The Ashley Madison Scandal – Just see a sex worker instead

ashley madison
If you’ve watched the recently released documentary on Netflix, you’ll know the notorious Ashley Madison affair platform was unsafe even before it was hacked.

According to researchers it was  essentially a scam, full of bots and fake profiles (click here for article), with very little extra-marital sex actually taking place. The company mostly made money from charging users to message fake profiles they themselves had created.  This makes the hacking and release of millions of user’s personal data all the more horrifying.

Unsurprisingly, Ashley Madison was vehemently anti-sex workers, even though – and of course – the owner was secretly seeing sex workers himself. That alone puts them in my bad books to be honest, but they are not wrong in identifying sex workers as competition, as not only are we real, we actually take client privacy and wellbeing seriously

I have been called an idealist more than once – never, though, when it comes to love and sex, where curiosity, open-heartedness and a little pragmatism go a long way.  Life, sexuality, and relationships are complicated, and people desire sex outside of their relationship for a myriad of reasons. For instance, it is incorrect to assume that the majority of people who see sex workers are in an exclusive, monogamous relationship, or that they visit sex workers without the knowledge or approval of their wife or partner. Nor do I equate seeing sex workers whilst married with infidelity. Most married men I’ve seen love their wife. Sex workers have long been blamed for men having extra-marital sex, and it is a little tired to be honest. I personally have zero interest in policing other people’s relationships. Everyone has their reasons for seeing sex workers, and I won’t get into the pros and cons of sex outside of marriage here – you already know I think sex workers are divine beings, and that sex is magical.

Viewed through this pragmatic lens, the Ashley Madison tagline “Life is short. Have an affair” was incredibly misleading. Getting caught in that affair, as so many did, makes life all the shorter. Not to be dismissive of the emotional fallout if affairs come to light – on the contrary – but let’s talk responsibility. Getting your details leaked onto the internet is harmful and risky, not only to oneself. 

Meanwhile keeping clandestine affairs offline, such a workplace romance, has a terrifyingly high chance of implosion. Casual dating apps like Tinder are also unpredictable, not only because it is easy to find profiles of people you know, but it involves strangers with little to no incentive for discretion. 

Sex workers on the other hand, work very hard to protect their, and your, identity.  They won’t wave at you if they see you in a cafe, or make any indication they know you at all (please do the same). They want to see you in Funhouse or in a Wellington hotel room – they don’t want to see you outside of bookings, and this is for the benefit of everyone.

Critical in the context of non-monogamy, sex workers are dedicated to safer sex. Celebrate this, learn from them and get on board, because passing on an STI to a partner you are supposed to be exclusive with would be a terrible way to break the news…

As for personal information, while the details that independent escorts in New Zealand require from clients may vary, here at Funhouse, Mary does need a phone number. That is essential I am afraid – but it stays with her, and not even the sex worker you’ve booked a date with gets it.  

We don’t store databases of client information, we are not an app or membership platform, and peach emoji notifications are not going to pop up on your phone. If you pay by card, know that ‘kinky massage’ or ‘happy ending’ is not going to show up on your bank statement. The business name is very innocuous. But yes, we still accept cash.

Likewise, the entrance is discrete – no glowing neon saying the ultimate GFE can be found inside (that is, however, where it resides). We have a system whereby clients do not run into each other in hallways. In fact, because it is not an old school ‘walk in’ brothel,  you won’t even cross paths with sex workers that you are not scheduled to see (sorry). 

New Zealand is small – best to sow wild oats with those who know what they are doing.