The Allure of the Nanny: Why Men Cheat With Domestic Workers


Arnold Schwarzenegger is not the first man to cheat with an employee. What's behind the "nanny" appe

I have to say I was somewhat dismayed when I heard that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver were breaking up and that the reason for their break up was Arnold’s affair with his family's housekeeper. I found myself feeling weary of hearing the same old story. It seems like every other day on the news a story surfaces about a powerful man cheating on his beautiful wife with an employee, an intern or some other type of domestic worker.

Directly on the heels of this announcement came the alleged rape of a New York City hotel maid by Dominique Strauss Kahn, the presidential hopeful of France and the head of the IMF (International Monetary Fund). Immediately following the news that Strauss Kahn was indicated in a rape charge, the rumors began to fly about the maid being a “plant” by one of Strauss Kahn’s enemies, sent in to humiliate him.


What makes those who are powerful and famous, wealthy and privileged, go after those hired to serve them? What is behind the appeal of seducing an employee, specifically one who works in your home? Here are a few explanations:

1. Our culture has definite domination and submission fantasies. We sexualize women in subservient and submissive positions and perpetuate this idea that women in a maid’s uniform are ripe for anything. These women are often young, single, struggling with financial issues, and may themselves be attracted to the allure of male power (think Monica Lewinsky). Maybe the Schwarzenegger’s’ maid wanted to have sex with Arnold. She admits she pursued him early on. And Arnold did lavish money on the maid; he was reportedly good to her financially. Yet in both cases these women were in a subservient position to their employers. Arnold Schwarzenegger Used Office Building For Late-Night Trysts

Perhaps the fantasy of the Nanny in the school girl outfit or the Maid with her feather duster is as ingrained in our culture as a symbol of male power and female submission that men feel they can’t “not” act it out. The question I have for both Arnold and Strauss Kahn is “Why not act it out with your wife?” Does it have to be the real maid? There are Maid costumes galore with the short aprons and short skirts in costume stores everywhere, why don’t you just play “chase-the-maid” at home and stay out of trouble?

2. With money and power comes a sense of entitlement. Perhaps powerful men look at women like candy, saying to themselves, “Ooh that looks good – I’ll take one of those.” Maybe this sense of entitlement is partly a result of our increasingly polarized upper and lower classes; the lower class being the working class and the disenfranchised.

Several hundred years ago a man could just take the woman he wanted, domestic worker or slave, and she was often powerless to stand up to him. Usually these women had little recourse and were blamed for the incident if it did surface. How much has this really changed?

Women are still blamed for sexual assault and for affairs. The press is having a field day figuring out how these two housekeepers were at fault for both the indiscretion of the affair and the alleged sexual assault.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Tammy Nelson


Tammy Nelson, PhD, LPC email me at

Location: Ridgefield, CT
Credentials: LPC, PhD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Sex Therapy
Other Articles/News by Tammy Nelson:

Waiting For The Future? Now Is The Time To Have A Confident Life


  I woke up and it was the future. It was a new year. There were no hover cars, and no jet packs. But that is the only thing missing.  When I was little, 2015 was the real future. I saw it on television, on the Jetson’s. It was the time to be a confident adult with a life full of my childhood dreams.  Growing up in the sixties ... Read more

How Did You Know About His Affair? Maybe You're Psychic


Most of us have an intuitive sense that we either dismiss or tell ourselves is just our "imagination." But sometimes that intuition is telling us something important about our relationship; perhaps even insight on whether your partner has or will have an affair.  Intuition is defined as "the ability to understand something immediately, ... Read more

Miserable In Your Marriage? 3 Signs That Divorce Is The Next Step


You have been thinking about leaving your marriage for a while. Tossing and turning through each sleepless night, you struggle with one burning question: "Should I leave?" Here's what you need to know before you make that final decision.  First, no one can decide for you. It is only you who can make the choice to dissolve your marriage. ... Read more

See More

My Videos
Must-see Videos
Most Popular