When Privates Go Public

A favorite tweet these days: “Now Our Generals Are Led By Their Privates!”

“Again?” you ask.

“Of course,” I say.

I’ve decided to bring back an old post on exhibitionism; not that Petreaus and Allen were sending weenie photos, but

Ever since Anthony Weiner decided to display himself on the internet, many of my lunch meetings, discussions and therapy sessions include a moment when the other person leans toward me with real sincerity and asks, “You’re a psychologist. Why did he do this?”  People who never seemed particularly interested in my insightful musings are baffled enough by the excessive genital offerings to inquire. Yes indeed, what’s it all about Alfie, oops, Anthony?   I’ve been thinking about this, thinking hard.  My initial flippant answer had been, “I don’t know but I’m going to create Tushbook.com. It will be like Facebook, but it will be for tushes.  This way, tushes can ‘friend’ other tushes and, when an especially delicious tush shows up, we can all press the ‘like’ button. Not being overly familiar with Facebook, I’m not sure what the tushes will be able to do on my site but I will figure it out, beginning with the requisite travel photos, serious alone poses, pictures with friend’s tushes, and certainly with pets. I guess tushes can also obsessively comment on what they have been up to, stuff like that. Maybe an underwear company, a body lotion distributor, or rash cure ointment (only herbal), will want to run ads on my site thereby subsidizing my next vacation (which will not be on a beach because I’ve already seen too many bodies this month).

Don’t tell me that this is serious business. My entire career has been serious business. Exposing oneself on the internet just strikes me as silly and funny.  And don’t blame the cell phones because they make exposure so easy. I have sympathy for the cell phones.  Imagine what would happen if these cell phones could speak!!  After being tucked in some sweaty, dark pocket for most of the day, they get dragged out in the House of Representatives locker room to snatch a few good pix. Weiner’s phone was probably pleading, “Help, get me out of here, don’t make me look at any more private parts. Go back to sexting!”

What is the psychological dynamic behind going public with one’s privates?  I have to read more but here is my beginning attempt to understand. I believe that exhibitionism plays a role in cyber peek-a-boo. Exhibitionism is a compulsive tendency to expose parts of the body, usually the sex organs for the purpose of sexual excitement.  I have no clue what motivated Tony Weiner but the desire to be seen, to show one’s self to others, and the need to attract attention to one’ self.  This problem seems to be an element of cyber display (and politics). Look at me, look at me!  Don’t I have super duper thing-a-ma-jig (you can tell that I’m running out of euphemisms)?

Back to exhibitionism.  Most of us want to be seen, to be known, but relatively few of us stand in front of mirrors and photograph the usually covered bits and then send them out into cyberspace.

Except —- exhibitionism is a normal part of child development.  Kids, teens and pre-teens have always stood in front of mirrors, examining themselves, practicing smiles and kisses, trying on faces and clothes.  But then, the point was to practice this immature, self-conscious preening in private and get it right before deciding whether to take the show the road.

My first “friends”…………


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