An Australian survey of married men who cheat on their wives with other men has shown that they would rather kill themselves than confess and risk losing everything.

A University of Sydney study surveyed 240 men who had been in a heterosexual marriage or de facto relationship, while having sexual relations with men.

It also found that men could be putting their health at risk by not telling their doctors about gay relationships.

The survey participants were recruited mainly through the internet, or sex venues like saunas. They all lived in western Sydney.

Over 50% of the female partners did not know about the men’s sexual activities. Most of the men had married because they wanted a family, and believed their sexual feelings for men would go away with time.

Researcher Jeff Hudson told News.com.au: “A lot of men will commit suicide because they don’t see any other way out.

“Instead of hurting their wives or damaging their marriage or ending up with nothing, they would rather kill themselves.

“They can’t see exposure to their wives as being a solution because they don’t want to hurt their wives, they want to protect their wives.”

Mr Hudson also warned that the men should tell their doctors.

“If someone comes in to get a test at the doctor because they’re sick, just because they’re married the doctor would not say you should have an STI (sexually transmitted infection) check, or HIV check.

“That’s where often the disease spread happens, because these men don’t see themselves as at risk or at risk for their wives because they don’t identify with the usual gay man or bisexual man and so the health professionals don’t ask about sexual history.”

Fifty per cent of the men also claimed to love their wives.