Ugh… I don’t want to think about Texas Rep. Joe Barton naked, but I kind of have to, in order to talk about this latest bit of SO-2017 news.

To set the stage, somebody posted a nudie photo of the congressman to social media.

No, I haven’t seen them, and for that, I am thankful.

Whoever posted the photo posted it anonymously, but what they did is called “revenge porn” and it’s illegal. You can’t post sensitive images like that, without the consent of the person depicted in the images.

Barton isn’t playing dumb, as if he doesn’t know where the image came from, or claiming it wasn’t him.

Nope. Barton is owning it, but he’s also offering this explanation:

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement first reported by The Texas Tribune. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”

I do love that in this day and age, he’s sure to include that the women he’s been boinking were all adults, and it was a consensual relationship.

I can only imagine how embarrassing this is for Barton, but he’s said he has no intention of stepping down from his position in Congress.

And he shouldn’t.

Somewhere, somebody is saying, “But Susan, you’ve been slamming Al Franken for not stepping down.”

Because Al Franken is disgracing the position he holds. He has been accused (credibly enough that he’s not actually denying anything) of physically violating 4 women.

Well, Barton wasn’t the victimizer, but was, in fact, the victim, in this case.

These apparently were consensual relationships and a scorned woman decided to enact a bit of revenge.

Wednesday evening, an unnamed woman came forward to The Washington Post, telling the newspaper that Barton sent her lewd photos, videos and messages when they had two sexual encounters over the course of five years.

In a 2015 phone call, Barton allegedly confronted the woman over her communications with other women, including her decision to share explicit materials he had sent, the Post reported.

The woman shared that secretly recorded phone call with the paper and, according to the Post, in that call, he warned her against using the explicit images he had sent her, in a way that would negatively affect his career — vowing that he would go to the Capitol Hill police over her actions.

So she was passing around pics he’d apparently sent to her with other women, and he warned her to knock it off. Now, either she or one of the women she shared these things with has decided to pass along those images to the world.

Again, let me reiterate the word: CONSENSUAL.

The woman who called WaPo said she never intended to use the photos in any sort of retaliatory manner against Barton.

No? Then why send them to other women?

Hell hath no fury

Barton knows this was just as the term “revenge porn” implies.

“The Dallas Morning News has identified a potential crime against me and the transcript referenced in the Washington Post may be evidence,” he said. “This woman admitted that we had a consensual relationship. When I ended that relationship, she threatened to publicly share my private photographs and intimate correspondence in retaliation. As the transcript reflects, I offered to take the matter to the Capitol Hill Police to open an investigation. Today, the Capitol Police reached out to me and offered to launch an investigation and I have accepted. Because of the pending investigation, we will have no further comment.”

Good. Let the authorities handle it.

And this is where I say that there’s a reason you keep these sorts of things confined to the enjoyment of a spouse, not random lovers and illicit affairs.

Barton, I have to hope, has learned this lesson. This woman was apparently nothing to him, other than recreation during the difficult time of his breakup with his second wife.

To her, however, he was a key to some level of power. She admitted it.

“I was in it for the politics connection,” the woman said of their relationship, in The Washington Post.

“I was kind of unwittingly drawn into it with him because of just the amazement of having a connection to a congressman,” she said, according to the Post.

So she was a groupie.

Believe me, I was in the hard rock/heavy metal scene for years, and whether it’s the chick in dark lipstick and fishnet stockings hanging by the backstage door after a Skid Row concert, or the woman skeezing on congressmen, groupies are shady. You don’t share anything with them, especially after only a couple of encounters.

It would seem Rep. Barton is socially naïve, and it caught him. That’s what puts him above Al Franken, John Conyers, and way too many others that we’re finding out about, right now.

Things may change, but for now, I hope Barton receives his justice.