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Because of their data breach in 2015, and the stigma of them being a site just for “cheating and affairs,” Ashley Madison still has a bit of a poor reputation. Still, they have prevailed through these challenges and are now one of the biggest, most active, and most secure dating sites on the internet. I’ll explore the platform at the granular level here in this comprehensive Ashley Madison review.
For many different types of dating and relationships, they are simply the best website to find what you’re looking for.
Below, I explore 11 different facts about the website that challenge the myths, expose the truths, and tells you everything you need to know before joining Ashley Madison:
Ashley Madison’s membership numbers are one of the best parts about the website. With a high number of active users, many new members coming in every day, and an extremely balanced male-to-female ratio, there’s few other websites that are this active.
In 2019, Ashley Madison gained over 5.5 million new users, which averages out to about 470k new users a month, or over 15,000 new members every day!
That is a ridiculous amount of growth, and while some new users don’t officially go active, and many are on a short amount of time, if even 10% of them stay active long term, it’s a very solid user base.
2020 doesn’t seem to be any different for growth. Even just briefly checking in every day, I see a dozen or so women that fit my very specific criteria.
Do you find a dozen new men or women to choose from on any other website?
Overall, Ashley Madison has had 60 million people use their service since they started in 2002.
The male-to-female ratio of active members is 1:1 — a perfectly balanced system that doesn’t favor men or women.
This is more balanced than any other website. Most sites have more women than men, making it easy for the men to get a quality woman, but difficult for women to get what they want.
This is one of the many ways in which Ashley Madison is empowering for women.
Not only does it give them complete control over what they show and who they talk to, but the balance of the members means they don’t have to settle.
They have as much power, in some cases even more, as the men.
How do these membership numbers and this 1:1 ratio compare to some of the other leading sites in the industry?
Match.com has about 21 million current users, and the current gender ratios are about as balanced as Ashley Madison. When choosing between the two, you’ll have to consider other factors like cost and what kind of relationship you’re looking for.
Eharmony, according to most recent reporting, has about 800,000 active members, and has had a total of 66 million members since they were founded in 2000. This is only marginally less than Ashley Madison. Their gender ratio is also balanced. When choosing between the two sites, you’ll have to consider other factors like cost and what kind of relationship you’re looking for.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ rating for membership. It’s among the best and is the most open to different types of relationships.
Because of the hack in 2015, many people are still concerned about the security of their data when they join Ashley Madison.
One thing that most people don’t know, however, is that the attack in 2015 wasn’t just about security; it was about targeting Ashley Madison with a personal vendetta to make them look bad.
Now Ashley Madison did have problems: they didn’t have two-factor authentication, they didn’t have a dedicated security team, and they didn’t take security as seriously as they should.
Since the breach, they’ve implemented many of those changes, including enabling two-factor authentication and hiring a security specialist.
Even so, there’s evidence to suggest that the breach was an inside job — source code was stolen and it’s likely the “hacker” was monitoring the sites core data for months, waiting for the right time to strike.
This wasn’t about hacking; it was a direct attack.
Now that Ashley Madison has made these changes, they are as secure (or perhaps more) as the other leading dating websites.
Nothing on the internet is ever completely secure, so you’re always taking a risk, but you can be sure that Ashley Madison has their “ducks in row.”
You can read more about their security measures in this Forbes article, but I’m confident enough to give this Ashley Madison review factor an A for security.
Because of the nature of how many people use Ashley Madison, combined with the hack that happened in 2015, privacy is one of the primary concerns of both users and the company.
The majority of users state that they want discretion in their profile, nearly all use at least one of the privacy tools provided, and the site gives suggestions on how to maintain privacy when you register.
One of the ways the website advocates maintaining privacy is to create a separate email just to use for Ashley Madison.
That way, even if the email addresses are somehow leaked (which is much less likely to happen now than it was in 2015), no one will be able to link that email with you.
The company also has a separate executive position just for privacy and has recently been awarded various certificates and awards for their privacy measures.
I don’t believe Ashley Madison has ever been in a better position to give you the discretion you need than right now.
The website has the following tools in place to protect your privacy and keep the highest level of discretion possible:
Ability to Alter Profile Pictures
Not only will the site allow you to forgo having a public profile picture (instead allowing you to show a sultry or witty greeting as the first thing people see), but they also allow pictures to be edited for privacy.
These allow you various levels of “blur” for your pictures, almost as though you’re teasing the viewer, so they can see your shape and general features, but cannot make out any distinguishing characteristics of your face.
It’s impossible to identify someone this way.
They also allow you to put a “mask” or a bar across your eyes or any other part of your picture that may identify you.
You only get one bar or a blur, but when you place it correctly, no one can really tell who you are.
Ability to Block Users
Is there a user that’s bugging you for private photos, using crude pick-up lines, or just can’t take a hint that you’re not interested? Blocking these people is very easy. Out of sight, out of mind.
Your experience should be enjoyable, and Ashley Madison makes that easy.
Privacy Key for Pictures
Want to provide certain interested parties sexy pictures (or your real face) without letting every normal user see them? Private photos are an excellent way to hook interested parties.
You can give access to them, you can ask for access to other people’s, and you can even revoke access if you regret giving it to someone who turned out to be a dud.
User Controls Information
It’s a pretty standard feature on dating websites, but needs to be said. You have complete control over the information you give other people.
There's no need to use your real name, you don’t have to give your interests, and you don’t have to show your real face. You do need to give your general location, however, so people can search for you.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ for privacy.
The profile information on the site is concise, informational, and easy to look at, though a lot of users don’t actually fill it out as much as they could.
It has a greeting, pictures, a custom “about me” section, and then certain facts like weight, height, star sign, what they’re looking for, etc.
Some people also have a list of interests, but many don’t because they’re just looking to hook up.
Like many dating sites, this is probably the weakest area, mostly because it’s dependent on the user to make the most of it.
Many members don’t write anything more than “hello,” and many also don’t have private pictures.
Only a few have a list of interests at the bottom, which makes it hard to know just how well you might connect with them.
On the positive side, when people actually utilize their profiles, it’s very easy to get a lot of information about them with very little effort.
The lists of interests are basically “tags” that you can click on to search other people with those interests, and the two column layout of essential information means you don’t have to scroll if you want to see everything about someone.
While most profiles are pretty sparse, Ashley Madison does give them basic tools to make it informational and easy.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A- for its profile capabilities.
Activity Of Members
There are many very active users on Ashley Madison, and accounts that are not active are deleted in a timely matter by their staff.
The high rates of active users, plus the large number of new members coming in every day, ensures that there’s usually someone new to message almost every day.
It’s easy to see when a person is online by the green circle on their profile picture. This means that they’ll respond to messages or private picture requests rather quickly.
You can even search by users that have been on in the last 24-48 hours.
Many women (and probably men) reply to picture requests and messages within 24 hours even if they’re not online.
It is one of the most active user bases on any dating website, and most people are very happy to chat or converse. Messages tend to range from introductions, to “get to know you,” to outright cybersex.
You’ll always find someone to “keep you busy” here.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ for the activity level of its members.
One of the best things about Ashley Madison is that there’s no monthly subscription cost. There’s also a lot of functionality without having to pay for messages.
You can browse every profile, add and receive pics, favorite members and wink, and use advanced search features all without paying.
When you find someone you want to message, the basic credit package is $49 for 100 credits, which will let you start 11 conversations, or about $4.50 per person you message.
Larger packages give you more credits. At 500 credits you can start a conversation for about $2.70, and at 1,000 credits ($250) you can start 111 conversations for about $2.25 each.
Since these are the only costs associated with using Ashley Madison, it works out to be pretty cheap.
You’d spend more than $5 if were to go out on a date to get to know this person, so messages someone for that price is a steal!
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ for costs!
One of the biggest myths about Ashley Madison is that people only use it to have affairs that end up breaking up their marriage.
While Ashley Madison does advertise the affair dynamic quite a bit, there are people seeking all types of relationships on Ashley Madison.
There are a large number of people who are looking for affairs and it’s hard to tell if they’re the majority.
Many of these people want to be discrete, and many are no longer in love with their spouses, but many also still love their partner and want to stay married.
This seems especially true among women. But how can this be? In a study funded by Ashley Madison, they found that many times affairs can actually save marriages.
These men and women still love their partner, and still want to be married, but for one reason or another, the passion has died.
Instead of getting sexually frustrated and letting that bleed over into their marriage relationship, they fulfill their sexual needs with someone else (sometimes even through their partner’s consent), and are able to maintain a deep companionship with their spouse.
Sure, some marriages end because of affairs through Ashley Madison, but it’s possible, maybe even likely, that other marriages are saved by it.
So, before you judge anyone using the website, consider their motivations.
What other types of relationships are people looking for?
There’s quite a bit of demand for friends with benefits — some of these are people who are attached, some are not.
Along the same lines are people looking for No Strings Attached relationships.
There are a lot of females (and I assume males, as well) looking for sugar relationships. Most of them are unattached, and many are college students or 20-somethings.
The younger folks are all “unattached” and make up a huge demographic on the website.
Another large demographic on the website is the kink and BDSM community. Often, this overlaps with the large polyamory and swinger community.
These are couples that are either looking to hook up with other couples, singles, or where one person in the relationship has permission to hook up with another person.
These types of relationships are becoming more normative, and it’s great that Ashley Madison is a place to facilitate them.
Finally, there are a lot of people, both attached an unattached, looking for completely virtual relationships.
You’ll find internet flirting and sex, swapping pictures, or just talking and getting to know each other online.
Ashley Madison is one of the cheapest ways of going about this type of relationship, and you can swap nude pictures with excellent privacy and discretion.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ for flexibility of relationship type you can find on the site.
Ease Of Use
Ashley Madison has made their site pleasant to look at and intuitive to use. It has a good layout that flows well and is self-explanatory.
There’s no excess advertising or wasted space, and it isn’t crowded. All of this makes for an enjoyable browsing experience.
There are three (3) main sections that will cover 90% of your experience, easily navigable from the top of the screen.
1. The largest section is the “Discover” section, which will list your search results in a nice grid of large pictures. Depending on your search results, you may have less than a dozen profiles to look through, or you may have hundreds.
2. Next, the “Profile” section houses your profile, which is another very well-organized area. At the top you can see your picture, your greeting, your basic demographics (age and location), and a button that lets you add pictures. In other people’s profiles, this will also be where you can favorite, wink, send a message, and request picture access.
3. Finally, there’s the “Message” section. Hopefully you’re spending a lot of time here, as it means you’re connecting with a lot of people. Messages are well organized, large font, and easy to delete or follow up on. You can get directly to people’s profiles from them.
There are also two (2) other aspects of the site that you’ll probably use. The first is the “advanced search” function. It allows you to sort by picture type, location, age, body type, ethnicity and more.
It’s a lot of features for free (something that other sites would charge you for) and it’s very easy to use.
The part of the site on which you buy credits is well laid out, as well. There are three (3) options for credits, and that’s all there is on the screen.
It makes it very easy to decide what amount of credits you need based on how many conversations you want to start, and even breaks down the “cost per credit.” Purchasing couldn’t be any easier.
With a streamlined system that’s easy to look at and use, this Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ for ease of use.
Ashley Madison has a mobile app, but it is not well-rated with an average of 3.2 stars.
Mobile apps for dating sites are really hard to judge the quality, because while sometimes the app is legitimately glitchy or hard to use, just as often the poor ratings are because people aren’t successful on it.
So what is the reason for the low rating on the Ashley Madison app?
While there are a few complaints of the app not working on the device, the majority of poor ratings are complaints about the price, with the lack of success being the second biggest complaint.
The biggest complaint about the app is that it costs money to send messages, and that they are too expensive.
The messages cost exactly the same amount as those on the website, so the people complaining probably wouldn’t appreciate spending any amount of money on such a platform.
These people are looking for a quick, cheap encounter that requires no effort on their part.
99% Of These Complaints Are Left By Men
You have to wonder if there’s a connection between not wanting to spend money, and not finding anyone to have sex with them. But no judgement here.
The second type of bad review is related, as it’s 99% men who say they can’t get girls to give them pictures without chatting with them first, or that women tend to block them on the site.
It doesn’t take a relationship guru to figure out why that might be.
The few reviews left by women are mostly 4 or 5 stars. Most of the bad reviews are from men who can’t succeed on any dating app or about customer service.
There are a few very valid critiques about the app (not things that carry over into the website) being hard to use or crashing.
Overall, despite the flood of poorly formulated reviews, the Ashley Madison is very good.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A for its mobile app.
Chance Of Success
Another great benefit of having a large member base is that the flexibility of what people are looking for leads to a high chance of success on the website.
Ashley Madison advertises they have “10,000 affairs every month,” and while this number could be a bit misleading depending on how they count it, whether you’re looking for an affair or something else, you’ll find someone for you on the site.
If you’re looking for a discrete affair, you’ll be in good company, as this is the foundation the site is build upon and still a major portion of their user base.
Follow their advice on how to develop your profile and be discrete and you should find what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for polyamorous, swinger, kink, friends with benefits, and no strings attached relationships, you’ll also have a very good shot at finding what you’re looking for.
These demographics are generally open to new people and experiences, and as long as you don’t come off as a creep, you’ll find someone to have a wonderful encounter with.
There are also a lot of sugar babies on this website — many are willing to do “whatever satisfies” you in return for financial support, while others are looking for a more professional or platonic relationship.
The only thing I’m unsure of is roughly how many people on the site are looking for sugar babies. If you have money, you’re sure to find a baby — that much is for certain.
Finally, getting people to share private pictures is relatively easy. People on the site seem very confident with their bodies and want to share how they look with other people.
While some men and women prefer to be discrete and protect their identities, a fair portion will share their pictures without even needing a message. Just don’t be a creep about it.
If you’re not succeeding at Ashley Madison, consider the following advice:
Know What You Want
Do you know what you want and are you advertising it the right way?
People who say they are just “looking for new experiences,” are “undecided,” or “open to anything” are actually less likely to succeed because other people know what they’re looking for and don’t want to waste their time on people who don’t know what they want.
How Are You Coming Off?
Are you being creeping? Maybe you're trying to get everything without having to get anything in return?
Are you objectifying the other people on the site and looking for a cheap, quick, or one-sided way to get off without returning the favor?
That’s a waste of time for most people on the site and will make it hard for you to succeed.
Are You Willing to Pay?
While you can have limited success getting pictures and some attention without paying for messages, you’ll never really get anything satisfying without paying.
You will not be able to hook up with people, have cybersex, or do anything meaningful for anyone else. This isn’t a scam; it’s a business. Pay up or try your luck on Tinder.
Ashley Madison gives a large chance of success for a minimal amount of effort.
As long as you’re not doing everything wrong, you’ll likely get what you want.
This Ashley Madison review factor gets an A+ for chance of success.
Having sex is hard in a pandemic if you’re not in a committed relationship with a person you love or not being irresponsible.
So how do you satisfy your desires for some “human interaction” during the “Age of Social Distancing?”
Good news! Ashley Madison is largely pandemic proof!
Sure, you can’t really hook up (or you can, if you’re fine with the whole getting covid-19 thing), but there’s plenty of other things you can do online.
You can swap sexy pics, get to know someone new, talk dirty online, and even just search the thousands of attractive profiles on the site.
Other dating sites aren’t nearly as equipped for this. Match.com and Eharmony don’t allow the type of pictures you’re looking for, and the demographic on those sites aren’t really looking for the same type of interaction.
Sure, you could try Tinder, but that’s more for hooking up, and doesn’t really allow the interaction that Ashley Madison does. It’s also way more creepy and significantly less discrete.
We don’t know how long this pandemic will last or how long we’ll be in social distancing mode.
We also don’t know if or when this will happen again in the future. Luckily, even through this, HUNDREDS of new men and women are joining Ashley Madison each day.
For the ability to provide entertainment and “release” even through the worst of times, Ashley Madison gets an A+.
Ashley Madison is widely regarded as one of the best dating websites in existence, despite their highly publicized hack in 2015.
The company does not seem to have suffered, and while they still focus on providing affairs (which they believe can actually save a marriage), they have expanded their user base to include nearly every type of relationship.
Ashley Madison is one of the most secure, private, and discrete dating websites — their entire user interface and their infrastructure is focused on their customer’s safety.
They have learned from their mistakes and listened to their customers and came back stronger than ever, in my opinion.
Ashley Madison has one of the largest user bases of any dating website, and gets hundreds of new users every single day.
They are the most open dating website for the type of relationships you’ll find on there, and their users are very active.
Ashley Madison’s unique price strategy that avoids monthly fees or subscriptions make it one of the more affordable dating websites, especially for the quality it provides.
The site is beautiful in its simplicity and is easy to use. The profiles, while often lacking, are adequate to find a match. The user base is very active and responsive.
Don’t be fooled by their mobile app’s poor reviews, if you don’t want to use the website; it’s an alternative that’s just as good!
Finally, because of all the above factors, you have a high chance of success on Ashley Madison as long as you actually try. There are plenty of eager men and women open to new experiences and encounters — there’s someone for just about everyone.
Considering all these factors, Ashley Madison is the best website for finding non-traditional relationships.
Ashley Madison gets an overall rating of A.
To check out Ashley Madison now, simply click here.