Megan Stielstra celebrates the 10th anniversary of Ashley Madison

Megan Stielstra celebrates the 10th anniversary of Ashley Madison (“The Original Extramarital Affairs Site”) got started in 2001, and since its launch, the website has dealt with its fair share of attacks from both conservatives and liberals. Recently, it found a new way to get press by putting up a billboard with the tagline “Faithful Republican…Unfaithful Husband,” accompanied by a photo of Newt Gingrich.

Writer Megan Stielstra didn’t think much about the intent or practice of the site until the night she and her husband were propositioned by swingers. After that, she was inspired to think a little more closely about all the ways the site is being used — and all the ways it could be. Read an excerpt or listen below:

“This month marks the 10th anniversary of I’d ask for a show of hands as to who here is familiar with this particular website – better yet, a member – but as it’s online dating service for married people to better facilitate adultery, I wager most folks in this room wouldn’t be inclined to – shall we say - share. Lots of other people are, though: According to the Huffington Post, AshleyMadison boasts 13 million individual members in 17 different countries, with sites in five languages.

Naturally, this brings up all sorts of interesting questions, specifically, why these 13 million chose to stay married and cheat, as opposed to divorce.

Maybe they’re not quite sure and want to, like, test the water?

Maybe there are kids involved?

Maybe divorce is too expensive in our current economy?

Maybe they’re emotionally compatible but not physically compatible - for a variety of different reasons on which we could speculate; like paralysis, or exhaustion, or having discovered a particular fetish later in life that their spouse is not comfortable… reciprocating… or… receiving - but they’re still in love and want the best for each other so what they do is crack open a bottle of pinot noir, get real drunk and sign up for Together!—but separate. Maybe they even help each other write their online profiles! That’s a great couples activity!

(Sidebar: Isn’t this fun? Imagining all the possible reasons why one might sign up for We should totally have prizes for the best idea!)”

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