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Short version: AshleyMadison.com isn’t a conventional dating site because most of its users don’t want to build long-term relationships or marriages; they want to find partners for extramarital affairs. Infidelity is quite common in marriages, and Ashley Madison wants its users to understand that affairs don’t have to lead to divorce. The site has robust security features and allows users to interact with each other discreetly — both online and in person. Because of its effectiveness, Ashley Madison attracts a diverse and gender-balanced crowd of users who are interested in finding intimacy outside of their marriages.
If a marriage lacks steam in the bedroom, that doesn’t mean the parties involved are headed for divorce. In fact, plenty of otherwise happy marriages are missing physical intimacy. Of course, it isn’t an ideal situation, and it may lead one, or both, partners to seek sex outside of the relationship.
Infidelity is fairly common in marriages, but that infidelity isn’t always discreet. Ashley Madison, first launched in 2002, lowers the element of risk in seeking an extramarital partner by ensuring all dealings on its site are private and secure.
“Our website seeks to help people have a successful affair — which is an undiscovered affair,” said an Ashley Madison spokesperson.
The widespread notion that it is mainly husbands who cheat is a myth.
“Infidelity is something that is pursued by both males and females,” the spokesperson said. “We see a balanced community of men and women. Globally, in 2017, we have a gender ratio of 1.13 active females for every 1 paid active male.”
For added discretion, Ashley Madison has useful features. One is a blur and mask photo tool that allows users to hide their faces in their profiles when needed. Others are Traveling Man and Traveling Woman features to help would-be partners meet up in unfamiliar cities.
“Every day we ask: ‘How can we make Ashley Madison better?’ That’s what drives us,” the spokesperson said. “We are listening to what members need from the platform to make it more intuitive and user-friendly. We want to make it as seamless an experience as possible.”
The bottom line is that Ashley Madison provides a service that many married people need, but the site can also help users preserve their reputations — and their marriages — by allowing them to discreetly seek out affairs online.
“We’re a company that people are curious about; this is evidenced by the thousands of new members we enroll each day,” said the spokesperson. “Ashley Madison is here to help people find what they’re already looking for.”
Ashley Madison caters to users who don’t want their marriages to end, and don’t want their public reputations tarnished. With that goal in mind, Ashley Madison has strong data protections in place.
“Privacy is our starting point, and we treat our members’ data as sacrosanct. In 2017, we secured a privacy certification from Ryerson University’s Privacy by Design Centre for Excellence,” said the Ashley Madison spokesperson. “This certification confirms that we approach privacy as a proactive measure in all of our business dealings.”
In an age of ever-increasing cyber threats, Ashley Madison has doubled-down on its efforts to provide security for its users. The company leverages AI and uses machine learning to detect fraudulent profiles and flag them for removal. That gives real users more visibility and better opportunities to connect.”
Once users are on the site, they can find other compatible affair-seekers easily.
“The main feature most people desire when joining AshleyMadison.com is the ability to be connected to like-minded people — which is built into every facet of our site,” said the spokesperson.
The site’s security and search tools make more users comfortable with exploring their options on Ashley Madison. An average of 15,542 members joined the site every day in 2017.
Ashley Madison users know what they want. They are seeking an extramarital relationship and simply need an easy way to find the right one.
“The members of Ashley Madison are like-minded — they have lived a life before joining our site,” the spokesperson said. “They are often people who feel something is missing from their current relationship and are looking to find something that has either been lost or never existed.”
But users seek out Ashley Madison’s services for many other reasons as well. Some even have their spouses’ permission to seek new sexual partners. Take a 29-year-old female user from the UK as an example.
“She has been married for eight years; however, her husband suffers from a medical condition that acts as a barrier to their sex life. With her husband’s consent, she uses Ashley Madison to improve her sex life while remaining in an otherwise happy marriage,” said the spokesperson.
Others use Ashley Madison to discover that they can be happier in other partnerships. After all, some people just aren’t meant to be in the relationship they’re currently in, like one 45-year-old woman from Toronto.
“She was living in a sexless marriage, and met a man on Ashley Madison who was also married,” the spokesperson said. “They both divorced and got married. They now live together and have been in an open marriage for the last three years.”
As these examples prove, an affair can have vastly different meanings to different people.
“We find that more and more women are taking charge of their lives, adding a breath of fresh air to their sometimes mundane and stale marriages,” said the spokesperson. “Others don’t want to break up their family dynamic, opting instead to stray and stay in their marriage.”
As member experiences suggest, an affair is not always a way out of a marriage. It can, at times, supplement what’s lacking in an otherwise healthy relationship. Or it can make someone recognize that it’s time for a divorce. While Ashley Madison’s users are diverse, they have more similarities than differences.
“A large proportion of our user base is made up of people who have had the chance to marry, have kids, and own a home,” said the spokesperson.
Still, something is missing. That void is what Ashley Madison is aiming to fill.
“That experience starts with a trust that we have built a community of like-minded individuals, trust that you will be able to find and connect with other members in this community, and trust that your experience will remain as discreet as possible,” said the spokesperson
Ashley Madison has committed to creating a better experience that helps users simplify their search for an affair.
“With more than 100 employees who have a host of different experiences and professional backgrounds, we all come together to create the best product possible — by putting user interests above all else,” said the spokesperson.