“Unfit for office” of the Presidency

This concept “Unfit for office” of the Presidency has come up numerous times. I will of course insert my bias that I do believe Trump is unfit for office. Given my doctoral level background in psychology, many may think that I will default to psychological issues. However, in psychology, we attempt or at least say that we take a “bio-psycho-social-multidisciplinary” approach. Yet many of us know that does not happen in reality.

For the highest office in the land, as well as many argue the most powerful in the world, it needs to genuinely be a multidisciplinary approach. The term “unfit for office” has been invoked – the real issue is what is “fit for office.” This actually needs to be defined first before we jump to concepts of what is “unfit.”

I see many issues here. For those reading this you are all coming from many different backgrounds. I think we need to actually have a clearing process of minimal standards to become President. The important thing here that must be understood, is that in no way am I suggesting I know what these criteria are. Yes, I might be able to contribute from the psychological realm. That is one of myriad issues that should be considered. I will present a list of all the areas I think need to be taken into account from speaking with friends, family, coworkers and strangers. This list will not be exhaustive yet I see it as something the readers should make comments on and add to this list. This can be in the form of statements, questions, commentary etc. My goal is to crowd-source from people who read this – I want you to come up with an ultimate list. In other words, experts in all these domains should form a committee that decides upon minimal standards. The committee will end up saying that is the list and partial rationales and explanations as to why the criteria be a certain way. This is the current beginning list:

Medical – should we allow people who have serious or debilitating illnesses to serve as the President?

Educational level – must they have a minimum educational level, multiple degrees, mandatory degrees (i.e. law), three B.A. degrees or two M.A. or Phd. degrees?

Administration ability – as President much of your job is administration and guess what you can actually get a Phd. in administration alone. Should you have a degree in administration?

Legal knowledge – how much education in law should the President have? What kind of law should they be educated in?

Scientific literacy – should they have an actual advanced degree in science, understanding of the scientific method? Being able to deconstruct a journal article?

Physical fitness level – whether you liked Bush junior or not he was in phenomenal physical shape, the best we know of any president.

Business knowledge – should they have worked in the actual business sector for a period of time? Should they have owned their own business?

Psychological status – could the President have a mental disorder, certain types or kinds, or a certain personality type, be on medications for a mental disorder etc?

History – how important is this area of knowledge?

Technology – are they conversant on trends, advancement etc?

Religion – should they represent the majority of Americans, or is this no longer unimportant?

Psychological status – could the President have a mental disorder, certain types or kinds, or a certain personality type, be on medications for a mental disorder etc?

Intelligence – what would be the minimum IQ score to become President?

Fine arts – what is their knowledge of art? of music? of dance? and the cultural history behind the fine arts?

Fine arts – what is their knowledge of art? of music? of dance? and the cultural history behind the fine arts?

Criminal issues – could the President have a history of criminal activity? Would that be acceptable?

Travel/multicultural experience – have they traveled the world? Must they have lived for a period of time in another country?

Language – how many languages should the President speak? After all, many foreign leaders do speak more than one language.

I understand many of these areas may be broken down into very specific criteria. Each of us with knowledge in any of these areas and others could probably write an entire paper, breaking it down.

Finally, I would love for anyone who has read this to comment on areas I missed and/or should be added. All comments will be approved unless ridiculous a joke, yet ironically you may find people defending even a joke idea as valid upon further consideration. Each time I revise this I think of some new thing to add. I believe everyone reading has something to add! We all have our own biases as to what criteria should take precedence over the other/s. Weigh in with me positive or negative. As of now the ONLY criteria to be President is being 35 years of age or older and born in the United States of America.

We MUST define what is “FIT” first before we can describe what is “UNFIT.”

People ignoring professionals/knowledgeable people… My thoughts

Over the years of discussing psychology with people, there have been innumerable times when someone says something like, “Oh, that’s your opinion (or theory).” This is also related to all people who have higher education on any topic, so not just about me. Keep in mind the following is null and void if the person is questioning it in a genuine sense to learn. However when the statement/question is contentious or dismissive this is enraging on multiple levels. First off the person does not understand what a theory is. One person, usually does not have a theory in scientific terms. It takes decades of research, and hundreds of studies providing evidence for something to be labeled a theory typically. Then usually retroactively the person is given credit for originating the theory. (Side note: “string theory” was never a theory, it was untestable by definition. Yes, they had mathematical modeling, but that was all. Furthermore, it has been completely rejected). What also pisses me off is when people say it’s my opinion when I tell them something in psychology. What they don’t understand is that I’m going by the data, evidence and a consensus among experts in the field. Many times I have been quoting the world’s experts, where there is consensus on this topic. So, this comment of opinion is completely an insult. I think part of the explanation why people think it is my opinion/theory, is that since people don’t know that science is a way of thinking and based on evidence, critical thinking, analytical thought, and skepticism they jump to the conclusion it’s simply an opinion/theory. Also so many view psychology as a “soft science” (Refer back to my post on soft vs. hard) therefore again not understanding it is a process of thinking. Again, an insult to me and psychology. Of course it must be considered that people simply don’t like the information and want to hold on to their pet beliefs. I have come across this too many times to count. They simply want to hold on to their belief period even in the face of contradictory evidence. If you have another reason as to why people will question a well educated person please by all means contact me. Then of course there is the arch nemesis argument of it being someone’s personal experience. Yes, you may have experienced something different, but there are always people outside the norm. You may be atypical, again read my post on how personal experience is useless. There will always be someone who can legitimately say “oh I’m different.” This person may be in the .001 percent of people, it happens. Yet, professionals or those with advanced knowledge are speaking of the typical or norm.

What also amazes me is this questioning/challenging person is saying to someone with an advanced degree is “I question you.” They are not saying this quote explicitly to the knowledgeable person, but that is what is happening implicitly. The questioner may have had one course in the subject area while the knowledgeable person probably has had years or a decade or more of advanced education and/or training.

This also happens between professions as well. Look back at the post on Trump’s cognitive status. I once had a conversation with a medical doctor who was arguing the validity of a screening device related to the one Trump was given. This physician kept trying to tell me how “valid” (useful/accurate) this device was. Again, going back to the post on the president’s status, this physician didn’t even have an undergraduate level education in psychology, much less advanced training in assessments. Yet this individual persisted making gross errors with statements regarding tests/assessments vs. screening devices. The saying enough knowledge to be dangerous applies in this case.

The things I have said in these posts I keep hearing reiterated by dozens of psychologists and scientists. This is not to say everything I say should be taken hook line and sinker. I have attempted to point out explicitly when statements are my opinion. Keep in mind this being said most of my opinions are informed by science. When I or someone with advanced knowledge in a given area is technically the resident knowledgeable person in the room… you should take it at least as working hypothesis that you can use as starting point of knowledge. Just like when a medical doctor makes a recommendation, yet is not the world’s authority they should still be taken seriously as a starting point. Sure get a second opinion but because you did a google search is no equal compared to a medical education.

Regarding my knowledge and statements I make I just do not name drop at every turn or give extensive citations. I guess I could cull up citations from Neil degrasse Tyson, Dawkins, Hawking, Harris, Hitchens, Shermer, Nye, the list goes on. Yet would that really help if you are holding on to a pet belief? Also it is not useful to give citations to people who will not understand the complexity of the journal article it came from. This may come across as elitist. Sure you may having taken a few courses in college or even majored in psychology (or other field). That is not sufficient to dissect a journal article at a doctoral level of education. For one of my classes (in doctoral training) I read ten articles on child intelligence to present in class. What I learned is I would need to read 100 more articles to have a basic knowledge base, not even expertise. Yes, I remember reading journal articles as a major in psychology and assigned them to undergrads I have taught. There is a major difference between the analysis of an undergrad vs. someone with a masters degree or doctoral level of education. Just like it is useless for a nutritionist, biologist, chemist, physicist or geologist etc. to cite an article for me. I do not have the requisite background knowledge in these areas to understand why a certain research paradigm was used. This is why in college as you remember we had prerequisites for certain courses.

Making contentious statements questioning their knowledge to someone with advanced knowledge is annoying, enraging, and insulting to said person. To use an example outside of psychology. I recently met a nutritionist. She said this same thing happens in nutrition all the time. She hears people who have read some pop nutrition book on a new diet, watched a documentary and so on and think they can contest her. She is an actual nutritionist with a MS in the area. It’s amazing a client may have read one book, when the nutritionist has taken years of courses on this subject yet the lay person still questions her. What I am saying is this is a pervasive problem in all fields. People will read a book, take a course in something, watch a tv special, maybe even majored in a subject area and think they understand it as well as people who are a trained professionals or think they can challenge the professional.

People need to stop this behavior and realize the extent of their knowledge. It exemplifies in many ways the idea of knowing enough to be dangerous if they are in a position of policy making or authority. My opinion here: I am amazed that senators think they have the requisite knowledge to interview people regarding issues. I realize this may take some introspection on your part but this is important. Again if you are doing this out of seeking knowledge from the educated person that is fine. It is just much of the time people question the educated person in an insulting, diminutive or dismissive way.

Sex with minors… This one will piss some of you off!

This is in response to the situation of Asia Argento having sex with a 17 year old when she was 37. This post is 100% MY OPINION and has offensive language. Keep in mind my opinions are scientifically and philosophically informed. My diatribe.

So for those who do not want to read the whole thing my points are these. I agree men and women conceptualize sex differently, mainly due to socialization processes. Men think of it as sex, women do tend to have more emotional investment. Hence it is manipulation more often if an older man has sex with a minor female. Whereas not the case the other way around. One of the powerful points I make is why can a minor be tried as an adult for something so egregious as murder, yet not considered an adult for sex? Someone tell me please.

Okay people you can’t have your fucking cake and eat it too!!!!!!! People say women are more emotional about sex and men can do it without emotion. This is a general sentiment shared by most people I know. Jokes are made about it all the time, movies, tv shows, our lives are based on it why, because it’s true in most cases. To be fair I admit and for a longer discussion is a socialization process much like the biological clock issue discussed in a previous post. Men are given a free pass while women are not. I think it is in fact accurate that women are socialized to view sex as more emotional than men. So when a man is psychologically manipulating an underage female I do think there is something inherently wrong taking place, however not all the time. Most women I have talked to know they could have sex with high school age “boys.” When Asia Argento had sex with a 17 year old I say who cares. People in general say men can have emotionless sex. Well, here we go, there is a difference according to peoples logic between a male of 17 and a female of 17 having sex. Therefore, logically a male can do it, simply because they find the woman HOT. Women according to most people need to have some emotional connection. You can call it objectification or guess what you can also call it idolizing the female figure. Most for social and political reasons want to call it objectifying which is a negative view of it. Women wear low cut shirts on purpose to draw attention to their breasts. Sure women may not want to yell it from the mountain tops, but countless women I have known admit privately show cleavage on purpose for exactly that reason… Attention. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you wear shirts that cover your cleavage all the time? They are more comfortable many times women tell me. I do believe women flaunt their bodies in a sexual manner on purpose, otherwise why don’t all women wear business suits like men? Why don’t women go out to the clubs with T-shirts on like men? I will fully admit men do this too. Muscle shirts are not the most comfortable either. Both sexes do this. You can place me next to Channing Tatum both in suits and guess what you can’t tell he has superior biceps, abs, pecs, lats, traps etc. Until you put us in tight fitting clothing that accentuates these features in each of us. Then it’s obvious I am hotter.

I digress anyways back to the underage issue. If you believe men can have sex completely independent of emotion which most people I know adhere to then that is the end of the discussion. It is simply different for a 15 year old male to have sex with a 25 or 30 year old female than the other way around. Again I think it is due to socialization. If you believe it is biological it is your responsibility to provide that evidence otherwise shut the hell up. You can’t have it both ways, saying that underage men can have sex without emotion and then suggest they are being manipulated like their female counterpart. It is then different for an underage “boy” to have sex with a woman in their 20’s or 30’s than an underage “girl.” Now in this situation it was WRONG for her to get him intoxicated (won’t touch that ethical/legal issue). Just like it would have been wrong for her to do that to another 37 year old man. It’s simply wrong to use a drug to get sex out of someone I guess. Yet think of this, people have drinks on purpose to get in the mood for sex. The point I am making is that many 15/16/17 year old “boys” want to have sex with women in their 20’s and 30’s!! Fact. Watch the SNL sketch of Pete Davidson, talking about having sex with his teacher. It is hilarious… As he talks about how he was considered a stud for doing it! Had no trauma from it at all. You laugh at the sketch because deep down we all know this to be true. I remember in high school at 16 when we heard a rumor that one of the “HOT” teachers had had sex with one of the guys on the football team. I remember us guys all talking talking about it and how we all wanted to have sex with her. I completely admit there was zero talk of a relationship with her, her personality, her beliefs, potential for kids as a family unit or anything remotely connected to an emotional attachment with her. Instead it was talk about her tits and ass, and what we would do given the opportunity. I mean this was ubiquitous in the school amongst all the guys that I knew and had had sex already, yet were “underage.” I would be willing to bet my life that if you took a survey of “boys” 17 and younger the vast majority will admit to wanting to have sex with some woman in their lives who is well over 20 and probably many over 30. Think porn people… I win on that point alone.

Now let us look cross culturally. A girlfriend I had is a German citizen. Her first boyfriend when she was 16 was a 36 year old man! This was completely acceptable in their society. Her mom and dad knew, hell he was even invited to dinner by the mom who was just a couple years older so actually in her dating range too! Was my ex traumatized, felt used, tricked, abused, manipulated years later HELL NO. She actually marveled even laughed at me that I found it shocking. It was not a big deal. I remember going out to the club when we were dating and a 30 some year old guy was hitting on her 16 year old sister, again who cares. Why the hell is America so stuck up on sex. It’s ridiculous and I’m tired of it. To that in a moment. An interesting point I’d like to make as well is that I have known more than one female in my life who in their late 20’s have indicated to me very privately under sworn secrecy that they would have sex with guys in high school if it was not illegal.

Now if you say at that age they cannot make a decision like this for themselves well this falls under the philosophical logical fallacy of “special pleading.” Basically making one situation exempt from rules that you normally apply. That being said, why are we allowing CHILDREN to choose the sport they say they want? After all, us guys at 16 said we all wanted to have sex with the hot teacher but that is not okay. Why were we allowed to choose between Baseball vs. basketball vs. football? Why are teens allowed to make that choice and not the choice to have fucking sex? Especially when we are talking about guys who simply are looking at the tits and ass of a teacher? Why? On a related note to this if sex is such a big fucking deal realize this the average age for both “boys” and “girls” to have sex is under 18!!!! If they are unable to make decisions for themselves shouldn’t this be illegal as well!!!! Furthermore, if it is discovered that two underage children are having sex, then arguably the parents should be in legal trouble for “allowing” it to happen or not preventing it. Oh but it’s okay because they are both underage come on! As far as it being manipulation, think of how many guys in high school manipulate girls to have sex with them. We have all seen that happen. Again another instance of special pleading saying well both of them are underage. It should be considered illegal behavior, both children arguably should face legal action.

The reality is people hold sex near and dear to their hearts, thinking it is or more importantly think it SHOULD be some transcendental emotional/spiritual/personal/religious/loving experience. You are saying that sex is different hence philosophically the fallacy of special pleading. It’s different why, because I think it should be… bullshit. Special pleading, google the term.

Men and women, boys and girls very well may and do think and conceptualize sex differently. However, just because some “boy” does have sex with a woman way older than him does not mean he is traumatized or was unable to consent or make the decision to do it. Yet guess what there are “girls” who want to as well, and I remember them who wanted to have sex with male teachers as well not caring about an emotional connection.

As for this “victim” is it mere coincidence that he is bringing it up in the light of the fact he knows he could get more money out of the situation. He maybe even be able to catapult his career because of it and who knows whatever other benefits, a book deal whatever. I highly doubt that he was “traumatized,” unless of course he is gay. In fact deep down I’d bet money he was not traumatized. If anything they guy has probably masturbated over it for years.

At the end of the day I think these situations should be taken on a case by case basis. That meaning, if someone has sex with someone underage it should not automatically be considered illegal. There should be extensive psychological assessments of the underage age person to determine if they were manipulated ect. This next point possibly the most important in this whole diatribe. There are situations where underage minors are considered adults in cases of murder. Why in the case of murder they can be tried as an adult yet NOT considered to be an adult when it comes to sex? Again special pleading! For anyone who knows me personally my number one irritation in life is when people are logically inconsistent. There will be 15 year old “boys” who simply wanted the sex period end of statement. No emotional connection and no manipulation at all. They were happy to engage in it. Hell there have been numerous examples of this actually occuring where the “boy” involved did it again and again not complaining, and actually pursuing it again. The logic of this is inconsistent at best and making something illegal based on bias and the special pleading fallacy.

For the record I can but do not claim being part of the “me too narrative” (hate the fucking term narrative) since two different managers have had sex with me!!! Remember it does not have to be physically against a person’s will but with implied power struggles blah blah blah technically I am a victim.

Please note this was published last night at 9:20 pm on 9-4-18. I then find that this am on 9-5-18, the “victim” had a selfie taken with her. Hmmmm is he really a victim?

“Biological Clock”…Women having children

I get really tired of people who state that women who get into their late 20’s or early 30’s and then want children are under the influence of a “biological clock.” People will say “oh their clock is ticking.” The problem that I have with the biological clock is very straightforward. To presume scientifically that there is a “biological clock” is actually to assume that there is some hypothetical construct (thing in this case) that exists within the woman that, at a certain point drives them to want children. I argue it is social forces, sociological, psychological, and cultural.

Typically when someone indicates that a woman’s biological clock is ticking means one of two differing definitions. First it may mean, medically their ability to have children starts to decrease with age, which is apropos considering research (or at least potential complications may increase). This knowledge then drives the urge for children. The second definition is the idea that as women approach their late 20’s or early 30’s they have a desire to have children due to this inherent “biological clock.” Given the previous paragraphs descriptions of scientific ideas and concepts, of which are ubiquitous in science this is where it becomes absurd. When invoking a “biological clock” we are saying that there is some construct or entity within the woman that enacts upon her to then have a desire to have children. This may seem to make sense given in biology, there are specific time periods in which certain landmarks occur, obviously within a particular age range with normal variation. Examples, include but are not limited to, rolling over in babies, crawling, walking, talking, math skills, grammar, puberty, hair growth in the face and genital areas, etc. As a result, it is no wonder that the average person may think many things are biologically driven especially since these sometimes are obvious and outside our actual control. However, one aspect that people many times forget or outright ignore or reject are the social factors, cultural factors that affect their behavior, and choices in life. The evidence that I give forth to substantiate this is simple, from an easily understood historical social perspective. I could go on and give social psychological examples to the point of boredom to show all the effects found regarding how the social situation will impact an individual or a groups behavior. I will not do that though.

Two hundred years ago, a woman was considered an “old maid” if she was twenty one and not married with children. Many, children at this time period were actually having children at the ages of mid teenage years, and sometimes right after puberty. Actually, after a woman has her first menses she is capable of rearing a child. This is taking a very evolutionary approach if one were so brazen to suggest we should follow what biologically evolutionarily available to us is good. However, if we go down this path arguably human society would be in grave danger and beyond the scope of this discussion. If we start to suggest impregnating women after their first menstruation is ideal imagine the world.

In this day and age, many of us feel sorry for a woman who has a child in high school, and many times even in college, or these age ranges. Most people when witnessing this behavior consider it to have been a mistake in proper birth control methods. However, two hundred years ago this was the norm, if not considered to be a bit late for having children. The point is simple, for anyone who understands the smallest shred of evolution, knows human brains do not change so radically, in a couple hundred years that would predict this type of change in behavior. Brain changes take thousands, if not tens of thousands of years to have this noticeable of an impact. I argue these are social in nature not biologically driven.
Instead, the social demands of society, hence invoking sociological, and social psychological and cultural factors are the determinant of age appropriateness of having children. As just a quick snapshot of the progression of age, in 1970 the average age for a first time birth was 21, and in 2008 it was 25. This difference is noticed in just over 40 years of history. Our neurobiology did not change in 40 years that is absurd. (http://www.babycenter.com/0_surprising-facts-about-birth-in-the-united-states_1372273.bc). Now, when we compare countries at the same time we find even such radical differences. An example is Slovakia has an average first birth age of 24.2, and Switzerland has a age of 28.7 years of age as averages. (http://mediaresearchlab.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/age-of-women-at-first-childbirth-by-country/). Are we to believe that somehow humans have evolved differently, literally from a biological evolutionary perspective in these two differing countries, of which are only separated less than 600 miles? Usually, what the average person intuits is the cultural differences between the countries. However, in psychological and sociological analyses these are just those, psychological and sociological factors, its just using the term cultural differences is typically presupposing psychological and sociological factors as being the basis of what defines cultural.

Furthermore, compared to 200 years ago, with job markets the way that are now people are expected to go to college or further training of some sort beyond what we would call middle/high school. Many only went to lower levels of education that long ago. Therefore, this impacts their time constraints for raising a child, and quite rationally so. Women want to be well entrenched in a job, and done with education before having the monumental task of rearing young, well thought out plan I may add. Also consistent income, partnered at this point in a good relationship, good health benefits, the list goes on. It’s rational now for women to wait to have kids until they are in a stable reliable environment. The point is that these are the social and cultural factors that affect the decision to have children. Frankly, the only women who I have known to have children at the college and high school age have been from small towns and are undereducated.

Furthermore, as far as social forces go. How many women do you know in their late 20’s and early 30’s are going to fraternity parties, acting crazy and having fun like that of women in their late teens and early 20’s. Very few right? Instead, they are in jobs with other peers of theirs who are “settled” down with a partner and family. It is a form of social pressure at this point! If most of your friends have kids, and its considered normal to have kids what is one to think and feel. On an aside note and related to this topic… I once dated a woman who not only had an abortion (before I met her) but did not like kids whatsoever. I have given this example to many women, and almost always get the same response without fail. We went out to eat one night at a restaurant, and the bubbly 18 year old hostess said she would seat us. My girlfriend said are you going to sit us in the booth next to that child? The hostess, with a big smile said,”yes isn’t he cute?” My girlfriend responded with and emphatic, “NO” we will wait until another table is available. Now, the response especially from women, without much variation is…. “what is wrong with her?” (many men as well) Implying, its abnormal for a woman to not want children, and even worse not like them. Society, cultural factors, sociological ones as well gear us to think a certain way about things. So, a biological clock, does not make sense, social pressures do. Most of us would be shocked to see a woman out in a park topless in the US, but in Europe no big damn deal!

In summary, given the actual analytical discussion at the beginning regarding the knowledge of simpler explanations being preferred, and psychological and sociological ones being simpler I believe one can only conclude the following. Women’s desire to have children comes from social pressures, and cultural expectations. I could have gone into an enormous list included but not limited to educational expectations, job requirements, financial issues, medical concerns, insurance problems, having fun when we are young and able, college partying, and the list goes on. We can all think of reasons that are actually psychological and sociological in nature that have impacted our decisions to have children at one age or another. For those of you have kids think back to how many times you heard your parents say, “well when you have kids.” I believe psychologically, these statements can have profound impact on decisions. It normalizes the behavior, and kids may feel abnormal to not want them. The point is these are the reasons that have far more of an impact that we all have seen and experienced instead of some mystical, unobservable “biological clock” looming large over women.

Hypothetical construct
A hypothetical construct is an explanatory variable that is not directly observable. We simply posit that exists with enough evidence. An example of an actual construct that is observable is bacteria in the throat. Most of us have had a sore throat, go to the physician and they use a Q-tip swaby thing in your throat, and can see the bacteria under the microscope. In plain words a hypothetical construct it is something we are guessing that “exists,” even though we can’t see it, the construct can be able to actually explain a pattern of behavior or specific behavior. In this case, it is why a woman decides to have children in a certain age range. Now, one of the rules in science is to try to make an explanation simple. This is referred to as parsimony, the less complex an answer is the more preferable to something that has many components that all have to interact in some convoluted or circuitous manner to produce the result or explain behavior. This is not to say that there are very complex systems in life, but the point is that it is best to go for a simpler explanation, that can explain, and predict future occurrences. Of course, all of this is subject to evidence in science. If we have a complex theory or explanation, and all the evidence supports it, and it does predict more outcomes better than a simpler theory or explanation then yes, we will take that over the simpler version. The key mind you is evidence support.

Sex: Swinging

Why not be a swinger is what I ask people? This post will clearly be a mixture of academic knowledge as well as opinion. Read it then pose questions/comments. Either do it online, or personally through facebook or my email psychologyandphilosophyblog@gmail.com . Trust me if emailed or through facebook, it will be kept completely confidential. I would rather have people comment or criticize me and I respond than people thinking their identity will be exposed.

The world of sex has always fascinated me in psychology. I understand this topic is off-putting to many, however I think sex absolutely needs to be discussed openly and honestly in our culture. As I indicated in the post with the senator especially with teens. In the world of sex educators and sex positive community everything is on the table from normal sexual functioning to impairment, kinks, abuse and especially consent. However, at a societal level it is a topic avoided by most, or makes many uneasy in their seat when it is brought up.

Having listened to podcasts, taught human sexuality, read articles on sexuality there is not total consensus. I have not found total agreement on what swinging is versus open relationships and polyamory. Do not be surprised if the definition that I will be using here is idiosyncratic compared to others. Swinging, as I have read, can be defined as engaging in sexual activity with other people while emotionally committed and dedicated to your partner.

When I present being a swinger to people I invariably get push back most of the time. First off psychologically I believe it shows cognitive flexibility and open-mindedness to be a swinger. I do not doubt some people have such die hard religious or philosophical predilections against it yet, however I believe we all need to have our belief systems questioned. To be able to separate love/intimacy and the sexual experience I see as a distinct advantage. Many people view sex as an “intimate” personal bonding moment. I understand this position, yet if your main bonding aspect of life is through sexual intimacy I feel genuinely sorry for you. Sex can be simply a fun activity, like tennis, or cards. Yes, for some it can be a deep transcendental emotional experience. When discussing this topic with people who do push back on the concept of swinging I go down the same line of reasoning all the time. I ask them same thing every time: “if your partner came home from work and told you they were deeply in love with someone at work yet have had zero physical contact would you be okay with it?” Invariably people indicate they would not at all be okay with that.

The point here is the physical touch is not the issue, it is the emotional connection we feel for another person and dedication to the relationship. There is no doubt we all define and attach importance to certain types of touch or activities we engage in with people in our lives. I am just amazed at the sex part of it. I also point out to people that you can play tennis, cards, go running with someone that you are in love with just as you can with someone you are not in love with. The question becomes, why can’t you have sex with someone you are not in love with when you can engage in other activities with people you are not in love with? Or should we only engage in any and all activities with people we are in love with and in a dedicated relationship? In philosophy we are dealing with the logical fallacy of argument of special pleading which is making something exempt from a rule. Therefore sex in this case is exempt from the rule of engaging in activities with someone we are in love with.

One objection I have also dealt with are the STI rates. I have actually looked into this research and it shows that swinging is not a high risk activity. It’s funny to me when discussing swinging I ask, “how many couples do you know of who actually went hand it hand to a physician, Planned Parenthood, or clinic and get STI tested?” Come on most of us use condoms and such, then eventually go to no condoms without any testing whatsoever. Be realistic people, this is how it really does happen. Yes I agree I know of a few couples and I mean few who have done the testing, yet it is rare. The thinking behind it is piss poor. I hear statements like, “I know them well enough…” “they aren’t a risky person…” “blah blah blah.” These are ridiculous notions. Plus even with proper testing STI’s can lay dormant for years.

I think intimacy and bonding can take many forms. My previous two ex-girlfriends as simply an example know things about me that absolutely no one else in the world knows period. I know things of them as well in the same way. This is how it is for many people, and should be, that can be intimate and bonding. It does not have to be through sexual expression. Our culture and many others simply function this way and I think it is an arcane simple minded and resticitive.

I will admit I have caveats when it comes to a person engaging in swinging. First off, they need to have the introspective capability to know exactly why they are engaging in the behaviors. Second, and critically important is the question of one partner pressuring the other to do it. Third, extremely open and honest discussion absolutely needs to take place between the partners about engaging in it. Fourth, rules need to be established in whatever way a couple sees fit. This means is kissing okay, meeting others alone, must be planned, both partners present, the list goes on. Things need to be anticipated in advance. There are more issues but those are the basics.

These are pretty much my thoughts on this. I WANT people to pose objections or alternate opinions on this. I will respond to all of them! Please bring up something novel that will be fun to respond to. For those of you who know me personally, some knew my thoughts on this and others did not. I am really at the point now, where I believe it is well reasoned, and ultimately quite a healthy outlook.

Comment on Trump’s Cognitive Status

Please note this post is completely independent of recent events with Jackson. This is a criticism of all physicians who need to refer out patients to psychologists who perform cognitive and psychological testing. Furthermore, this is a criticism of physicians using psychological screening devices inappropriately to make sweeping statements regarding patients’ psychological states. It would be equivalent to a psychologist reading some medical screener, then making a sweeping statement of physical health. I will make clear why a physician should be referring out vs. not referring out to psychologists. Also, making clear why they need to understand some of these these “tests,” “assessments” are screeners, and not powerful to make sweeping judgements.

Giving a screening device of this nature is totally within a physician’s scope of practice. Yet not okay to then make a sweeping statement of the patient’s psychological status. After all, this physician (and others) is/are medically trained, and psychologists are not. However to make a sweeping statement that the president is cognitively fully functioning is not okay. My criticism is that I wish he would have enlisted psychologists. Again, do not dismiss my points hereafter due to recent ethical charges against Jackson. That is the easy copout in a situation such as this. It is a pervasive problem therapists and psychologist come across in practice.

A patient coming in with diagnosis made by a physician based on some screener only is inappropriate. In the situation with the president a psychologist could have stepped in and assessed at a much more advanced level the president’s cognitive status. Psychologists do not assess the medical status of patients so I do not understand why medical doctors think they can assess complicated nature of cognitive functioning. We have psychologists where their entire careers are dedicated to assessments alone.

This is critical for the reader to know because if you go to a physician or bring in a loved you should know physicians are not at all competent to evaluate the psychological status of a patient. Just like if you go to a therapist/psychologist they are not at all competent to evaluate your physiological/medical status. If this were a case where a therapist/psychologist were making medical status statements I’d be just as critical.

This is not my opinion – both groups have ethical codes and principles of which indicate to practice within their scope of education and ability. The principles for physicians indicate to use other professionals when needed (Principle V). For psychologists it is under the section of Competence, part (b). These documents can be found online free of charge.

This paragraph is entirely my opinion. I believe that in the U.S. people deify physicians, as do other countries. Many people think that because a physician said the president is cognitively functioning at whatever status people believe it as accurate.

I elaborate in detail below.

No doubt Trump achieved a perfect score on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. First off, it is accesible online by anybody, plus COACHABLE. Coachable in the sense that anyone reading this can access it right now! Then, practice it and you will get a perfect score, unless you have true cognitive impairment. Second, calling it an “assessment” gives it far more credit than it deserves. To psychologists it is a mere screener. This means if the person scores below a certain level (or above), then we give sophisticated assessments. Third, physicians, MD’s who do not have a PhD education CANNOT give the sophisticated assessments psychologists have. The assessments psychologists will give are not accesible online. Furthermore, these assessments take again a PhD level of training in psychology to administer/score/interpret which physicians do not have. As an example, the notorious IQ assessment takes a full semester course alone. Yes, technically one can achieve both an MD and PhD. However, this is rare to begin with. Most MD PhDs that you may have come across, which seems so lofty and impressive, have a related biological, chemistry etc. PhD. In these cases the courses and training overlap. I have never met someone who has achieved both back to back. I know they exist, yet are rare, and would be well over a decade of education and training to achieve.

What I am trying to say is that for a psychologist to hear Trump passed this specific screener is perfunctory. Then for a physician to make a sweeping statement of cognitive functioning is reckless and inappropriate. When you consider the president or anyone could have practiced this screener it becomes meaningless. I say this because we have numerous instruments that assess very specific cognitive issues. These are inaccessible to the general public and in many cases you cannot practice them anyways.

Examples include but are not limited to the list that is on the website: http://www.assessmentpsychology.com. Pull up this site you will be shocked! I was as well at the number of assessments we have, and I have been trained in assessments! Many of them REQUIRE a PhD level of training. Yes, on the site some are to be used for screening purposes by other professionals. A free screener can then be administered to literally hundreds of people at the same time. Then if any individual in a group falls below or scores above a certain level, they are then passed on to psychologists for further assessments. A good example would be an elementary school teacher giving to a class of 30 students a screener, something for ADHD, Depression, or Anxiety. Then if any student’s score is above or below (whatever number) then they are referred to the school counselor and or psychologist.

The take-home point is that Trump was administered a basic screener. So basic, for example it “tests” for short term memory, yet not other types. We have assessments for long term, working memory, auditory, visual, delayed types of memory and the list goes on! Trump may have long term memory issues, or any number of them.

Addressing “fit for duty” is a massive blog entry itself. Frankly, in my opinion fitness for duty should be multi disciplinary, not for psychology alone. However, once you look at the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, you notice in no way it assesses for:

Anti-Social Personality Disorder
Learning Disabilities
Drug Issues
Autism spectrum disorders
The list goes on..

Any of these could be argued would impact “fitness for duty.” Again, that is an entirely different conversation.

Finally, shame on both groups for not stepping in. The American Psychological Association should have been jumping up down and on the news to point these basic facts to the media. The fact that a sweeping cognitive functioning generalization was being made based on a mere common screening device. The American Medical Association should have jumped in stating that referring out to psychologists would have been most appropriate.

Clearly, in summation, I believe that for any statement regarding the cognitive functioning, especially for the leader of our country, psychologists should be involved.

Quick note on shootings

Just because people engage in mass shootings, bombings or the use of vehicles to kill DOES NOT mean they have a mental disorder. What amazes me is I have spent up to a 4 hours of a clinical interview. Then did psychological testing with the individual for up to 12 hours, and people still questioned my judgement/analysis of that person. Now, someone engages in one of the above acts, and people don’t even hesitate to assign a mental disorder! For most people reading this, we consider intellectual conversation the means by which to resolve problems or differences of opinion. That is our philosophical stance. We need to accept that others believe in the use of force, and killing, the way to deal with problems.