Even 22 years after its founding, Ashley Madison is still one of the most controversial dating sites of all time and its slogan of “life is short – have an affair!” certainly scandalized the internet when it first came online in the early 2000’s
Even now, Ashley Madison reviews remain a contentious subject.
Questions like, “Do they really promote adultery and cheating?”
“Is it dangerous to use Ashley Madison?”
And of course, “Is Ashley Madison legit?”, are a dime a dozen.
Unfortunately, most Ashley Madison reviews focus on the site’s scandals and hypersexuality. But what we wanted to know most is just how much sex is involved, and whether signing up for Ashley Madison is worth the money.
To answer these questions, I’ve put together an in depth Ashley Madison review detailing my experience with the site.
Related Reading: Best Hookup Sites
Ashley Madison Dating App: First Thoughts
Is Ashley Madison legit? Let’s consider some pros and cons.
Ashley Madison Pros
- Designed for secret affairs
- Cheaters are welcomed
- Swinger and poly-friendly
- Approximately 75 million members
- Women message free
- Privacy tools to hide your identity
- Free location & filtered searches
Ashley Madison Cons
- No video chat
- Can be pricey
- Could use more filter/search options
- Regular 50 credits for $9.99 promotions
- Up to 1,000 bonus credits with first purchase
Ashley Madison reviews suggest the site is a great way to find “easy sex partners.”
It’s certainly earned a reputation as an anti-relationship site and is designed for short-term affairs, long-term extramarital entanglements, and any other arrangement not typical of traditional online dating sites.
Put simply, the Ashley Madison dating app is exclusively geared towards discreet and “secret affairs” and isn’t the place to find the next love of your life.
Overall, it’s an ideal choice for those who don’t want to socialize with “many” but want to find a discreet affair with just a “few” quality partners.
Ashley Madison Overall Rating
- 4.7 / 5
Ashley Madison Review: My Online Dating Journey
To start this Ashley Madison review, let’s go back to the beginning.
The year is 2001 and online dating sites are popping up everywhere. Facebook is barely a thing and The Ashley Madison Dating App (based out of Canada) comes up with the infamous slogan “Life is short, Have an affair.”
The edgy marketing campaign resulted in many Ashley Madison reviews. Some people claimed it was a “business built on the back of broken hearts,” (the words of one critic, who coincidentally, founded Match.com).
So is Ashley Madison legit? Let’s consider some demographics in this Ashley Madison dating app review.
Ashley Madison Dating App Overview
Over twenty years later, Ashley Madison continues to be one of the most visited online dating sites in the world.
Its member count is between 60 and 75 million, and as recently as 2019, the site’s CSO claims Ashley Madison reviews and arranges up to one million affairs every month.
It also reaches over 53 countries, most recently being sanctioned in Singapore for its adulterous intentions.
Ashley Madison reviews also suggest that the site has a fair mix in demographics, but is most popular among younger people, with 23% in the 25-34 range, 18% between the ages of 25-44, and 17% younger than 24.
It’s safe to say that the affair dating site is well known and notorious for attracting unhappily married men and women to at least “look around.”
But is Ashley Madison legit for getting dates?
Let’s consider how the Ashley Madison dating app review works, and what major differences there are between the website and the mobile app.
How Does the Ashley Madison Dating App Work?
In this section of my Ashley Madison app review, we’re going to consider how the site works and the basic tools it gives you to find an affair.
Ashley Madison is an online dating site built on discretion and anonymity. In fact, the only thing you need to register with Ashley Madison is an email address.
How to Sign-Up the Ashley Madison Dating App
Next for this Ashley Madison dating site review, we’re going to consider how to sign up. The process goes like this according to most Ashley Madison reviews.
Step 1: Create an account for free.
Bring up the Ashley Madison website and click the “Create your profile” button. You will be asked to provide a valid email address, create a password, and select a user name. You’ll also be asked to indicate your gender, age and location.
Step 2: Fill out your profile
This is the most important step in the online dating app. Make sure your profile is complete and accurate. Upload a photo and provide as much detail as possible about what you’re looking for, such as age, relationship status, and types of activities you’re interested in.
Step 3: Search for potential partners
Once your profile is complete, you can start searching for potential partners. Use the search filters to narrow down your choices. As noted later on in my Ashley Madison app review, search filters are limited.
Step 4: Message potential partners
When you find someone you’re interested in, send them a private message. Introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in them.
Once you’ve connected with someone online, you can arrange a date! You can download the Ashley Madison dating app from Google Play Store or Apple.
Ashley Madison Dating Site Review: Special Features
In this part of our Ashley Madison dating site review, we’re going to consider special features that characterize the “Ashley Madison Online Dating Experience.”
This is a site built on privacy and discretion. You’ll immediately notice that many people do not use their actual face in public photos.
And for good reason…
If you are married, or just chasing married people, then being “discovered” on an extramarital affairs dating site could damage your reputation.
Of course, the official retort we recommend for an Ashley Madison app review is:
“Huh…why were YOU on Ashley Madison, anyway?”
“Umm…umm…for purely research-related purposes, of course.”
But don’t worry about it. Managing your profiles and going undercover is not that complicated.
Next on this Ashley Madison dating app review, let’s talk about the main “sales pitch” – your own personal online dating profile.
Choosing photos is fairly straightforward, but you will notice immediately there are two sections – locked and unlocked, which means private galleries and public galleries.
When you select a photo to upload, you can choose whether it becomes a public or private photo.
From there, you can write a greeting or “tagline”, which is the first point of contact everyone sees.
You’ll then fill out an About Me section, followed by vitals of what you’re looking for in a partner, and some of your interests.
The affairs dating site combines “interests” and “desires” into one section on your profile. Here, you can clearly state what you’re after, including options like “sex talk” and “fantasies”, in addition to more vanilla tags, like “cooking” and “travel.”
Ashley Madison reviews agree that the online dating site is surprisingly vanilla at times, especially when it comes to icebreakers and discussing taboo topics.
Your success at AM is determined by good writing and good photos, so spend some time perfecting your profile page.
Public and Private Photo Albums
One of the best features of the Ashley Madison dating app review is it lets you browse user profiles for free without trial or limits.
By contrast, some online dating sites require payment before you even see a person’s public photos!
Yet, Ashley Madison reviews tell us that not only can free members view everyone’s cover photo immediately, but you can also read over their dating profiles.
You can read the bio, review vitals, and see their desire/interest tags.
You have a few ways to express interest in someone you fancy:
- Message them directly
- Request access to private photos
- Give them access to your private photos
- Favorite them
- Like their profile
- Send a smiley flirt
But this is where the Ashley Madison dating app gets you! While browsing profiles remains free, you still have to pay to send any messages (unless you’re a woman, of course).
Once you’re a paid member, you can send messages and request access to private photo albums. Naturally, your new friend must first approve your request to peep, and will give you a special access key if your wish is granted.
Next in this Ashley Madison app review, let’s talk about profile browsing,
The “Discover” feed is among the most seductive of any online dating sites. You’re immediately greeted by attractive people with one photo, their age, and location.
There’s quite a variety of photos too.
Expect to see some full faces and smiles, followed by a row of anonymous profiles with no photos at all and just a whispering avatar as a headshot.
In the public photo section, you can find some sexy lingerie shots for women and some shirtless photos of men.
(Ashley Madison reviews suggest that nudity is not allowed in public photos).
After all, most women don’t want to see a line of penises as soon as they log into their favorite online dating app.
We were kind of surprised by how heavily moderated AM can be, especially when it comes to getting rid of questionable photos. If you send any fakes or nudes to your public gallery, they’ll be deleted without discussion.
This doesn’t mean you will be sanctioned or banned, but in general, just know that moderators are standing by and must approve all your photos.
Come to think of it, what’s with all the headshots conveniently blurred out on an Ashley Madison app review?
Online Masking Tools
If you read through an Ashley Madison dating app review, you’ll notice people are most concerned about keeping their identity hidden. Luckily, the dating site gives you the tools to do so.
How? by using the online photo editor that the Ashley Madison dating app provides.
As you can see, there are four modes for fast and easy online editing:
You can also zoom in and out to get the ideal photo mood – sexy but mysterious.
Next in our Ashley Madison review, we consider filtered searches, which lets you narrow down potential partners according to criteria like Private/Public Photos, new members only, body type, and sexual limits.
Sexual limits are not that complex. It just means short-term, long-term, online only, anything goes, or undecided.
The online dating site for affairs could have used a bit more imagination in these categories. It almost seems as if Ashley is trying to be a “nice girl” and not scare everyone away with too many aggressive nudes or kink subject matter.
Ashley Madison has a free location filter (similar to Travel Mode on Tinder and Bumble).
It’s actually very cool the Ashley Madison dating app lets you find married fun seekers from all over the world! There’s no charge for looking – that’s how confident these people are that you’re going to find someone you like, and you’re going to hit it off splendidly.
Priority Man & Priority Mail
Priority Man is a paid boost feature, which highlights your profile in most search results for 30 days.
Priority Messaging works similarly. When a user sends a message with Priority Mail, it will be placed at the top of the recipient’s inbox and marked with a special icon. This helps ensure that the message is seen and read quickly, increasing the chances of a response.
Ashley Madison Dating Site Review: Messaging & Message Plus
As Ashley Madison reviews will tell you, the online dating app doesn’t allow free texting for men and they must buy credits to send messages.
If each text message costs money, then the price can add up quickly.
More on this in just a moment…
It’s good to know that there are many outgoing “Ashleys” when you first sign up, although the Ashley Madison dating app does start conversations automatically.
If you like someone’s profile, the Ashley Madison dating app lets you know right away (it even automatically opens up a chat box for you).
If someone likes your profile, winks at you, or sends you a message, the same thing occurs.
You might also get some general chat news, as in this user is looking for someone just like you – which is more like an incentive to start socialising with the AM community.
Message Plus is a special feature that lets you respond to messages without using your own credits.
Message Plus is like a cheat mode, where you can avoid overpaying for messages on contacts you already have. You can also message your favorites, even if you don’t have remaining credits.
Message Plus is included for free for a month after you buy a credit package but costs extra the next month.
Who Viewed Me
As you may have guessed, the who viewed me section shows you everyone that’s viewed your profile.
If you notice someone checking you out, that’s a good reason to start DMIng them to see if you hit it off with them.
Next on the Ashley Madison dating site review, let’s talk about Incognito Mode.
The married online dating app is known for being discreet about its online connections, and allows users to become “invisible” or incognito whenever they want.
You can show your status to everyone as “Offline”, just in case you don’t have the time or energy to chat.
You can also hide your profile entirely – or even disable your profile, in case you’re trying to lay low for a while.
Finally, you can set a 2-step verification process to make sure no one enters your Ashley Madison reviews without typing in the password and getting a verified text message.
One thing that few Ashley Madison app reviews focus on is the “discrete” option. This refers to the ability to “disguise” your AM app icon and make it seem far more innocuous, just in case you are discovered.
Ashley Madison Dating Site Review: A+ for Privacy
The Ashley Madison dating app does have enhanced security features, probably because of a well-publicised hacking incident that took place a few years ago.
But most security issues nowadays don’t stem from any website hacks. They come from users behaving recklessly and giving away personal information to unscrupulous individuals.
No wonder the site provides a list of security tips, recommending users NOT count on the site to protect their personal information.
Besides payment information, which is highly protected by advanced encryption, there is no reason to share any personal information – even in person.
It makes you second-guess the lack of a video chat tool, which is a commonly mentioned drawback in just about every Ashley Madison review out there.
But if you’re fooling around with someone new and need “discretion” because of the sensitive nature of the affair, it might not be such a great idea to let your lover hail you for a phone call any time they want!
Many of the coolest features that other online dating sites have just wouldn’t be practical on a site that values discretion.
How Much Does Ashley Madison Cost?
The Ashley Madison dating app uses a credit system instead of a monthly membership fee.
Ashley Madison dating app review prices are as follows:
Exactly how much does sending messages cost?
- On average, opening 1 message costs about 5 credits
- With 500 credits you can start 55 conversations
- With 1000 credits you can start 111 conversations
- Priority Man costs $29.70 per month
Is Ashley Madison legit giving women free premium memberships?
Yes, Ashley Madison is free for women and that includes the ability to send texts, start conversations, answer questions from men, and basically do as they please.
When people write an Ashley Madison review, they often mention methods of payment as a general advantage.
While credit cards are accepted, you can also pay with a semi-anonymous Paypal account, or even a money order via mail courrier.
While the latter may seem like an outdated method of payment, remember that money orders can’t be traced back to you.
Is Ashley Madison Legit?
Finally, the question everyone is wondering: Is Ashley Madison legit? Can you really meet local people looking for discreet affairs?
The answer is a little more complicated than just “YES, YES OH, GOD YES!”
In short, yes, Ashley Madison is legit and is easily the premier online dating app for affairs,
But the Ashley Madison dating app is not a miracle worker and no affair is “guaranteed” anymore.
These issues are very important in online dating and bear repeating, especially when dealing with online dating sites that promise or imply lots of casual sex.
- Try to be attractive
- Stimulate desire in your partner
- Have decent communication skills
- Always get consent
Without even one of these, sex just isn’t going to happen – no matter how horny your next door neighbor might be or how unfulling their sex life is.
Moreover, the female-to-male ratio is worth noting, and due to the site being free for women, the ratio is surprisingly decent.
Is Ashley Madison Against the Law?
Is Ashley Madison legit?
The Ashley Madison dating app is perfectly legit (although spouses may disagree somewhat).
Are there fake profiles and catfishers? Meh, probably.
But the truth is most “fakes” don’t go through painstaking efforts to create detailed profiles. You can kind of spot fake profiles from a mile away.
What about escorts? Or sugar babies and OnlyFans sex workers who kind of blur the lines as regards sex for sale?
It would be lying to say they are nowhere to be found on an Ashley Madison dating app review. Of course, they’re here, and everywhere – probably even on eHarmony and Match.com!
But the Ashley Madison dating app does not allow escort ads, or people that blatantly advertise sexual services.
Still, a man can assume that if a woman is inexplicably attracted to his blank profile, loves sexting, and finds his two-word replies fascinating…
She’s probably trying to make some money!
LGBTQ Ashley Madison App Review
In the opinion of this Ashley Madison app review, AM isn’t very popular among gay, lesbian, trans, and bisexual users. That said, you can still sign-up as a gay man or woman, if you want.
Ethical Non-Monogamy on Ashley Madison
Finally, don’t conclude that only cheating partners inhabit the Ashley Madison dating app.
The population of ethically non-monogamous families has increased in recent years, and some estimates suggest up to 5% of the North American population is involved in an alternative lifestyle, or has been involved with one in the past.
How Does Ashley Madison Compare to Other Online Dating Sites?
The Ashley Madison app isn’t the only app for married dating or casual sex. Find out how these Ashley Madison alternatives compare to the original “Have an Affair” online dating app.
Adult Friend Finder vs. Ashley Madison Review
First off, AFF operates like an adult-oriented social networking site and not a traditional online dating platform.
In fact, AFF is basically a social network with NSFW content. But reading an Ashley Madison app review reminds you more of an online dating site.
Adult Friend Finder vs. Ashley Madison Dating Site Review
- AFF has community groups and chat rooms
- AFF has video streaming
- AM has more privacy options like blurring
- AM is less expensive than AFF
- Only AM offers free premium memberships for women
For a more In-depth look at AFF, read my Adult Friend Finder Review.
Seeking.com vs. Ashley Madison Review
While the Ashley Madison dating app is a traditional dating app for married/attached men and women, Seeking is much more open-ended in terms of the type of relationships you’ll find on the site.
Women have a good chance of meeting a rich man on Seeking while wealthy men have an excellent chance of meeting an attractive woman on Seeking (because of its alarming 4-1 female-to male ratio).
Seeking.com vs. Ashley Madison Dating App Review
- Seeking has a theme of luxury matching – rich meets beautiful
- Seeking has profile verification options
- AM is more about anonymous flirting and hooking up
- AM has more members than Seeking
- Both online dating sites let women join for free
Secret Benefits vs. Ashley Madison Review
SecretBenefits is not just a luxury online dating app, but also one that encourages sugar baby and sugar daddy relationships. These alternative dating styles favor a wealthy person that enjoys spoiling someone younger with money, gifts, and allowances.
Secret Benefits vs. Ashley Madison Dating App Review
- SB is much more tightly moderated than AM
- Both online dating sites offer free membership for women
- AM has a much larger membership base
- AM has more married people dating
- AM is less expensive
Ashley Madison Reviews FAQs
Do you have to be married to use Ashley Madison?
No, you don’t have to be married to use the Ashley Madison dating app and the site is open to everyone regardless of their relationship status.
The online dating app was designed as an alternative to traditional online dating sites, where everyone is usually single or divorced.
What does Ashley Madison show up as on credit card?
The Ashley Madison dating app shows up as Abine, AM, AMDA, or AMDB when billed to your credit card.
What is Message Plus on Ashley Madison
Message Plus refers to a feature on the Ashley Madison dating app that allows users to send and receive messages without having to pay for them.
It’s an extra service you can add to your purchase of new credits, so you can chat with your regular friends on-site.
Where is Ashley Madison most popular?
Ashley Madison is most popular in the United States, according to some research surveys on Ashley Madison dating site reviews.
Can I find an affair on Ashley Madison?
Yes, you can find an affair on Ashley Madison. There are over 75 million users all over the world and the online dating app is competitive, to say the least.
Is Ashley Madison Free?
Yes, most Ashley Madison reviews suggest that the app is free.
Women get a free premium membership (texting and photos included) while men have to pay about five credits to open a new message.
Is Ashley Madison Worth it?
Most Ashley Madison app reviews suggest that the app is worth it – but only if you have the time and patience to invest.
The best results come to users who choose quality over quantity. Assume if you talk to 100 people, you will only connect with a handful of them.
Remember that, and try to increase quantities but spend more quality time with people who are genuinely attracted to your photos and personality.
How does messaging on Ashley Madison Work?
Messaging on the Ashley Madison dating app costs about 5 cents per message.
However, if you subscribe to Message Plus, you can chat with your regulars for free without it costing you credits.
Ashley Madison Review: Final Verdict
Is Ashley Madison legit?
After a careful Ashley Madison review, we’ve determined that this app is everything it says it is – an instigator, a temptation, and an opportunity.
What you do with this opportunity is your own choice.
But one nice thing about the Ashley Madison dating app is that it’s a judgement-free zone where you can chat with anyone you want and work on your conversation skills.
The truth is that everyone just wants to be understood and appreciated. Online dating websites can help lonely people find each other and make a connection – even if their relationship isn’t exactly a fairy tale romance.
Why not try out the Ashley Madison dating app tonight?