Creating a #BalanceforBetter on International Women’s Day

Infidelity is often thought of as a male-dominant behavior, but the members of Ashley Madison tell a different story. On International Women’s Day, and during the continued push for gender equality, celebrating women’s achievements, and campaigning for a #BalanceforBetter, we sought to discover the impact infidelity has on the lives of its female users. According to a survey of more than 1,000 women, we found out that women are seeing positive effects on their lives from infidelity, contributing to more than two-thirds (68%) feeling that infidelity has provided a better balance for them.

When asked how cheating makes them feel, more than half of women surveyed that are either married of in a long-term relationship (56%) say they feel empowered, happy, confident, self-actualized, self-reliable, and productive. And with more and more women cheating, that’s a lot of females feeling better and balanced because of their choice to stray from their marriage and take ownership of their sex lives.

In 2018, Ashley Madison had a ratio of 1.11 active females for every 1 paid active male for new signups[1], indicating that infidelity is a gender-balanced behavior that actually portrays a stronger attitudinal shift towards a female-oriented activity. According to studies from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, rates of reported female  infidelity spiked by nearly 40% between 1990 and 2010, while stats for men have remained unchanged.[2] 


In 2018, Ashley Madison had a ratio of 1.11 active females for every 1 paid active male for new signups[1], indicating that infidelity is a gender-balanced behavior that actually portrays a stronger attitudinal shift towards a female-oriented activity. According to studies from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, rates of reported female infidelity spiked by nearly 40% between 1990 and 2010, while stats for men have remained unchanged.[2] 

Infidelity is clearly on the rise, especially when it comes to women. With such an increase in the rates of female infidelity, why does the conversation remain a taboo in many social circles? We asked the female members if they believe society should be more open to the conversation surrounding infidelity and relationships, three-quarters of female respondents said yes because they believe it would benefit a lot of people. If a successful affair, that is an undiscovered affair, can help so many people, why not talk about it, especially when the reasons to cheat can be so common?

When asked what their motivation was to cheat, 49% of female members said there was/is a lack of intimacy with their spouse, while 37% said they felt lonely, and 25% say they felt undesirable to their spouse.[1] Addressing these concerns via infidelity have actually made women happier.


[1]  Survey of 1,182 members of Ashley Madison between November 22, 2018 and January 28, 2019.

When asked what their motivation was to cheat, 49% of female members said there was/is a lack of intimacy with their spouse, while 37% said they felt lonely, and 25% say they felt undesirable to their spouse.[1] Addressing these concerns via infidelity have actually made women happier.

Increased life satisfaction

Alicia Walker, Ph. D., an assistant professor of sociology at Missouri State University, authored a study in the Journal of Sexuality and Culture[1] looking at men and women who had affairs through Ashley Madison and found that women experience more life satisfaction than cheating men did. However, both men and women reported that affairs increased their happiness – even after the affair ended.

The study found that the reasons for participating in an affair do matter. Specifically, those who sought affairs for primarily sexual reasons reported increase life satisfaction. Those who reported participation in an affair for primarily emotional reasons reported a decrease in life satisfaction.

“What’s surprising about these findings is that participants reported increased life satisfaction even after their affair ended,” says Alicia Walker. “It’s perhaps not surprising that people would say their life satisfaction is increased during an affair, but participants reported that even after the affair ended, they were still happier than they were prior to having the affair.”

What fulfillment looks like

A separate survey of nearly 2,000 members of Ashley Madison revealed what it is they like about having affairs that then allows them to return to their marriage and their household unit as a happier more satisfied partner. People who make the conscious decision to stray from their marriage are doing it because they like it. Nearly two-thirds of women (63%) say they like having an affair because they feel desired. Further 58% of women say it made them feel more alive, and 39% said they regained their confidence. Men aren’t so different. Nearly half (47%) said they feel desired, 45% feel more alive, and the majority (68%) said their sexual needs were met.[1]



[1] Survey of 1,988 members of Ashley Madison between December 13, 2018 and January 3, 2019

[1] Based on signups to Ashley Madison between January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 who are active.


[1] https://link.springer.com/journal/12119


[1] Based on signups to Ashley Madison between January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 who are active.

[2] https://www.elle.com.au/culture/cheating-make-a-relationship-stronger-19894

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