The private conversations of Ashley Madison users have been monitored for the purposes of a sociological study into adultery.
Eric Anderson, a professor of masculinity, sexuality and sport at the University of Winchester, and the site’s chief science officer, monitored more than 4,000 private conversations of 100 female members and their potential matches without informing them.
The research aimed to demonstrate what drives women to infidelity, and the results were presented at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association
Anderson and the study’s co-authors suggest that women who cheat do so because of the lack of passion in their marriage, and not because they stopped loving their husbands.
The study found that 67% of the women they monitored on AshleyMadison wanted a more passionate relationship, and none wanted to leave their husbands.
Anderson said: “It is very clear that our model of having sex and love with just one other person for life has failed–and it has failed massively.
“Hopefully, this study will help unravel the stranglehold that our culture has on sex and love–showing that just because one cheats, it does not mean that one has failed to love his or her partner.”
Anderson wrote the paper “Life is Short, Have an Affair: Middle-Age Women and Extra-Marital Affairs,” with two doctoral candidates in sociology, Matthew H. Rafalow from the University of California-Irvine and Matthew Ripley from the University of Southern California.
The American Sociological Review rejected its publication, as some sociologists raised concerns regarding the quality of the research criteria.
Robert Andersen, chair of sociology at the University of Toronto told the National Post: “This is not research. It is embarrassing for serious sociologists to see this crap. It wasn’t published for good reason.”
They took issue with the fact that Anderson and his team used personal private conversations, and used a sample that was biased, as all the participants were actively looking for an affair.
When asked about the selection bias, Anderson said: “Most of our knowledge of women who cheat comes from another population via selection bias, those in counsellors’ offices.
“My method is the best way we can do this. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we have.”
Read the study here.