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Websites making it easier to cheat

Jinky, a 29-year-old woman from Singapore, decided to pursue an affair after seeing an ad for an adultery website.

"I was married at a very young age, I was 18," she told AFP in an e-mail.

When she discovered that her much older husband had been cheating on her, she set about avenging the infidelity through adultery websites.

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.

For Mr 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," Mr Biderman said. "Infidelity was always there."

He claims that conventional dating websites are often "overrun by would-be affair seekers."

Last November, Mr Biderman's company tried to launch a Singapore edition of its website here, but failed.

The Media Development Authority said it had worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site, which "stood out (because) it aggressively promotes and facilitates extramarital affairs and has declared that it will specifically target Singaporeans."

The US-based Journal of Marital and Family Therapy reported that some 22 per cent of men and 14 per cent 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?

NEW TECHNOLOGIES

"It's hard to know if the new technologies increased infidelity because we have no bottom-line data," said Ms Pepper Schwartz, a professor of sociology at Seattle's University of Washington.

"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," Ms Schwartz added.

"Some are looking for sex because they are in sexless marriages with people they love or don't want to leave for other reasons but cannot have sex with," said Ms Schwartz.

"Others are stimulation junkies - they just can't be satisfied with sex with only one person, even if they love that person." - AFP.