The easiest way to interpret the Ashley Madison stats is that they bring despair to wives and relief to husbands. It’s an easy mistake to make, with The Mirror reporting that in the U.K. there were just 31 active, female Ashley Madison users. However, the truth might be very different. Women and men may be just as inclined to have affairs, but women may simply not be attracted to sites such as Ashley Madison.
Another significant factor in the imbalance of Ashley Madison users between men and women is likely to stem from how the affairs happen. The Washington Post interviewed Debby Herbenick from Indiana University, who weighed in on the discussion, commenting that women tend to be more effective at seeking affairs offline and tend to need more interaction through conversation before having an affair. The transactional nature of Ashley Madison is unlikely to gel with those needs.
Herbenick also commented that men’s behavior on sites such as Ashley Madison led to them feeling “harassed,” and “treated poorly.” It’s not surprising that some men felt an entitlement when using the Ashley Madison site when they have packages titled “Affair Guaranteed.” However, Ashley Madison is not alone in having been criticized for being unwelcoming to women. Bustle recently reported on the harassment women on Tinder face when they use the word “feminist” in their bio, showing that Ashley Madison is not alone in having some issues with its male customers.
A study by the Kinsey Institute takes the discussion away from online portals such as Ashley Madison. Whereas Ashley Madison’s active users were apparently mostly male, in reality 23.2 percent of men and 19.2 percent of women had “cheated” during their current relationship.
Given the modest size of the survey (especially when compared to Ashley Madison’s huge userbase) that may not be statistically significant, it is compared in the report to “lifetime” cheating figures of about one-third for men and one-quarter for women which maintains approximately the same ratio. Married men who breathed a sigh of relief at the apparent lack of infidelity amongst women reveled by the Ashley Madison membership might, therefore, not have received the good news they thought.
What is clear from the Ashley Madison hacking fiasco is that men are much more forward about pursuing their affairs and were more prepared to have profiles on Ashley Madison, effectively an online dating site for infidelity, despite Ashley Madison being free for women and a paid service for men.
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