Power and Prostitutes: Why Powerful Men Can't Help Themselves

You can practically set your watch by it. Seems like every couple of weeks, some once-powerful, now-embattled politician has gotten himself into a royal scandal. And when it involves sex, it's even more salacious.

Most of us can't fathom how any man would be willing to risk giving up a perfectly good political gig, let alone his marriage, family, reputation, etc., for a romp with a hooker.

So why do men in high-power positions take such a chance?

When I first heard about the Eliot Spitzer scandal, I immediately wondered what's not going on in Spitzer's marital bed. After all, when your average married man goes to a prostitute, it's often because he's sexually dissatisfied or sexually deviant. ... But Gov. Spitzer is no ordinary man.

Regarded as an egomaniac by many, this guy has been known to shake things up, to challenge the status quo and to follow a bolder vision. Interestingly enough, all of these are indicators of a man with lowered inhibitions.

Why does that matter?

Research shows that people consumed with power experience an adrenaline rush. This helps to explain why some people are willing to push the envelope — and why someone like Spitzer may have been unable to control himself.

Complicating matters even more is the fact that people with power are:

— Overly optimistic;

— Likelier to take risks;

— More likely to pursue their own personal needs for satisfaction.

It is no wonder, then, that many become overly confident when it comes to taking risks. They're more optimistic about their odds for success. Furthermore, they underestimate the dangers. They think they're above the law. They're confident that they won't get caught.

As Henry Kissinger once said, “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” When people become “drunk with power,” they feel untouchable, unstoppable, and all-powerful. This experience is enhanced by the fact that others react more deferentially to those with power. But this does not go both ways.

When it comes to relating to other people, powerful persons have proven themselves worse at judging others' reactions than your average Joe. Research has further found them less able to accurately read others' verbal and facial cues. They also tend to be oblivious to what others think, and more likely to misjudge the impression they're making on others. With this, we can start to comprehend why the powerful aren't too worried about what the rest of us think about anything, including their “quality” time with call girls.

On one final note, another thing to consider is that people who are naturally selfish become even more so with power. Power changes people. This is why many inevitably fall from grace.

Dr. Yvonne Kristín Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."