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First off, let me come right out and say it: If the man wants to engage in kinky photo play, sexting, phone sex, or whatever else with other consenting adults, that’s none of anybody’s damn business.

In saying this, I’m not trying to make some sort of distinctly un-queer demand for privacy, but to refuse the way we typically deal with sexual nonnormativity in politics.

Right now, that is, any sort of news about any public official having anything but “heterosexual, married, monogamous, procreative, noncommercial, in pairs, in a relationship, same generation, in private, no pornography, bodies only, vanilla” sex—what resides in Gayle Rubin’s “charmed circle” of “Good, Normal, Natural, Blessed Sexuality”—results in a scandal and in people, usually from the other party, demanding immediate resignation.

(One exception to the “same generation” one: people are a-ok with trophy wives.)

The knee-jerk response to say people don’t belong in office for engaging in these kinds of sexual practices is a problem. Enjoyment of sexual activity that other people don’t approve of is not indicative of an inability to govern. It’s also not necessarily the case that people who are “in the public eye” should be held to a higher standard than Average Joe or Jane, no matter what the Average Jane on the street interviewed by the LA Times says.

Of course, the fact that Representative Weiner didn’t come out and argue that in the first place doesn’t do him any favors. Nor does his go-to response of making up stories about hacking and Photoshopping, because, though probably effectively mystifying the situation for people over a certain age, he should have taken a stand rather than dodging.

And indeed, it seems like maybe he himself was confused about how the internet works, as somebody points out over at GraphJam. Hey dude, if it’s in electronic form, it can and will travel given an incentive. And you being a politician is all the incentive needed.

Announcing that he’s “seeking treatment” was also lame. Treatment for what? Liking sex? Using new media to facilitate it? So much for the ringing, sex-positive proclamation that nobody should care because it’s not relevant to his job that it’s high time for and which I, for one, would have liked to see.

On the other hand, it’s pretty likely that he has hurt his family with all this, and he’s definitely been dishonest, and those aren’t traits I particularly want to defend in public officials or anyone else.

However, whatever interpersonal strife Mr. Weiner has going on is a family issue that should be dealt with as such—currently, we tend to do that in private, though we could imagine a different way, with some sort of community working together to make it better. Or counseling or churches or whatever floats peoples’ boats.

But not a media circus and being essentially fired from one’s job—not least because if lying was the criteria for resignation, all houses of governance would be empty tomorrow.

Now, I’m not unquestioningly supporting this guy. Far from it. As we have learned from many an incident before this one, politicians (and activists. I’m looking at you, Julian Assange) sometimes abuse their power when it comes to sex.

So Nancy Pelosi was right to initiate an investigation into “whether any official resources were used or any other violation of House rules occurred”

It’s also right to check whether he got women to like him because he was a politician or because he suggested he could use his connections for them or any of those things.

And maybe we should also ask whether the exchanges he had with underage individuals were of a sexual nature, though that’s assuming we ignore the sheer arbitrariness of 17 = illegal sex vs. 18 = legal sex. Seriously, people magically become able to make good decisions when the clock hits midnight on their 18th birthday? (I teach 18, 19, and 20 year olds. They don’t.)

But, in a general sense, this is what we should be concerned about, not that he was having sexytimes with another consenting adult. Looking into these sorts of things is, first, the feminist, sex-positive set of questions to ask. All sex is a-ok as long as nobody gets hurt, so let’s check to be sure there was no coercion or manipulation, because given unequal power that was a possibility.

Second, these kinds of questions about doing it on company time, using company resources, or promising favors are what we would ask in any other job—and therefore totally reasonable.

Third, what might actually be indicative of an inability to govern is using his office as a Representative to facilitate his sex practices. His constituents who questioned his ability to make good decisions are right on in that respect.

So, let’s have that conversation instead.

I did really think I was done with Glee, but then Dianna Agron had to go and wear that “Likes Girls” shirt. Tune in next week for “So, You like Girls: Dianna Agron, Meet Adrienne Rich”

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