It seems the many of us that cry out for individual freedoms, for the government to stay out of our personal business, are often simultaneously voicing our opinions on what those rights should be. It’s no one’s business what WE do, but what THEY do, that’s fair game. I call bullshit on this hypocrisy. The irony seeps into all of our lives at some point and we need to call ourselves out, something’s gotta give. The outcry and magnitude of focus on the sex scandal involving General Petraeus and other members of our most secretive organizations showcases not only a major failing in what should be very private matters, but also our utter misappropriation of the important issues. We’ve been at war with Afghanistan for 10 years, the longest in our short span as an empire. Never mind the cost of human life, on all sides. Never mind the positive turn the General took our movement in Iraq. And never mind the very real and current issues us and our allies are enduring daily in a country most of us have never been. Our general had an affair! The worst!

It’s appalling and sad someone with such power was able to uncover and spy on personal exchanges between two people simply because a woman he found attractive wanted him to, but what’s worse is how our media chooses to handle it. A journalist’s job used to be to inform, objectively. Now, it seems their job is to incense, to ignite emotion, fear, confusion, disappointment, and overall feelings of negativity and unrest. Years ago, when I was less mature and more interested in the business and lives of others over my own, I may have found this story fascinating and/or upsetting. Where I am today is merely disgruntled over our chosen focus.

Similar with President Clinton, I feel a person can be a shitty husband/wife while also being great at their careers. What General Petraeus did was unfortunate, even pathetic. Duh, keep it in your pants, but what’s more shocking is our surprise. Those who are drawn to power are often there because of the perks they consistently benefit from. Without naming names, I’ll simply say I’ve witnessed high powered military officers take advantage of these same roles. Their authority and superiority over most provides an air of invincibility. We’ve seen this time and time again.

I accept this. I do not care what my general does with his penis. That is his business. Is it unfortunate for his wife and children? Hell yes. If it were me, I’d of course be humiliated, disheartened, and bewildered if my husband betrayed me in this way. It’s still not a stranger’s business and while I think liars and dishonesty in general should be exposed, it shouldn’t be at the hands of another who’s not even involved, and certainly not in the hands of the US government. This story is convoluted and keeps unraveling.

Naturally, if our national security was really at stake, or if Petraeus was sleeping with the enemy, maybe I'd be concerned. Our outrage is over the sex, not our concerns for safety. That's a lie I find infuriating. Call it what it is. Sex sells, and the news is no longer a free public service, it's a damn performance for ratings and advertising dollars.

I’m sick of hearing about this. We’ve got to define people by more than this one area. And as we’ve seen in the past days as this ridiculous story keeps unraveling; where there is one, there are many. We put our leaders, our celebrities, our CEO’s up to this unfair standard based upon a fictionalized set of moral principles. Dig deep, and you will not like what you find. Men get distracted by young female attention. Young females get distracted by the power of an older man. This happens amongst the weak, but it also lives in us all.

The very people who are outraged over this scandal would be horrified if their own secrets we’re exposed. We all have them. I have nothing to hide. I’m a fairly open book, but if you dissected e-mails I’ve written with friends, you’d discover some filthy talk about what we’d do if given just an hour with James Bond. My husband knows of this, I have no shame, I expect he carries his own fantasies, his own private weird little mind, and rather than using this technology to expose this in him, I prefer to retain some mystery in us all, trusting who he really is, as well as who I really am is much deeper and much stronger than any silly rhetoric can speak to.

I also learned at a young age not to take male attention too seriously. There will be people who love and hate me, those who desire me and those who are disgusted by me. The more I define myself by outside feedback, by my image, my labels, by what others perceive me to be, the more I’m likely to seek validation outside myself as well. An endless, painful cycle. I’m hit on by men, more often older, on a regular basis. This has little to do with my looks. I genuinely believe this happens constantly with human beings. I’ll smile and have a short conversation, but the attention gives me nothing. I am not impressed by a bank account. I like older men but not because of their age. I like men my age as well. People are too easily flattered by the fawning praise of another. Please. We all get diarrhea. That fact alone should keep it all in perspective.

If we can all come to a consensus that sexuality, sexual desires, exchanges, conversations, who and how we choose to love is within the rights and choices of the individual, and these decisions needn’t be placed under the scrutiny of strangers, law enforcement, loved ones or anyone besides the parties immediately involved, then we can roll past these issues that end up embarrassing us rather than helping us. As long as we cast judgment toward the private activities of others, we’ll never really progress and get to the real issues plaguing us daily.

Can we possibly get over ourselves? Sex is natural. I’ve mentioned it before, but the biological impact and power sex has over the decisions we make is monumental. If we stopped squelching these desires, feeling shame about being sexual, or treating sex as this game between people, as a power grab, this would free us to live more authentically. Monogamy is not for everyone. People mistake lust and attraction for something missing in their relationship.

And newsflash: women cheat too. They love it. There’s an excitement in sneaking around, in living a spy-like double life. It charges the ego like nothing else because you combine the tantalizing grip of sexual chemistry with the self-esteem boosting mechanism of outside attention. Real esteem cannot grow or deplete because of the temporary attention from another, and herein lies the problem; we have no fucking clue what real confidence feels like, what success looks like, and what real love brings to and from us. We’re consumed by how others view us. We are defined by images, assets, dollars, things, attractiveness, accomplishments, and somewhere along the way character, heart, altruism and sincere kindness is lost.

We get married because it looks good. I’ve seen it in the military myself. Men, specifically, will marry in hopes it’ll raise their chances in major promotions like to Chief or Commander. Sure, the advancement system is corrupt and based on time over merit, style over substance, but somewhere along the line people fall into the trap of looking the part over living their truth. More people get married because of stigma, because it’s the next step, because it shows whatever fictional being is watching that they’ve grown up, matured, and are ready to settle down and live as an adult.

I do not care why people get married or to who, I’m merely observing a pattern that leads to these cliché examples and inevitable indiscretions. Do I think marriage leads to men cheating? No. I think getting married for the wrong reasons, staying in unhappy relationships because of image or worry of judgment lead people to retreat and sneak around more than if people were marrying truly out of love. Convenience, status, placating parents, religion, or psychological holes in our hearts will lead to continued dissatisfaction in the future. It’s physics. It’s obvious. And yet we are blind.

We have to address the root of the problem as well as our fixation on the details themselves. If we accept our own sexual desires and attractions totally and completely, without fear, guilt, shame or judgment, we will extend that same gift toward others.

I hate to even mention sexual predators and child molesters, but obviously that is not what I’m discussing. True criminal offenders should be brought to justice, period.

I’m referring to those who have the desire to sleep around, to explore multiple people or genders, to be dominated or to dominate another, to dress up like whatever weird animal, creature or fictional fantasy they choose. I don’t care. I find feet kind of gross. I won’t be sucking any toes, but I am happy for those with foot fetishes to satisfy that itch. If the members involved are consenting adults and they’re enjoying themselves, it is not my business, nor do I want to know about it! I don’t care.

The fallout from the political and religious leaders engaging in what we deem to be salacious activities with another, often to the shock and horror of their followers (an example would be evangelical Ted Haggert and his multi-year long affairs with male prostitutes) stems first from how they’ve chosen to live their lives, how they projected their voice, how they used their influence and power. If, instead, they preached acceptance and love of others, embracing both the public and private nature in us all, perhaps the interest, pain and sometimes joy at his expense would be much less intense.

There are many intelligent minds out there whose credit have all been lost because they dipped their penises in the wrong ink. Again, who cares? Why are we surprised? These men marry safe, parentally approved women. They shit out an average of 2-4 kids, they keep up their appearances in the community, but somewhere along the line their needs aren’t being met. Is this a character flaw and weakness? Yes, of course it is. But is it our business to judge, to discuss ad nauseam, and to feverishly demand immediate retirement and removal from their post?

I don’t think so, especially with examples like General Petraeus. His mission and goal hasn’t been to infringe upon the rights of others, to make a case against the private lives of individuals or to cast judgment toward anyone in any way. He was a great general. And now as the middle-east continues to fall apart, we’re left without a few men who merely couldn’t keep their zippers up but were otherwise highly respected, experienced and knowledgable in their fields.

We could speak to the ridiculously hypocritical nature of a woman having an affair with a married man who, in-turn, became enraged with jealousy at the thought of an adulterer having more than one mistress. We could speak to the pathetic nature of people in power, taking advantage of a superiority complex. We could speak to the spouses of many who forget what an important facet sex is to a successful relationship. We can speak to tattle tales and gossip hounds who couldn’t wait to expose the faults of another, inevitably poisoning and revealing themselves in the process. And we can speak to the responsibility we all have, the only control there really is, what we choose to believe, project, enhance and absorb.

Sex is a big driver in my life. I remember hearing men think about sex every seven seconds or some bullshit and thinking, “yeah, that sounds about right.” I see and feel the double entendre in everything and I watch as the interactions between us all become entangled in sexual undertones. I love it. I always thank the universe women don’t get boners and that somehow women are less culpable in scenarios like this than men. The pervasive double standard implies women are driven by less trivial matters but we all know that’s not true. The why and how may size up differently, but the source material is the same. We wish to connect with others and we all have unique buttons. Some push them successfully, others do not, but we all have them.

To judge one’s behavior regarding sex is akin to banishing someone suffering from immense thirst for drinking from the wrong trough of water. Yes, we have will power, we take responsibility for choices, but we shouldn’t dismiss the powerful nature of sex, and how easily it is for us all to succumb in our own ways. If we were all honest and accepting of our personal wants and needs, we’d be happy releasing the sexuality of others to the individual to enjoy privately.

Hunger, thirst, self-preservation and sexual desire exist amongst all living beings. Society and religion demonizes this and what it’s bred is a culture of liars, a system of acting a certain way, being good on paper, but being an unhappy, artificially put together human being who can’t tell the difference between lies and truth anymore. I genuinely feel sympathy for all in this matter, for those who’ve been betrayed and hurt, and for those who’ve lost their way and become so consumed by their identity and reputation that they fell as far as they did.

Why are we so fixated on this one issue and yet so drastically ill-informed, blissfully ignorant regarding the war this man was running? We are drowning in a sea of sex scandals, appalled by the behavior of others, while willfully unapologetic for our own responsibility in it. I find those who are most bitter on these subjects are the most sexually repressed, unsatisfied folks there are. And for them, I feel sympathy. It’s remarkable what a good orgasm can do. And if we explored and loved our own bodies without hesitation, our interactions with others, both sexual and otherwise, would improve drastically.

If we’d simply be upfront with our desires and expectations to those we’re entering intimate commitments with, and some would say that’s what marriage vows are, then we’d retain the responsibility to own our mistakes and to deal with them privately, without the scrutiny and input of others. It’s no one’s business but our own and regardless if you choose for your life to be exposed publicly, it is still only important to the individuals involved how these deeply personal matters play out.

If we were really free and accepting, our actions would be more beneficial than detrimental. We wouldn’t have to hide, to live a lie, to please the opinions and standards of the powers at be.

There is nothing wrong with being gay, straight, bisexual or transgendered. There is nothing wrong with masturbation. There is nothing wrong with enjoying sex. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with many people. There is nothing wrong with actually having sex with multiple people. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have sex with only one person.

We are culpable for our actions and lies, but only to those directly involved. What one man does with his genitals affects far less than what he does with his weapons. Why do we trust one thing so blindly and yet we demonize him for relationships we know nothing about? Our focus is on the wrong issues! Wake the fuck up, people.

We can all sort out our personal issues without the onslaught of disparaging comments from others. I’ll deal with my bullshit, you deal with yours. We’re still perfectly capable of executing the duties the law, our jobs, and other responsibilities require. Live and let live.

Let’s demand better from our journalists, our country and ourselves. It starts within.