I’ve cheated before.
There, I admitted it.
Do I feel better about myself?
Not really, considering I came to terms with my own infidelity long before I admitted it to you. There were reasons. There are always reasons to cheat. Primarily, I don’t think one steps out sexually in a relationship if things are 100% dandy.
And while I am happily married now, who’s to say it won’t happen again? Relationships are never stationary if you’re doing them right, and in the future my relationship with my husband may look very different than it does now. What’s important is the level of communication we share, and we have pretty kick ass communication.
Relationship rant aside, if I did decide to cheat again, I certainly wouldn’t want a faceless twit from the internet exposing it, not only to my husband, but to the rest of the world.
That is exactly what happened last week when AshleyMadison, a dating website geared specifically towards married people, was hacked and millions of users’ private information was made public to the world.
Of course the trolls came out in droves, chastising the victims of this hack from beneath their narrow little bridges for—well, whatever debauchery they perceived was going on in these people’s private lives. Not surprising, considering in the magical sphere of social media everyone has an opinion, especially when it comes to sex.
I mean, why shouldn’t their thoughts matter? A little blank box on their screens is practically begging for them to opine.
Ashley Madison is just the most recent example of internet rape. In March, hookup website Adult Friend Finder was hacked, making millions of users’ personal information, including passwords, emails, and sexual preferences available for anyone who wanted a little look-see. And people looked, because even the most prudish internet troll has a little bit of voyeur in them.
There are reasons people feel they have to hide their sexual kinks, the most common being some trolls don’t just stick to the internet. They’re our bosses, spouses, family, and friends—people who hold our metaphorical balls in their hands. They’re people we love and respect and, let’s just face it, that loud-mouth, opinionated brother of yours can go his entire life without knowing you like to have your balls tied and stretched and your nipples slapped with a riding crop.
But the bigger reason some people feel they have to hide behind a profile picture is because our puritan roots run deep. Centuries later, and we still hold to some backwards notion about what sex and relationships are supposed to look like, and, spoiler alert, riding crops and infidelity isn’t in that picture.
Except they are.
Off in the background, where the voyeur can’t quite see. It pisses us off, the things they may or may not be doing. It pisses us off because we can’t judge those things adequately. Because it’s not happening to us. Or, just maybe, it is.
But when someone offers us the dirt that paints the distorted picture we’ve been yearning for in our own depraved minds, when silent judgment over others’ private sex lives becomes voiced dissent, we become part of the problem.
It’s victim shaming.
And it is wrong.