Stop the Shame

It is time for the Ashley Madison furor to stop.

Here is the story, and it is not what you think.

Hackers broke into Ashley Madison services and stole data on millions of users of this social media website used by adults seeking other adults.

That adults seek other adults — either for marriage or outside of marriage — is not new. That some of these encounters resulted in sexual activity that lacked that substance of a nurturing, mutually supportive, on-going relationship is not new either.

Many — if not most — people who registered with the site most certainly participated only in fantasy encounters that never led to human contact. The true business model — surely — was not to encourage human encounters, but to feed the fantasy of human encounters that never take place.

So much more money is to be made in the feeding of the longing, than the satisfaction of the need.

The desperation that drives acting out is driven by a deep and profound loneliness and alienation that hinders a person from entering genuinely adult relationships that nurture healthy intimacy.

Sexual exploitation and abuse has been around for tens of thousands of years. It continues everywhere in our culture — from Netflix and Amazon Prime to increasingly explicit music on the radio and downloaded from iTunes.

The story is not that adults used the Ashley Madison website to do what adults have always done. The story here is about our shame culture.

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  • The hackers who stole personal data from the Ashely Madison servers are using shame as some kind of distorted solution in an attempt to address the profound problem of how to nurture healthy couple-intimacy.
  • Media is jumping on the story because sex sells and because sex scandals sell even more. Media pumps up the shame and pulls in the cash as people anxiously or excitedly await the latest disclosure.
  • Social Media platforms take the media stories and pile on personal indignation, judgment, bravado, or gleeful joy in the suffering of others.

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The whole experience feels like the biggest gossip circle the world has ever seen. The old wisdom in the principle: “Gentlemen do not read other gentlemen’s mail” applies here.  The best thing to do when confronted with an immodest moment is to politely turn away.

The real story here is not: Who is sleeping with who?

The real story is about the loss of boundaries and of healthy intimacy in our society and how our culture of shame only exacerbates a problem that causes silent suffering among millions of our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and sons and daughters.

LifeStar Sacramento does not participate in this shame culture. We work to fix what is broken.

It is time for the gleeful Ashley Madison hysteria to stop. It is time to start to address the challenge of nurturing healthy intimacy in our families and in our relationships.

The next time you see a reference to Ashley Madison, do the decent thing. Simply turn your head and walk away. Let the healing begin.