One of the better articles somewhat related to the Spitzer saga

For the most part, I am not interested in the "reporting" of the Spitzer/escort drama. For one, much of the reporting seems more salacious than for the benefit of any community members (and I think we are all part of this community) who should perhaps be moving on. Two, much of it is basic reporting with very few in-depth looks at what this means for people and what sense we are making of it. Three, because unless new reports add anything to our community, to the world, I imagine that they do more harm than good and may make things more difficult on the Spitzer family.

This New York Times piece, written by Jan Hoffman, is an exceptionally well written and insightful piece that uses the Spitzer saga only as a means to talk about the ways that women and children are referencing it to make sense of their own families. As in, would my husband (or father) do this? If my husband paid for sex, would I stay or leave? If I stay or leave, what message does that give to my children?

These are the issues that I think are useful to consider. And even more so, how do we create the type of family – and hence, community – in which we come to feel that we know each other? How do we become vulnerable to each other and give our relationships partners reason to have faith in us? What happens in long term relationships to make us stick together or to fall apart and lie? Under what circumstances do we give second chances?

More than once in my life, I have lost faith in someone – whether it was a relationship partner, a parent, or a friend, isn’t the issue here. In one instance, I remember feeling so hurt that I temporarily lost faith in people as a whole. Maybe that’s the way of "first betrayals" - a sense of losing faith in the world. Has that happened to others? Another time, I had a different reaction: I lost faith in someone and was deeply disappointed but I reached out to friends for support and in the ways that they all – without fail – came to support me, I actually increased my faith in people and in my community. I don’t know if my ability to maintain faith and trust in this second case was because I made myself vulnerable to friends in seeking support (thus giving them an opportunity to restore my faith) or whether it was a function of age and experience, having lived long enough to see more good in the world. In any case, I am glad that I was able to keep it.

In regard to the NYT piece, I think there are quite a lot of women and men who think their partner would never betray them in such a way. Most are probably correct. Some, however, are not. As a sex researcher and educator, I hear from people who have lied to their partners about their sexual behavior and who come to me for advice or information. To tell or not to tell? Okay to go to an escort or not?

Author Beth Moses (who also happens to be a tremendous massage therapist and healer), in her stunning book it’s all well and good, suggests that when you’re not sure what to do, to act from a place from integrity, kindness and goodness.

[Above image from this site.]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.