It’s been regularly reported in the media—in the wake of so many sex scandals involving wealthy and powerful men—that when men end up in wealthy and powerful positions, they often use it to sleep with as many women as humanly possible. Which comes as no surprise for many—however, is it just a male issue? Or is power the ultimate aphrodisiac no matter what gender you are?
Over the years, we have learned of and perhaps been “overexposed” to many sex scandals involving politicians and celebrities; in short, people with power. Recently, even more stories of bad behavior by politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Anthony Weiner, and John Edwards have hit the media and grabbed our attention.
What is of particular interest to me is that these scandals all involve powerful men. We don’t hear too many similar tales of women acting badly. So my question is this: is this just a male issue?
My curiosity led me to some scientific studies that show that the relationship between power and sex, power and infidelity is not gender related, and the studies are fascinating.
Joris Lammers, an assistant professor at Tilburg University, was interviewed by NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Lammers recently conducted a survey that asked more than 1,000 professionals to describe whether they worked in positions of power. Then he asked whether they had ever committed adultery or ever foresaw that they would engage in an adulterous relationship. What he found was that the more power people have, male or female, the more likely they are to engage in infidelity. In fact, the most powerful people in the survey were 30 percent more likely to have affairs.
What do you think? Are there direct links between power and infidelity—in women?