This piece was originally published on the Blowfish Blog. I never reprinted it here, since it was very topical, and by the time the reprint rights had reverted to me the media flare-up I was writing about had run its course. But the Blowfish Blog archives are apparently no longer on the Internets, and the original piece is no longer available. So in the interest of completism and making all my published works accessible, I’m going ahead and posting it here.
Important note: This piece discusses my personal sex life and sexual fantasies. Family members and other who don’t want to read about that, please don’t read this. (I would also just like to point out: I believe this is my only post to be tagged with the categories Sex, SM, and Sports. I’m finding myself very entertained by this.)
Or, maybe more accurately: Does anyone else have more sympathy and compassion for Tiger Woods after reading the freaky text messages?
Until recently, I had almost zero interest in the Tiger Woods sex scandal. Rich, famous, powerful man; maintained a squeaky-clean public image for years; turned out to be sneaking around on his wife with multiple mistresses and sex workers. Ho freaking hum. Wake me when something remotely unusual happens.
But then — pretty much by accident, since I’d been ignoring this story to an almost aggressive degree — I read about the text messages he sent to one of his sex partners, Joslyn James, which she saved and released to the media.
I want to treat you rough. Throw you around, spank and slap you
Slap your face. Treat you like a dirty little whore. Put my cock in your ass and then shove it down your throat
Hold you down while i choke you and Fuck that ass that i own
Then im going to tell you to shut the Fuck up while i slap your face and pull your hair for making noise
Where do you want to be bitten
I really do want to be rough with you. Slap you around
For years. And punish you for not seeing me more
I want you to beg for my cock. Kiss you all over to convince me to let you have it in your mouth
Next time i see you, you better beg and if you don’t do it right i will slap, spank, bite and fuck you till mercy
I read these texts. And my whole perspective changed.
All of a sudden, my perspective on Tiger Woods was no longer, “Powerful man with a sense of sexual entitlement, who cheats on his wife with impunity and doesn’t think sexual ethics apply to him.”
All of a sudden, my perspective was, “Oh. He’s kinky.”
And that’s a radically different perspective.
But I also have a fair degree of compassion for people in long-term monogamous relationships (or supposedly monogamous relationships), who have strong, deep-rooted sexual desires that their partners can’t or won’t accommodate. I have, for instance, a tremendous amount of compassion for married people who are figuring out, partway through their marriage, that they’re gay. I mean, what are you supposed to do? Break up with your spouse or partner of many years… before you experiment and figure out whether you’re really gay? It’s a lousy situation, one where no choice is going to be a really good one, and people who find themselves in it have to make the best bad choice they can.
And this applies to being kinky — every bit as much as it applies to being gay. What are you supposed to do if you start figuring out, partway through your marriage, that you’re kinky? That the fantasies you’ve been having for most of your life may be more than just fantasies? That they may be a core part of your sexuality, without which sex is always going to be disconnected and unsatisfying?
Now. Add to this the fact that plenty of sexual desires and orientations aren’t socially acceptable. To say the least. Plenty of sexual desires and orientations will get you treated like a pariah if people find out about them.
And being kinky is definitely on that list. In fact, I’d argue that being kinky is significantly higher on that list than being gay. In much of the world, being gay has a fair degree of acceptance, and isn’t that big a deal. In the overwhelming majority of the world, being kinky still gets you treated as a mentally unbalanced, amoral freak. At best.
Or a professional athlete.
And as long as being kinky is as deeply stigmatized as it is, I’m going to have compassion for kinky people who keep their kinks private. I wish they wouldn’t keep it private from their spouses; but again, that can be a complicated moral decision, and while it isn’t the decision I’d make, I can see why some people in some situations might decide to make it.
This is almost certainly not fair or rational. But I now have sympathy and compassion with Tiger Woods for an entirely different reason:
I now see him as family.
I see him as one of us.
When I read those text messages, I did not for one second think, “What a disgusting person Tiger Woods is for doing those horrible things to that poor woman.” When I read those text messages, I thought, “Damn, that’s hot. I want to do that. I want to have that done to me. Now, please.” I could totally see myself doing any or all of the activities described in those messages. Or writing a porn story based on the messages. Or going to a Perverts Put Out reading and hearing a porn story by Thomas Roche or Charlie Jane Anders or some other brilliant sick fuck, based on the messages. And I find it easier to cut people slack when I see them as part of my tribe. It isn’t fair or rational, but it’s human.
Ultimately, though, I don’t know what the deal is with Tiger Woods. And neither does anyone else, except Tiger Woods himself (and maybe not even him). I have no idea, for instance, what the deal is with his marriage: whether he tried to bring his wife into his kinks and she refused, or whether he never told her about them, or whether they had a wild and kinky and happy sex life and he skanked around on the side anyway. Or what. There’s too much about this story that I don’t know for me to really come to any fair or accurate judgment about it.
I just know that my thinking about Tiger Woods has shifted.
The Tiger Woods sex scandal in general, and the kinky text messages in particular, are having the overall effect of making his popularity drop like an anvil. Most people — especially in the media — seem to be reacting to the text messages with derision or disgust or both. But I’m having the opposite reaction. The text messages aren’t alienating me from Tiger Woods. They’re making me identify with him. They’re making him seem less like an unapproachable cog of the carefully manipulated celebrity machine… and more like someone I might run into at a party. More like someone with a complicated sex life, who’s made some fucked-up but understandable choices about it.
More like, you know, a human being.