But if I'm going to find out what really makes these women tick, I need to leave the safety of the virtual world and see them for myself. I arrange to meet a 41-year-old mother of two who misses "romance and flirting", in a cafe in two days' time.

She has declined to tell me her name, so I have to think of her as her web sobriquet.

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I reply, telling her to come over and ask me face to face. She looks furtively around and asks me if I'm nervous. There is tension in the air like North and South Korea coming together to hammer out a treaty.

Suddenly the realisation of how odd it is to meet a stranger with the express intention of having an affair dawns on me. It's more like Alan Sugar interviewing an apprentice.

But she is an old hand at this type of encounter and tells me she's met many men through the site, and that I was probably the only one who hadn't lied about my age.

"Sophia" tells me she thinks relationships have a shelf life of about ten years before boredom sets in, but that she stays married to ensure her children have a stable home.

In order to fit in with the general ethos of the website I have invented a wife.

Our relationship, I note, has suffered because we don't spend enough time together (not surprising really, since she doesn't exist).This is how I find myself waiting for "Sophia Loren".She seems rather on edge and sends me a text message at the time we're due to meet asking why I'm using the website.I register, and enter the murky world of two-timing technology, taking note of the warning on the site: "Not all affairs have a positive effect on a marriage." What a masterpiece of understatement.I wonder if anyone has ever read this, seen the wisdom of it and decided not to join. "I'm witty, charming, handsome and modest, and I'm kind to animals," I write, hoping this description will have a fairly broad appeal, and also include a recent photograph.Postings such as: "I want a man who can look after me and knows how to treat a woman. I'm surprised and unsettled by the forward tone of some of the material. Determined to avoid the connotations, I reply: "The Beatles." I never hear from her again.