/ A Look At The Power & Politics Of Sex!

A Look At The Power & Politics Of Sex!

Jun 12, 2013

Examining infidelity and the power of sex in a sexually permissive world.

She sits prim and proper facing the camera. Her 32-year-old body shifts uneasily in the chair as she adjusts her eyes to the new spotlight. Her henna-dyed short hair is parted off to the side and hangs a few inches above the yellow cardigan she has worn for today’s interview. Her hands — aged from years of labour — sit consciously folded in her lap like those of an obedient schoolgirl waiting for her turn. Sitting opposite her, the Good Morning America interviewer gives the audience an introduction. Her name is Nafissatou Diallo, but many have come to know her by another name — the “DSK maid” who has pressed sexual assault and attempted rape charges against the man tipped to be the next president of France.

It’s a familiar story — the powerless falling prey to the powerful, while others seem to wilfully enter that world of becoming the other woman. And in recent months, it has become a reoccurring one. Earlier this year, the world tuned in as Arnold Schwarzenegger announced it, Dominique Strauss-Kahn denied it and Anthony Weiner sexted it. Bollywood, too, took its fair share of the adultery pie as actor Shiney Ahuja was sentenced to seven years in prison following a two-year court battle after rape allegations from his maid. A month later he was released on bail for Rs 50,000.

But before you jump the gun and start writing out your prenuptial agreements, let me assure you that in spite of staggering statistics supporting that the majority of married individuals will likely engage in infidelity at some point during marriage, a 2008 article by The Wall Street Journal stated that the attitudes towards adultery have gotten firmer. In fact, the findings of a survey showed 90 per cent of the population reported that they believed cheating on one’s spouse is still a wrongful act. Convincing, until you consider enablers such as The Ashley Madison Agency, which prides itself on being the world’s leading married dating service for dating encounters, and have made it’s mission to encourage extramarital affairs. “Life is short. Have an affair,” says the agency. More than ten-million members agree.

The “social experiment” of monogamous matrimony is a failed one, writes AshleyMadison.com founder Noel Biderman in his book, Cheaters Prosper: How Infidelity Will Save the Modern Marriage. He adds that infidelity and divorce rates are on the rise because “leaps in life expectancy will make it nearly impossible to live our entire existence with just one person.”

Just ask Hugh Hefner. With multiple young girlfriends frolicking at the Playboy Mansion, he’ll probably be the first to tell you that money over marriage buys you sexual pleasure. And he’s not far from the truth, according to recent science findings. Living in a society where it is culturally permissible to have sugar daddies and Playmates, the notion of younger women pursuing much older men for their wealth and power is not uncommon. Today, science is proving that a rich man’s wealth has aphrodisiac qualities giving him VIP access to the boudoir. A 2009 study by the Chinese Health and Family Life Survey, administered by Dr. Thomas Pollet, a psychologist at Newcastle University, even found that the number and frequency of a woman’s orgasms is directly related to her partner’s wealth.

So then, when asking why powerful men cheat, the answer becomes obvious: because they can. When a man exploits his power to woo a woman who wants access to the high life, chances are consensual sex will ensue.

In retrospect, evolution has helped human beings justify their natural tendencies to stray by way of selecting the fittest for survival. Since evolution began, both sexes have been cut from the same cloth and hardwired to seek out whomever will offer them the best deal in life. In cases of maids and rape allegations, one may be quick to argue that when the going gets tough, giving some of yourself to have it all seems like a low price to pay.

When it comes to pinpointing what causes men in power to commit rape, renowned sex addiction expert Dr. Robert Weiss says they act out of a need to fill an emotional void. “People in positions of power often work 16- to 18-hour days and travel the world at a far distance from those close to them, while having to manage intense stress and pressure,” explains Dr. Weiss. “They don’t make it a priority to take care of themselves or create and enjoy downtime, and as a result, they are missing out on the relaxation, self-care and emotional intimacy all human beings require for a healthy life.” So, they are more likely to seek out a quick fix to satisfy their emotional needs without worrying about the long-term repercussions of their short-term actions.

Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a New York-based psychiatrist on faculty at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, says powerful males possess the same surge for sexual excitement as males in less powerful positions, and because they are by nature risk-takers and thrill-seekers, they often don’t perceive the consequences of their actions. “They love the hunt and the chase — anything that increases the dopamine surge in the brain (the chemical in the brain that gets released during pleasure, novelty and excitement, which is also linked to drug and behavioural addictions),” she explains. “They came to power because of their need to create their own rules. Therefore, they feel free to break them. Ordinary rules of society don’t pertain to them; they feel special and entitled to take power rather than have it given to them. This may include forcing oneself upon another sexually or otherwise.” Powerful positions give people additional opportunities to cheat, adds Varma.

This was evident in the cases of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Shiney Ahuja, who were all involved in high-profile infidelity cases involving their maids. “Their victims may feel powerless, threatened, or in some cases, simply comply hoping their position too will become elevated through their affiliation,” adds Varma. There may also be numerous enablers — staffers who refuse to question the cheating behaviours of their superiors and turn a blind eye in fear of losing their position. The reason behind this, explains Weiss, is that people with money, power and celebrity often have poor feedback networks. As such, they are surrounded by people who are often dependent on them for employment or security, and therefore, in an appeasing position to tell their employers the truth.

When the time for intervention eventually arrives, trying to reverse cheating behaviour becomes a difficult process involving a level of commitment of its own. “It is very tricky to change one’s cheating behaviour,” says Varma, adding that the decision to come clean requires a lot of motivation and insight on one’s part. “Often the cheater is at risk of losing everything — and sometimes they only present to treatment once they have lost everything,” explains Varma. A typical therapy process involves both the individual and the family. In some cases, there is underlying depression or other illnesses, which may need to be diagnosed and treated with a combination of medications and therapy before the individual can fully heal.

The healing process may be a treacherous one, as biological evidence indicates long-term marital monogamy is difficult for humans to achieve. And the path to promiscuity appears to be more visible today amidst an evolving human race with dynamic sexual expectations. Media reports of male celebrities, political figures and business moguls philandering only continues to paint a negative image on the age-old cliché “love the one you’re with.” Temptation, without a doubt, stands waiting flirtatiously at the doorstep of every marriage yearning to be let in. How men choose to greet it when it comes knocking is what will set them apart from the Shineys, Arnolds, DSKs and Weiners of the world.

There’s a fine line between consensual sex and rape that has been blurred for too long. With the emergence of a more sexually permissive culture, being powerful should be no excuse for making another feel powerless. But if the way to a man’s head is through his genitals, then it’s time the Nafissatou Diallos of the world put their foot down, stand up and give men in power a run for their money.



Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter for all of the latest news, articles, and videos delivered directly to your inbox each day!

  • PLEASE NOTE: Some of the contents of the newsletter may not be suitable for minors.

    Join A Community That Cares About What Matters To You!

    We Fearlessly Celebrate Our

    Desi Identity!