Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Powerful Men and Sex
Even in the staid medical world, everyone was talking about Gov. Eliot Spitzer today and his fall from grace. What the hell was he thinking????
The big question in my mind is why would a respected, well known, powerful man...a member of the lucky gene club, risk it all for dangerous liaisons? His crazy decision to spend a reported $80K on high priced prostitutes has brought down his marriage, career and reputation. (Not to mention Hillary Clinton lost a super delegate). And there are probably many powerful men wiping their brow right now with relief that it wasn't them caught in the sting.
The answer to this unanswerable question "Why?" may be all about personality disorders. The type of man who seeks power (that includes politicians) may also have risk seeking behavior. There is some evidence that risk seekers have a lower level of monoamine oxidase A, which is a chemical that regulates the brain's level of the neurotransmitter, dopamine. They seek novel and risky situations to increase dopamine, the "pleasure" chemical. There is a thrill in seeking the dangerous and the more they get away with it, the more addictive that feeling can be.
Another personality aspect of many powerful people is narcissism. It's all about them. They view the world through their own personal needs and believe that they deserve the favors, adoration, money and attention that is bestowed upon them due to their office or job title. They are treated like they are special and they believe it. That egocentric personality that got them to the top causes them to believe they are different than the rest of us. They truly believe that they are above the law and societies norms.
We will undoubtedly learn more about Spitzer's personality and affairs as time goes on and the 22 year old escort writes her book. In time we will get tired of hearing about it and forget...until the next politician hits the front page with a new scandal.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 8:19 PM