This is a dangerous subject to blog on, but that’s what – thinking differently – is about. My name and details aren’t on the Ashley Madison site, but I think most men have thought about having an affair at one time or other, so I could be considered guilty by thought.

While there seem to be at least 2 schools of thought on the ‘outing’ of Ashley Madison ‘clients’, I’m mainly interested in a third school. The first school is that the men are ‘cheats’ and outing them is a good thing. Such a school of thought seems not to be worried at all about the privacy issuesinvolved in a supposedly liberal democratic society. Nor are they interested in the complex variety of motivations and circumstances that might lead a person to be a client of AM. Nor the fact that that person might have been a client once, many times, never, recently, a long time ago, or frequently. Those thoughts alone might suggest a variety of attitudes would be appropriate to those who are being outed, or having their privacy invaded.

The second school of thought seems to be related to the privacy issue. As Guardian Australia journalist, Van Badham said,’ I don’t like what they did or are doing, but I defend their rights to do so privately’. In this school, invasion of privacy is bad and, whatever the privacy that has been invaded is nothing to do with you or me. It is private! End of story. Therefore the outing is bad because it is an invasion of someone’s – many people’s –  space. What goes on behind closed doors is none of our business.

But I’m interested in a third perspective not yet discussed. For every man who has ‘cheated’, by definition there must be a woman to cheat with. (OK, some men might be cheating with other men and some women with other women, but this general statement seems likely to cover most cases.)


So who are these women? Why are we not concerned with them? Their motivations? Their circumstances? What is surely clear is that these women are not women who are forced to be prostitutes or sex slaves. These women are choosing extra-marital sex with another person who they know is also married (or at least both parties are in some type of relationship, to which the AM link is extra).

We all seem keen to damn the men. How dare they cheat? But why do the women engage with them? Or why do the women seek the men? My guess is that many of them do so for the very same reasons that the men might choose AM: they want some variety, some spice, something extra, something exciting, something different. But they don’t want to jeopardise their primary relationship…just as the men do not.

Our society seems to assume that there are very few women for whom this is likely or true. OK, so one woman might engage with several men …but then one man might engage with several women… surely the numbers of actual participants are about equal. It seems unlikely that a woman sex worker (I hate the term ‘prostitute’) would be on AM for the experience(s), when she would normally be well paid for providing the same as a sex worker. Why would she do it for free? So it seems unlikely that the women are sex workers.

No, to me the likely reasoning is that the women are – similar to the men – frustrated or dissatisfied with their sex lives and – like the men on the site – are interested in something extra, something different, but – importantly – something that doesn’t break up their primary relationship. They may love their partner, respect them, value them for their past roles, be left alone for weeks at a time, have children they don’t want to break the relationship with, and have many more reasons for not breaking up.

Just as the men on the site seem likely to have been thinking: ‘I love my wife but our sexual relationship isn’t as good as I’d like it to be, so this might offer me a way of improving my sexual satisfaction in life without losing my life partner’. So I think we ought to hear from the women before we condemn the men alone. Will we condemn the women too?

Personally, I don’t condemn either group. I think AM – like a legal brothel (well, it is legal where I live, so you should be able to go there and receive sexual services happily….but it doesn’t quite work like that…) – provides a highly valuable service for a group of intelligent people who – remember this – DO NOT WANT TO BREAK UP WITH THEIR PRIMARY RELATIONSHIP. This is not about replacement or substitution. This is about adding to sexual and life satisfaction without impacting the primary relationship partner – ON BOTH THE MEN’S AND WOMEN’S SIDES.

We should thank AM (and legal brothels) for providing a valuable service for a group of people in society. Exposing their information publically can’t do any good for them, or really for the society. We already know many people have relationships with other people while they are having a primary and stable relationship. Unfortunately, our society seems unable to accept what is a fact of life for the majority of people in a western society – people like sex and are willing to do a lot to get it, if their primary relationship doesn’t satisfy them.


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