In the upcoming New York City elections, voters have themselves deciding on candidates not simply on the basis of political platforms but also on their past extramarital encounters that have left a big black mark on their reputations. Several men in politics have impacted their political careers by letting their sexual urges get the best of them but some may ask, why are there not more female Weiners, Spitzers, and Clintons?
While cases of infidelity are less common for females, of course, women are also unfaithful but even when it comes to politics, the sexual transgressions of individuals of any gender are absolutely none of our business.
According to psychologist Barry McCarthy, men who cheat often share similar characteristics. Men who are more likely to cheat are usually high income earners, travel frequently, and often interact with “highly appealing and desirable people in professional settings.” All these characteristics add up to one key word: power.
Power and all the resources that come with it along with marital problems, McCarthy says, is what creates the perfect circumstances for an extramarital affair. Going off this alone and considering that women still earn less than men performing similar work and make up of a smaller portion of high-position slots in companies and government, the argument about power leading to higher instances of infidelity seems to make sense.
With more power usually comes more responsibilities on the job, and individuals who spend more time away from their partners may find their minds wandering towards the possibilities of what they perceive are more exciting or fulfilling relationships than those that their spouses are providing.
If we look at Congress alone, only about 20% of its members are women and yes, we have seen a few cases of infidelity among this demographic from individuals such as Utah Representative Katherine Bryson and Idaho Representative Helen Chenoweth who is now deceased.
In general though, the statistics for both men and women are quite similar. According to the General Social Survey, about 20% of men and 15% of women under 35 claimed to have been unfaithful. While the statistics show that infidelity is not uncommon, what these numbers also prove is that extramarital affairs are not just a man’s thing and this is neither a good nor bad thing.
All these observations should serve as is a newsflash. Fact: like men, women (including those serving in politics) are sexual too and activities of sexual nature happen. Big deal. Nevertheless, whether anyone’s sexual exploits be with his or her spouse or a secret lover, especially if they are legal and consensual, are personal and dwelling on these sexcapades will not make the American political system any better.