Tiger Woods Sex Scandal: Why Powerful Men Can't Resist Temptation

Experts say men who seem to have it all are vulnerable to aggressive admirers.

ByABC News via logo
December 2, 2009, 10:27 PM

Dec. 3, 2009— -- Sex scandals -- they've ensnared presidents, religious leaders and premiere athletes who are supposed to epitomize American values and work ethic.

But renowned sex anthropologist Helen Fisher said it's no coincidence that powerful men get caught in headline-grabbing scandals. Tiger Woods, now linked to three women who may have had affairs with the pro golfer, is the most recent addition to the list of men whose alleged indiscretions in the bedroom have been turned into tabloid fodder.

"The opposite sex is very attracted to someone who is powerful," Fisher said. "Particularly women are attracted to men who are powerful."

Woods has so far refused to specifically address the tabloid claims about affairs, but issued a statement Wednesday saying he had let his family down.

"I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," he wrote. "I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family."

The admission and seemingly continual string of salacious details of the affairs -- which began after Woods' early morning car accident last week that was rumored to have been fueled by a fight with wife Elin Nordegren -- have been shocking for many who had considered Woods to be the pinnacle of squeaky clean.

Family therapist Terry Real said that the public shouldn't be fooled by the tough exterior of men who stray even though they seem to have everything.

"The same kind of character that will lead someone to reach for the stars, will let them throw somebody under the bus while they are trying to get there," he said. "These guys are aggressive, self confident. They're risk takers, so they are more vulnerable."

In a 2008 interview with ABC News' Bob Woodruff, John Edwards spoke of how his quick rise to power led him to cheat on wife Elizabeth, even after she had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"I went from being a young senator to being considered for vice president, running for president, being a vice presidential candidate and becoming a national public figure," Edwards said. "All of which fed a self-focus, an egotism, a narcissism that leads you to believe that you can do whatever you want. You're invincible. And there will be no consequences."