% of men.

The return to work post-pandemic has been named as a potential reason for the affair surge.(Getty Images)
The return to work post-pandemic has been named as a potential reason for the affair surge.(Getty Images) (Getty)

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The gradual end of working from home is another factor in the predicted autumn rise in affairs, with a fifth of men (21%) and a similar number of women (19%) admitting to being more likely to cheat when they were back in the office.

While January has traditionally been the peak month for adultery, as unhappy spouses used the New Year to seek new partners, the last two years have seen a switch to Sex-tember, with the month being chosen as the most likely time for an affair by 32% of men and 31% of women.

January came in second straying spot, chosen by a quarter (24%) of men and just over a fifth (22%) of women as their may-cheat month.

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As well as impacting the time of year people are tempted to stray, a third of men (34%) and a similar 31% of women said the pandemic had changed their dating habits.

A fifth of men (22%) and 23% of women said they were less likely to meet new people in the winter when infection rates were higher, while a third 32% of men and 31% of women said that post-pandemic they were more likely to "live for the moment" and take risks in their love life.

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The autumn is predicted to see a surge in affairs. (Getty Images)
The autumn is predicted to see a surge in affairs. (Getty Images) (Getty)

Commenting on the findings, Jessica Leoni, sex and relationship expert with, said: “Sex-tember is here, which means a surge in affairs.

“Affairs always traditionally peaked in January but, while New Year cheating is still high, autumn is now the peak time for adultery."

Leoni says the long summer holidays can sometimes have an adverse impact on couples, particularly those who haven't been getting along.

“Lots of us get sick of a partner after two weeks away in the sun and we return to work determined to have some fun with someone new," she explains.

“The pandemic has made more of us live for the moment and shake up our lives if things are not working.”

But before you start feeling suspicious and tracking your other half's every move, it's worth noting that September doesn't automatically turn people into love rats.

If you're in a committed relationship and your partner is the loyal type, the start of autumn won't automatically change that.

Read more: Love bombing: The manipulative relationship tactic to know about

Top months for affairs

1. September

2. January

3. July

4. June

5. August

6. May

7. October

8. March

9. November

10. April

11. February

12. December