Powerful Philanderers on the Couch

In the wake of the ongoing Anthony Weiner scandal, and over the course of my career, I'm asked by various media, "Why?" What would compel such a successful, powerful, and public person to do something so stupid and put their career on the line? Anthony Weiner is in good company: Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Jim McGreevey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Petraeus, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, David Vitter, and of course non politicians such as Tiger Woods, all join this growing club of powerful philanderers.

People sometimes erroneously believe that celebrities, politicians, and others in a position of power and influence aren't susceptible to the problems that plague the average citizen. The famous are not only not immune from the ills of society but in fact, are far more vulnerable given certain personality traits. What a surprise! Think about the traits that drive a politician: type-A personality, alpha-male, aggressive, a huge ego, thrill-seeking, adrenalin junkie, and thriving on the rush and excitement of being the center of attention in a political race. The larger-than-life ego, grand sense of entitlement, and narcissism that run amok are fertile grounds for trouble. Throw into the mix the stress of being in the political spotlight, as well as the busy lifestyle of being away from home, and you have trouble waiting in the wings.

In the case of Weiner, he likely thought, "If I can do it once then I can do it again." Where there's a great risk, the level of excitement and thrill is heightened and there's an effort to push the envelope further and further. The greater the risk the greater the thrill. This underlies the addictive element of such behavior. Exhibitionism is the other element that seems to lurk under Weiner's behavior. Sending photos of one's genitalia is the height of exhibitionism and shows a colossal lack of judgment.

Finally, I'd be remiss not to mention the powerful aphrodisiac that comes from being in a high political position. Stardom is seductive, and people easily gravitate towards such figures. Unconsciously, or even consciously, people feel that to be with someone wealthy and successful provides security and cachet. Sydney Leathers I'm sure is no exception to such a rule. After all, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame.

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