Ashley Madison Affair Dating Site

Online Dating

Review of the Ashley Madison Affair Dating Site (Feb. 2024)

Amber Brooks

Written by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at When she was growing up, her family teased her for being "boy crazy," but she preferred to think of herself as a budding dating and relationship expert. As an English major in college, Amber honed her communication skills to write clearly, knowledgeably, and passionately about a variety of subjects. Now with over 1,800 lifestyle articles to her name, Amber brings her tireless wit and relatable experiences to She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Reviewed by: Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks

Amber Brooks is a dating and relationship expert who has penned over 1,800 lifestyle articles in the last decade, and she still never tires of interviewing dating professionals and featuring actionable advice for singles. She has been quoted by the Washington Times, Cosmopolitan, The New York Post, and AskMen.

See full bio »
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In the wake of The Ashley Madison Affair, a documentary available for streaming on Hulu, a lot of people who may have forgotten or never heard about the affair dating platform are taking an interest. The dating site launched in 2001 with the goal of helping to destigmatize extramarital relationships. The name of the platform comes from two randomly-selected popular baby names from the year the company launched.

Ashley Madison logo

For more than 20 years, Ashley Madison’s straightforward approach to complicated marital politics has made it a popular destination for unsatisfied people. Although the platform has taken its share of hits and weathered many scandals, it’s not going anywhere.

Though Controversial, Ashley Madison is Undeniably Popular

The tagline Ashley Madison still uses, “Life is short. Have an affair,” is typical of the way that the site and app approaches the controversy around the services they offer. The team behind Ashley Madison doesn’t flinch at the nature of the platform, and that’s a major contributing factor to the attitudes many people have toward it.

Despite the ethical and moral complaints about Ashley Madison’s existence, there’s no question that it’s popular. The platform recently hit a new milestone in membership, with 80 million registered users and counting. 

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Relationships: Hookups, Casual Dates, Affairs

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Our Experts Say: “With its massive user base and advanced privacy features, Ashley Madison is the #1 site for discreet hookups, dates, or relationships…” Full Review »

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The popularity of Ashley Madison owes a lot to the features that the platform offers for all users, most of which are about keeping your activity private and your identity concealed. Despite the fact that several dating sites and apps exist to cater to married daters, Ashley Madison remains the top pick.

It’s worth noting that not everyone on Ashley Madison is a married person. A lot of singles use the site and app to gain all the privacy and discretion benefits it has. But it’s also important to understand that most of the members are married, and you’ll have to be okay with contributing to another person’s infidelity if you want to be active on the platform.

Users Can Be Honest About Their Intentions

For a site and app dedicated to dirty secrets, Ashley Madison makes a surprising effort at encouraging users to be direct and honest with each other. When you sign up, you specify what it is you’re looking for in an affair, and what your limits are. If you want to keep your extramarital activities strictly to texting and messages, you can put that boundary right up front.

Getting started on Ashley Madison is easy and takes only a few minutes. The site is also upfront about the way they do business. Women get full access to Ashley Madison features and benefits for free, while men must pay for credits. Although the true cost of using Ashley Madison can be a little difficult to calculate, since it includes the cost to your relationships and lifestyle if you get caught, the financial cost is easy to keep track of. 

As a bonus for Ashley Madison users who want to remain discreet, the platform is very flexible about payment. The billing codes Ashley Madison uses are designed to cover up what the site is about, and to look as innocent as possible on a credit card bill or bank statement. For an added layer of discretion, you can use a variety of different payment methods, including prepaid cards and even (in some countries) gift cards.

Ashley Madison app store screenshots
Ashley Madison users can be direct because the platform ensures their interactions are discreet.

All Ashley Madison users get access to certain key features, including photo blurring and masking to protect their identity and the ability to lock some pictures into a password-protected virtual “vault,” which you can share with other users just by giving them the password. Privacy is the watchword at Ashley Madison, which is why the app is discreet. Both the app and the site come complete with a “panic button,” which instantly navigates you to a different, much more innocent site in the event that someone walks into the room or tries to peek over your shoulder.

This privacy and discretion is a major part of what makes a woman or man on the dating service comfortable with being honest about what they’re looking for. 

The Ashley Madison Hack Lead to Increased Security

The elephant in the room when it comes to Ashley Madison is the biggest scandal that struck the company back in 2015. The Ashley Madison Hack exposed 32 million users, along with their personal information on the site and app after parent company Avid Life Media refused to shut down the platform to comply with the hackers’ demands.

Screenshot of Ashley Madison app
Ashley Madison was launched in 2001 and is still going strong.

In the wake of the data breach and release, Ashley Madison doubled down on security, including some basic and other more advanced options to regain user confidence. Before the hacking incident, the company didn’t require email verification. Now this step is built in. Other features include data encryption, two-factor authentication, and keeping payment systems anonymous. 

The company continues to work on keeping its security tight, and the efforts make it one of the most secure networks in the casual dating space. Although it’s still a question of “cheaters beware” because all the security in the world won’t stop a friend from stumbling across your profile and connecting it to you if you haven’t been careful, Ashley Madison steers users to keep their identifiable details out of their profiles.

Ashley Madison Has Been Matchmaking for Over 20 Years

In spite of scandals from the first year that Ashley Madison launched, and the havoc of the 2015 data breach, Ashley Madison continues to be a bastion of sexual secrets and extramarital connection. The dating site and app both add thousands of new members daily, and has broadened its horizons from catering solely to the married crowd to anyone who wants to date discreetly.

The massive popularity of the platform, which led to the Hulu documentary about the service, shows no signs of slowing down or going away. In fact, there are more than a few platforms set up to compete! But the popular affair dating site isn’t going anywhere, and remains the one to beat.

For more than 20 years, Ashley Madison’s straightforward approach to complicated marital politics has made it a popular destination for unsatisfied people. Although the platform has taken its share of hits and weathered many scandals, it’s not going anywhere.

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