Sex, Lies & Trousergate: The Real Scandal Is Hypocrisy

Last week former general David H. Petraeus was a war hero reinvented as the Director of the CIA; this week he has resigned his position and is more famous for committing adultery than for being a four-star general. His sudden fall raises the perennial question: Why do men in power keep cheating, especially in this, the 21st century, when technology and the 24/7 news cycle practically guarantee that they'll not only be caught but memed without mercy? Is it just a dangerous combination of high-test narcissism and boys-will-be-boyness? In 2008, in the wake of l’affaires Edwards and Spitzer, MORE asked six smart writers for their sharpest takes on the psychology of the high-level cheater. Why does he do it? Will he ever learn? And are we wrong to care?

by Katha Pollitt
lipstick on collar photo
Photograph: iStock

Susan Cheever: Is Sex Addiction to Blame?

Naomi Wolf on why politicians shouldn't be afraid to seek therapy.

Patricia J. Williams on the dangerous distration of sex and scandal.


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Originally published in the November 2008 issue

Share Your Thoughts!


Paula 11.26.2012

In my short 29 years, all I've seen is sex scandal after sex scandal from politicians. This has programmed me to have the opposite outlook. I just assume that all politicians use their positions of power to rack up as much extramarital tail as they possibly can, and I'm shocked to find out that they actually are faithful devoted husbands (or, I would be, since it hasn't happened yet).

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