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ashleymadison hits the paper...

The Tesseract

TRIBE Member

E-mail, meet, cheat
It's easy to have an affair with Ashley Madison
And by the way, who are you and where are you?


Other people could get fired for doing what I'm doing. I'm sitting at my computer at work and engaging in cybersex ? or at least cyberforeplay ? with people cheating on their spouses.

A man has just instant messaged me to say that he'd like to lubricate me with champagne. Two other men are lined up in cyberspace waiting to massage, er, message, me.

Within a few days of registering with Toronto-based Ashley Madison, the Web site for sexual encounters among "attached" people, I was contacted by more than 50 men, most of them married, who want to engage in some form of intimacy with me, from fine dining to spanking, not necessarily in that order.

Actually, it's not me but "Tanny," my nom de naughty, they want to engage ? and Tanny, confessing to being in her 50s with "a few extra pounds," isn't even all that seductive.

Tanny's tame caption: "A whisper, a touch, a journey."

It's subtle compared to one man's graphic invitation: "Let's do what nature wants us to do." Another is geographic: "Let's have some fun in Niagara."

The second time I visit the site, again in the middle of a workday afternoon, I'm one of 3,674 users online at Ashley Madison, out of 88,000 wannabe cheaters who have registered since the site launched in January, 2002.

It's free to sign up, fill out profile information, send brief teases and respond to messages from paying members but credits must be purchased to contact other members.

People are joining at the rate of about 10,000 a month, says Ashley Madison founder and director Darren Morgenstern. The average age is 36 and the ratio is about 10 men to one woman. No wonder Tanny is so popular.

The site advertises specifically to women as a way to balance the playing field, says Morgenstern. That explains the slogan: "For attached women seeking romantic affairs & the men who want to fulfill them."

Could it be that "fulfill" is a polite euphemism for another word starting with the same two letters?

But then, isn't Ashley Madison ? a combination of the two most popular girls' names ? itself a euphemism for what was known in pre-Internet, biblical times as adultery, as in "Thou shalt not commit ..."?

Adultery, it appears, has gone mainstream, no longer considered a sin. At worst, it may be a breach of etiquette. But more and more, it's seen as an acceptable way to make life more fun and to make marriage more tolerable.

In her recent book, Against Love, Laura Kipnis calls marriages "domestic gulags." She writes, "Adultery is one way of protesting the confines of coupled life; of course, there's always murder."

A book titled Meeting, Mating (and Cheating): Sex, Love And The New World Of Online Dating by Andrea Orr quotes syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage: "I think our attitude toward infidelity is gradually moving toward the attitude you see more often in Europe. It happens."

Indeed, Morgenstern did his research before launching the site.

He place a classified ad in the Star: "Are you unfaithful to your spouse?" A survey showed that "a lot of attached people are on singles dating services."

The number of people who'd had affairs by using those services was significant enough to convince Morgenstern he could successfully market Ashley Madison.

After all, he says, on his site people might be cheating on their spouses "but they wouldn't have to lie to the person they were meeting and misrepresent themselves" as single.

No sooner do I log on for the second time to the site that offers escape from the domestic gulag than I'm contacted by Chickenballs.

Chickenballs: Hi

Tanny: HI THERE, ooops, lower is better

Tanny: lol

Chickenballs: any luck out there?

Tanny: I'm kinda new at this ... is it a good time to be on?

Chickenballs: lots to choose from

Tanny: what are you looking for?

As if I didn't know.

"When Monogamy Becomes Monotony" is the motto of Ashley Madison.

"We don't condone infidelity but we know it exists and people are going to do it," says Morgenstern. "We're just the medium."

He's right, of course, about people doing it.

"Basically what you're getting is man's evolved desire for sexual variety playing out," says David Buss, psychology professor at the University of Texas and author of The Evolution Of Desire and The Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love And Sex.

"Infidelity is, if you look across cultures and time for those cultures where we have data, infidelity is part of human nature," he says by phone from Austin, Texas. "I view this as a new means to that end."

But Buss doesn't believe that everybody's doing it.

"It's not clear that rates of infidelity have gone up," he says, explaining that half a century ago, Kinsey found that 26 per cent of women and 50 per cent of men had committed at least one infidelity. "It's not clear at all to me that the current numbers are higher than that."

If infidelity is part of human nature, what's stopping the rest of us?

"Men and women are both extremely sensitive to risks and costs involved in infidelity," says Buss, "reputational damage as well as jeopardizing the primary relationship. So whenever you create a context where people can do it in relative anonymity, you're lowering the risk of both those costs. So I guess I'd say, yeah, if you lower the cost, more people will be tempted to go for it."

You could say that Ashley Madison, by offering anonymity and lowering the risks and costs of cheating, is leading more people into temptation.

Morgenstern hopes you won't say that.

"Our service is for people who have already decided to have an affair," he insists. Some people sign up, he adds, "for revenge because a spouse has cheated on them."

Other reasons include "happily married" people who are bi-curious or who have spouses who are incapacitated. Mainly, he thinks, "the fire burns out and people lose interest and what attracted us at the outset no longer exists."

The 39-year old entrepreneur hastens to emphasize that his own 18-month marriage is strong. "A lot of people's spouses would never tolerate their spouses being in this business," he says, "but we have a very, healthy marriage, amazing marriage and so much trust."

He admits,"I've had affairs on girlfriends before. I didn't know what I wanted and wasn't mature enough." He's also been married before. "I got married very young, for a year, at 23."

Morgenstern points out that, with people living twice as long as they used to, "the sociological reality is that we aren't meant to be with one person for such a long period of time. But just because somebody has an affair doesn't mean the marriage isn't working or can't last."

In other words, the bonds are too strong to break but the chemistry has collapsed.

Tanny: what are you looking for???

Chickenballs: a woman who likes to have fun, a zest for life and open-minded

Tanny: c'est moi

Chickenballs: and what kind are you into?

Tanny: uh, just how open-minded?

Chickenballs: willing to try new things

Chickenballs: is my age a problem?

Tanny: still trying to find my way around the site so don't have a clue what your age is ... do tell

Chickenballs: 36 is this ok?

Tanny: depends for what ? what do you have mind? as I said, I'm kind of an ashleymadison virgin but curious

Chickenballs: something intimate provided we have the chemistry

Morgenstern confirms that chemistry is very important in this situations.

You mean, just any warm, willing body won't do?

"Definitely, not," he says.

"The first level of commitment is going to be cybersex, then they might take it to the phone, then maybe decide to meet for coffee, and it might die at this point because he might have a moustache."

Or she might. But even if she does, that might not be a problem.

"A woman can get sex anywhere, anytime she wants," says Morgenstern. "What she wants is to feel validated, wants somebody to pursue her, tell her she's wonderful and beautiful and make that effort for her."

Also, he says, "a lot of women are there looking for sugar daddies, travel, shopping."

Psychology professor Buss confirms that men's and women's motivations for cheating are different.

For men, the desire for sexual variety is paramount, he says. Women want to switch mates "when they're unhappy with the current partner or looking to genetically cuckold the partner by obtaining superior genes." When women cheat, he says, it's usually about trying to get rid of a bad mate or one who's inferior to one they could get if they left the partner.

In other words, women want to trade up. Men just want to trade.

"Most men, given no cost, would cheat," says Buss.

But he also points out that in the Ache culture in Paraguay, in which very high rates of infidelity occur and partner switching is acceptable, "about 25 per cent of all couples remain monogamous."

He attributes this choice to natural individual differences in sex drive and in the desire for sexual variety.

And, on a happy note, he says, "Some find the perfect one and only and don't have any desire to go outside of that. I think it's a minority of people. It's a topic I'm thinking about researching: What distinguishes those who are able to find that one and only from those who can't seem to? What distinguishes those lucky few?"

One thing we do know about them: They're not on Ashley Madison looking for chemistry.

Tanny: Ah, the chemistry thing ? that keeps coming up. So what's chemistry for you? Is it just looks? attitude? big boobs?

Chickenballs: meeting of the minds, mutual understanding and physical appeal

Chickenballs: ... and for you?

Tanny: still trying to figure that out. I think it is different for women. For sure I get turned on by masculinity ? man's man type

Chickenballs: I'm running out of time. may I call you

Tanny: Not today, maybe another time ? I'll add you to my favourite's list, we can connect again.

Chickenballs: bye for now

Tanny: bye


Adultery hits the mainstream...


TRIBE Member
it's funny, last weekend i was watching cheaters, and they were playing ashley madison ads during the commercials. :|
Subscribe to Cannabis Goldsmith, wherever you get your podcasts
She's referring to this:

"Could it be that "fulfill" is a polite euphemism for another word starting with the same two letters?

But then, isn't Ashley Madison ? a combination of the two most popular girls' names ? itself a euphemism for what was known in pre-Internet, biblical times as adultery, as in "Thou shalt not commit ..."?"

It doesn't make sense to me either (the point the author's trying to make).

Thou shalt commit AshleyMaddison?


TRIBE Member
SexTV had a story on the Ashley Madison agency several months ago, explaining the origin of the company. Unfortunately, I forget what they said about the name.
Subscribe to Cannabis Goldsmith, wherever you get your podcasts

Littlest Hobo

TRIBE Member
I assume the name adds an 'air of respectability' (having 'airs' is bad enough). ashleymadison.com is better than cheatonyourwife.com.

Look at exctacy. It's better than calling it "Parkinson's Causing Pill".


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Littlest Hobo
I assume the name adds an 'air of respectability' (having 'airs' is bad enough). ashleymadison.com is better than cheatonyourwife.com.

Look at exctacy. It's better than calling it "Parkinson's Causing Pill".



TRIBE Member
the people in the infomercial creep me out.

they're like cult leaders.

"cheat on your spouse, sleep with David Koresh"

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new to t.o.

TRIBE Member
I think the site's name is supposed to attract females. All dating sites need more women on them because the ratio of men to women is always higher.


TRIBE Member
Originally posted by daddyiwantchocolate
It would be really fun to join the site and attempt to out all the asswipe lowlifes who contact you.

There will for sure be people getting blackmailed by people they meet on this site.