A journalist goes under cover on AshleyMadison.com to figure out why married men cheat.
The first time we met The Ashley Madison Agency was on network television during a commercial break. Amidst jingles for fabric softener and liquid eyeliner, the booming phrase "Life is too short. Have an affair!" jerked us into consciousness. Life is too short? Have an affair? Is this cheating or a second helping of dessert?
We've written about The Ashley Madison Agency—a dating site for itchy married folks—and have always meant to check it out for giggles. After all, what kind of person advertises his/her infidelity online? Are they trying to get caught? Aren't flash in the pan affairs meant for business trips and office parties? (Kidding!) How are you going to explain your online dating profile to your wife or husband?
Regardless, the site boasts over 4 million viewers, which means a.) Ashley Madison is doing something right and b.) a lot of people cheat.
So imagine our excitement when we came across "The Cheaters Club" a piece for vanityfair.com written by single chick, Melanie Berliet, who poses as an unhappily married woman on the prowl.
Melanie begins the piece asking a few big picture questions. First, she wants to know what's going on in the heads of men trolling for mistresses and secondly she'd like to find out if cheating should really be a sin. Are a few sweaty nights behind a spouse's back all that bad? Afterall, we aren't meant to be monogamous are we?
So she meets three men. One is in a somewhat open marriage (he could care less if his wife cheats and believes in "monogamy with adultery"), another isn't married but has a lifelong partner and an agreement to stray, but the third, Jackson, is married to a woman so prudish that he feels an affair is his only chance for sex.
"I don't want to disrupt my life," Jackson told Berliet. "I have three little ones. I want to wake up at home, to cries of 'Daddy!'" After a brief pause, he added, "But my wife, she's so conservative. She doesn't fuck me, you know? Like really fuck me... my life is absolutely perfect, except for the gaping wide hole left by lack of sex."
Berluit digs a bit deeper and finds out that Jackson won't divorce because of the children and isn't interested in therapy. She considers sleeping with him but doesn't follow through. She writes:
Assuming she is in fact uninterested in sex, wouldn't everyone be better off if I were to quench Jackson's lust without his wife's ever knowing about it? Wouldn't it make him happier and, in turn, make her happier? Is it so far-fetched to think that Ashley Madison could be the answer for Jackson?
While we won't champion a prude, we despise men like Jackson. Is he a husband so spineless that he can't gently ask for what he wants? Perhaps wine and dine his wife, make her feel sexy, and seduce her like he once did? Or is he a bored husband playing the victim to sniff around behind his wife's back? Well, he hoodwinked Berliet, who has decided monogamy just isn't for her.
If and when I find a life companion, I can't say with certainty that I'll be 100 percent faithful—not because I don't want to be, but because it seems presumptuous to assume that strict monogamy is my fate when the majority of people who attempt it fail.
Is this enlightened or lazy? Readers, weigh in.