When Leah McElrath tweeted about her calves in relation to Beto O'Rourke's love-making, it wasn't about sex.
"The idea behind it was an analogy about different candidates' philosophies about what was necessary in a candidate and a campaign," McElrath, a freelance writer and activist, tells us over the phone. "I think Avenatti and Ojeda both have this sort of quote alpha male unquote perspective that they assert, like someone needs to go mano a mano with Trump. And the fact is someone already has gone mano a mano with Trump and it was Hillary Clinton. And if you watch the debates again, it was very clear. No one did a better job than she did. So I find the idea that it takes some kind of brash, pushy white man to do it offensive."
Democrat Richard Ojeda is a 48-year-old retired Army major and West Virginia state senator who lost a bid for Congress this month. He has said he's running for president in 2020. Michael Avenatti is a lawyer representing porn actress Stormy Daniels in litigation against President Donald Trump. He's also considering a run for president.
When McElrath used a sex analogy to describe the candidates, Twitter exploded. Twitter search "Beto sex tweet" and scroll for minutes with hundreds — possibly thousands — of Twitter users discussing the tweet.
"The bottom line is I have no idea, nor do I wish to have an idea, about what these men are actually like as lovers," McElrath says. "But the energy they espouse about who they are and what their campaign should be, felt analogous to me to those sexual experiences."
McElrath says she tweeted after midnight, and soon the tweet was gaining attention. But it wasn't until the morning she realized it had gone viral.
Many publications and Twitter users have warned against "tweeting while horny," but McElrath says those comments imply something wrong.
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"Those comments imply that there's something wrong with being horny — particularly if you're a mature woman," McElrath, 54, says. "And there's absolutely nothing wrong with being horny and there's nothing wrong with being open about your sexuality. The reality is, however, that I was angry. I wasn't horny.
"The analogy isn't about my fantasy life. It's about the energy of these people and what they bring to campaigns. And it's reflective of my sexual experiences, not predictive of theirs."
McElrath thinks that if O'Rourke and his wife have seen the tweet, they will understand what she was trying to say. Plus, the funniest thing about all of it for McElrath is she's a lesbian.
"I'm technically bisexual," she says. "I've clearly had sex with men, my fair share of it, but I'm actually a lesbian. I've lived as a lesbian for decades."