Ashley Madison, the Online Affair Service

Ad for the site:

Ashley Madison, at, is an online “dating” service, but not of the generic kind. This website specializes in setting up affairs for people who are already married. The website fully supports the idea of married people coming on this website to find people other than their significant others to go out with. Their tagline even promotes “Life is short, have an affair” and “Have an affair, guaranteed”.

In a way, this service remediates the actual meeting of people in real life that someone may have an affair with. By doing this, it makes it much more accessible, and much less personal of an interaction. Approaching someone as a sexual interest while married is much more intimidating in real life than it is on the internet. The other key factor here is that the website brings together people who share similar interests and are looking for a very specific thing. Again, meeting someone in person, it is a lot different trying to find someone to have an affair with if they know you are married. The website also allows singles to sign up in search of the same thing, or looking for married people as well. This makes the site open to a wider variety of people, looking for all different things.

The point of discussion which I believe goes beyond the actual workings of the website is if a site like this should be allowed to exist? The site promotes the socially unacceptable behavior of cheating on a spouse, and tries to normalise it as if it is a common behaviour. They do this by preying on weak relationships (as shown in the ad), and making cheating on ones spouse seem like it is even the beneficial option in the scenario.



  1. While the website does advertise the socially unacceptable, it brings light to the social construction of monogamy. The nuclear family is evidently not realistic, yet is still being used as a selling point. As much as this website promotes, perhaps, unsound morals, it is interesting that there was enough interest to provoke the making of the commercial.

    There’s a history of similar or equivalent services offered to those bored married couples. However, the fact that it is being mediated in such a way is the most interesting factor. What does that say about our society?

  2. Riffing off the concept of mediation that sophiapelka’s brought to the discussion, consider that Ashley Madison’s commercial was rejected by NBC from appearing during the Superbowl. What does that say about the accepted morality of the event? Arguably, the superbowl promotes violence (the game itself), treating women as sex objects (the cheerleaders), and sponsors commercials that promote drinking. Given that alcohol abuse kills thousands each years, can it really be argued that the Ashley Madison commercial is more dangerous?

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s