Older, powerful, former General David Petraeus, brought low by his sexual liaison with his hot, younger, also-married, triathlete biographer Paula Broadwell. Why does it seem that so many powerful men cheat, while powerful women do not?
The disgraced former CIA director made the title of his authorized biography, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, a joke for late-night comedians that is likely to last. Here are five reasons why men with power cheat, and one reason why powerful women do not seem to be quite as unfaithful.
1. Because they can.
Means, motive, and opportunity constitute the three primary ingredients for prosecuting a crime in the U.S. legal system. Power provides the opportunity and the means for conducting an affair, with willing accomplices in the form of subordinates. Notorious philanderer John F. Kennedy was aided and abetted in his serial cheating by members of the Secret Service, White House staff, and the White House press corps.
2. Power is a powerful aphrodisiac.
Many (not all) women are attracted to power and the men who wield it, regardless of a man's age or looks. David Petraeus is not only much older than Paula Broadwell, he is shorter and less-attractive — qualities he made up for by being one of the most powerful men in the Army, and later, by becoming CIA director. Crude-talking, jowly, saturnine president Lyndon Johnson didn't look like a sex-magnet, but reportedly had a buzzer installed in the White House to warn him of his wife's approach during one of his many illicit sexual encounters.
3. Powerful men possess personal charm and charisma beyond that of the average man.
Former president Bill Clinton has been described by many people as "The most charming man they ever met." John F. Kennedy was similarly described as extraordinarily magnetic in person. Whether the charisma results from power, or leads to the acquisition of power, is a subject of debate among researchers and historians.
4. They feel entitled.
Powerful men may feel as though they are beyond the normal rules that apply to ordinary married men. France's Louis XIV, the "Sun King," famously said, "L'État, c'est moi" (I am the state). Louis was literally entitled to a state-sanctioned and maintained mistress, and at age 72, continued to make love to his wife, Marie Therese, twice a day. His famous mistresses included Louse de la Vallière, Mme. de Montespan, and Mme. de Maintenon.
5. They may have a stronger sex drive than average.
The "Sun King" Louis XIV was sexually active multiple times a day with his wife and mistresses until he was well into his 70's. John F. Kennedy reportedly cavorted with two attractive "secretaries" in the White House pool daily, and was still energetic enough to host famous sex symbols like Marilyn Monroe in the White House each night.
Journalist David Brock, in his profile, "Living With The Clintons" called Bill Clinton "a man of gargantuan appetites and enormous drive." According to Gennifer Flowers, who had a long lasting affair with the 42nd president, said in a deposition that Clinton even convinced her to have sex in a closet in the Arkansas governor's mansion with his wife Hillary in the next room. Monica Lewinsky is reportedly writing a $12 million "tell all" book about her affair with Clinton, who telephoned her nightly for phone sex in addition to hot get-togethers in the Oval Office.
The sexual drive of powerful men is the stuff of legend, but what about powerful women? Although Catherine the Great, empress of Russia, is renowned for her sexual appetites and affairs, few women in contemporary times have been known for having many affairs outside of marriage. Why do so few powerful women seem susceptible to the sexual charms of younger — or any — men outside of marriage?
6. Who is to say they don't?
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was often rumored to have had an affair with Arkansas attorney and former Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, who committed suicide under controversial circumstances in 1993.
Clinton has also been accused of having affairs with other U.S. senators such as Tom Harkin and John Kerry, and even Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. Most recently, however, she has been accused of inappropriate sexual activities with her aide Huma Abedin, who is married to a known philanderer, disgraced former New York Congressman, Anthony Weiner. If Huma really has had an affair with Hillary, it's hard to blame her considering her husband Twitter-cheated with dozens, and possibly hundreds, of women he never met.
At least to date, women in positions of power in America are less-rumored to have extramarital affairs than their male counterparts. However, no one knows whether this is because they are more faithful to their marriage vows, or simply because they are more savvy, and better-able to avoid getting caught.