A Bit Hormonal?

Posted on June 7, 2011 by Lisa Vanella

I wrote a blog post about the infidelities of Tiger Woods in late 2009, and only a few weeks ago I penned one about the Arnold Schwarzenegger sex scandal, so when Congressman Anthony Weiner announced his Twitter sex show yesterday, I had to go for the trifecta. The exception, this time, is that I feel the need to explore what makes these seemingly extraordinary men who have the world at their fingertips toss it all away for a cheap thrill.

So what do men like Woods, Schwarzenegger and Weiner have in common? One explanation might be high levels of testosterone—the hormone that makes them the super-giant alpha males that they are. It’s probably what catapulted them into stardom in the first place. It gives überguys the courage and determination to hit 350-yard drives off the tee or slug 700 home runs in a career or fearlessly control a state or a country—or even try to doom mankind as a pumped-up cyborg. So the question is: Why can’t they channel all this power into focusing on doing great things? Are they simply incapable of controlling their hormonal urges?

Here is what female sexual health expert Laura Berman had to say about Weiner on Anderson Cooper’s show last night:

“…he clearly is a man that has a tremendous amount of testosterone.… [I]f you look at these high-powered men who are highly aggressive and get into this sexual trouble, it’s often going [to happen] in hand with high levels of testosterone, which means that he has an extremely high libido.… [M]en…can get to a place where the libido is so high and the sense of how [powerful] they are gets extreme, they feel above consequence and the law and get intoxicated from their own sense of power, and inevitably they end up falling on their face.”

According to MedicineNet, men with very high levels of testosterone are “more likely to engage in risky behavior—and less likely to reap the positive health benefits of testosterone.”

Historically, many famous men have been characterized as having uncontrollable libidos and have indulged in risky, even shocking, behavior—consider JFK, Bill Clinton, Roman Polanski, Mike Tyson and Alex Rodriguez, just to name a few. Was high testosterone their problem?

No, says Indian sexologist Prakash Kothari: “High testosterone does not necessarily lead to this type of risky behavior. Desire by itself doesn’t lead to immediate arousal. A heady sense of power and opportunity along with a base of desire can lead to destructive, almost psychopathic behavior, which leads to forcible sex. This is different from a man having numerous affairs—that’s done with consent. But interestingly, both types could have the same levels of testosterone.”

Here is some good perspective: According to psychoanalyst Michael Bader, everything you think and feel about Anthony Weiner is BS: “By bullsh—, I mean it has nothing to do with him, and also little to do with broad generalizations made nowadays about the sex and powerful men.… [W]e do stuff all the time that probably doesn’t reflect our best judgment, or feels somewhat compulsive, or self-destructive, or involves forbidden longings, fantasies and needs.” We need to own up to our own indiscretions.

So, alpha men, get a hold of your testosterone, and stop humiliating yourselves and demeaning the women and young girls around you. If you can’t control your libido, get help—but get out of office, get off the golf course and please stay off the news. This story is old and tired, like a man with low testosterone.

Photo credit: iStockphoto

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