Every new technology gets immediately put to sexual use. Steam engines powered the first vibrators, some of the earliest movies were porn. Texting is no different. Eighty percent of college students in a recent study report sending or receiving explicit texts. The number is 60 percent for images. Sexual manners that govern the way we act in other areas extend into the electronic realm.
Our mission at Babeland is “to promote and celebrate sexual vitality” — and consent is basic to sexual well-being. If Weiner’s sexts had been between consenting adults, I’d be defending him — but they weren’t. He sent the unsolicited photos to young women who admired his politics. He is like a flasher on the subway — imposing his sexuality on others. To make matters worse, these women engaged him in the world of ideas and beliefs, with their minds and hearts. Instead of nurturing their political interests and engaging with them as citizens who care enough to write on his Facebook page, he’s sending them crotch shots — truly demeaning and reflective of his lousy character.
Because of his unsolicited exhibitionism, Weiner is giving sexting a bad name. Sexting — one more way to communicate flirting and sexual desire — is good if both people are into it, but unwelcome sexting is gross.
So what he did was rude, intrusive, sexist and stupid. Did that mean he had to go? No, but tell you what though, I wouldn’t vote for him.
Rachel Venning is the co-founder of Babeland, a sex shop with three locations, including Park Slope.