Cheating is a tricky business. As it should be, considering it is morally reprehensible. However, I’m not here to judge anyone about their extra-marital affairs, I’m just here to give the facts. And the fact is AshleyMadison.com is supposedly the world’s number one “dating” service, with over 2.5 million members. I decided to do a little undercover work and signed on to the site to find out exactly what members are entitled to. This site began in 2001 — with the motto “Life is Short. Have an Affair.” — but has just not started to garner attention since it’s been featured on “The Tyra Show,” “20/20,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Dr. Phil,” and “Larry King Live.” One woman told Tyra that within the last six months of being on AshleyMadison.com, she’d slept with about 150 people.
So, here’s the deal…you don’t have to be in a relationship or married to be on AshleyMadison.com, but most users are. This is a place where people come to openly admit that they are committing adultery. Whatever the reason that brought them there, whether it be a failing marriage, an argumentative spouse, lack of intimacy, or just thrill seeking, everybody knows that it’s a hush-hush deal. Ashley Madison users don’t want to create a profile on Match.com or eHarmony.com stating that they’re single, because A) it’s deceptive, and B) they could get busted by their other half.
The rules for AshleyMadison.com are pretty simple. Create a login/username, answer a few simple questions (such as location and what kind of relationship you’re seeking), and you’re all set to find your match made in adulterous heaven. The site operates on credits — 100 credits are introductory, 500 are elite, and 1000 means you have purchased the “Affair Guaranteed” package. The “Affair Guaranteed” package says that if you don’t find someone within the first three months, you are entitled to a full refund. However, you must meet the requirements of sending priority mail messages to 20 different people a month, sending at least five “Ashley Gifts” per month, and instant messaging for at least 60 minutes per month.
The site lets you browse by age, location, and statistics. It can get pretty intimate when you are checking off your “preferences and encounters I am open to”. For example: “like being watched,” “threesomes,” “toys,” “being submissive,” etc. You’re laying out all of your cards in order to meet someone as quickly as possible, and from what I saw from my one day as a member, people are indeed trying to meet as quickly as possible. I was on the site for about an hour and had seven people IM me and 12 people send me messages. The catch, however, is that I had no information up about me other than that I was from New York, my height, weight, and a fake age. There wasn’t a picture, nor preferences, included.
Here are some snippets of the conversations I had, to give you an idea of what certain people are looking for. Some were a little pushy and cheesy, while others were fine to talk to. A few were straight up boring. [Names have been changed.]
Guy1: u home?
Guy1: or at work?
Me: no at work
Guy1: at work
Guy1: not so busy
Guy1: what do u do?
Guy1: bored and horny today
Me: why did you initially join?
Guy2: our situations very different
Me: newly married?
Guy2: no, married 15 yrs
Guy2: i went through my consideration, thought processes before i got here
Guy2: i knew i wanted to at least try this when i came here
Guy2: well you might have fun here, or not
Guy2: i thought about it a lot
Guy2: but realized i didn’t want the risk/ exposure of making a pass at someone at the office for example
Guy2: romance breaks down for most married couples at some point
Me: i sense that
Guy2: the longer the marriage, the more the libido craves for the younger fun, sex etc
Guy3: u have an itch ur trying to scratch?
Me: how has this all been treating you so far?
Guy3: it’s been ok i guess
Guy3: kind of disappointed
Guy3: u hear so much about the site
Guy3: but all i’ve been doing is chatting
Guy3: A LOT of chatting
Guy3: but i’d like 2 meet someone
Guy3: I’m not unhappy
Guy3: Just bored sexually
Guy3: r u into sex talk/erotic chat?
Me: umm not quite yet
That last part was my cue that I had collected enough information and it was time to deactivate the account. What I got from some of the conversations was that most people had children and they felt divorce would ruin them. I’m pretty sure their kids would prefer to hear “Mommy and Daddy aren’t working out” than “Daddy thought it’d be better to screw some girl he met on the internet to keep the family together.” Look, I’m not naïve and I’m not a saint and I know that people often slip up and cheat. However, I believe that when there’s a ring on the finger there is a certain sanctity that your life now holds. If it’s not working, be honest and don’t resort to going to a sleazy site as this. Now I’m judging. Oops!