No Holds Barred: Ashley Madison - Where bored, straight husbands go to meet other dudes

The hackers who are having a jolly time bringing down the Ashley Madison website exposed many men who were trying to cheat on their wives.

The homepage of the Ashley Madison website is displayed on an iPad, in this photo illustration (photo credit: REUTERS)
The homepage of the Ashley Madison website is displayed on an iPad, in this photo illustration
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The hackers who are having a jolly time bringing down the Ashley Madison website exposed many men who were trying to cheat on their wives. I say trying because, according to the hackers, Ashley Madison lied to their clientele and refused to reveal that 95 percent of the people on the site are men. So unless you’re a man in a heterosexual marriage looking for a same-sex affair, you’re probably out of luck.
So where are the women? Do women lust? Where are they going for their affairs? Our society has little understanding of lust. We put all our emphasis on love. We watch romantic comedies about men and women slowly falling in love, in a slow, low-simmering manner. We laugh with them in romantic comedies until they tie the knot and live happily ever after in their comfortable, humorous, cozy little lives. Then we say that love is all you need.
But it’s not.
Lust is the most powerful emotion in the universe. Yes, it is far more temporary than love and it wears off more rapidly. Yet, like a sprinter in a 100-meter dash against a long-distance runner, love doesn’t stand a chance.
That’s why in Judaism a husband and wife are not supposed to get so close to a member of the opposite sex to whom they are not married. We’re not supposed to allow lust to grow to where it begins to challenge love. Love can compete in the long term but rarely in the short term.
But don’t disparage lust. As I argue in my new book Kosher Lust, magnetic, erotic lust is one of the most necessary components of a marriage. Marriage without desire is a prison. You can never lose the raw, carnal desire that draws a man to a woman and vice versa, making them feel desirable.
We all want to be wanted, need to be needed, desire to be desired.
The tenth commandment is “Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s wife,” which means by direct implication, you sure as heck ought to be coveting your own.
And make no mistake. A woman wants to be lusted after even more than she wants to be loved. It sounds shocking but is easily proven by things like the millions of housewives who buy books like Fifty Shades of Grey. Many of these women are loved in their marriages. But they don’t feel lusted after. They’re just not stupid enough to go to contemptible websites like Ashley Madison.
On the contrary, the average wife who has an affair does so because she feels erotically, emotionally and romantically neglected by her husband, which of course does not excuse it, but does explain it.
So why we disparage lust and glorify love? First, we mistakenly think that lust is something merely physical. We think lust is only of the body when the truth lust is that lust is the feverish, intuitive gravitation of masculine to feminine and feminine to masculine.
Real lust occurs when there is perfect polar alignment between masculine and feminine opposites. Lust is what magnetizes an otherwise ordinary man and woman to become infatuated with each other. It is not merely of the body but is rather the arrangement of two opposing energies that causes us to passionately incline toward one another.
Countless wives have told me how much they miss lust in their marriages. Sex is a routine, a chore rather than an erotic pastime.
But there’s another, more fundamental reason we disrespect lust. We don’t know how to sustain it, so we dismiss it. We don’t know how to hold on to it, so we curse it. Be gone, you emotion of the devil. What results, however, are marriages based on the weak link of friendship as opposed to the fiery and scorching bond of lust.
You’re not supposed to be just partners. That’s a commercial term connoting a shared project. Rather, you’re supposed to yearn deeply for each other. And stop believing that can’t be sustained deep into a marriage.
To be sure, both love and lust, friendship and erotic passion, are necessary. The complete marriage is where husband and wife are both lovers and best friends. But today we are mostly, and sometimes only, the latter. I have heard husbands tell me this countless times. Pointing to their wives they’ll say, “This is my wife. She’s my best friend.”
But friendship is not the nuclear bond that marriage requires in order to not just survive but flourish.
I wrote my book The Kosher Sutra in order to establish the eight principles of eroticism so that married couples can bring lust back into their relationships. And I wrote Kosher Lust to offer the three secrets of carnal desire. But modern marriages for the most part don’t have it, which is not only sad but also explains the reason marriage is faltering as an institution. It seems so boring and routine. People end up sustaining lust by regularly changing partners, a deeply counterfeit, compromising and lazy version of lust.
And that’s the one of the biggest problems with Ashley Madison: It’s not merely immoral, it’s lazy. It’s for people who forgot how to bring passion in their own beds so they jump into someone else’s bed instead. It’s for people who are erotically unadventurous and romantically boring.
Be that as it may and simply put, lust is where you are made to feel intensely desirable. It’s where a man can’t stop thinking about you, obsessing over you, can’t keep his hands off you. It’s where you’re placed at the center of another person’s existence and where they permanently bask in the glow of your light. You are the planet and they are drawn into your gravitational orbit. And there is no feeling in the world quite like it. Nothing can make you feel more special.
We need make our marriages more exciting. We need to make them more passionate. Do our wives really need to find this passion only in a fantasy novel about domination? Do our husbands need to ruin their lives by signing on to Ashley Madison and getting caught, when all they were going to find anyway was another guy? The author, “America’s rabbi,” is the international bestselling author of 30 books including blockbuster relationship books like Kosher Sex, Kosher Adultery, Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments, and his newest book, Kosher Lust. Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.