Sexting Isn't Cheating: The Secret Benefit of Digital Affairs

I know what it’s like to engage in an illicit online relationship. When the news broke that former Rep. Anthony Weiner had been engaging in sexual exchanges over the Web, my own internal censor went off. I began struggling with the implications of my own desires, because I had been getting into it deep with an attached guy online for months. While the Weiner spectacle has come to an end, I’m still embroiled in the problem. For I am the woman on the other side. I’m the one with your guy – digitally.

I get the secret IMs, the (coded) Facebook messages. I fill his head with impossible fantasies. You are looking for me when you go through your boyfriend’s cell phone -- although my partner and I are way too smart to leave a paper trail of nasty texts, or tweet constant pulses of flirtation. What my sex buddy and I do takes places via instant messaging, so isn’t exactly sexting, but the intimate aspect is there. We might not talk for weeks, as our “love” is confined to live chat sessions. Yet when we are both online at the same time, something deep, raw and undeniable drives us to connect if we see each other’s screen names. We are available. We are ready. We mingle through AIM, and aim to please.

And boy do we. The words of my invisible man have set the most delectable fires in my body. I say to myself, “It’s not cheating if I don’t see his naked skin, stroke (what I imagine to be) his muscular abs, or take his dick between my actual sucking lips. If it’s not really happening, it’s can't be wrong.” But the sexiness of it is sometimes too real. Just my fingers touching the keypad turns my computer into an erogenous zone. Sometimes when he’s “talking,” I stroke the screen like it’s his face. We’re attached. As far as I can tell, we’ve both had orgasms “together,” each of us riled up by the titillating convo, but actually absolutely alone.

At least I hope so. Did my ghost-beau really “come for me” like I ordered him to – in a little S&M playacting – or is he is eating Cheetos with friends and watching the game, amused by this crazy girl? And that’s why I tell myself it’s fair.

If the real girlfriend gets the daily talks, physical cuddling, and red-blooded fucking, why can’t I have this? The sensual drawl of his voice in my mind as his quips slip up the screen. His pretty compliments. The wicked side of himself that he releases with me. Perhaps his girl doesn’t want to satisfy this darker aspect of his spirit. I'm willing to take it. “Maybe I am doing something that she can’t,” I inwardly gloat. That makes him stay. It keeps me hooked.

It turns me on. Some of our virtual “dates” have been much hotter than real ones. At least I know I am going to get off -- without the inconvenience of getting dressed up and pretending to be interested only to be let down during dinner conversation, then in bed. By contrast, a clandestine online relationship can be perfection. As long as it stays online.

But this whole Weiner debacle has got me pondering sins of thought versus deed. If I wanted to murder someone, and imagined it but didn’t do it, would you send me to jail? If I fuck your boyfriend, but in the end it’s just words traced in pixels that disappear as soon as a window is closed, did it even happen? Our earthly lives remain completely uninvolved. Are a handful of pictures and raunchy sentiments enough to ruin a man’s life?

They were for Weiner. Though not as famous as Weiner, as a minor star in his field, my baby has something more important that “face” to lose if anyone finds out about our computer love. He could lose the literal love of his girlfriend. Knowing this, I feel pained. One of the most stimulating joys in my life could bring two people emotional harm; to him if she left, to her if she found out. I ponder the morality of what I am doing almost every day. With things like fidelity on the line, you’d think we’d forget about each other. But I don’t think either of us should bounce.

I’ve heard many women say of the Anthony Weiner affair that sexting is not cheating – but that it would destroy their trust in the relationship. Trust is an important issue in life. But it’s also important to express every aspect of who you are. If you can’t do that with the one you are committed to in the real world, the most painless way to meet unmet needs is through the imaginary one. Sexting is a tool for just that, and isn’t cheating as long as it stays in the immaterial realm. We all fuck exactly who we want to in our heads, all the time. Doing it over the Internet is barely any closer to the real thing.

As far as trust goes, that is between my distant lover and his woman. But here is what my online love does for me: Getting freaky in a secret space helps me explore uncharted aspects of who I am, while connecting with someone who understands this part of me, which is not accepted by anyone else. Who wouldn’t glory in the attention? For Weiner, I bet messaging with multiple women did this for him, too. He wanted to get his sexual ego fed, meet unmet needs without actually cheating, and I completely get it. This seems normal, human and natural. It’s only admitting it in our society that is taboo. Hopefully that will change.

Until that happens, we shouldn’t feel guilty for things that take place only in our minds. Sexting can be a responsible way of acting out non-monogamous impulses, thus making literal monogamy possible. It’s too bad for Weiner that the public (and Democratic leadership) couldn’t agree. For both of these reasons, I hope my online love doesn’t feel guilty for merely pretending to make love to me – and I hope he never gets caught.

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Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.


Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...


— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

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Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

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Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.


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I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

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