Martin Bashir | June 07, 2011
>>> from wiener to schwarzenegger, to john edwards americans are nearly getting whiplash shaking their heads wondering what were they thinking? in the case of congressman wiener, how could he fall prey to the temptations of sexting with the clear likelihood of being discovered? well, we have two women experts with us now to figure out why men are so dumb. clinical psychologist dr. michelle golan is with us from los angeles and kristin conger is a tech writer from discovery news and how stuff works.com with us from atlanta. michelle , if i can start with you, explain the psychology of this, please. why does a man like anthony wiener, a powerful congressman with a gracious and beautiful wife, why on earth does he go online on digital devices and start sexting with strangers?
>> well, i think the first point is that individuals like this really believe they can get away with it. that's what the biggest problem is, is that they believe they're om nim tent and they have this ill lution because of their own sense of power through politics or work. it's a big issue. it's narcissism.
>> so is it, in your view, is sexting adultery in your view?
>> oh, absolutely. i work with couples all the time that have experienced this, have been victims of it by their partner or have perpetrated it, and when we step out of our marriages and we are intimate sexually and even deeply emotional with another person who isn't our partner and is the opposite sex or is our -- could be attracted to us or them, it is cheating. it is a betrayal and it is painful and hurtful.
>> okay. kristin , what is it about the mode of communication that is sexting that makes it so tempting for people?
>> right. well, i think that sexting is tempting and dangerous for some of the same reasons because you have 24/7 access to smartphones where you can hop online, see if someone is on a facebook chat. representative wiener, it came out he sent multiple chats to multiple women. it doesn't take a lot of time to snap a photo of yourself, even if you might be, say, in your office as he might have been, and then send it out to someone. so it's that kind of instant gratification that sexting offers that's so tempting and so dangerous. not to mention how traceable it is.
>> so does that suggest, kristin , that the individual who would engage in this has very small low levels of self-control?
>> well, it might not necessarily boil down to the person. one interesting thing from the press conference that representative wiener had yesterday was that he mentioned that the communication felt very frivolous at the time. and that points to the fact that this is very low commitment forms of communication. you can send out an e-mail, you can send out a text, and it seems like he got stuck in a pathological pattern of doing this and maybe getting addicted to that instant gratification .
>> well --
>> dr. michelle , go ahead.
>> i think on that point, and this is really true, it's low commitment but it's high arousal. what happens with individuals who are politicians, you know, we've seen the slew of them, doesn't matter if they're republican, democrat, or whatever, it's about this quick lift arousal, emotional arousal and you're dealing with individuals who are in high power positions, and so their arousal level is in a constant state of needing more, and so these things sort of peak it and allow it to be pumped up quickly, i'm needed, i'm looked at, i have attention on me, and i'm omnipotent and it's a little secret and it's a little sexy. it's that urge and desire for the quick arousal.
>> as it says in the picture in front of you, me.
>> dr. michelle golan, and kristin ,