Apparently Joe and Jill Biden Do a Lot of “Fexting.” But, Uh, What Is Fexting?

And more importantly, is it a sex thing?

US President Joe Biden and US First Lady Dr. Jill Biden walk on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on May 30, 2022, after returning from Wilmington, Delaware. In a new interview, Dr. Biden talked about her habit of "fexting" with the president. What is fexting?
Big fexters, these two.
SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

One of my favorite questions to ask about pretty much anything is if it’s a sex thing. Most of the time the answer is yes, because pretty much anything can be a sex thing if you make it one, and, as a society, we’re usually pretty inclined to do so. Naturally, when Dr. Jill Biden told Harper’s Bazaar in a recent interview that she and her husband engage in a heated activity she has dubbed “fexting,” the mind can’t help but wonder if fexting is a sex thing (a question that also has the delightful quality of sounding like a horny Dr. Seuss book).

Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on your level of interest in the president’s sex life — it turns out fexting is not a sex thing. According to Dr. Biden, fexting is actually a portmanteau of “fighting” and “texting,” though Urban Dictionary and the New York Post would disagree. Per Harper’s Bazaar, the president and first lady picked up this habit during the Obama years, when “they took to hashing out their occasional spats over text to avoid fighting in front of the Secret Service. (They christened it ‘fexting.’)”

That’s all well and good, if not particularly interesting, and as someone who tends to express myself better in writing than speaking, I’m actually a huge proponent of fighting with a partner over text. What I am not a huge proponent of, however, is referring to it as “fexting.” This is in part because I am generally opposed to coming up with cutesy names for internet-based dating/relationships behavior, especially when those cutesy names are annoying portmanteaus (see: “zumping“). I am especially opposed to it in this particular case because fexting obviously sounds like a sex thing, and it’s not just because it rhymes with “sexting.” There’s also the fact that it could just as easily be a portmanteau of “fucking” and “texting,” which at least one Urban Dictionary entry cites as its true meaning, or “freaky texting,” as The Cut more chastely put it.

What “fexting” really is, of course, is nothing. We simply don’t need an annoying word for fighting over text, especially not one that sounds so sexual. With all due respect to our first lady, stop trying to make fexting happen, it’s not going to happen.

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