In what’s being calling “breaking news” this week, Representative Anthony D. Weiner has confessed to online sexual communications with a woman other than his wife. He is, one of many men in the public eye whom have been caught sending provocative pictures, texts, webcams and video engaging in what I call sex on the download otherwise known as online sexual behaviors.
The frequency of such events raises the question of what is the appeal of sex on the download when you are a high profile person?
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Of course the answer is different for everyone, but there are some common factors at play here for most men.
High profile lifestyles are often chosen by people who seek admiration and in turn feel empowered by the recognition they receive. For some, this need for attention is insatiable; they attempted to fill the void by living a public life and receiving as much attention as they can.
The attention and recognition makes them feel important and valued, but for some, the hunger is never fully satisfied. It’s at that point that they turn to sex as a means of getting recognition.
Sexual play, whether online or in reality, is a way men can gain recognition on a more personal level. Whether it’s by soliciting praise about their body or accolades about their “abilities in bed” when a man is engaged in sex on the download he achieves a momentary boost to his esteem. It is always a false sense of value but to him, in the moment it feels very real.
Sex on the download also establishes a pseudo-connection with anonymous people. The connection feels intense even though it isn’t real. One never has to worry about being vulnerable. People on the Internet cannot hurt you nor reject you as much as the real people can and do.
Additionally there is the invincible belief they will not be caught. Much of this belief comes from narcissism. Those who have a narcissistic personality, or have strong narcissistic traits, often do not accept responsibility for their actions. They blame others for their bad behaviors, accept responsibility for their good behaviors and feel they are above the law and any other negative consequences.
They also don’t consider how their actions will affect others. Men in this mental state engage the Teflon technique into their thinking and belief systems. They think that by denying their own part in the creation, action or outcome of the problem, that the accountability will “slide off” them like Teflon and leave them unblemished. When in reality, their narcissism impedes their ability to accept responsibility and feel the empathy for those they have harmed. It’s the old Eddie Murphy joke of “wasn’t me” that they try to push on to others in the hopes of maintaining their own narcissistic house of cards.
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What are the reasons these men engage in their sexual acting out behaviors?
Hard as it is to believe, the truth is that many men—and women as well—who seek online sex and sexual connection never meet or have any intention of meeting at all. The thrill is not in the actual hooking up, but in the chase!