By now I'm convinced that almost everyone I know has heard about Anthony Weiner and his notorious "Weinergate" photos. Almost as soon as the story broke, people have been asking me what my sex educator opinion is. In case I haven't made it perfectly clear, talking about politics makes me extremely uncomfortable and it's most likely because I never had an interest in politics as I find it mind-numbingly boring. This is definitely one of those cases where I am not smarter than a 4th grader.
According to his official bio, at the time he was elected to office in New York, Weiner was the youngest person ever to be elected to City Council. Last summer he married Huma Abedin, who is over 10 years younger than him, in a beautiful and posh ceremony that was officiated by former President William Clinton. Also, Huma, has been the long time secretary of Hillary Rodham Clinton, and is currently pregnant with their first child.
Oh the deliciousness of it all! Seriously, parts of this story are so juicy that it has to be fattening.
Currently, Weiner is in some sort of rehabilitation to address his sexual compulsions. While he first covered up, ok lied, about someone hacking into his account to send his cock shots and steamy sexts to numerous women, he has recently admitted to being the "perverted" perpetrator. It isn't clear how many women he sent his half naked or naked shots to, but it appears that the number is more than 2 or 3.
Not only am I certain that Arnold is thrilled to no longer be the scandalous topic de jour, I'm going to briefly refer back to a blog post I wrote about why Arnold cheated. Like Arnold, Anthony is in a position of power and by all accounts, aggressively pursued his wife. Huma, like Maria, is also what most people would consider a pretty powerful woman. She is not a stay at home wife (not that there is anything wrong with that), and I'm assuming travels a lot if she is Hillary's secretary. What I know about some of Anthony's sexting partners is that they were either much younger (like college-age young) or in a position of much less power (one had been a blackjack dealer in Vegas). Also, while most people would probably consider these women to be more attractive than Patty (Arnold's baby momma), there is absolutely no competition when it comes to the sophistication and style that radiates from Huma's photos.
I'm not at all surprised about another political person involved in a sex scandal. Seriously, at this point, it is almost easier to point out who hasn't been publicly shamed for sexual behavior. As a society, it is so much easier to point our finger and criticize a celebrity or public person because it is one of the only ways some people are comfortable discussing the taboo topic of sex. And when it comes to shaming someone, the more "depraved" the behavior, the better. The kicker about this is story is that many of the people who are pointing their disapproving finger are probably guilty of engaging in some sort of similar behavior. If I were to guess, I bet their internal dialogue sounds something like "..man, what I'm doing is not nearly as bad as or even seems relatively normal compared to THIS guy!" Think about how tempting and re-assuring it must feel for someone to normalize their sexual behavior by publicly shaming anyone other than them self.
Some people are totally thrown by the idea of Anthony engaging in decidedly non-newlywed type sexual behavior. I hate to break it to you, but this is not at all uncommon behavior. Without getting too into it, I don't believe that monogamy is the most natural sexual behavior. There are some people who are probably more predisposed to thriving in a monogamous relationship, but a huge population of people find it to be very suffocating. I don't have scientific studies (although they might be out there) about why people divorce, but my sex educator sensibilities tell me that a lot of divorces are due to people struggling with the un-natural expectation of monogamy.
But what about sexting?
Sexting has become a behavior that is highly seductive. People sext with others for a variety of reasons, and when I use the word "sexting" I basically mean sending nude pictures and/or sexually charged messages.
Here is just a partial list of why I think people sext:
- Sexting can validate that you are, in fact, a desirable sexual creature by someone other than your primary partner.
- Sexting involves a level of personal risk that can be addictive and produce a "high".
- Sexting can make you feel connected to someone.
- Sexting is super easy to do and a person often doesn't stop long enough to consider the consequences.
- Sexting can be done anywhere, and some people sext during office meetings, while masturbating, at all hours of the day, and sometimes when they are sitting right next to their primary partner.
- Sexting can be alluring because there is always that chance that it could move from sexting to real life sexual encounters.
What people need to realize and admit to is that almost everyone has personally taken or has allowed someone else to take a "lewd" photo of them self. It is just too damn easy in this day and age as almost everyone has a smartphone. What gets people into trouble is when they naively believe that no one else (except the intended person(s)) will ever see the pictures or messages. It doesn't occur to people that once something like a naughty photo or text is out there, you can't get it back. You don't have to be a nerd to understand this concept.
People desperately need to learn a little fucking common sense when it comes to sexting and sending naughty photos. My suggestions are for people to ask themself a series of questions BEFORE they hit the send button.
What questions am I talking about? First, I'm glad you asked, and second, take a looksee at the list I put together:
- How you would feel and react to this information getting leaked?
- How would your primary partner feel and react upon learning this information?
- How would your children feel and react upon learning this information?
- Does the photo you are about to send have obvious personal and incriminating "tells" in the background like, I don't know, a picture of you and the former President or is it obvious that you are taking the photo in the congressional locker room?
- Is the person you are about to sext with a minor?
- What is the REAL reason you are engaging in this type of behavior?
- Are you willing to repeatedly lie to your friends and family about someone hacking into your personal accounts?
Let's face it, sex scandals will never, ever go away. As a society, we don't need to "reclaim family values" or even publicly shame individuals for their sexually "reckless" behaviors as much as we need to give people the skills to better manage their impulsive behavior which, as it turns out, often goes hand in hand with utilizing some good ole' common sense.