Self, Sex

An Open Letter To Anthony Weiner's Sexting Partners

An Open Letter To Anthony Weiner's Sexting Partners

First of all, I want to acknowledge the pain you're in. You've been hurt by someone in a position of power and then victimized again by our society. I believe Anthony Weiner is suffering from a Level One or Level Two sexual addiction, and you have been traumatized by it. Our society underestimates the danger and the cost of this kind of addiction — and often blames the victim as a way to avoid taking responsibility for the pain it causes, just like the addict does. You've been caught in our culture's systemic "victim blaming" stance, also known as "rape-splaining" and "sl*t-shaming."

I'm a sex addiction coach, and here's how I see it:

Anthony Weiner plainly used his position as a prominent lawmaker to steer political discussions into lewd conversations. He explained his sexual advances by complaining of loneliness when his wife was traveling for work, which unfairly shifted the blame to his wife. He exposed himself to you, which felt like a shocking violation — and later to the world via Twitter. This is a form of exhibitionism.

He took advantage of you, his devotees — and victimized you twice: once by exposing you to unwanted advances and once by exposing you to virulent public criticism. He exploited his political clout to gain your trust because you were in a less powerful position. 

Patrick Carnes, the leading expert on sexual addiction and author of the groundbreaking book, Out of The Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, refers to this kind of sex-addicted behavior as "indecent calls and liberties" and "exhibitionism." According to Carnes, indecent calls and liberties occur "when the addict calls a woman in order to make suggestive statements, or to ask intrusive or embarrassing sexual questions." Soon, however, efforts to be more explicit about the sexual intrusion can follow. Keep reading...

More sexting advice from YourTango: