It may be something you giggled about: all the guys who are listed on the Ashley Madison site (known for husbands who cheat on their spouses) had their names and emails and personal info revealed to the world. There are politicians, school officials and more who were caught on the site that encourages cheating on your spouses. The emails were dumped to the public by an unknown source as kind of a joke.
But, there’s a darker side.
Ashley Madison has a “Down Low” section. Bet you didn’t know that. In fact, they encourage it. On the page, there’s a guy with his shirt tail popping out of his zipper, and it reads: “Engaging in sexual activities with another man does not make you gay. It simply indicates that you have certain desires that your wife or girlfriend cannot help you fill. Men understand their bodies. They know what feels good.”
It does get a bit more explicit. In fact, it almost encourages such same-sex activity even though a guy may have a good sex life with his girlfriend. In fact, the site encourages that such an act is “only natural.” It seems like the message is a positive one, especially for the guys who may consider themselves bisexual, but are in a heterosexual relationship. If they’re secretive about it, it was often called the “down low,” and started in the African-American community among married black men who have sex with each other.
So, the outing of the list of men on the site includes many married men who were seeking liaisons with other men. That may spell marital problems, but in 75 countries that Ashley Madison also reaches, having same-sex relationships is illegal, and sometimes it is punishable by imprisonment and even death.
A guy from Saudi Arabia posted a message on Reddit saying that he would be stoned to death if the information was published. “Gay sex is punishable by death in my home country so I wanted to keep my hook-ups extremely discreet,” he wrote. He brings out that this is a life or death situation for many closeted bisexuals throughout the world. That danger is apparently real for many guys.
So far, the list that was released show 1,200 email addresses with the Saudia Arabian “.sa” suffix, where adultery is punishable by death. About 50 emails are from Qatar where homosexual relationships are punishable by up to five years in prison. Then, there are 1,500 accounts from Turkey where being gay is not illegal but a military soldier can get booted out or banned from service.
The cyber-terrorist group, Impact Team, released the data into the Dark Web, which is a sub-level of the Internet that cannot be accessed through normal browsers. Overall, the Ashley Madison site is very bi-positive and goes on to talk about the incorrect interpretations of modern human sexuality, and some historical views, too. Past cultures were far more accepting and inclusive of same-sex relationships by married men. For example, it says, “You should not let outdated cultural interpretations of human sexuality prevent you from enjoying a full and varied sex life. They talk about the ancient Greeks and Romans who had sex with other men.”
Then, they are pretty educational about using the word “bisexual” and “heteroflexible.” “Most people occasionally experience attraction to members of the same sex. Enjoying [sex] from another man does not make you gay; it simply means that you are human and that you enjoy pleasurable sexual experiences. Do not let feelings of guilt make you question your identity.”
They preach about safer sex of course, but insist: “It just means that you are normal.” Heteroflexible is a term that refers to a person who enjoys occasional sexual activities with members of the same sex but still considers himself straight.
No matter what, the site is not judgmental, however the people who may find your name on that list could be.