"I've had cases working with Wall Street bankers who always have to be about testosterone and they never get to explore their feminine side or their vulnerable side and these guys often go to dominatrixes and explore being whipped and spanked," said Kerner.
They also may feel that their wealth is undeserved and that they need to be humiliated. "The investment banker who's mastered the universe just wants to chill out and be dominated."
Wealthy men and women who are in the public eye may already feel above the law but they seek the thrill of putting themselves in high-risk situations. "These are people who feel they can do what they want all the time," said Gini Graham Scott, the author of "Homicide by the Rich and Famous."
"The money lets them indulge every whim and eccentricity and they have the freedom to experiment," she explained. "But once they achieve a certain thrill, they need to expand that. After a while, it gets boring and they keep pushing the envelope on extreme behavior."
That certainly seemed to be the case with Fiat heir Lapo Elkann, who was hospitalized in 2005 after overdosing at the apartment of a 53-year-old transvestite named Patrizia. After a stint in rehab in Arizona, Elkann moved to Manhattan, launched a new line of sunglasses and started indulging new passions: speeding in his family's racecars. Bravo!