By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
4/13/2014 (1 year ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Ashley Madison is a controversial Web site that enables married men and women to have xtramarital affair. Based in Canada, Noel Biderman is forthright about the right of the married to have affairs -- providing they don't get caught.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Still plugging away, Biderman gets death threats and letters of complaint from the Vatican. Even the Queen of Spain has sued him.
Bearing the motto - "Life is short. Have an affair" - the dating service is free for women but requires payment from men. Virtual "winks," instant messaging and "travelling" services are offered for members seeking an affair during business trips.
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A mobile app uses GPS technology to track down the nearest available potential lover.
Since launching in Canada on Valentine's Day in 2002, it has attracted more than 24 million members in 37 countries. South Korea joined last week.
The 42-year-old Biderman has tirelessly defended his Web site.
"Infidelity exists in every culture in the world," Biderman told the Japanese media. Referring to himself as the "Emperor of Infidelity," he adds that "There's no place you can point to on the planet where there is no unfaithfulness.
"In the lifetime of a relationship, on the male side, close to 70 or 80 percent of men are going to be unfaithful at some point or another in their marriages. And the female side is incredibly on the rise - it's well past 40 percent."
Since the launch in the United Kingdom four years ago, more than 825,000 members have joined - in particular, married women aged between 38 and 42.
"Our brand really resonates well with a married woman, 15 plus years into her marriage who doesn't feel that celibacy should slip into the marriage at this time," he said.
Japan is another success story. One million members joined within nine months of its launch last summer.
"It seems to me that culturally, this region does the best at separating sex and marriage," Biderman says. "You can do sex outside marriage much more liberally here. That's not to say that they don't present a traditional face, as most societies do. But I think that if we had to measure the infidelity economy in Japan, it's incredibly sizeable."
The reasons for soaring adultery, he says, are varied and complex. Recession-hit nations such as Spain, where they remain affluent communities with large disposable incomes are also major players in the "infidelity economy."
The human race is simply not biologically programmed to remain faithful - and he says that this can be good for a marriage.
"People have affairs because we're not engineered for monogamy," he says. "Monogamy didn't come about from some great scientific research. If anything, the current social science tells us the opposite.
"That the longer the couple is together, invariably, after six months, their sexual encounters decrease, two years, they decrease even further. Twenty years into a relationship, we're no longer sexually attracted."
Biderman has incurred the wrath of the Pope. The Vatican sending a disapproving letter to Ashley Madison in opposition to its sponsorship of Rome's basketball club Virtue Roma.
Singapore's government banned the site, following a public outcry against its "flagrant disregard" for public morality. Biderman plans to challenge the ban in court.
The precise act of having an affair - without getting caught - can actually help save a marriage, the only other option normally being divorce.
"There was tons of infidelity before I got here," he said. "The only encouragement I give is to say to people, there is a way to have the perfect affair.
"So the perfect affair is not only meeting someone like-minded, it's also not being discovered. That's what I've built: a platform where everybody here has put up their hand and said I'm interested in an affair, and the technology to keep it discrete."
Biderman describes himself as monogamously married for 10 years with two children. His wife, he claims, is unwaveringly supportive.
However, he candidly admits she does not share his views on infidelity: "If in the next decade, my sex life evaporates, I have no interest in being celibate.
"Because I have these wonderful children, an extended family I cherish, great economic success and homes - I have not worked for all of that just for sex. I wouldn't get a divorce, therefore, if that happened, I'd try to have an affair."
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