If there is not one in the news today, there will be soon. It may be a politician, an athlete, an actor, a minister, or a famous journalist. The occupation seems important only in the degree of interest the public has in the weaknesses of well-known people. If Sammy the diesel mechanic commits adultery, Tweets nude pictures of himself, or is caught with a prostitute, the scandal exists primarily with those who know him. When a sex scandal happens with someone considered a celebrity, it makes headlines on national TV, magazines, and newspapers.
As well as millions of web sites all over the world.
When it happens, we cluck our tongues, shake our heads, and bemoan the morals of the rich and famous. Somberly we intone our views of their world, “Well, that’s the (NBA, Hollywood, politics, religion, you name it) for you. They’re all a bunch of degenerates and hypocrites.”
Exaggeration makes interesting commentary, but seldom provides great logic.
It is simply not true that everyone who gets involved in an inappropriate sexual situation is a degenerate or a hypocrite. Live long enough and you learn that good people may do foolish and self-destructive things. Similarly, it is simply not true that everyone who gets involved in an inappropriate sexual situation is rich or famous. While it may be true that certain occupations or media exposure offer more opportunities, the problem lies in the heart of humankind.
Abundant articles on infidelity exist in the scholarly world. Statistics vary in studies, but they consistently indicate that sexual inappropriateness exists in remarkable numbers everywhere in our culture, no matter the socio-economic level, fame, occupation, education, income, or religion. For example, though we may not like it, we know that for every famous evangelist caught in a scandal, there exist hundreds, maybe thousands, of church members who are doing or have done the same.
When he strays, Sammy the diesel mechanic risks as much in his world as does a congressman in his. Consequences come in proportion to a person’s actions, regardless of the fame or money involved. Sammy losing his wife may not cost as much financially as a California governor losing his, but the pain of a fractured family is just as deep.
Why does it happen?
Each person has a sexual schema that guides her sexual behavior. A schema is a person’s perception of his “sexual self” developed through education (formal and incidental), experience, and expectations. It encompasses beliefs derived from past and present sexual experiences, body image, religious views, parental behavior, peer behavior, media influence, sexual expectations, and a number of other things.
If, for example, a certain married man’s schema includes a perception that he is unattractive, he may find himself strongly drawn to any woman who evokes within him feelings of handsomeness. If a woman’s early sexual abuse creates a schema that confuses sexuality with feeling loved, she may become erotically involved with many men in her lifetime.
History indicates that men and women who achieve power may develop a schema that either pursues sexual favor as an expected benefit of that power, or to prove to themselves that their power is deserved.