On My Mind: Men Behaving Badly

Illicit sex among politicians is not unique to Washington politicians. Silver-maned Governor Edwin Edwards of Louisiana, whose slogan was "let the good times roll," was known as the "Silver Zipper."

A Call for Cleaning Up

So why don't our public figures clean up their acts? I needed answers. How can they continue to risk their careers and families for casual sex, usually with young, vulnerable females.

Thirty years ago, Myra MacPherson, author of the The Power Lovers, studied the role of sex in politics. She stated, that "the compulsive infidelity" habitually seen among politicians is regarded by psychiatrists as "a phallic game … of seeking adoration and approval; he [the politician] wants a relatively immature form of sex, one-night stands and new admirers but no commitment."

Highly-regarded U.S. statesman Henry Kissinger remarked at one time that "power was the ultimate aphrodisiac." He and others trace it back to Charles Darwin's studies of female lions and apes, which tended to mate with the most powerful males. The so-called Alpha males were big, bad, and dangerous because of their power to defeat any would-be rivals for domination.

Now there is another explanation: the male hormone, testosterone. Last year, in their book Heroes, Rogues and Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior, by James and Mary Dabbs of Georgia State University, say men who achieve power often have higher levels of testosterone than other men. This helps them achieve power, but they want, need, and engage in more sexual activities. The authors say that while the dominant [i.e., high testosterone] male "can protect his mate and offspring and provide more resources, his reckless lifestyle leads at worst to early death, at best to philandering and neglect of familial duties."

I don't think any of the aforementioned politicians have died from engaging in reckless sex, but I bet many of their wives wanted to kill them.

Losing their careers, their families, and their public dignity doesn't seem to be enough to deter some of our sex-crazed politicians from behaving badly. They have learned no lessons from their colleagues. And now they have a new excuse. They may try to get away with their sexual peccadilloes by explaining they couldn't help themselves. Their testosterone "made them do it." Yeah, right.

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