Foot tapping senator stays on the (Senate) floor

cruising for sex

Even though his attempts to take back his guilty plea for foot tapping/allegedly soliciting sex in the bathroom of a Minneapolis airport have failed, Senator Larry Craig (Rep. – Idaho) has decided to remain in the Senate to the dismay of many of his colleagues.

In this New York Times article, there are several quotes that I find disappointing. One is from Senator John Ensign of Nevada who is quoted as saying, ”The type of behavior we are talking about here is not exactly something that I think a senator should be engaged in.”

Granted, public bathroom sex is technically illegal but it also seems like police tend to bust men for bathroom sex more often than they bust straight couples for having public sex. Sure, once everyone knows that a spot is cruisy it is easier for police to target a raid on a space where men have sex with other men, but it also speaks of homophobia. Why not raid Victoria’s Secret dressing rooms, where straight couples regularly try to get it on? Or bathrooms in crowded clubs? Or straight couples trying to join the Mile High Club?

Assuming Sen. Craig really was trying to have a sexual encounter in the airport bathroom that day, it was still consensual and it was probably not even very risky sex – maybe just a fondle or jack off or perhaps a little bit of a blow job. Get over yourselves already, Senate. We know the rest of you have sex, too – it’s just that most of yours (a) is currently legal (thanks to heterosexual privilege and modern times) and (b) usually doesn’t wind up on the front pages of newspapers. Instead of this Sen. Craig conversation being about the secret life of a Senator, why not turn it into a conversation about why we bust men for public sex way more often than we bust opposite sex couples?

Image via ASU art museum.

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