What’s at the heart of the modern Lothario complex?
Several weeks ago, the news that the adultery promoting website, Ashley Madison had been hacked, caused a zealous frenzy and uproar in many quarters. It seemed that almost everyone— journalists, ministers, academics, average Jane’s and Joe’s and even some website subscribers, (anonymously), had weighed in on the matter. As of this writing, there is still an ongoing investigation into the hacking and into the who and what the motivation was for doing so. Nonetheless, what was most intriguing (although not that surprising to me) was the fact that the overwhelmingly majority of customers were men. In fact, it was revealed that out of 11,000,000 users, only 2,409 were women. My initial response to this revelation was hmmm? Well whatever.
The fact that disgraced reality show star and minister, Josh Duggar was a prominent client with two accounts was both simultaneously amusing and disturbing.
Humorous in the sense that here is a man of the cloth who professed a requisite image of purity and was exposed as anything but. Disturbing, due to the fact that this latest revelation (the first concerning his sexual molestation of certain siblings) further solidified the fact that this was/is a very sexually troubled young man who was tormented by an uncontrollable and arguably, unhealthy level of sexual addiction. Tragic for his wife and children, due to the fact they have been publicly humiliated by his sexually irresponsible antics. His self flagellation notwithstanding.
To be sure, Duggar is hardly the only high profile, supposedly man-of-the-cloth who has been publicly exposed and/or humiliated for his sexual indiscretions. Ted Haggard, a white minister who led New Life Church in Colorado Springs, admitted to being involved with a male prostitute and illegal drug use. In the late 1980’s, Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart made headlines for scandals involving inappropriate sexual liaisons. Decades later, all three have resurrected their careers to some degree. Black ministers have not been immune from allegations of sexual impropriety. In 2010, Atlanta megachurch minister Bishop Eddie Long was accused of engaging in sexual misconduct with four teenage boys. Charges included secret vacations and sending text messages of himself. Long eventually settled with his accusers. Long was one of the most vociferous, anti-gay preachers in the black community as well as the nation. In fact, his sermons were so virulently hostile toward gays and lesbians that a number of Civil Rights activists such as the late Julian Bond refused to communicate or be involved in any public gatherings with Long. He was also the target of criticism by the Southern Poverty Law Center. (SPLC) for his rhetoric. After the scandal broke, there were segments of the black community who were angry at Long for both his hypocrisy and what they perceived was a widespread perception from the larger white community that his behavior and the scandal reinforced the image of black men as sexual philanderers and deviants.
The saying that “power is the strongest aphrodisiac in the world” indeed has had some validity when it comes to the world of politics. Politicians embroiled in sex scandals in the past include former Florida State Representative Bob Allen, former Senator Larry Craig of Idaho, Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, former California State Senator Roy Ashburn, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former New York Representative Anthony Weiner, to name a few. All of these men engaged in hypocrisy because (with the exception of Schwarzenegger) they were staunch critics of prostitution, civil unions and adultery, while at the same time, they participated in such behavior. Like their counterparts in the ministry, several of these men have managed to rebuild their lives. The fact is that the ratio of men versus women politicians caught in sex scandals is staggering. Men win this “competition” hands down (note sarcasm). The number of male celebrities and entertainers involved, or who have been entangled in sex scandals are too numerous to list here.
While most people (at least I would like to think this is the case) realize that it is a terrible thing for any person to be publicly humiliated even if they have brought such attention upon themselves, it is even worse for their family members who did not ask for such public scrutiny and intrusion into their lives. The truth is that many men (particularly powerful and influential men) are involved in sex scandals due to the fact that they are often men who are consumed by a galling degree of arrogance, coupled with the fact that they feel they are invincible. Decades ago, prior to the era of cell phones and websites, a 24/7 media cycle and a more deferential attitude toward the clergy, people in power and celebrities, some of these narcissistic men, may have had a point. That being said, we are in a different era today and any person who is egotistical enough to risk their reputation, marriage, career and livelihood for sex (and there is no shortage of them) is a conflicted soul with a dangerously misguided lothario complex.
Photo credit: Flickr/Craig Sunter