How that’s title for entering the fray?
In case you haven’t heard, Josh Duggar — who got into loads of trouble for past inappropriate sexual behavior with young girls — has now been discovered to be a paid client of Ashley Madison, an online dating site for extramarital affairs. A single Google search shows this is a topic people are tuning into, and I’m sure the opinions range all over the place.
In case you want to know mine, my heart always turns to the children in these situations. Duggar’s behavior is absolutely indefensible, and I don’t care so much about him as I do the four children deeply affected by his choices and whatever happens next. They are the biggest victims, and I simply cannot imagine what it would be to go forth in life with this news story about your father haunting your future.
But enough about Duggar.
What I want to address is what I believe to be the bigger issue: Why does a site like Ashley Madison even exist? Why do men sign up for it? What are they looking for? Why can’t they just stay at home with their wives and be happy?
From what I’ve learned, the Ashley Madison client base shows a wide range of husband types who signed up for this “service.”
The Curious. Some husbands signed up for an account because they toyed with the idea of having sex with someone other than their wife. Maybe one day, they finally sat down, opened up an account, and paid the fee.
And that was that. They never acted on it, but they were curious. Maybe they still are.
My guess is many are husbands unhappy with the sexual intimacy in their marriage and wishing things were better. In a weak moment, they wondered about getting sexual satisfaction elsewhere, but something prevented them from following through. I hope that something includes moral conscience, commitment to the marriage, and an understanding that the consequences of even a one-night stand are too great for your relationship.
If you’re curious about how an affair would feel, it would likely feel great . . . for a few minutes. But it would betray your spouse, damage your marriage, and cost your integrity. It isn’t worth it!
The Desperate. The founder of Ashley Madison claims to have never cheated on his own wife; however, he confessed, “[I]f I woke up beside my wife and it was the 200th day we hadn’t been intimate with one another and it looked like nothing would change, I would cheat so fast.” While I seriously want to slap this guy (although I think God’s got it covered), there’s something to what he’s saying: Some of the husbands came to the site because they were in sexless or nearly sexless marriages. They felt desperate.
They are still 100% wrong for pursuing sex outside of marriage, but I sympathize with the deep pain of those in sexless marriages. When I hear from such husbands contemplating an affair, what typically comes across is that they really don’t want to. What they long for is the women they’ve chosen, their own wives, to provide the sexual and emotional intimacy they need.
Yet the pain of neglect runs deep, and they feel at the end of the their rope. Here comes a website offering some relief, and . . . Well, it’s not a happy ending. I guarantee that. Instead, those husbands should continue to love, pray, and work toward something better for their marriage. Adultery is not the answer.
The Philanderer. Yes, some men are just cheaters. They’re in marriages with wives who are good to them and have sex with them, and they cheat anyway.
This is one reason why I don’t like the term “affair-proof” — often used to describe how you can make your marriage so great, it will never experience an affair. Listen, you can do a lot to make a marriage affair-resistant, but your spouse still has free will and can choose to cheat.
I hate saying this, because it sounds like these marriages are beyond hope. I don’t think that’s true, because spouses can change with repentance, humility, and godly instruction. But some people just cheat, and building a better marriage is only one part of the equation to change this dynamic — the philandering spouse must admit their folly and desire a different path. At times what helps a cheater get on the right path . . . is getting caught.
I pray all those who take such cavalier attitudes toward their wives and families have light shed on their activities so they can recognize the heartbreak they are causing and turn from their damaging ways. In other words, wake up — your actions are hurting yourself and others.
The Thrill-Seeker. I briefly considered calling this category pervert, but the activities these husbands are pursuing aren’t all perverted. Sites like Ashley Madison ask what specific sexual activities interest a client. I read a few examples, and I believe some husbands are having sex in their own marriage, but they want to do things their wives won’t do. Whether it’s oral sex or a super-kinky what-is-he-thinking? scenario, they’re seeking a thrill they aren’t getting and keep desiring.
Why do they want it so much? They’ve been sold a lie. I’m all over freshening things up in the bedroom and introducing more fun to the sexual intimacy in your marriage, but these guys believe they’re missing out if they don’t get some specific physical activity. Like if they never get a “blow job,” they’ve been shortchanged.
Such lies are promoted even more by the prevalence of porn — that everything would be great in your bedroom if only you had a woman willing to do whatever you wanted.
My advice? Stop watching porn and stop thinking sex is all about the physical. Spend more time building a loving relationship with your wife and deepening intimacy in your marriage bed. Maybe you’ll never get to do Item #12 on your Sexual Wish List, but maybe someday she’ll want to or maybe you’ll realize that item wasn’t so important after all when you’re enjoying the fullness of sexual intimacy with the woman you love.
What does the existence of Ashley Madison say about husbands? That while some are simply cheaters, there are many husbands unhappy with their sexual intimacy and looking for answers.
The answers are not in that website. They are in God’s Word, nurturing your own marriage, and waiting, praying, hoping, and working for something better, real, and beautiful.
22 thoughts on “Forget Josh Duggar: What Ashley Madison’s Client Base Reveals about Husbands”
Ha! I wondered if any of my favorite bloggers would touch the Josh Duggar wreck.
Just a couple points of clarification. Josh and Anna have 4 children. You mentioned only 2.
Also, not that it makes the anything any less disturbing, but my son was saying according to some stuff he read, the large majority of subscribers were actually single. I know this is irrelevant to the point of your post, but it made me feel just a wee bit better that there aren’t as many cheating husbands as the numbers might indicate. And those facts may not be accurate, who knows. I’m just a bit of a numbers/data nerd.
Thank you for your reminder that the answers to our marriage issues are found in seeking God. Amen and Amen!
Wait, FOUR? Why did I think it was two? (Heading over to change that. Thank you!)
And yes, plenty of single guys apparently signed up, wanting the affair experience more than settling down. I have an opinion about that too, but I decided to keep my comments to marriage. 😉
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Hey J, good post and mighty brave of you to take it on!
I just want to make one little teeny weeny point though… The media I’ve read on this subject says there were something like 30 MILLION accounts stolen from the AM database. And I believe I read that 80-85% of those were men. 15-20% of 30 million is still a BOATLOAD of wives. It’s obvious that there’s a heart problem on both sides of the gender spectrum!
I sure appreciate your take on the issue though.
Oh yeah, it’s a lot of wives. I didn’t deal with that issue in this particular post, because the information I gleaned about the website online dealt directly with the male clientele. Next post! About that cheating wives…
Let’s not forget that last year and this year AM was bragging that the Monday following Mother’s Day was the largest day, annually, for new female enrollees.
So I’m not sure what it says about men, but the women don’t come off too well, either.
I’m not forgetting at all. I just didn’t address the wives here because I didn’t have information about their website particulars. I did follow up with my next post about wives who cheat. Because yes, they exist and they don’t get off the hook either.
Haha!! How funny! I submit my comment about the number of women attached to the AM scandal, refresh my Twitter feed, and there’s your new post called “What About Cheating Wives?”
Lady J, you are incredibly fast at answering questions!
Good post and I completely agree. I would like to point out something though. Your post only addressed husbands who signed up of Ashley Madison.
I read that when the online “dump” from the hack was analyzed, men outnumbered women on AM by about 5 to 1. This means about 17% of AM’s client base was female. Now naturally that also means that the vast majority of AM’s business was from men, but by no means all.
Regard that, if women represented 17% of AM’s clientele and the hack totaled 37 million accounts, then that works out to about 6.17 million women.
I would like to hear your take on why women may have felt compelled to open an AM account regardless of whether or not they acted on it. Fair is fair…
This is by far the biggest challenge I’m getting…and here’s the deal: The articles I read and the data I saw were about the male clientele, so I felt like I could derive some conclusions from that information but didn’t have enough to go on for the wives. I simply chose to focus on husbands for this post, but OF COURSE some wives signed up and cheated. So I immediately followed up with the following post: What about Cheating Wives? Hope that answers some questions!
Sometimes a post focuses on a specific issue. I don’t think that’s necessarily unfair, any more than a scripture aimed at one sin or sinner doesn’t excuse other sins or sinners. But of course adultery is wrong, whoever does it. Thanks, Steve!
Hello again J:
Well I’m here for a helping of ‘humble pie’, as the saying goes. I was one of the those who took issue with your Duggar post only addressing the husbands role in the AM debacle. This evening I saw this piece in the online news: https://www.yahoo.com/health/why-women-didnt-actually-use-ashley-madison-127717676167.html
It turns out that very, very few women actually used AM and that most of the female accounts were created in-house to lure more business from men. I found myself wondering if these guys were praying for forgiveness as much for gullibility as for sin!
I was amusing myself for a moment with an idea along the lines of the Book of Job. Instead of God and Satan making a bet on Job’s piety, God and the spirit of P.T. Barnum would make a bet on the gullibility of the AM clientele. God would be optimistic and say something along the lines of, “They can’t be that half-witted!” The angelic P.T. Barnum would reply, “Sure they can! I’ll prove it!”
Anyway, when I’m wrong I like to admit it…
I’ve seen the same numbers you’ve seen, and it looks like this was a site vastly populated by men. However, I agree that women also cheat in marriage, just likely through different means. Thanks, Steve.
Doesn’t humble pie taste terrible? I’ve eaten it plenty, so I should know! 😉
You could combine Just Curious and The Desperate. I was both at one point. My curiosity and desperation led me THIS close to an affair. The only thing that stopped it was the lady (she was single, btw) had an emergency at work and didn’t show up at my hotel. (Thank God!)
Desperation and curiosity are a dangerous combination. I don’t think all who are desperate are curious, but once the desperate cross that line and act on it, the chance of an affair skyrockets.
I’m so grateful she didn’t show up. I knew what I was doing was wrong. These were the days before everyone had cell phones so I sat in the lobby of that hotel for nearly 4 hours before giving up. Those were the most miserable hours of my life as I contemplated what I was about to do.
Great thoughts, J!
Some of the things I’ve been pondering, too: affairs and porn are more prevalent in heavily conservative religious communities, which at first glance makes no sense. But maybe it does?
I saw an article showing what Josh was “looking for”, and honestly–it wasn’t that outrageous. No 50 Shades of Grey style stuff or dressing weird or anything we’d normally think of as perverted.
Not trying to excuse him, but just saying: have we encouraged our young people to think of sex as something almost clinical in our rush to recommend “purity” that people don’t know how to be passionate in marriage anymore?
I’m not trying to blame Anna, either–this could be a problem with Josh. It could be that he sees marriage as “pure”, and so he can only do “pure” things there, and the other things he wants to do, he seeks elsewhere.
I really think that sometimes purity shames sex as a whole. Not all the time; but sometimes that is certainly the case. And then people don’t know how to channel their sexual feelings.
As for Josh in particular, there were obviously other issues that were never dealt with, including dealing properly with him molesting his sisters, so this is a really complicated problem for him in particular. But if we’re going to ask about husbands as a whole, I really think this comes back to what message we give about sex in marriage to our kids and in the church? Because if we tell them, “marriage is where passionate sex goes to die,” and they believe that, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, then we shouldn’t be surprised when this happens.
So much truth Sheila, and J. I was so messed up by purity teachings 🙁 My husband has been SOOOOO extremely patient with me. At one point he realized I was having sex with him every other night out of obligation, and he told me to STOP! After that he realized the guilt I felt associated with sex. We took some time for me to heal, sex was much less frequent, but now it’s more passionate. It took WORK though. So much work on my part to disect pain, preconceived notions etc. What drives me crazy about purity culture is it teaches you can be pure, when in fact no one, not virgins, not children, not anyone is pure. We’re all sinners. Period!
Purity teachings screw up people about sex. It’s only the last I’ve managed to overcome the horrible lies I was taught. And now I face the issue that the husband is turning 50…and things are shutting down. Believe me. I’m heartbroken that something so wonderful and intimate was stolen from me in the name of God. 🙁
Reclaim it! That’s what I feel my own mission here is: Reclaiming God’s design for sex in marriage. I hear from couples who figure things out 20, 30, 40 years into their marriage, and they end up experience beautiful bedroom bliss. It’s not too late.
Saying a prayer for you and your marriage.
Yes, I grieve for the children and for his wife – but I also grieve for the wider impact this will have. There will now be those people who will point at this and say “Ah Ha, Ah Ha – see, you “holier than thou” Christians are all hypocrites!” And so forth.
So many Christians miss the main point: we’re not called to be “holier than thou”, but to be “holier FOR thou.” People are looking at us, and our actions do speak louder than our words. Living in sexual purity isn’t just for our own personal benefit – it is shining a light in the darkness for the benefit of those who dwell in the darkness. Sexual purity – meaning chastity outside of marriage and fidelity within – is worth doing even if didn’t happen to be all that beneficial to the person practicing it, even if it really was something that was just sacrificial and difficult and even painful without the promise of any pleasure at all in this life. Let’s be honest here: sometimes it is exactly that for some Christians. We would all like to believe that the path of sexual purity does lead to tremendous sexual fulfillment within marriage, and often it does. However, very few of us tread that path without passing through at least a few difficult spots alone the way. Some of us find out that God’s calling for us requires us to stay on a particularly difficult path, with a lifetime of sacrificial love. Some of us are called to a pathway that requires us to travel it alone without a marriage partner. This is all difficult, but that isn’t the whole story. None of this is possible except in, through, and for Christ. He makes all the difference, and makes it all worth it.
What is this “sexual fulfillment in marriage” you speak of? Surely you jest.
Not. At. All.
Fool, if you’re not joking, your name befits you. If you don’t want to live up to the name, continue visiting this and other sites that promote healthy, loving, HOT, Godly monogamy. You’ll figure it out.
Going with the idea that there’s truth in every joke, I’m sure we’ve all heard this one:
On the day of the wedding, the groom slips out of the Bridal Chamber and makes his way to his changing room. His best man sees him enter and says, “Wow. You’re grinning from ear to ear. What’s going on?” The groom responds, “I just received the best blowjob of my life!”
Meanwhile, the bridesmaids enter the Bridal Chamber and, seeing the bride-to-be with the same ear to ear grin, one of them asks, “Wow. Why are you so happy?” The bride replies, “I just gave the last blowjob of my life!”
I guess this is why cheating sites exist in the first place. First, men and women wanting to get married (aside from not being pure before marriage) go into it with this kind of negativity spewing forth, placing doubts in their minds before they’ve even made their vows. Once married, they allow the “myth” to become reality. It’s easier than working through the issues and fighting for something bigger than themselves.
What a blessing to have a wife willing to overlook all my faults and issues she had no idea she was “buying”. I was one that listened to the naysayers and looked outside our marriage for a solution. I’m blessed I missed my opportunity. Married sex is, by far, much hotter than any sex I had as a single man. But I had to believe it was possible. And now I do.
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