by Dan Savage
on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 6:12 AM
Because it made his dick hard.
In the cover story in the latest issue of Newsweek ("The Confessions of Eliot Spitzer"), Jonathan Darman trots out the usual imbecilities, the usual pseudo-psychoanalytic bullshit that gets kicked around when a powerful man "risks everything" with an intern, a hooker, a house page, an airport toilet, etc.
Among the many odd traits of political animals is that while they tend to find themselves fascinating, they have little aptitude for, and less interest in, analyzing themselves. Spitzer is no exception. I asked him recently if he'd read any of the theories why he was so reckless with Ashley Dupré. "No," he said, clearly not wanting to say anything more. I started to recite some of the most commons ones—that with the chaos of his governorship, his illicit sex life was a last refuge he could control; that he had been reckless and risked punishment because a part of him felt a need to be punished for never measuring up.
Why can't we ever tell the truth about male sexuality in public?
Spitzer was horny. And like a lot men out there, he had the means to hire someone to act out a "difficult" fantasy—choking, apparently—that either his wife wasn't willing to indulge or that he was too ashamed to ask the wife to indulge. And, like many men who go to pros, when Spitzer weighed the benefits—getting off—against the risks—getting caught—he miscalculated. And lots of men are terrible at monogamy (women aren't much better), and it's possible that Spitzer's wasn't just after choking action, but a little variety as well. And about the choking action: Many men have sexual fantasies that involve ritualized sexual violence, and it's often difficult for these men to incorporate their fantasies into their marital sex lives—their own madonna/whore hangups; their wives' inability to see incorporating kinks as a kind of lovemaking—and many of these men seek the services of pros. And in most cases, the services of pros aren't a threat to these men's marriages, but rather the thing that makes it possible for these men to remain content in their marriages.
In short, Spitzer was horny for something he wasn't getting at home—perhaps he was refused, perhaps he never asked—and he did what most men (and women) do when they're not getting something they desperately need at home. He went elsewhere. Which doesn't excuse his hypocrisy—as NY's attorney general, Spitzer prosecuted people for running the kind of prostitution services he patronized himself—and, yeah, he was taking enormous risks... something the rich and powerful and the poor and penniless have been doing for tens of thousands of years. The big difference: We don't hear about it when the poor and penniless get caught.
Spitzer, to his credit, comes pretty close to admitting what he was really doing in his response to the clueless Darman's moronic attempts to psychoanalyze him. See if you can read between the lines:
He was silent for a moment and then, without further prompting, offered an explanation: "I'm not going to say anything that... should be thought to be an excuse for anything. But there's got to be some element to its being a result of tension and release. And that builds up."
Yeah, it might have had something to do with the build up of tension and the need for release. That just might be it.