Tom Matlack is a husband, dad, writer and venture capitalist (in descending order of importance). He co-founded The Good Men Project . Matlack invited DoubleX’s Amanda Marcotte to participate in the following dialogue about the Anthony Weiner scandal and its aftermath.
Question: “Is the prevalence of the cock shot in the news a sign of male impotence?”
Tom: Darwin had this theory about evolution moving always forward and relatively slowly. It seems that perhaps the male species, in certain cases, has begun to move in reverse and like our baboon ancestors we seem to think that a display of male genitals will lead to dominance and genetic longevity. Not sure that is working out so well. Perhaps we should be firing around electronic scans of our brains instead of erections, but that could just be me.
Amanda: As long as it’s all consensual, I have no problem with men wanting to show off their cocks. Women’s boobs, asses, and vulvas have been used to provoke sexual arousal for roughly forever, and the fact that men want a piece of the “look at me, I’m so hot” action is a lurch towards objectification equality. If you only learned about men and women through our advertising, you’d think that women’s natural posture is slightly bent at the waist, ass in the air. Considering the prevalence of women showing off the goods, I fail to see why it’s primitive for men to want a piece of the exhibitionist action.
Question: “Weiner is good, bad, sick, irrelevant, all of the above, none of the above?”
Tom: Sick with no value judgment. In all seriousness human beings make mistakes, sometimes criminal ones, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find in the ashes of that horror a soul capable of doing meaningful and good things in the world. My hope is that Weiner is able to get better and find out whatever is the truth about himself.
Amanda: I strenuously object to the trend of medicalizing every instance of poor impulse control or even slightly illicit desire. Weiner isn’t sick. His need for attention from younger women is pathetic, sure, but if you judge everyone’s mental health by their worst impulses, there is no such thing as a healthy human being. Creepy dudes don’t need rehab. They just need to get over themselves.
Question: “Is rehab appropriate or just a way to gloss over the crime?”
Tom: I do believe sex addiction is a real disease, not different from reliance on drugs or alcohol. It involves a complete lack of honesty and being willing to put sexual interactions above all else in your life with no regard to reason or self-preservation. I would think that Weiner fits that definition. I have no idea if rehab is the answer but the way he has been living his life sure doesn’t look like it is working out so well right now.
Amanda: I don’t believe sex addiction is a real disease. I think some people might need psychological interventions for compulsive sexual behavior, but characterizing sex as addictive troubles me. Will we start calling overeaters “food addicts”? People who sleep in on Sundays “sleep addicts”? At what point are we willing to say that someone is having “too many” orgasms? It seems to me that we’re overrating Weiner’s willingness to put his sex life above other things. He didn’t actually have sex with these women. He mostly seemed to be sexting with them to amuse himself while working and traveling, and if he hadn’t slipped up, it seems like he would have gotten away with it. If that’s addiction, then our nation should be deeply worried about the epidemic of Angry Birds addiction…