I’m happily married.
But if I weren’t there are a number of online dating sites that help married people have affairs.
Using such a site has become increasingly risky. One of the best known, Ashley Madison, was recently hacked and the identity of its 37 million members is now being leaked onto the internet.
A couple of years ago, I went under cover (so to speak) on Ashley Madison and had a look around using a fake name and photo.
I did use a real email address that I’ve owned for years — and yes, my email address was captured in the hack.
I reported at the time that I was surprised at what a pleasant experience it was. After the hack, I was contacted by all sorts of people asking me questions about the site. So, it seemed like a good time to go back to Ashley Madison and look around.
A few things: Because I was posing I was as respectful as possible. I didn’t respond to emails look at anyone’s private, and possibly pornographic, photos, and I didn’t post fake porn photos either. And obviously, I didn’t actually date anyone. So, take this for what it is: Just a peek at the site and the world of online infidelity dating.
That said, the following slides do contain some racy and sexual content.
It only took a couple of minutes to set up a profile and get a welcome message. The site is free for women and I was never asked for a credit card or anything.
This will be a 'public' photo, visible to anyone using the site. You are given options to make your photo more discreet.
There are restrictions on the photos you can post. No nudity, for instance. The photo I used is of a model, a picture taken by my brother, a professional photographer. It must have been rejected as it never appeared on my profile but they never contacted me or explained why.
Since the point of Ashley Madison is to find a hook-up, it asks you a lot of questions about your sexual tastes. I chose a pretty normal list of things.
I was also asked to describe the kind of guy that would 'turn me on.' Again, I chose pretty normal stuff.
I also set up an auto-reply to the men who sent me emails. I used the words 'I'm new to this' and many of the men who contacted me referred to that in their emails to me.
Here's another. (I thought this note was pretty funny. He talks about one of the weird sexual things that Ashley Madison asks when setting up your profile.)
When people reach out, they can offer to share their 'private showcase.' That's where they'd post more pics of themselves including nude pics, or just regular ones. You can't see them unless you are sent a key.
You can also rate members, give feedback, based on their emails and pictures, and then read the ratings other people have given them.
Besides sending a hand-written email, you can just send a wink. And Ashley Madison will also let you know if someone made you a Favourite, even if he didn't reach out.
Naturally, you can search the site looking for people based on age, location, gay/lesbian, body type, language spoken, etc.
Yes, my email got hacked! And for all the emails Ashley Madison sent me, it never warned me about that, or the hack at all. The site never stopped working, but after the hack, activity dropped off on my profile. Men stopped contacting me, but they were still looking at my profile.
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