“Life is short, have an affair.”
Ten years ago an audacious website, AshleyMadison.com, was founded to offer cheaters a safe haven from scrutiny and a hook-up space for sex, no strings attached. Ashley and Madison were two of the most popular female names back then, and founder Noel Biderman wanted to make the site women-friendly.
In the very beginning, back in 2002, the men who registered on AshleyMadison.com fit into neat little profiles: “On the male side, we have had married men who were looking to have a first affair, when the first child is on the scene and their sex lives are permanently inverted,” Biderman tells rolling out, “That’s when so many men take that step [toward] being unfaithful.”
Biderman continues: “On the different end of the spectrum, there was that male who is in his 40s who has done everything for his family, or his partner, and now he wants to do something for himself and have an affair.”
Fast-forward to the present day and Biderman is surprised by the seismic shift that has taken place with his members. In a nutshell, there are a lot of married girls going wild.
“On the female side, it’s always been a much more interesting and changing landscape, mainly we focused on … the woman who had been married, and lonely in her own marriage. But now we see women acting more like men. …We now see women who are using the travel business features to have more affairs on the road,” he says.
Some single gals are looking for married men to become their mentors or sugar daddies, Biderman explains. “We have seen single women join the service, now we see, even our college-aged women with a higher education, facing mounting debt, and uncertainty, so why not go out with a married man, who might mentor you and open doors for you? They are starting to realize that golden rule, that it’s not just what you know, but who you know.”
Newlywed women are seeking the service for social reasons as well, mainly if they are experiencing trouble at home. “We have seen women use Ashley Madison more like a social network, more women turn to it. Let’s say you’re a married young woman and your best friend may not be married and you are not happy, and who do you turn to after a year or two, and your marriage is going wrong? You might turn to Ashley Madison and speak with a few dozen members,” he says.
Biderman says bluntly that monogamy is a myth, and that infidelity takes no prisoners. “Infidelity crosses every ethnicity, social economical [status] and gender; no one is immune to having an affair.
“These are people who want to have their cake and eat it too, but what they’re trying to do is preserve their [relationship] paradigm, but change their sexual paradigm because monogamy has failed them in some way,” says Biderman.