Ashley Madison, the website which facilitates infidelity, now gets 1 million visitors a month from Australia.
More than 910,000 of those Australians are members of a service whose motto is “Life is short. Have an affair”.
It’s not known how many of those members successfully carried out a affair but we can draw some conclusions from the numbers we do know.
AshleyMadison.com, the online dating agency for married people, was launched in Australia nearly four years ago.
With more than 910,000 members, Australia ranks as number three on the countries list, which compares membership, or liaisons, on a per capita basis and includes 38 nations around the globe.
Globally, Ashley Madison has become one of the worlds most successful dot-com business with more 20 million members. It is the second largest paid dating site in the world. In 2013, AshleyMadison.com generated global revenues of more than $120 million.
Membership measures “intent” to have an affair.
Noel Biderman, founder and CEO, says Australian men don’t vary in their pursuit of affairs all that much from their male counterparts around the globe.
“On the other hand, married women in Australia clearly occupy a unique position within the global scale of “liaisons”, most notably in major urban cities,” he says.
The percentage of women members (40%) in Australia is greater than anywhere else (30%).
“Infidelity ratios are a product of biology as well as psychology,” Biderman says.
“For example while we have thousands of men (in Australia) over the age of 65, we have no women in that corresponding age demographic.
“While the ratio of men to women in their 50s is 4:1 for users in their 20s and 30s the ratio is 1:1.”
Being unfaithfulness appears to be present across geographies and cultures.
“There are parts of the world where infidelity is punishable by death and yet people still pursue it even then,” Biderman says.
“That is the definition of a biological drive – risking your life for something needed.
“Monogamy is not in our DNA. Monogamy is a man made construct which came about because we needed a way to assign heredity in order to legally transfer property rights; love, affection and all things of this manner had nothing to do with marriage. Well, at least not originally.
“We’ve been led to believe this notion of monogamy is natural, and to step outside your marriage is a sin. If this was true, if we were truly only meant to be with one person ever more, then why do people still cheat. The answer is, its in our nature.
“So you ask why do people join AshleyMadison.com, it’s because they want to preserve the critical aspects of their marriage – like jointly raising children, owning a home, sharing economics, extended family – while pursuing new and unique sexual encounters. Ultimately people on AshleyMadison or having affairs in general are trying to have their cake and eat it too.
What else are Australian members up to?
“I think we can help dispel certain mistaken notions about why for example women tend to have affairs – it is not as a form of revenge for their husbands cheating ways – rather it is to fill a passion void that exists in their marriage. They are longing to be an object of desire again,” Biderman says.
“I think so many men in their late 40s and early 50s have affairs not because they have necessarily fallen out of love with their wives, rather it is in part because after having spent the previous two decades dedicating themselves to working as hard as they have, raising their children and providing for their family they now want, almost need, to do something for themselves.”