Life is Short, Have an Affair
Noel Biderman says he is a happily married father of two children who does not cheat on his wife. He has, however, been helping others cheat on their spouses since he founded the dating site Ashley Madison in 2001, which is geared toward married people looking for an affair. The tagline of Ashley Madison is "Life is short, have an affair."
Noel Biderman: I think if you look at people I speak to or ask married couples to kind of -- if they could even do this -- kind of rank the priorities within their marriage, I think universally what I've heard is . . . top of their list is certainly not sex. It's pretty rare, few and far between, who at least will confess to that being the case. And truthfully, it probably isn't for many. It's things like raising their children and having a great economic situation and a home, travel, vacations, those things, your extended family. Sex is important. Most people didn't sign up for a life of celibacy. They're not priests and nuns, and so it's important, but, because it's not primary -- but yet marriage is almost defined by this monogamous notion where it is primary --, we have this massive disconnect.
And so what ends up happening is people love those first two, three, four, five factors of their life. They do cherish everybody within it. It's just what does or doesn't go on in the bedroom that's bothering them. And so through an affair, through a liaison, and even to some degree through the use of pornography and other things, they can find these cathartic outlets that allow them to stay within that marriage and be that great partner, parent or however they see themselves.
As for how technology kind of plays that out, that's the offering that we bring to people, which is trying to allow it to be discreet. People always say, “Well, these are bad people. People that are having affairs are wrong and bad.” And I like to use the anecdote that was brought to light to me after one of my users saw me on a TV appearance and I took it on the chin as I often do, and he said, "Well, my affair might not be unique, but it shows you that they're not all the same. It's not easy to judge. My wife has Alzheimer's -- has for a half decade. I've cared for her diligently, but I'm not comfortable being with her intimately anymore. I'm just not. And so I went on your service with my children's permission. They're aware of this. I see someone once a week, and it gives me strength to continue to care for my wife. Is that an affair? I don't even know if it is. I don't know if I'm breaking a promise I made under the sanctity of marriage, but that's my affair, and they're all different. We don't know what goes on behind people's closed doors."
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd
Ashley Madison founder Noel Biderman says that "through an affair, through a liaison, and even to some degree through the use of pornography and other things, [married people] can find these cathartic outlets that allow them to stay within that marriage and be that great partner, parent or however they see themselves.
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