Trump, Schneiderman, Greitens and the changing shape of sex scandals

Whether Trump stands apart because people have long since factored his personal behavior into their opinion about him as a politician or because he has persuaded supporters that he truly is a victim of “fake news,” the debate about the president has focused not on the morality of his behavior, but on allegations about hush money.

And that, according to people who study sex scandals, reveals a change in how many Americans think about affairs.

“Sex scandals, underneath the salacious details and entertainment value, offer a window onto our cultural perspectives on sex, gender and sexuality,” said Juliet Williams, a gender studies professor at the University of California at Los Angeles. “It seems almost quaint to consider that just 20 years ago, a mere extramarital affair was enough to create a national crisis. The dominant frame then was a moral one — adultery, a young woman being taken advantage of.”