Are Japan and the US different in their attitude towards affairs?

ABC News reports (“Adultery Site Big in Japan Where Marriage Reigns” April 2, 2014) that Ashley Madison, the world’s biggest hookup site for married people is doing very well in Japan. The number of users in Japan grew at the fastest pace of any of the 37 countries where the site operates.

Why is Japan ahead of other countries?  The reasoning is that a faithful marriage is considered the ‘right’ way to go in the Japanese culture but underneath both husbands and wives want more sex.  And I would add that they want the additional excitement of sex with someone new.  Divorce is one way to get that.  But in Japan that can lead to a loss of stature negatively affecting relations with one’s children, close relatives and work colleagues.

So an affair is an easier way to more sex.

Is the US any different?  ABC reports that Ashley Madison didn’t ramp up as quickly in the US.

But Japan could have been faster because there are fewer options to find an affair partner such as fewer women in the workforce, or that the women who are in the workforce are less open to having an affair than US women.

What we keep secret provides one clue to how different or how similar the US and Japan are regarding the attitude towards affairs.

Keeping it secret, especially from one’s spouse, children, parents and work colleagues is the way in both countries.

Keeping it secret is a sign that in both countries getting married and staying married is the culturally approved and admired way.  Having an affair, while understandable from a biological standpoint because everyone is human, is culturally unacceptable, shameful, diminishing and stigmatizing.

Ashley Madison knows this, and according to the news story, provides a secure site that allows for pseudonyms and anonymity.

So the ‘secret’ is out–everyone wants sex, preferably more rather than less, preferably with someone new from time to time, but marriage has its advantages.  It’s comfortable, steady, secure, gives the opportunity for a family, and can be a good economic unit.

One way to try to have both is to have an affair but keep it secret.  The same in both countries.

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