Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Spitzer conundrum

So Eliot Spitzer is now a part of New York history.

A very spirited debate took place the other night between myself, Lynne of L&L and our neighbors Scott and Jessica.

The issue turned on whether the governor's wife should have stood by his side and been humiliated when he first appeared in public to state he'd done wrong and then to resign the NY governorship.

Lynne and Jessica were adamant that she shouldn't have done it, that she was there in
a private capacity and was being forced by people behind the scene to be there. They freely admitted they were acting from a woman's point of view.

My position was she is a smart, strong woman. She attended law school, practiced as an attorney and made a decision to leave her employment to stay at home and raise their daughters. Thus, she is the one who most probably made the decision to be at his side when he made his speeches of humiliation. There is no doubt she looked extremely pained.

Also, in the professional way she handled herself as the first lady of New York State, she probably decided to act continue to act professionally to the bitter end and appear with him as the spouse of the governor.

There is no right or wrong answer in these situations. What occurs in private between Spitzer and his wife is their business, but I imagine the people of New York probably appreciated she stood there at that moment and regard her very highly as a result.

Another question is Spitzer's conduct. Again, I feel this is a private matter although, given that he prosecuted Wall Street corruption and prostitution during his time as the NY Attorney General and had a 'take no prisoners' mentality, it would have been difficult to overcome the charges of hypocrisy and continue to govern.

It all boils down to the difference in viewpoints between the sexes at the end of the day, I think. While some men are utterly faithful in their relationships, I really do believe that this is not the norm as our society insists. It should not be that surprising to learn that many men get bored with their wives sexually after a period of years and start looking around (and probably vice versa, though I can't speak for women here). I think society should stop having these ridiculous expectations that people stop being attracted sexually to other people once they get married and that their marital sex lives are blissful from that moment onward. It only keeps sex therapists, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists and morning show hosts in jobs to try and 'advise' what people have to do to spice and enrich their sex lives when they get bored. Once you are bored, you are bored and nothing will change that. Sure changing position and dressing up might work for a week or two, but let's get real.

Love and sex are not synonymous. They can co-exist, certainly do at the beginning of relationships, but then they diverge as the years pass. One can love a partner and not want to have sex with them. There is no crime or negative judgment to be meted out by society when a spouse admits he or she has become bored sexually but still loves the partner and wants to stay in the relationship. It is adult behavior for the spouses to negotiate these situations and not do (as society expects us to do) which is running to shrinks for a fix and they then advise solutions based on the premise that monogamy is the norm and it is immoral to have sex outside the marriage.

My opinion is no one partner can satisfy his or partner sexually for life. People grow and change and their needs grow and change, including sexual needs. It's as simple as that. A minority of people are happy to be monogamous, but not all. And it's time we accepted that. It's time to accept that it's normal to get bored having sex with the same partner for years and to want to have sex and have sex with others outside relationships. It's time to stop buying into fictions created by societal and religious institutions for the sake of convenience and exertion of authority. The fact that children may or may not be involved cannot be used to support or maintain a status quo regarding human sexuality that is clearly failing. The existence of children and responsibility for meeting their needs must be factored into any conduct decided and agreed by the spouses.

Maybe then, we'll not have this constant parade of people in the media who have to make humiliating speeches when they've been discovered behaving humanely. And that would also resolve the spirited discussions about whether a spouse should or should not be present when humiliating speeches have to be made.

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