Ashley Madison is a dating site intended for illicit affairs, extramarital romps, and finding a side piece. It’s built for affairs, but Ashley Madison isn’t just for married people.
The thoroughly modern, user-friendly, and most important of all, discrete, the site allows single people looking for love or just fun with a married partner to join too.
Ashley Madison doesn’t mince their words, though. There’s no pretending this site is anything but what it is, with the tagline ‘Life is short. Have an affair.’
Add to that Ashley Madison’s own blog and its in-depth pieces on infidelity in the modern world and married dating are good marketing, but they also seem like marketing for cheating itself.
They’re slick, modern and, dare I say it, kind of convincing… and maybe Ashley Madison is just being realistic?
After all, 25% of marriages and 40% of unmarried romantic relationships involve at least one instance of infidelity. The attitude at Ashley Madison is if it’s going to happen at least do it right.
In my opinion, you should never do anything behind your partner’s back without communicating it first. So in this article, I am going to assume from here on out that this is a topic you have communicated with your partner and it is a consensual thing you wish to explore. With that out of the way… let’s get into it.
Ashley Madison is in the top tier of married dating sites. It’s a classy place to try and find a partner in crime and has recovered well from the 2015 info leak scandal that could have ended a lesser enterprise.
In response to the leak, Ashley Madison upped their security features considerably and they now make a big deal of how safe they are.
There are users from all over the world on Ashley Madison, so you should be able to find someone you click with wherever you are (or wherever you’re going).
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Does Ashley Madison Work?
Ashley Madison has quite a reputation among dating site users, the media, and the general public for facilitating affairs. And while some people might not approve, their reputation is pretty solid proof that the site works!
Ashley Madison claims to have incredibly 54 million users from all around the world. As of 2018, about 442,000 new members were joining per month so it seems pretty likely that everyone will find someone they’re interested in on Ashley Madison.
If it’s an affair you’re looking for, and you want to keep it as discreet as possible with an understanding of the situation clear to everyone involved from the beginning, then a site like Ashley Madison is definitely the best choice. And Ashley Madison is, apparently, the best of the affairs sites.
Ashley Madison Review
Understandably, you might not want to go nosing around a site aimed at married dating and those seeking married dating if you aren’t totally sure yet whether or not it’s for you. Especially not one with the name recognition of Ashley Madison.
Lucky for you, I’ve done a deep dive on ‘the world’s leading married dating website’ so that you can make your decision without having to do your own investigating.
Below, I’ll review all the key features of Ashley Madison, discuss who it might work for and who should avoid it, and analyze whether you’re getting value for money with a premium membership.
Ashley Madison User Overview
Ashley Madison has a pretty even gender ratio, with about 55% male and 45% female users. Like several of its competitors in the married dating and hookups niche, Ashley Madison keeps up its female membership numbers by offering premium membership for all women. The highest proportion of users by age are 25-34, with 55+ close behind.
The top countries that Ashley Madison users are located are as follows: USA, Canada, UK, Mexico. It’s a very international site, so no matter where you’re looking you’re likely to find someone to match with, but the site is biggest in the USA where there are more than 25 million individual profiles.
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Ashley Madison Sign Up
Signing up to Ashley Madison is really easy. You provide an email address, password, and username, as well as a ‘greeting’, relationship status, and date of birth.
Next is the optional picture upload, and as with all dating sites, you’re encouraged to upload at least one photo as users with pics get far, far more interest and engagement.
You don’t have to, though, or not immediately. You get access to the site really quickly and can add to your profile at a later date if you like, taking some time to look at the matches on offer and how other people handle their profiles before you commit. Go ahead and sign up for free here.
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Making Your Ashley Madison Profile
Profiles on Ashley Madison aren’t as detailed as on some other sites, which is irritating for a moment before you remember the key role secrecy and discretion play in ‘married dating’.
There are all the usual profile aspects, including personal information on looks and habits, photos, and lists of likes referred to as ‘interests’. These obviously play into who you eventually match with, so do give that a little thought when you’re filling them out.
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Your greeting is like your personal tagline. It can be a simple hello, err on the side of cheeky, or tell everyone who you are and what you want from the get-go.
Rule of thumb — you can be as mysterious as you like as a woman, but guys should probably lay their cards on the table. That’s just the affairs dating game, I’m afraid!
So, women, you might just have a simple greeting, maybe a ‘come and say hi if you like’. Men, get more practical. Something like, ‘Married lawyer looking for no-strings fun’. Jazz it up if you can, within the word count!
On Ashley Madison, bios can be up to 1200 words. This is kind of an essay in the world of online dating (and quite the commitment for potential suitors to read) so many choose to keep it much shorter.
The advice with married dating is a little different from other kinds of online searches for love. Basically, lay your cards out on the table.
Tell other users what you want from meeting someone on Ashley Madison and what your personal situation is. Obviously, you should also try to be charming and even – if it’s in your wheelhouse – funny!
You can also let other users know a little more about what you look like, what you like to do (interpret that however, you wish…), and what you offer as a partner, whether that’s romance and commitment (even on the side…) or one amazing night.
It should go without saying, but don’t get too deep in the bio. The word count does inspire some people into the confessional territory, but imagining a potential date weeping and telling their darkest secrets isn’t exactly a turn-on, at least not for most people. Feeling stuck or uncreative? Try this article for funny bio suggestions!
Like on many hookups and extra-marital dating sites, you have both a public gallery and the option of private galleries with Ashley Madison. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but profiles with profile photos get 200% more engagement than those without, and a first message is 500% more likely to be replied to if the sender has a profile photo.
Obviously, privacy has to be a big concern for most Ashley Madison users. But that’s why the site’s Masks exist! Use one of these photo additions to cover as much of your face as you like and hopefully hide your identity.
I will admit, though, that masks might not fool those closest to you if they stumble upon your Ashley Madison profile (I mean, what were they doing on Ashley Madison though? Pretty incriminating in both directions if you ask me…).
In order to stay truly anonymous you can use a picture that doesn’t include your face, simply highlights a part of your body that you particularly love (not those parts – there are also private galleries, remember), or shows off a piece of clothing that makes you look and feel great.
Other Users’ Ashley Madison Profiles
Once you’ve made your own profile on Ashley Madison, other users’ profiles should be pretty easy to navigate. Read their bio to get to know them a little, and make sure to read over their interests before you send them a message.
You can view their photos and, if you have a private key, their private galleries, from their profile. You can also charm with winks, gifts, and messages and add users to favorites if you want to circle back around later when you can give your full attention and charm their socks off. Well, hopefully, more than just their socks, but I guess socks are a start?
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You can only view profile photos with a basic account, more with a Premium account. Private galleries can be accessed only with a key, and unless you have a pretty amazing profile you won’t be gifted one by another user unless you get to know them a little first!
Interests, Preferences And What Turns Me On
The interests listed on Ashley Madison’s profiles are pretty diverse. The Interests section itself is strictly for PG listings like an interest in wine, fitness, movies, musical theatre, etc.
The more explicit stuff goes in What Turns me On, with Preferences and Encounters I’m Open to being the place to check what sort of interaction (sexual and romantic) the user is looking for.
This ranges from cuddling and hugging to BDSM, so do your due diligence and have a browse of what the user you’re about to message wants before you get explicit in their messages!
This is a unique Ashley Madison feature, and one I’m not completely sure is a good idea (I suppose we all take missteps sometimes, and there’s a constant push for sites to improve and compete).
Users can score one another after interaction for things like ‘gives good chat’, ‘pursues fantasies’ and ‘keeps promises’. The Uberisation of online dating cometh!
Matches On Ashley Madison
Finding users you might be interested in is really simple on Ashley Madison. You can search for other users to connect with through the ‘Discover’ feature, and narrow them down by location, gender, and age, as well as whether or not they have photos or private galleries.
You can also toggle various physical characteristics. Ashley Madison’s algorithm does the rest, delivering a list of users it believes you’ll connect with.
Because of Ashley Madison’s travel features, you’re not limited to searching your own locale. You can peruse any part of the world you’re interested in, or any part of the world you’re visiting soon, for potential matches.
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Messaging On Ashley Madison
Only premium members can send messages but remember, on Ashley Madison that includes all women. Men have to buy credits to send messages, as well as to use a lot of other features of the site. Once you have your credits (or your free account if you’re a woman) you can use the chat feature to have a chinwag with other users.
The chat is set up like email than an instant messaging service, encouraging longer-form communication. If you’re paying for a bundle of credits, you get a number of messages you can send with that bundle.
The ‘Elite’ package (Ashley Madison’s biggest but also best-value credits bundle) allows you to send up to 120. There are a couple of other features that allow you to make contact with other users, though not as completely as messaging.
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Winks are a flirty way to tell someone you’re interested, basically just alike but with some added silliness.
You can send other users virtual gifts for a few credits. These are little images of real romantic or sexy gifts, and maybe a promise to give them something more palpable later on!
Every user, including free users, can curate a list of up to 100 profiles as ‘favorites’. You might do this when you don’t have time to make contact properly, but want to later, or if you aren’t sure which of the profiles you’re most interested in.
Ashley Madison App
The Ashley Madison app is well-designed and easy to use, and it’s available from all major app stores for both Android and Apple.
It’s a pared-down and simple version of the desktop site, so it’s hassle-free to scroll through, but it still has all the same features as you’ll find on the Ashley Madison desktop. It’s quick, with no noticeable lag and no bugs that stand out.
One of the most useful things about the app is being able to see who’s nearby while you’re on the move, so you can find members who are close wherever you might be.
Obviously, you probably don’t want it to be too obvious that you have a married dating app on your phone, and while that is a worry, the logo has been designed to be unremarkable.
Be warned, though, on many phones the app defaults to sending notifications, including message notifications which depending on your phone may include previews.
Adjust the settings for the app as soon as you download it, or, if you don’t think you can handle doing that, then just stick to browsing on your computer!
It’s such a cliche to be caught because you aren’t tech-savvy enough to hide messages… don’t become a statistic! If you’re using paid features on the app, payment will be taken through the app store or play store, so be careful with that too if it’s a shared account or visible through any other devices.
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Ashley Madison Free Features
As I’ve said, Ashley Madison is totally free to use for women including all premium features. If you’re not lucky enough to be a lady (sorry fellas) then you have to deal with the free version before you upgrade.
As with many hookups and affairs sites, the free version acts mostly as a taster for the delights of premium.
On Ashley Madison, free users can create and view profiles, upload profile pictures and private gallery pics, including anonymizing profile pictures with masks.
They can also send winks, create favorites lists, like profiles and use search features. There’s something key missing from that list, right? You need premium to send and receive messages!
Whether you’re a man or woman it’s free to sign up, so you might as well give it a go, you can sign up here.
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Dude Hack Rating (for Women): 10/10
Ashley Madison Premium Features
Ashley Madison likes to be original. That’s probably why the site sells premium membership in bundles of credits rather than the usual monthly access to all premium features.
It doesn’t make much practical difference to the user experience of Ashley Madison Premium, though. Here are the features you have the option to invest in:
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Send And Receive Messages
Male Ashley Madison users have to purchase credits to send messages. When you purchase the biggest package of credits (1000) you will be able to send a massive 120 messages to members you want to get to know. Struggling with what to say? Make sure you don’t ask her this question whatever you do!
Perks For Travellers
For a price (credits, which you need to buy with real money of course) you can purchase Ashley Madison’s Travellingman or Travellingwoman feature.
This lets you send up to 30 messages to users around the world, as opposed to users near you.
The feature is intended for users who are about to go on holiday or, more likely, business trips and want to get to know some locals ahead of time.
You can arrange dates, outings, and hookups before your suitcase are even packed, or you can just ask for restaurant recommendations and local hidden gems if you’re one to take things slow!
Make Yourself A Priority
Priority members appear at the top of search results. For the bargain price of 99 credits, you can purchase a priority membership and get a big boost in visibility.
There’s no point doing this if you don’t have a decently filled-out profile and preferably a few pictures of yourself too. Money can add to your desirability, but you can’t totally buy love! Or even lust.
Ashley Madison Security
The 2015 data breach of Ashley Madison rocked the world of online dating, from niche and fetish sites to married dating sites everyone was reviewing their security protocols.
Ashley Madison led the way in terms of beefing up their security, they had to, it was the only way to save their business.
Improved security features include continuous monitoring, a bug bounty program that rewards the reporting of bugs to site management, and adherence to NIST cybersecurity standards.
On a personal note for Ashley Madison’s users, their images won’t appear in google searches and there is absolutely no linking to other social media or personal sites. Private or incognito browsing is also encouraged.
Given that its user base has grown considerably and consistently in the year since 2015, Ashley Madison seems to have come out of its hacking scandal as well as it possibly could have.
Largely, this is due to their now exceptional security standards.
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Ashley Madison Cost
Ashley Madison’s costs are a little more complicated than most dating sites because of its credits system. The three basic credits packages are priced as follows but aren’t advertised as a commitment for a specific number of months like they would be on most comparable dating sites.
|Credits||Cost||Cost per Credit|
|100||$59.00 USD||$0.59 USD|
|500||$169.00 USD||$0.34 USD|
|1,000||$289.00 USD||$0.29 USD|
But what does that mean? What do the credits get you? Here are some examples:
Opening your inbox, sending and receiving messages cost 5 credits each. Virtual gifts cost 20-50 credits and making yourself a priority user costs 99 credits.
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Is Ashley Madison Good Value For Money?
In order to get the most out of Ashley Madison and its credits system, you’ll have to do a little bit of experimentation and a little math.
The messaging plus option, for example, works out cheaper than paying for individual messages if you’re sending and receiving a lot of messages from a lot of Ashley Madison users, but if you’re a low-volume message sender then it might be far more expensive.
Boosting your profile is expensive, but making sure you have a really great profile and get noticed naturally is free. Then again, it takes a longer time.
Essentially, you will have to carry out your own time/money cost/benefit analysis on Ashley Madison, because the credits system is so unique.
I can say for sure that it isn’t a particularly budget option when compared to many other dating sites, but it is essentially the name-brand married dating option and that counts for something.
If you spend 100 credits a month, then it’s a pretty average-priced niche dating site, and it’s of a higher quality and usability than many of its competitors.
If you’re committing to only one affairs site, then most people would go with Ashley Madison, plus with the credits system, you can always conserve your credits and spend them over time.
That’s actually a more wallet-friendly option than a monthly payment, though it requires what may be for many an excessive amount of self-control!
Real Life Reviews And Success Stories
People don’t tend to advertise the time they spend meeting people to date outside their marriage, so it’s not always easy to find reviews and success stories for sites built for adultery.
Ashley Madison is such a big name, though, that I’ve managed to track a couple down.
An unhappily married admin officer in his early forties had this to say about his Ashley Madison experience:
I used to be so happily married, but something isn’t quite right with the relationship I have with my wife now. Ever since she got promoted, she would come home from work late and would always leave early too. I tried talking to her about this, hoping that she would squeeze some time for me and the kids into her schedule. But she’d end up getting upset. I love her. I really do. I just can’t help but miss the physical intimacy. We hardly ever have sex anymore, and I have needs too! So I tried looking for a community where I won’t be judged for wanting to have sexual arrangements even though I was married. I came across this site called Ashley Madison and it has sparked my interest. I started searching for Ashley Madison reviews and it has convinced me to try the site myself. It felt liberating, to find someone who completely understands your situation and wouldn’t judge you for things you choose to do. I am actually still an active user, and I don’t think I would ever stop.
And if you need a woman’s point of view, this mid-20s Ashley Madison user was also pretty impressed by the service:
I joined Ashley Madison in September of 2018. Like most married people, I was bored and curiosity got the best of me. Immediately, I met an amazing man. He gave me everything I wanted, from attention to the feeling of being desired by someone. For several months we stuck to just us, then slowly opened that up as well. During this process, I’ve learned I’m more of a single affair partner type of woman – you’ll meet men that want long term or just a bit of fun. Either way, it’s convenient for almost anyone! A year later on the website and I continue to meet great men. I was terrified as you probably would be but this is the most discreet place you’ll find.
This mid-30s male user has a more balanced view of the site, as well as some very practical advice:
First, there are issues with AM, fake accounts, bots, etc. However, there are definitely real girls and guys looking to hook up in some form or another. Pay attention, develop a strategy, don’t be a sucker. Conserve your credits, use them wisely. I’ve been active for less than a year and have been very successful.
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Ashley Madison Customer Care
Because of the sensitive nature of married dating along with the site’s history of being compromised, Ashley Madison takes customer care very seriously.
Customer service is email only, but the company responds quickly. They can be emailed directly from the website or app, and their street address is:
PO Box 67027
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My Thoughts On Ashley Madison
Ashley Madison pretty much defined the married dating niche (even the term married dating has largely been pushed by them) and despite the snafu in 2015, they continue to reign supreme.
The site is everything you’d expect from an illicit affairs dating portal, with additions like Travel Man/Woman that manage to make you feel like they have thought about what their customers need.
Ashley Madison is well-designed, both on desktop and the app, and easy to use. Profiles are clear, marketing is excellent, and there aren’t too many extraneous bells and whistles (something that sites like this tend to get carried away with).
The credits system is initially confusing, but the more I consider it the more I think it’s actually better than an expensive monthly commitment. There are plenty of ways to blow credits, but if you’re careful you can make your Ashley Madison experience excellent value for money.
Be careful with your identity and how much you share on Ashley Madison, as beefed up as the security features are, you can still personally overshare! And remember, people probably aren’t there to find the one, in fact, few are even there to find the other one.
The majority of Ashley Madison users just want to inject a little excitement into their lives. Remember, it is free to sign up, so give it a go and see some of the profiles around your area! You can sign up and give Ashley Madison a try for free here.
Dude Hack Rating: 8/10