Justine Musk (moschus) wrote,
Justine Musk


I let it slip to a male friend that I thought Andrew Weiner is maybe a sex addict.


“Why?”   He immediately seemed on the defensive.  “Just because he was sexting?  Or because he sent a picture of his – nether regions – to this woman?”


Oh my god, I thought, looking at my friend with bemusement.  You have so totally done that. 


“Not that I’ve ever done anything like that,” my friend said. 


“No,” I said, “because he was so stupid about it.”


Sex addiction is a process addiction, which means that the addict gets his rush off the chemicals -- serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline – that the behavior activates in his own brain.  Under this theory, Weiner made his highly questionable use of social media not because he was ignorant of the potential consequences -- but because he was in an altered state. 

He was high. 

Sending some near-stranger a picture of his underwear-clad erection through a public channel like Twitter no doubt seemed like an excellent idea at the time.


Which is usually how and why a sex addict gets caught – if he gets caught.  He (or she) gets careless and leaves something on his cell phone or laptop for someone else to find.   If he’s famous and/or wealthy, he leaves himself open to exploitation by the less-than-savory characters he encounters through the Internet. 


“But you know what I think?”  a girlfriend said to me over dinner at Spago the other night (I had the gnocchi, and it was awesome).  “I think 99 percent of all men cheat on their significant others.  Don’t you think that?”


“No,” I said. 


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I think that believing that 99% of all men cheat on their significant others is halfway (or maybe all the way) to also believing that "it's okay, he couldn't help himself, he's a man." (In regards to many things, from cheating to rape.)

I'm really not prepared to go down that road. Thankfully, I am pretty sure that 99% of the men I know/have known over my lifetime have not and will not cheat on their significant others.
Kind of depends on what you call cheating. Would participating in a polyamorous relationship be cheating? Does flirting constitute cheating? Kissing? And does forming a relationship count as cheating? Or prostitutes? Do they count?

I am not going to embrace either 99% as far as men cheating or not cheating. I know that when I was in a relationship that was winding down that I was tempted and actually kissed one girl but went no farther. I felt like I was cheating in a small way but I knew that I would feel worse cheating in a big way. And then on the other hand, there's my dad who was cheating on his wife when he got mom pregnant with me. It's the Don Draper mind-set of the man who has a wife for all the cooking and cleaning and whatever and goes out looking for other women for everything else, but it's still creepy.
Polyamorous relationships aren't really cheating, if everyone involved is consenting. I mean, some people have "open relationships" where they see other people casually but are in committed relationships with one particular person. If both people in the committed relationship are truly okay with it, is it cheating? (I know of a woman - I don't know her personally, but I have read some things she has written about her life - who is a prostitute and is - or just got - married to a man who must be okay with her being a prostitute, because she seems to be continuing to work in that trade. I don't know if the men who hire her are cheating, but I guess she probably isn't if her husband is okay with it.)

I don't believe that 99% of men cheat on their partners any more than I believe that 99% of them are fully loyal to their partners (I just think I'm lucky in the men I know). I don't believe either case to be true of women, either.

But saying that almost all men cheat on their partners is like saying it's okay, and it isn't.
I think cheating is in the eye of the beholder. There's no blanket definition that serves every individual and/or every situation.
True. I was with someone for five years who repeatedly told me that if I even had thoughts about another man, even casual passing thoughts, in his eyes that constituted cheating. To me that seemed extreme and unrealistic.

I do think a lot of people cheat, especially when it's easy to get away with - I work in the classical music industry, and we spend long stretches away from home, like actors on location. A lot of people step out on their spouses who stay home with the children.
I agree with you absolutely. It's sexist in that it ascribes almost all men with reprehensible characteristics and excuses the behaviour in the same breath by calling it a natural man behaviour.



June 19 2011, 23:47:57 UTC 9 years ago Edited:  June 20 2011, 00:13:55 UTC

I agree with you. I think my friend feels that way because she spends a lot of time around wealthy powerful men -- who a) have more opportunity and b) are often more narcissistic (lack empathy/feel entitled) and c) tend to reinforce that behavior in each other. We're all influenced by our friends and our friends' friends...
Seems like Weiner was talking dirty in a mutual conversation. The Bill Maher/Jane Lynch reenactment of the transcript definitely makes it seem like they were encouraging each other to talk dirty and send dirty pictures. And she asked for the picture too.

Don't know if the picture ended up on a public forum or not, but as far as I can tell the anti-Weiner campaigns seemed very Orwellian. As far as I can tell it wasn't "some stranger" but a woman that he had formed a very questionable relationship with and who got off just as much as he did on sexting (or as we called it back in the day one-handed typing) and while that's a little creepy, it certainly doesn't say sex addiction since it doesn't seem like those conversations were ever supposed to be read by anyone besides the participants.
I meant stranger as in "person he didn't know very well". And yes, he sent it through Twitter, and it ended up on his public feed (which is how it got discovered). Clearly it was between consenting adults -- that's not the point.

I don't meant to imply that he's a sex addict *just because* he did this. Not the act itself, but the *recklessness* of the act that ended up costing him his freaking *career* and made him a national joke. When a sex addict is acting out, he/she often feels invincible, and ends up taking greater + greater risks.

(Keep in mind sex addiction isn't about being 'perverted' or 'creepy'. Addiction is a sickness, it is not a lack of willpower.) Addiction is characterized by the fact that you want and try to stop but you can't, despite the negative impact it has on your relationships, career, etc. And it's progressive (as in: it gets worse over time).

You're not a sex addict because you sext a woman or visit a porn site. You're a sex addict when you're on the Internet 5 hours *a day* -- despite the impact this has on the rest of your life and you feel ashamed about it and want to stop -- visiting porn sites and trolling for sexual encounters of one kind or another.

And I'm not saying he is for sure -- I was just saying, again, that for a smart man he made an incredibly foolish decision that put his career at risk (even if the messages had remained private, this woman could have blackmailed him, sold her story to a tabloid, etc.). It's the sheer lack of judgment, the pointless risk-taking, that makes me suspect him + that I'm concerned with -- that I think most people are concerned with -- the rest is just details (no matter how sordid).
"The love impulse in a man often reveals itself in terms of conflict."
~~ Bringing Up Baby (1938)

I *swear* that quote came up as I was reading your last comment Justine! Now here's a test to your belief: Is/was William Jefferson Clinton also a sex addict? I ask because I said virtually the same exact thing that you did in that last paragraph as all the hoopla was going on in DC lo those years ago....especially that "he made an incredibly foolish decision that put his career at risk....It's the sheer lack of judgment, the pointless risk-taking, that makes me suspect him." (and in Clinton's case there was a pattern of it).

I'm saddened that every time this happens to someone of one party, the other party's supporters attempt to turn it into a political issue. As someone in the center I find both Liberals and Conservatives rather hypocritical when the subject of perversion or criminal behavior is uncovered.

I think *part* of the problem is a lack of understanding of addiction. Most people on the street are disgusted by the 400 lb woman eating a massive ice cream cone despite logically knowing that she probably despises herself for eating it.

Years ago, I used to go to Las Vegas with a friend who wasn't "happy" until he'd lost all his money. It sounds insane...and it is. He'd go on a hot winning streak and be up hundreds or even thousands of dollars but would then gamble (the craps table was the worst) in a way that he almost had to lose it all at some point. It was that thrill of riding along the razor's edge that he was addicted to...and the cycle of elation, depression and rejuvination that the addiction fed. He couldn't stop.
In my book *the* best screwball comedy ever!
“But you know what I think?” a girlfriend said to me over dinner at Spago the other night (I had the gnocchi, and it was awesome). “I think 99 percent of all men cheat on their significant others. Don’t you think that?”

“No,” I said.

What does this mean? Given the reference of:
“Why?” He immediately seemed on the defensive. “Just because he was sexting? Or because he sent a picture of his – nether regions – to this woman?”

Oh my god, I thought, looking at my friend with bemusement. You have so totally done that.