Leaked data about millions of subscribers to the “married-but-dating” site, Ashley Madison.com, has prompted warnings about pornography use and sex addiction, as well as hope for post-adultery recovery for marriages.
Pornography is a typical and consistent factor in extramarital affairs, the National Center for Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) said this week.
Pornography, which typically depicts attractive people engaging in sexual acts, has been show to make viewers “less satisfied” with their existing partners, NCSE said.
A 2013 study found that viewing pornography can “re-wire” people’s brains to make them imagine “there are a multitude of attractive and willing sexual partners available outside their current relationships,” NCSE said.
As a result, pornography use has been correlated with an increase in infidelity by more than 300 percent, according to psychologist Patrick Fagan, director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at the Family Research Council.
“Ashley Madison has frequently advertised on porn websites,” noted NCSE, which says pornography use is a public health crisis that is linked to divorce, sex trafficking and child abuse, as well as unhealthy or stunted personal relationships.
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NCSE on Wednesday highlighted a nonprofit recovery program for betrayed spouses that is offering a new online course Sept. 1.
Since the millions of details about Ashley Madison subscribers were made public, most talk has been about the cheating spouse — but very little about the betrayed spouse, said Melody Lovvorn, co-founder of Undone Redone and Route1520 LLC, a leading provider of sex addiction recovery resources in Alabama.
The upcoming Life Beyond Betrayal online course was developed by Ms. Lovvorn in part from her own experience of betrayal: She and husband Tray were married for 11 years but divorced due to his infidelity. Years later, they reconciled and remarried each other.
“I want to help women learn from the mistakes that I made and the mistakes of others so that their pain isn’t prolonged unnecessarily,” said Ms. Lovvorn.
More than 30 million customer profiles of Ashley Madison subscribers were stolen this summer by hackers known as the Impact Team. The hackers released the customers’ names, emails and other data online on July 21 and Aug. 18.
Toronto-based Avid Life Media, which owns Ashley Madison, is offering $500,000 for information leading to the hackers. It is also being sued in several class-action lawsuits for breach of privacy.
Law enforcement agencies in Canada and the United States are hunting for the hackers.