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The Mistress

Updated on July 14, 2011

What is a Mistress?

A mistress is the long time partner and lover of a man who is in a legal marriage to someone else. The mistress is the 'other woman'. The mistress will usually be supported wholly or in part by her lover and may bear and rear his children.

The mistress is not a prostitute in as much she is loyal to her supporter and is not usually 'available' to another man. She is in reality another wife, albeit unmarried and without legal redress.

The King's mistress's bed

The term 'mistress' would not be applied to a girlfriend of short duration or a one night stand. A Mistress is a long term commitment. The word has been loosely used for the procession of young women who had short term sexual liasons with the golfer Tiger Woods in return for infamy and gifts. Without the long term support these young women are best described using other words.


Prior to the easing of divorce laws in the 20th Century the keeping of a mistress was extremely common by men who were in a position to maintain one. Many US Presidents have maintained one. Today the Western mistress is becoming something of a rarity. A man today is more like to divorce an re-marry than to maintain two women. High class courtesans and Rent A Dates are readily available to provide a sparkle to the love life if required. Some men, like Prince Charles of England do eventually marry their mistresses.

Within the West the word 'mistress' has changed its meaning in recent years and is now more popularily applied to those prostitutes who specialise in the dominatrix field.

In France, the Mistress is still an accepted norm and also in countries like Thailand (lesser wife 'Mia Noi'), the Philippines (where divorce is difficult) and China.

The Mistress is not going to go away in a hurry. It is possible for a man to love more than one woman and without wanting to hurt his wife, maintaining a mistress may seem like a solution to a very sticky problem.... and then it has worked successfully for thousands of years.


Some Famous Mistresses

 Ann Boleyn to Henry VIII of England

Lillie Langtry to Edward VII of England

Marilyn Monroe to John Kennedy

Gennifer Flowers to Bill Clinton

Wallis Simpson to Edward VIII of England

Alice Glass to Lyndon Johnson

There are hundreds of them.....



Submit a Comment

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 6 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks Pamela. What you say is very true.

  • Pamela N Red profile image

    Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

    Also many marriages were arranged so they didn't really love their spouse. They could, however, choose their lovers.

    Since, like you say, people are allowed to get out of a loveless marriage it isn't necessary to keep a woman on the side.

  • iskoban profile image

    iskoban 7 years ago

    interesting read

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    Thank you eveconsult1

  • profile image

    eveconsult1 7 years ago

    good reading

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    reviewadon - thank you for reading.

  • reviewadon profile image

    reviewadon 7 years ago

    This was a really interesting read, thanks peter great effort! :)

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 7 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks IntimatEvolution - The S&M is probably just in the UK, but I could be wrong.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    I didn't know the term was now associated with S&M. Great hub!!! I sent out a tweet about it. Really neat stuff.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks Kelly - it is all down to biology in the end. I read today in a newspaper that a man thinks of sex thirteen times a day (the fact that it was only 13 times was a surprise) and a woman thinks of sex five times. We really are two different species ;-)

  • profile image

    KellyEngaldo 8 years ago

    During college I remember well the discussion, being the only female present, I sat in awe - there was a completely different "male standard". That was close to 30 years ago now and the media sadly has proved that discussion all too true. Would love to see a follow-up hub on the financial damages of mistresses - Clinton only escapes because of the timing of the Super Bowl but Tiger will be a legend not only in also in Divorce settlements. Very well done article. Sadly there are hundreds of examples...

  • DREAM ON profile image

    DREAM ON 8 years ago

    I don't know how they find the time.My wife keeps me busy in and out of the bedroom all the time.One wife one life is good enough for me.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    LizzyBoo - Thank you. I wrote this hub really in answer to something I remarked upon in someone elses hub.

    i scribble - It is amazing how many secret mistresses and lovers there were. I have been surprised more than once by people I thought I knew very well. You are right though. I am sure people do know but just don't spill the beans. True friends or those with some morals.

    Cindy - Thanks

  • Cindy Letchworth profile image

    Cindy Letchworth 8 years ago from Midwest, U.S.A.

    Very interesting.

  • i scribble profile image

    i scribble 8 years ago

    A timely hub, and interesting, for sure. Glad you recognize that marriage is a 2-way street, and in a progressive, egalitarian society, women won't tolerate mistresses any better than men will tolerate their wives having lovers. But rich and powerful men will always be able to get young mistresses. So can rich & famous women, if they want it.

    It's amazing to me that some people still aren't sure Gennifer Flowers was telling the truth about an affair with Bill Clinton. Who would make up a 12 year affair? Other people would surely know about a 12 year affair, don't you think?

  • LizzyBoo profile image

    LizzyBoo 8 years ago from Czech Republic

    Amazing hub from Peter. You are just so educated. I feel great to get those info so freely. All I have to do is to click on your page and I am smarter. Thank you Peter!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    I agree with your remark in your comment. I am sure not 5 minutes. My ex-husband had a string of it. I don't think he maintained them but I am sure he gave them presents and now and then money which he withheld from me. When there is 'whatever you call it' the wife is always look at critical and critisized. Naturally 'the other one' put on all the charm and the idiots fall for it and think she is marvalous. Thank you for very interesting and intriguing hub.

  • Peter Dickinson profile image

    Peter Dickinson 8 years ago from South East Asia

    I agree Dohn divorce rates may plummet...but would they? Sex is a two way street. I wonder how the husband would feel about his wifes regular lover?

  • dohn121 profile image

    dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    Wow, Peter. I'm so glad that you mentioned Mia Nois as I was going to mention them if you didn't! Thanks for a well researched hub. I enjoyed reading it! I bet if more wives allowed "mistresses" the divorce rates would plummet!