Every few years a sex scandal rocks the American political landscape. From presidents and interns to “wide stance” airport bathroom rendezvous to accidentally tweeting dick pics, we’ve seen (primarily) men from both sides of the aisle ruined or tarnished by sexual escapades they weren’t able to properly cover up.
Technology has inarguably reshaped how we go about finding mates and getting off. A study on the effects of pornography even had to be scrapped after the researchers behind it were unable to source any guys that hadn’t viewed porn for a control group. On the interpersonal side of things, dating apps like Tinder and Grindr have made connecting with romantic partners as easy as swiping a finger. And once one finds that special someone, the impermanence of Snapchat has made sending a receiving dirty photos of one’s crush that much more likely a reality.
A 2012 study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found that 1 in 4 teens admitted to sending a nude photo of himself or herself to a romantic interest. A 2014 study found that number had grown to 54 percent, though it did not differentiate between sexting words or images.
This sort of growth indicates that not only is sending sexually explicit photos something that more and more kids are doing, but it’s becoming a more normalized part of the Millennial mating ritual. The stigma an older generation might face if self-taken photographs of their naughty bits surfaced is all but gone for younger exhibitionists. “They were asking for it by even taking those pics” has fortunately been replaced with denouncements of slut shaming and the idea that anyone should be able to do what they want with their own body when it comes to matters of sexuality.
As the natural progression of this phenomenon unfolds, it becomes more and more likely that there is a teenage future president out there right now snapping dick pics or contorting her body in just the right way to find the best angle that works for her ass.
In years past, even the most liberally leaning of teenage would-be-politicians would likely exercise more shutterbug restraint than their modern counterparts, lest rivals use their basic rights of private sexual liberty as a cudgel against them.
These tactics could only work in a puritanical society that denounced nudity and sexuality. For better or worse, we as a society are becoming more sexually liberated. It only makes sense that, as we collectively move in a direction, our leaders would emerge from that movement.
Now, while it is a near certainty, at least in my mind, that a future leader of the free world will have taken salacious photos, their surfacing in the media or online is another thing entirely. As cloud storage becomes more and more omnipresent and storage escapes the shackles of a device’s physical limitations, and phone profiles stay with a user form upgrade to upgrade, we are all slowly building a repository of photos from flings, significant others, and everyone in between. Those who don’t need the immediate catharsis of deleting an entire text log or contact might not realize that message threads in their phone, all the way down at the bottom of the list, still contain the nudes sent from their week long torrid affair with Stacy from accounting two years ago. Even though you’ve both moved on and have committed partners now, those images might still be there.
This will be the magic bullet that eventually outs our future president. Someone will notice a senator’s name come up in the news and think “Steven?! I think we hooked up all those years ago.” They might then dig into their archives and unearth a little trove of saucy jpegs. And, if they’re mercenary enough, they might even back them up and save them for a future date in case Steven ever makes it to the national stage.
My hope of hopes is that, should the day ever arrive when we’re forced to confront the genitals of a sitting president in the same way we currently do for a Bieber or J Law, we collectively give a sigh and ask “who gives a shit?” What a milestone that would be for this great country.