"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Saturday, November 10, 2012

General Petraeus And Keeping It In His Pants

Here we go again, another prominent figure unable to keep it in his pants, then resigning over the affair, and eventually – although this hasn’t happened yet in the case of Gen. Petraeus – apologizing to his family and the country.

As far as the first is concerned – extramarital sex – this has been a male thing for a long, long time. Studies have consistently shown that a high percentage of men have sex outside of marriage.  Kinsey himself estimated the figure at 60 percent.  A study done in 1994 (National AIDS Behavioral Survey) showed that up to 50 percent of men have admitted to extramarital sex; and most other studies over the past twenty years have estimated a low of 25 percent to a high of at least 60 percent.

These figures would be much higher if men who wanted to have extramarital sex actually had it.  Kinsey showed that over and above the actual number of men who had extramarital sex, another 30 percent admitted they wanted to.  Add to that the Kinsey Institute study in 1994 which revealed that nearly 60 percent of men think or fantasize about sex every day. The only reason why half the married men in America do not have affairs is because they are too timid, too pussy-whipped, or too tightly-wrapped and too believing of traditional social or religious cant.

Gender equality cuts both ways.  On the one hand, many men these days rely on women more and more for family income; and risk serious economic loss if the marriage ends in divorce.  More economically empowered women are much quicker to leave dallying husbands on the curb than their weaker historical sisters.  Husbands think twice before risking financial hardship.

On the positive side, this same empowerment has freed women from more subservient marital positions, and more and more women are admitting to extra-marital sex.  This has the welcome benefit of helping sexually timid men to act on their fantasies – i.e. more available women, more sexual opportunity, more sexual encounters.

The rich, powerful, and famous have even fewer constraints on their sexual longings than most men and in fact, in the words of Henry Kissinger,  “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac”.  A powerful, wealthy man can do what he pleases, for he has the money to withstand legal challenges over infidelity or paternity, and many opportunities for trysts in the Bahamas.  Politicians are elected more often for their looks and sex appeal than for substance and are then surrounded by groupies. The temptations are everywhere. The opportunities are limitless. There are so many politicians who have become embroiled in sex scandals, there are websites which rank them The following one, chosen at random, (http://www.politickernj.com/files/Top53SexScandals.pdf) stops at 50 and doesn’t even break the surface.  There are specialized sites which chronicle the dalliances of Republicans only and which disaggregate miscreants by House, Senate, or Government agency. 

We all remember our Presidents’ sex lives very well, and most from George Washington to Bill Clinton have fallen into the tender trap.  Most of us men admire John Kennedy because he was our kind of guy.  He fucked Marilyn Monroe, for God’s sake.  Marilyn F—king Monroe, the sex goddess of the Fifties.  Unimaginable.  He was young, handsome, charming, powerful, and didn’t just have dirty thoughts like the sanctimonious Jimmy Carter, but had dirty, lecherous thoughts and bloody acted on them.  We love the man.

The stories about LBJ using the Secret Service to pimp for him are legion, and although we have less regard for this kind of Texas hillbilly poontang hunting, we admired him for unashamedly doing what he was programmed to do - spread his seed. 

The great thing about these great leaders – and I have to put Martin Luther King in the same category, for even if he wasn’t a president, he had presidential status and power – was that they didn’t apologize for their behavior.  Not to their wives, who were surely aware of their transgressions and kept their mouths shut because they liked to bask in the aura and enjoy the many perks of their powerful husbands.  And certainly not to the American public who, before this era of retro-Puritanical rectitude and pseudo-morality, sent politicians to Washington to represent them, and as long as they sent home the bacon, nobody cared who they diddled, how drunk they were, or where they were seen.  In fact, being drunk on the floor of the House was so common in the Fifties and before that there was a term for it – “Being in high spirits”.

In our morally insecure age, there are frequent outcries to besmirch the reputation of otherwise mythic leaders of our Republic.  Poor Thomas Jefferson.  He did what just about every Southern slave owner did on the plantation – have sex with the upstairs black maid.  Such interracial encounters were rites of passage in the Old South.  A Southern Gentleman had to get those dirty thoughts out of his system before settling down to marry a white belle and have male heirs.

So, there is nothing new for both men in power and the Common Man to have extramarital sex.  What is so hypocritical and degrading is the current need to beg for forgiveness.  The sight of politicians, usually surrounded by their solemn-looking but accepting families, begging forgiveness from them and the American people, is sickening.  Of course they will go on to have other affairs.  Their wives don’t believe their apologies. The public doesn’t believe them.  Even the politician himself doesn’t believe them; and is only delivering his mea culpa to help him get his career back on track, calm the roiled waters, and eventually resume his sexual life. 

This American sanctimony which forces politicians into this degrading, demeaning, and emasculated position is what pushes these normal American males into their real crimes – lies, duplicity, and cover-ups.  John Edwards had a mistress and had a child by her.  Big deal.  So did Francois Mitterrand; but Edwards, unlike Mitterrand, felt he had to conceal the fact, and in his smarmy attempts to keep the affair quiet he implicated his own staff and even convinced one of them to take the fall for him. 

We all understood Mark Sanford’s passion for his Argentine hottie, but were angered and embarrassed for him when he felt he had to make up the lamest of all possible excuses: He said he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he was actually blazing far more exciting trails in Buenos Aires.

The real problem with this American sanctimony and politicians’ capitulation to it is the unnecessary destruction of promising careers.  I, for one, don’t care a bit about what politicians and leaders do in bed.  I only care how they vote.  I have never subscribed to the female argument heard in Bill Clinton’s time that “If he cheated on his wife, then how can you expect him to be honest with the American people”.  Men are more complicated than that.  Most men have successful if not distinguished careers based on professional integrity.  They hold high standards for ourselves, and often suffer for their honesty in calling out fraud and corruption.  Does a little action on the side and a “Don’t wait dinner for me, Honey.  I’ll be working late at the office” disqualify them from public excellence? No; and Thomas Jefferson, LBJ, Bill Clinton, and FDR are historical testaments to the fact.

So, General Petraeus, I make this plea: Make peace with your wife, otherwise keep your mouth shut.  Believe me, we men at least will think more of you if you do not grovel and abase yourself publically. 

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