The infidelity website Ashley Madison reports that it has seen a spike in sign-ups since the start of coronavirus social distancing

April 24, 2020 10:54 AM
Online Relationships
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Cheaters aren't letting social distance prevent them from extramarital pursuits.

In a new report released by Ashley Madison — the website dedicated to facilitating infidelity among its users — even during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when married men and women are isolated at home with their spouses, sign-ups on the cheating service have increased.

According to a Venture Beat interview with the company's Chief Strategy Officer Paul Keable, Ashley Madison has seen an average of 17,000 new users each day since the public health crisis touched down in the United States. The site would usually encounter about 15,500 signups per day last year.

Thirty percent of women are looking into virtual sex with their side lovers, Ashley Madison claims, and 14 percent of men are having virtual sex with their affair partners.

The website also asked its clientele in a survey whether they have tried to "spice up" their sex life with their husband or wife while sheltering in place together — with more than three-quarters of the respondents saying no.

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Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories was launched in 2001 by Toronto native Noel Biderman, a former attorney, sports agent and “self-described happily married father of two,” according to a 2009 profile in the Los Angeles Times. The site’s name comes from two popular names for female babies at the time.

It is, essentially, an online dating service with an interface similar to OkCupid or, but geared toward people seeking affairs — either with other married individuals or single people.

Biderman has often been matter-of-fact about his site. “Some people say it promotes promiscuity,” he told the Times. “But if you don’t do it, you get behavior that’s way more harmful to society. Infidelity has been around a lot longer than Ashley Madison.”

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Affairs aside, online dating for single individuals has seen a newfound surge in virtual interest during the pandemic. Dating apps like Hinge, Tinder and Bumble have seen users conduct virtual dates, using technology to maintain a dating life while self-isolating.

“I do think it’s the perfect time to get online, because we don’t lose our desire to connect,” Match’s chief dating coach Rachel DeAlto told PEOPLE about dating during the pandemic. “Love doesn’t go away, or that desire for companionship.”

Added DeAlto: “When we’re so disconnected face to face, we have to replicate that in some sort of way to prevent us from feeling the effects of loneliness.”

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