Kanye West and Kim Kardashian are many things, but shy is not one of them. And although they’ve lived out their relationship in the public eye, it’s their public sexts that seem to get the most attention.
Although the couple has always been fond of posting after-sex selfies, on Monday afternoon Kanye took their PDAs to the next level by proudly tweeting nude photos of Kim to celebrate her hitting 30 million Twitter followers. He subtitled the tweets with “SWISH,” followed by a barrage of exclamation points. And just the week before, Kim caused a minor stir by posting a sensual picture of the two, captioned with a peach emoji (her butt) and an eggplant emoji (his penis).
It’s undeniable that Kim and Kanye are 2015’s Liz and Dick. But will their social media-fueled passion withstand the test of time, or will it be as ephemeral as Yeezy’s comedic acting career?
The Daily Dot had some experts weigh in on what their over-sharing means for their relationship. Are they doomed to be subsumed by each other’s egos? Or is it true that the couple who tweets after-sex selfies together, stays together?
One of the frequent criticisms leveled at both Kim and Kanye is that they’re attention whores. That’s something our panel of three experts agreed with.
“People who have deep relationships like to keep a few things private,” said relationship expert (and one-time Oprah guest!) Carolyn Bushong. “It’s about attention getting. They’re trying to be more and more popular and make the news every day.”
Her sentiments were backed up by “the relationship advice doctor” Dr. Elaine Stevens.
“I think with high level celebrities like that, they want attention and to stay current. They know it’ll affect people who will be talking about it and staying in their conversations,” she said.
But what can Kimye’s social oversharing teach us non-celebrities about or own relationships? As Robert Weiss, the author of Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet on Parenting, Work, and Relationships, explained, it’s not uncommon for millennials to broadcast the intimate details on Twitter and Instagram, the way Kimye does. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he said, there’s a large generational gap in our understanding of the role social media plays in relationships like Kanye and Kim’s.
“For one cultural part of our world, they would see it and say ‘It’s lewd, I can’t believe it.’ But for a younger generation, they relate [to Kimye’s openness] and aren’t so surprised,” Weiss said.
Weiss was careful to note, however, that Kimye is in a unique position. Because they’re celebrities, they’re not just tweeting after-sex selfies to a few hundred followers, but to millions.
“What a celebrity shares is very carefully calculated,” Weiss said. “[Kimye’s posts] may not be the same effect as what a 22-year-old wants from what they’re posting. They might just want to sext. But the whole idea is shocking to a 50-year-old.”
For her part, Bushong was quick to dismiss Kimye’s love as mostly a publicity play. She pointed to his control issues and her dependency on him as major issues in their relationship, and she says their breakup is inevitable “if what I read in the tabloids is true and it appears to be.” She predicts their breakup will prompt a “big blowup” in the media.
But Weiss doesn’t see Kimye’s social media activity as signaling the death knell of their relationship. He sees social media playing a large role a long-term relationship as no different than, say, people gossiping with friends in a letter, long before Twitter and Instagram existed.
“People are people, and they’re going to be who they are in a letter, in a phone call, or in person,” Weiss said. “If they’re in a relationship and they’re comfortable with what’s being shared [online], they’re going to be fine regardless.”
Stevens said that all of Kimye’s social media teamwork might be good for the strength of their relationship. But she cautions them to be careful about where to draw the line in terms of Twitter over-sharing.
“It’s difficult because relationships that are so public have to have a different level of strength,” she said. “For people to stay together through all of that, they have to be in cahoots and be communicative about everything and making sure the other person is okay.”
Stevens said that when couples have an intense dual social media strategy, as Kim and Kanye do, it “could keep people together and make them stronger.” But she cautions Kimye to start diversifying their social strategy soon.
“I don’t think they should continue [tweeting about each other] forever,” she said. “They should use those skills to create something more positive. Right now, they’re making magic though.”
Photo via Kim Kardashian/Instagram