One 29-year-old woman says it helped her take revenge on her unfaithful husband. A 45-year-old married man says it has helped prevent the break-up of his family. For millions, adultery via the Internet has become the new normal.
Since the launch of the Canada-based Ashley Madison website in 2002, which created a sensation with its seductive slogan "Life is short, have an affair," the numbers turning to online infidelity have soared.
There are now dozens of similar websites offering the promise of extramarital relationships with domain names that are unabashedly direct, from www.datingforcheaters.com to www.heatedaffairs.com.
For Noel Biderman, the founder of Ashley Madison, his site and others like it are merely facilitating a human desire that is as old as time.
"No one can show me a culture on the planet where infidelity doesn't happen," Biderman told AFP. "Infidelity was always there," he added, noting that conventional dating websites are often "overrun by would-be affair seekers."
By offering a site catering specifically for married individuals, Ashley Madison had "filled a void in many married men and women's hearts," Biderman said, noting that the site now has some 25 million members in 35 countries, earning around $100 million in revenue last year.
According to figures in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, some 22 percent of men and 14 percent of women will cheat on their spouses at least once during their marriage. Has the existence of sites like Ashley Madison encouraged and increased infidelity?
"It's hard to know if the new technologies increased infidelity because we have no bottom-line data," said Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle.
"My guess, however, is that it has because there are many people who have a yen for sex outside their relationship but wouldn't have the slightest idea about how to do it or do it safely," Schwartz added.
Jinky, a 29-year-old woman from Singapore, is a case in point. She decided to pursue an affair after seeing an ad for the website www.datingforcheaters.com.
"I was married at a very young age, I was 18," she told AFP in an email. When she discovered that her much older husband had been cheating on her, she set about avenging the infidelity through adultery websites.
Young and old, men and women, rich or poor, frequenters of adultery sites come from all backgrounds, with a clear majority of users being men in their 40s, according to Ashley Madison. The reasons individuals are drawn to such sites are equally diverse.