DC Is for Cheaters

Penchant for success leads to extra-curricular activities?

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It seems like just yesterday that D.C. was making headlines as the top city for finding single women. (OK, it was actually two weeks ago.) And even before that, the District was ranked #10 on a list of the best cities to find a date.

Perhaps it's these great odds for romance that led the city to hit #1 for... infidelity.

Every year since 2009.


AshleyMadison.com, a popular website for cheaters -- or, excuse us, those looking for "casual encounters and married dating" -- ranked D.C. as the least faithful city, USA Today was the first to report.

The rankings were based on third-party research complied by WolfAlpha.com, which calculated the places "with the highest per capita membership" on Ashley Madison.

So why did Washington end up at the top of the list?

"It has its own magnetism," said Ashley Madison founder and CEO Noel Biderman.

D.C. professionals are risk takers by nature, said Biderman, who believes that those with a penchant for success are more likely to cheat on their spouses. Their ambition and power, he said, entices them to take on the challenge.

In addition, those in high-powered positions mean people are more likely to be living apart from their families. Many are transplanted here from other places and this leads them to cheat away from home, he told NBC Washington.

Biderman also offered a third explanation. Citing the infidelities of  both John F. Kennedy and Newt Gingrich, he said sometimes people begin to believe that having an affair isn't as uncommon as it seems.

And "it's all about the women in Washington," quips a PR release for the company. For users age 20-29, the ratio of women to men in the area is higher than average.

Biderman insists that Ashley Madison does not seek to encourage people to have affairs, but rather to "convince them not to have them in the workplace." 

He does admit that a source of discrepancy may be in the numbers used to calculate D.C.'s population. The site is anonymous and it is possible that those users who list D.C. as their home might actually live in parts of Maryland or Virginia, but don't specify that on their profile.

Still, "the weekend is full of expectations that do not get met," he says and the Washington Post reported that Ashley Madison "receives approximately 30 new sign-ups per day with peaks on Mondays."

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