The Ashley Madison dating site has made a name for itself as perhaps the most scandalous hookup platform online, thanks especially to how it primarily caters to extramarital affairs.

You might be wondering how exactly Ashley Madison fares compared to other sites within the same category, or whether it just provides the same thing all over again. 

Also – what’s the deal with all those bots?

Well, this Ashley Madison review is all you’re going to need to find out if this online dating service is trustworthy and whether it has enough of that proverbial juice in it to make you use the site. 

From their customer service team to the authenticity of Ashley Madison users, we take a close look at this dating site right here, right now.

Ashley Madison Overview

What I Like

  • Ashley Madison app version (iOS & Android) 
  • You can create accounts on Ashley Madison free of charge
  • Keeps your personal details safe & secure
  • Credit system is fun & unique

What I Don’t Like

  • Maybe ease up on the bot messages
  • Nearly all key features require you to buy credits
  • Slow customer support

A Few Notable Ashley Madison Features

  • They offer affordable credit packages to access the site’s features
  • Highly customizable security settings allows you to stay anonymous 
  • “Discreet” profile picture option available
  • Allows you to select partners based on marital status

Prices

The Bottom Line

Ashley Madison works best if you’re using the platform as more of a paid, premium option. 

It honestly doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of free content, but purchasing credits instead of using it completely free will allow you to unlock some of the best online dating options you can find compared to most dating sites out there!

You get what you pay for.

Ashley Madison: Free Affair Site or Is It a Crummy Scam?

To be completely honest with you, my dear dating site friends, I was one of the unenlightened fools that had completely believed Ashley Madison to be nothing but an affair site. 

After all, there’s no denying that as far as online dating sites go, Ashley Madison leans hard on their reputation as a place where you can meet real women and men outside of your own marriage for a bit of some fun on the side.

I mean, come on: it’s right there on the Ashley Madison homepage! 

As far as online dating sites go, not a lot of online platforms that focus on extramarital relationships exist right now, with Ashley Madison and its main competitor, Victoria Milan, perhaps being the only “mainstream” ones.

But that’s neither here nor there; Ashley Madison boasts of male and female profiles as well as other members who are non-binary, so it just piqued my curiosity even more. 

Plus, there’s an Ashley Madison mobile app available on Google Play, which means this is probably one of the most convenient online dating sites to check out right now. Suffice it to say that I didn’t waste any time creating an account with Ashley Madison.

Creating a free Ashley Madison membership is relatively quick and easy. As with any other dating site out there, you’ll be asked to key in the usual bits of info they need, such as your location, password, etc.

It’s very easy.

However, Ashley Madison stands out when it comes to providing you with a whole host of relationship types to choose from, which the site uses to determine how they’ll pair you up with other women, men, or everyone in between!

Creating a Profile On Ashley Madison For The First Time

I chose to head on over to my account first to see what’s in store for me once I start to use the site.

From the get-go, Ashley Madison makes it so that you can up your game to get more potential matches on their platform. At this point, I still haven’t uploaded a single photo, and this site isn’t going to stand for having my account look like a fake profile.

Fair enough!

Still, I’m a timid Timmy, so I chose to skip that step for now. I was more focused on answering the question: is Ashley Madison worth visiting at all?

On one hand, I’m quite impressed with how Ashley Madison presents you with a homepage that manages to provide you with a visually appealing experience; show you just the right number of suggested profiles, and give you an overall streamlined experience.

I’m not kidding: Ashley Madison makes other dating platform layouts look like amateur hour. 

Whereas other online hookup platforms make it a point to shove their features down your throat, which ultimately leads to an unpleasantly overwhelming experience, Ashley Madison focuses on providing you with ease of access.

As you can see, there are only 4 main sections that you’re going to find on Ashley Madison. That’s all you’ll need to find to meet a real woman, man, or trans member on this platform. 

To be specific, these sections are:

“Buy Credits

Ashley Madison credits are the site’s currency, and buying some allows you to send custom priority messages and use the site without any restrictions whatsoever.

Everything on Ashley Madison is created equal, so both women and men have to pay for these credits if they want unfettered access to what this dating platform has to offer.

“Profile”

Directs you to your own Ashley Madison member profile. You can add public or private photos here as well as list your preferences and create a short bio that will entice other Ashley Madison users to send messages to you.

Make it good!

“Discover”

The folks at Ashley Madison work hard with their algorithm to provide you with member suggestions based on your preferences. They put them all in one place, which makes it way easier for you to find other users’ personal information and perhaps connect with them when you send virtual gifts or messages.

Sometimes the matchmaking algorithm knows best.

“Messages”

As with other social media sites out there, the messages section is simply your inbox. You’re going to find the private messages that other members send you in here. This is also the place where you can reply to said DMs, so it’s pretty much a highly convenient way to see if you’re getting any hits on your profile.

Like I said, this is the most streamlined adult hookup platform site interface I’ve seen in a while- perhaps ever- and you’re going to love how everything is just nicely organized, from where you see your messages to where you can edit your profile info.

“Priority Man” Feature

One thing that stood out like a sore thumb during my initial browse of the Discover section is this ad that allows you to boost your profile.

Ashley Madison calls it the Priority Man feature, and it allows you to bump your profile to the top of their Discover page for 30 days (and for more money). 

This whole service costs 29.99 USD and it’s not a recurring charge either; you simply buy another Priority Man service once your first one expires after a month or so.

You Can Add “Disguised” Photos for Extra Privacy

Ashley Madison, regardless of the big deal it makes about extramarital affairs, is still a hookup site first and foremost. As such, it’s no surprise that it pretty much operates the same way as its competitors.

A perfect example of this is how Ashley Madison asks for stuff like adding your profile photo; creating a short introduction that other members can check out; and providing you with some privacy settings.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t amused with Ashley Madison’s “disguised” photo feature. In between the data breach they experienced some years ago and the sauciness of extramarital relationships, keeping your personal information has become their top priority. 

I guess that’s no surprise!

So, this is a much-appreciated feature that you’re going to find invaluable once you start meeting and connecting with other members on Ashley Madison!

The Advanced Ashley Madison Search Filters – Are They Any Good?

So, how does Ashley Madison work when it comes to searching for other profiles that are, well, more to your liking? Well, all you’re going to need is this little icon right here:

I will admit that it sucks that Ashley Madison does NOT have a search bar or dedicated search engine that lets you just type in whatever term and lead you to potential partners. However, their filters yield search results that are just as good, if not better, than having a proper search engine.

Clicking on the “filters” icon on the upper right hand corner will reveal the full search filters section, and it’s one of the most detailed that you can see on any given online dating platform. 

Yes, you have the usual filters that allow you to whittle down your search based on location, age, and when certain members have come online. 

However, Ashley Madison ups the stakes by placing additional filtering categories, such as body type; ethnic background, and limits.

Their filters based on body type are highly specific, too, with options that range from slim all the way to more unusual ones like curvy and plus-size

I also can’t help but commend the way that the folks at Ashley Madison work nearly all Ethnic backgrounds into their filtering options. 

You have the regular old choices like “White” or “Asian”, but they also included less represented ethnicities like First Nations and East Indians. So, yeah, if nothing else, Ashley Madison is one hell of an inclusive dating platform online.

We love to see it.

Yet another impressive addition to this filters section is the option of narrowing down your search based on the kind of relationships you want your other users to be in. 

If, say, you’re a guy, you’ll have the option of looking for: males who are seeking other males; females looking for married males; or married females looking for single males, just to name a few. 

So yes, you can be gay on Ashley Madison!

Simply put, Ashley Madison understands that there are a whole lot of relationship types out there, which makes it the perfect online hookup platform for people looking for specific types of dating setups.

Additionally, you can also filter your searches further by way of choosing what language you prefer your partner to speak. After all, isn’t communication the key to any kind of relationship?

But perhaps one of the niftiest things that you’re going to see in these filters is the one for Limits. Here, you get to choose what kind of relationship you want to get into, whether it’s a short-term fling or an affair that’s strictly done online!

Are Fake Profiles A Problem On Ashley Madison in 2022?

Now, if you’re worried about fake users with fake profiles floating around Ashley Madison, you’ll be glad to find out that it’s not an issue here. 

However, it’s easy to see why new users might be worried considering that – as you can tell from the photo I grabbed above – there are numerous profiles here that don’t even feature a profile photo. 

Instead, you get shown quotes in front of a gray Ashley Madison logo. No, those aren’t fake profiles; those are just users who don’t have any public photos, meaning they prefer that you ask permission before you get to see their goods!

With so much discretion, it makes sense.

If you want to see members with public photos up for viewing, you can always easily set that within your search filters! Cool, right?

Keeping Members on Ashley Madison Safe – What About the Privacy Settings and Permissions?

I decided to check one of the suggested profiles on my Discover section. This one had a public photo posted… albeit one that’s been made to be “discreet”. By that, it means the member chose to blur their profile photo.

If you want to view their public photo, you’re going to need to add a photo of yourself.

It’s a whole tit-for-tat kind of setup that keeps the whole playing field fair. You can also appreciate how this greatly reduces the likelihood of you getting stalked by internet weirdos, so bravo, Ashley Madison. 

A good job!

On the other hand, users can have “private pics”, and the only way to access these things is by asking for the owner’s permission and having them subsequently accept your request. 

Exciting.

Suffice it to say that Ashley Madison definitely learned how to up their security game ever since that unfortunate data breach they experienced a few years ago.

Aside from photos, you also have icons meant for member interactions that you’ll see on each user’s profile. These are:

Heart Icon (Favorites)

The heart icon allows you to add any given Ashley Madison user to your Favorites list. 

Once you do, you can easily find them the next time you’re online by simply clicking on your own profile’s Favorites list.

This might seem like a rather trite, minor feature. But once you realize that Ashley Madison does NOT have any search bar where you can type in members’ names to reach their profile, this Favorites button becomes one of the most valuable features that you can use on this dating platform.

Wink Icon

The Wink icon is just a virtual greeting. Sending one to another member will simply notify them that someone has taken notice of their profile.

Sometimes it’s the casual ice-breaker that you need!

Key Icon

The key icon allows you to request for general access to another member’s profile so that you can check out all their photos and the other stuff they’ve posted to their account.

There’s a fourth icon that just opens up a drop-down menu and is honestly a bit unnecessary, save for the Report and Block buttons that allow you to cut off any form of interaction with a member you don’t like.

Hey, you might not be able to leave negative reviews for each member, but reporting or blocking them is the next best thing!

Keep in mind that you get a mixed bag of members on this site, though: there are as many users who have no public photos to show their prospects as ones who do, and that’s not to mention the millions of other users who prefer to keep all of their stuff privately.

Message button

Lastly, there’s a button on each member’s profile that will allow you to send them a message. 

There aren’t any direct video messaging features here that allows you to have a live video chat with other members, though, and the ability to make use of this DM feature requires you to purchase Credits from the site.

Ashley Madison Direct Messages (DMs) – A Safe, Premium Way to Communicate!

Ashley Madison is unique among its competitors in that it uses a credit system in place of a monthly subscription structure to allow you to access its premium features. 

Both women and men have to pay for these credits – there are no free rides!

Primarily, you’ll be using these AM Credits to send DMs and reply to them. Simply put: the more credits that you have, the more interactions you can take part in with other AM members.

I myself had a fresh new account, so I was surprised to find that I had already received 3 DMs from other users. LOL. 

It turns out, though, that these messages were sent automatically by the site’s bot.

They’re more suggestions, really, and I nonetheless appreciate how this dating platform provides you with this kind of assistance in finding people you can have a relationship with.

As I said, though, these are all for show if you don’t have any of those sweet, sweet Ashley Madison Credits in your account… so you’re going to have to pay if you want to reach out to other romantics out there.

It’s a nice touch that AM added a dropdown icon beside each message. This lets you check out additional options on how you want to interact with a member, whether you want to check their profile out more or just delete the conversation altogether.

It’s good to have options!

Ashley Madison Cost – It’s Freemium, Not Free!

I’ve mentioned that you won’t have to pay a monthly subscription fee to enjoy unlimited access to what AM has to offer. Instead, you just use their site currency, AM Credits, to purchase features on a piecemeal basis.

It’s a budget-friendly option that allows you to just spend on the features you want to use when you need it, instead of having to get charged per month for stuff that you might not even need. 

That said, Ashley Madison might not be a good option at all if you’re looking for a free online hookup platform, but it’s definitely one of the top affordable choices that you can go for right now.

This site accepts PayPal and credit cards primarily… two common payment methods that are widely available to users all around the world. 

So, no complaints there!

There’s also a third payment alternative, which honestly isn’t at all convenient: money orders and checks sent via snail mail. 

What is this… the ‘90s?

Nevertheless, you have to commend the site’s developers for adding this to their list of available payment channels.

Plus, they regularly offer Bonus Credits whenever you buy one of their packages. Like I said: more credits means more opportunities for you to meet and connect with other Ashley Madison hopefuls out there.

Account Security and Settings on Ashley Madison – The Best Today

If there’s one thing that Ashley Madison learned when their servers got hacked and their members’ private information was leaked for all the world to see, it’s that you can’t get complacent when it comes to providing your users with privacy and account settings.

First off, Ashley Madison has made it their mission to provide you with the most customizable account settings that you can get from any given dating platform online. 

Most notable of these, of course, is the ability to post public “discreet” photos that blur your identity and can only be seen by other legit AM members.

Smart.

That’s only scratching the surface, though, because this online hookup platform has a bevy of account setting options that you can tweak and customize based on your preferences. 

Yes, there’s the usual stuff: email addresses, passwords, and whatnot.

But just by scrolling down, you get treated to additional account settings that allow you to hide your location; view all the purchases you have made through the site, and easily deactivate or fully delete your account.

Thorough is an understatement for Ashley Madison, people!

You can also customize the types of notifications you get from the site as well as the frequency with which you receive them. 

This is a highly detailed tool that allows you to create an online dating experience that’s tailor-fit to your needs.

Of course, last but definitely not least, is their privacy and security settings: it’s basically the section that Ashley Madison has placed an impressive– even unprecedented– level of care and customization toward ever since their “accident” years ago.

From allowing you to hide your profile from other users to setting your very own security sections to ensure that you’re the only person who can use your Ashley Madison account, the site has made sure that all your personal details (especially the ones you use to have extramarital relationships) are kept safe.

Conclusion – Should You Try Ashley Madison?

Ashley Madison stands out as one of the top adult hookup sites online right now, regardless of whether you’re looking for a place to find some hot action on the side or just discover potential partners in general. 

It’s true that you won’t find much to do here if you’re using it for free, but the affordable and unique credit-based structure they use for their premium features make it so that you can have fun on this platform without having to spend big money to find some dates.

Nice and low-commitment!

However, if you’re looking for an adult dating site with less of a focus on cheating/affairs and more of a focus on guilt-free sex with an open-minded community, then I’d recommend Adult Friend Finder as a great alternative to Ashley Madison.

Whether you try Ashley Madison today or any other adult hookup site, we hope you find what you’re looking for. Hopefully this Ashley Madison review in 2022 has helped you to make the right decision for your sexual needs.

Good luck!