Weiner, Cyber Cheating, and Gender: A Discussion

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  1. jameseq says:

    wow, headwrecking reading.
    Weiner ‘sick’?? sick sir, sick? ;-)
    Tom were you really given the answers you really believed in, or saying what is the ‘correct thing’ to say?
    Your answered sounded political. But then you are a somebody while im a nobody, so i can afford to speak more freely

    In this article. You appeared more censorious, a more authoritarian nanny than Amanda. Your answers placed you firmly in the temperance, prudery wing of feminism. Your answers appalled Amanda, thats noteworthy
    I found myself agreeing with Amanda’s answers, although i had to strip out her pathological digs to men though lol

  2. wellokaythen says:

    I find myself agreeing with everything Amanda Marcotte said in this interview. (This doesn’t mean I always agree with her.) I also agree with jameseq that Tom’s responses seemed a little too politically perfect for my taste. I’m not saying Tom’s insincere, just that those answers seemed like “the right thing I’m supposed to say.”

    I like the point that Marcotte made that seeing marriage as nose-to-the-grindstone actually contributes to infidelity, not just prevents it.

    I know that the article/interview was asking about cyber cheating, so of course it’s going to mention marriage, but could we please stop using “man” as a synonym for “husband” or “father”? It’s a non-sequitur to ask the question, “why can’t men just have sex with their wives instead of….?”, because not all men are married. In fact, if trends continue, pretty soon the majority of American men will be single. (Already the majority of American women are single.) Am I imagining it, or is there a lack of attention to the possibility that a man could be a “good man” and be single and/or childfree? A good man need not be a husband nor father, need not even be in a relationship, gay or straight. My God, a good man may not even like sports!

  3. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Actually sex and food can both be addictions, and moralizing about them doesn’t help. But addiction treatment can help. I worked in addictions for four years, so I know. Sometimes “working on a relationship” with a therapist does help, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve worked as such a therapist. The “medicalization” of addiction is irritating, I’ll admit. But many in addiction treatment don’t take the “illness” model all that seriously. Addiction is basically conceived as an illness-without-any-details, and many physicians would agree that it’s not a medical condition. Actually Bill Wilson started citing “illness” to get the moralizers out of addiction treatment. It worked.

    One of the irritations of this site is that many come here to moralize. Won’t work.

    • Jameseq says:

      Youre right henry sex, food, infact anything can be an addiction. I disagree with amanda’s reply to q3, and agree with tom.

      I agree with both amanda’s AND tom’s replies to q4,5,6,7. Tom’s answers to q1,2 and 8 surprised me so greatly it initially overshadowed his other replies

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man bend over backwards harder to unjustly throw his gender under the bus. If you think so little of men and so much of women, Tom, why don’t you get a sex change operation? The fact that you made Amanda sound reasonable is truly truly a new low.

  5. Quijiboh says:

    Tom, your writing has taken a worryingly moralising tone of late. For someone who so recently talked about not ‘putting people in boxes’ and judging a person on their individual merits, you are remarkably quick to write Weiner off as some sex-addicted pervert.

    I found myself much in agreement with Amanda, who it turns out is pretty reasonable when she isn’t being so achingly patronising.

  6. ngz3120 says:

    Were Weiner republican, that false rape apologist creep would be over at her website rabble rousing up a lynch mob for him.

  7. I love, love, love The Good Men Project, but Tom your sensitive/evolved-guy answers were so boringly pat I could barely finish. Weiner is sick? Really? Please.

    Marcotte, on the other hand, was refreshingly spot on.

  8. After such a nice breakdown of generalizing men in Q5 he then turns around and just says, “Men just choose not to.” for the final question. Huh?

    And I think this Weiner thing puts a bit of a dent in the beleif that men can get in scandals and come out unscathed. People have been calling for him to resign for a while and I just saw an article on CNN where supposedly someone close to him says he’s considering doing just that.

  9. Amanda’s comments are realistic and reasonable. Tom’s comments are judgmental, puritanical, unrealistic, and smack of the thinking of a self-loathing male radical feminist.

    • SnakeEyez says:

      I kind of disagree with you about the self-loathing male radical feminist thing. I kind of get the impression that Tom Matlack is more of the recovering addict type. You know the one who thinks everyone else is an addict too. He’s like the alcoholic that never really comes to terms with their problem but blames it on the alcohol: I’m not the problem but rather the object of my obsession/addiction is the problem.

  10. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Amanda’s off her tree here. She has no idea what she’s talking about.

    • Henry Vandenburgh says:

      Okay, I agree with some of her comments. She’s wrong about addiction and therapy.

      • Perhaps but look at it this way. I for one like the fact that when she doesn’t engage in personal attacks she is actually a reasonable person. Now if she were to have taken this civilized approach when talking about MRAs and PUAs….

  11. I think the oversimplification of sexual addiction/compulsion in this little Q&A does more harm than good: http://feministallies.blogspot.com/2011/06/on-sex-addiction-and-compulsive-sexual.html

  12. ngz3120 says:

    The fact that men want a piece of the “look at me, I’m so hot” action is a lurch towards objectification equality” . See how she spun the extra sexual freedom that women have as victim hood? “I fail to see why it’s primitive for men to want a piece of the exhibitionist action.” She neglects to mention that women already objectify men as status, wealth, sex, conception and sacrifice objects.

    And we as still waiting for her to comment on the false rape accuses that went on to child abuse and murder that she supported even after she was proven to be lying about being raped.

  13. Richard Aubrey says:

    Marcotte deliberately took the words “work on your marriage” as if it meant some kind of dutiful nose/grindstone connection. Then ran with it. The term is generally meant to cover paying more attention to your partner as opposed to other distractions such as work or hobbies. Those can take over without any direct effort. It means making yourself a better partner. Hugo S. is always talking about the hard work involved in that.
    If you have a hard time talking to your partner about, say, sex, going digital is easier. But having to do some work to get over that isn’t an indication of some moral failing, nor is it grunt labor. She found an opportunity for a semantic gotcha and avoided other issues.

  14. Amanda made a lot of great points (as usual)….especially: Every instance of poor impulse control and overinflated bouts of entitlement do not need to be medicalized. She contradicted herself when she questioned the concept of working on a marriage” but then said this at the end of the interview: “If you’d rather sext with strangers or watch porn than have sex with your partner, maybe it’s time to ask why sex with your partner has become a chore instead of a diversion.” That’s what happens when you don’t do the WORK of maintaining your marriage. I am very familiar with Amanda, but her views on marriage and family are sometimes range from comical to contradictory because she lacks life experience.

  15. Why can’t we all just have a lot of great sex with our spouses rather than resorting to unsatisfying online masturbation?

    Tom: We can. Men just choose not to. I say try it, you might actually like it.
    Tom, thankfully most men do not think like you. If they did, the earth would be pretty empty.

    • “Why can’t we all just have a lot of great sex with our spouses rather than resorting to unsatisfying online masturbation?

      Tom: We can. Men just choose not to. I say try it, you might actually like it.
      Tom, thankfully most men do not think like you. If they did, the earth would be pretty empty.”

      I think that masturbation is normal and healthy and does not effect population growth all that much as people have always been doing it. Do you also believe that women shouldn’t masturbate, use porn, machines etc…?

      • SnakeEyez says:

        Anyone who thinks human’s population are growing fast enough should really rethink their hypothesis. If anything we need to slow down population growth on a worldwide scale!

  16. I found myself agreeing with Amanda, who seems to understand what men think and feel a hell of a lot more than Tom. Was Tom’s wife in the room when he was responding? If he was being sincere, he would be the first man I have ever met that spoke in that moralizing tone sincerely.

  17. Anonymous Male says:

    “Why can’t we all just have a lot of great sex with our spouses rather than resorting to unsatisfying online masturbation?
    Tom: We can. Men just choose not to. I say try it, you might actually like it.

    I agree with the general sentiment here, that maybe for some men paying a little more attention to their relationships with their partners would result in a more fulfilling sex life than online masturbation provides. No doubt true in many cases.

    If only it was that simple for all in-person sexual relationships. This question presumes that 1) there is a spouse, 2) the spouse is ready, willing, and able to have great sex and is just waiting for some more attention, and 3) the cybersex is replacing the in-person sex. I would guess in the vast majority of cases of men masturbating to online porn, you won’t find all three factors.

    And, theoretically, if online self-pleasure is not as good as in-person sex, then maybe the problem is not being good enough at the online self-pleasure. Did anyone consider the idea that online masturbation could be better than it usually is? There is more than one kind of sexual exploration, after all. I get the sense that much of society feels threatened by the idea of men spending “too much time” masturbating. Of course it could be addictive and has the power hurt one’s relationships. Just about every pleasurable thing does.

  18. I find the comments nearly as interesting as the article. While complaining about Tom’s judgmental and moralistic tone, commentors sound pretty judgmental themselves. Placed in the context of the two year conversation Tom has been having with his readers, it is clear that Tom is honestly conflicted about what it is to be a “good man”. And that is the point of this Project. And why I find it so compelling.
    I don’t always agree with Tom, but he does always make me think.

    I found myself agreeing with both Tom and Amanda. Tom is right in saying that marriage is hard work; should be hard work; commitment always is hard work; and I understood Tom to be saying that many men don’t always “get” that for intimacy to be satisfying and fun, it requires attention to the hard work of commitment and to the importance of foreplay which happens way before the bedroom. Amanda is right in insisting that intimacy can and should be fun — that men and women who enjoy the sexual dimension of their marriage have avoided the trap of viewing it as duty and obligation. Those two realities are not mutually exclusive.

    • Quijiboh says:

      I would disagree that the criticism in the comments necessarily amounts to being judgemental. If people’s reactions were anything like mine, it was mostly being utterly perplexed at how vehemently Tom laid into Weiner. I’m not endorsing what Weiner did, but Tom’s response seemed to lack any sense of proportion. I was astonished at how quick he was to throw out words and phrases like “sex addiction” and “sick”. It also seemed completely incongruent when you consider, as you say, “that Tom is honestly conflicted about what it is to be a ‘good man’”.

      I think Amanda was more concerned with the mindset that the phrase ‘hard work’ might suggest. Loving relationships aren’t a job. It’s not a transaction in which you perform a task in exhange for an incentive. Cold, grey, economistic thinking is already far too intrusive in our daily lives. Granted, that’s not what everybody takes the phrase to mean, but surely there’s a better way to put it than making it sound like a career investment?

      • I don’t understand the issue with Tom’s choice of words. If it is not an addiction that Weiner is dealing with, then it certainly seems to be an obsession that has affected both his career and his marriage. As Tom knows, in order to face something that has thrown your life out of balance, you have to call it what it is. Also, I understood Tom’s use of “sick” not to be judgmental, but descriptive. Again, Weiner’s career and marriage have been threatened by his actions. That is an imbalance that has thrown his life into termoil. It is controlling him, in a way that is not healthy. That is pretty much a description of what it means to be sick.

        • Quijiboh says:

          It is only ‘controlling’ him in the sense that the very public nature of his career means that the media frenzy surrounding him threatens his image and thus his electability. It is not a behaviour he engaged in to the exclusion of all others. Other than the media circus, it did not impinge on his ability to function as a congressman or in most other parts of his life. It doesn’t seem like it was any more an obsession than the out of hours activity most people engage in. As someone with a degree in psychology, that does not fit any reasonable definition of addiction to me.

          Sure it’s an unhealthy behaviour, but that does not equate to sickness. I just ate what was probably an unhealthy amount of pizza, but that does not mean I have a pizza-related illness.

          Medical terms such as ‘sickness’ and ‘addiction’ should denote something much more serious, otherwise they become meaningless. Because in the end, Weiner is just a guy who willfully made a lot of mistakes. He doesn’t have a condition. He’s just an idiot.

          • Great points. Those words do lose their meaning when carelessly applied. I would argue that “sick” is not really a medical term, though. My doctor has never told me “You’re sick.” He is more precise in his description of symptoms and diagnoses. “Sick” is a convenient cultural term, in my view, to describe a something that creates dis-ease in our lives. I may be contributing to the problem you describe, but that is how I have come to view that word in this context.

            You may have more, or different, information about Weiner than I, but I am under the impression that this is not an isolated incident for Weiner – that his marriage has been strained by his “interest in” pornography. It may not qualify as addiction or obsession, but if my information is correct, then it is at the very least a “problem” with which he has not dealt successfully.

            Now let’s talk about your pizza-fetish…….


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