One 29-year-old woman says it helped her take revenge on her unfaithful ­husband. A 45-year-old married man says it helped prevent the break-up of his family. For millions, adultery via the Internet has become the new normal —– a way out from a sexless marriage or a revenge-taking tool from a cheating partner.
Since the launch of the Canada-based Ashley Madison website in 2002, which created a sensation with its slogan — Life is short, have an affair — the numbers turning to online ­infidelity have soared. There are dozens of similar websites ­offering the promise of extramarital affairs with domain names that are self-explanatory. For Noel Biderman, the founder of the site, his venture and others like itself are merely 'facilitating a human desire'.
He says, "No one can show me a culture on the planet where infidelity doesn’t happen." So, have such sites encouraged infidelity? "It’s hard to know that as we have no ­bottom-line data," said Pepper Schwartz, ­professor of sociology at the University of Washington, Seattle, adding, "My guess is that it has, as there are people who yearn for sex outside their ­relationship but wouldn’t have the slightest idea about how to do it."