What to do with All These Weiners?

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Sexual Politics & Culture

Congressman Weiner is the center of only the latest sex scandal to grace the pages of US newspapers and give Americans (and others who love to poke fun at our sexual Puritanism) something to k’vetch about whilst diverting our attention from matters of true importance. But what is important about this phenomenon of politicians who engage in sexual dishonesty? Let’s examine this from a sex-positive, culturally critical perspective.

People act like these sex scandals are so surprising, as if by some magical transformation, just by nature of becoming a politician, people cease to be human or to live in our culture. We live in a sex-negative culture that promotes tremendously unrealistic standards for sexual desire, attraction and expression. When I say “sex-negative”, I mean that we do not see sexuality as a positive, healthy part of life and something to be expressed, but rather as something to fear, loathe, control, manipulate, suppress or use against others. We create very narrow standards for sexual conduct and guess what? We are such a diverse people, that most of us won’t be able to uphold those limited standards. Really, it’s just simple math if you think about it. And Weiner exists in this same culture and falls prey to it just like you and me.

Our culture also loves to sexually shame people and we use sexual shame as a means for gaining cultural currency. Politicians, who have many “enemies” will be obvious targets for public shamings. And we all love reading the stories and sighing about what a horrible man/father/husband/politician he is because he had sexual feelings he didn’t manage well. I’m not excusing poor behavior, but since we live in a culture that on the whole doesn’t offer many opportunities for other ways of expressing our sexuality outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage, eventually, those of us who are repressing parts of our desire or identity are going to leak it and get busted for it. It’s the way it works.

And really, is Weiner so different from most other men? He’s fascinated by his own penis and how big it is. He just took the step of photographing it and sharing it, to his detriment. Poor form for sure, but penile narcissism is nothing new.

Politicians aren’t really supposed to be sexual. They are supposed to uphold an impossible moral code and they fail over and over because it’s impossible—sexual or otherwise. They are no different from the rest of us, but because they are a public figure, they are under much more intense scrutiny and they are “supposed to know better.” Well, guess what? They don’t. And we all participate in these public shamings that not only hurt them, but hurt their partners and their families deeply. Because there is no greater place to be shamed than in your crotch. We get them where it counts and then all of their work and judgment is deemed questionable. But we breed men to be sexually demonstrative and then we tell them they’re all wrong for doing it.

While I didn’t agree with how President Clinton handled his scandal and it was obvious there were serious power differentials at work between he and Monica Lewinsky, I was grateful to know the man’s sexuality was alive. I’d much rather have the man with access to the big red button be a person who expresses his sexuality than be a repressed, suppressed sexual person who is ready to explode because he has no outlet for sexual expression. And the truth was that none of us knew what agreements he and Hilary had about their relationship. We always assume people to be monogamous because few of us talk about being otherwise. I think it’s likely they had made some agreements about extra-marital sex. But that would lower the scandal quotient so we don’t want to look at that possibility. It’s more fun to shame!

Ultimately, Weiner’s downfall, just as that of many of his peers, is his narcissism. In a position of power where the whole road is open before you and the possibilities for affecting American politics are in your reach, you think you are above the law and that the same standards don’t apply to you. You think in grandiose terms that make it hard to imagine you’d get caught doing anything wrong because you don’t even see it as wrong anymore. You are a dogooder so a little chasing of your desire is no big crime.
Think former NYS Governor Spitzer. Think Schwarznegger. There is such a long list of them at this point. We like to put these guys in their place and remind them that the same standards do apply to them. What I’d like to see us question are the standards we hold ourselves to to begin with. If we’d address sexuality as a natural and normal part of our lives, if we’d implement comprehensive sexuality education programs for all ages, if we’d make real sexuality education and therapy widely available and paid for by insurance, if we’d value all people as sexual regardless of their gender, age, race, ability level, orientation or any other characteristic, it would look really different. Until then, we’ll continue to see these scandals pop up and make a laughing stock out of politicians who should know better…but how are they to know better? They might want to start by funding comprehensive sexuality education so their kids have a fighting chance to do it differently. Since Weiner is staying in office, he’s got a great opportunity to use his voice where his penis fell a little short.

A’magine is a pioneer in sexual empowerment and her extensive real-world experience sparkles throughout this book. This is a delightful journey toward better, richer, more fulfilling sex, for women who want more joyful, creative, pleasurable lives.


co-founder of Cuddle Party

Hi, I’m A’magine

I’ve been a Sexual Empowerment Educator
[&] Coach for over 25 years

I’ve helped thousands of people improve their lives, boost their confidence, learn the art of asking for what they want, step into their power, learn to radically love their bodies, show up as emotionally powerful in their relationships, rock-star their mid-life with the best sex ever, and put in perspective and practice the very real and important role sexuality was meant to play in their lives