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Sex Addiction, Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn: Understanding Men in Power Who Sexually Act Out

Yesterday International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was charged with a criminal sexual act and attempted rape. Today Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a child with a housekeeper/maid during the course of his marriage with Maria Shriver – causing their separation. This revelation along with his past history of Schwarzenegger’s privately admitted, but publicly dismissed “groping of multiple women” paints a picture of yet another man in an influential political and public role who clearly suffers from a highly concerning sexual and intimacy disorder – most likely sex addiction.

This latest scandal again raises questions about why some men in powerful positions often live out a double life one public and one private that involves impulsive an compulsive sexual behavior. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Reuters news service about this matter. I stressed that although a sense of strength and fearlessness and a near disregard of consequences can make for great, powerful leaders, problems come when these leaders do not acknowledge that they are human. If their narcissism or egotism isn’t matched by a healthy dose of humility of what it means to be human…and they run on their intellect and don’t attend to their emotions on any level…then they are bound for trouble.

The source of sex addiction is often a lack of connection, genuine intimacy, and emotional support. People who compulsively seek out intensely pleasurable experiences are attending to their emotional needs in unhealthy ways. People in powerful positions, such as Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn, often don’t make it a priority to care for themselves emotionally, and may start looking for a “quick fix.”

Sex scandals among powerful figures aren’t uncommon, but they’re always shocking. From Elliot Spitzer and John Edwards to Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods, sex controversies continue to affect notable figures in many different fields and likely will continue to do so until sexual addiction and compulsive/impulsive sexual disorders are taken seriously.

Prominent celebrities and politicians who are often surrounded by fans, media figures, and paparazzi have fewer opportunities to connect with people in authentic and fulfilling ways, which can result in reckless behavior. In addition, people in powerful positions are often shielded from consequences. People with money, power, and fame often have poor feedback networks. They are surrounded by people who are dependent on them for employment or security, which makes them reluctant to tell their ‘boss’ that they need to seek help. Public figures often exhibit warning signs of a serious problem for years but fail to see them clearly because the consequences are minimized for political/financial reasons.

It is imperative for people who suffer from sexual addiction and compulsive relationship problems to seek treatment, as untreated sexual disorders will inevitably lead to serious consequences such as disease, arrest, broken relationships, career and financial losses, and more.

The most critical function of treatment is identifying the problem as a maladaptive coping mechanism or means of escape and stopping the behavior. Treatment can help identify the source of the emptiness that drives the behavior and allow clients to find healthy ways to address their emotional needs.

Sex Addiction, Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn: Understanding Men in Power Who Sexually Act Out

Robert Weiss PhD, MSW

Robert Weiss PhD, MSW is an expert in the treatment of adult intimacy disorders and related addictions, most notably sex/porn/relationship addictions along with co-occurring drug/sex addiction. A clinical sexologist and practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Rob frequently serves as a subject matter expert for major media outlets including CNN, HLN, MSNBC, OWN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR, among others. Dr. Rob is the author of Prodependence: Moving Beyond Codependency, Out of the Doghouse, Sex Addiction 101, and Cruise Control, among other books. He blogs regularly for Psychology Today and Psych Central. His podcast, Sex, Love, & Addiction, is rated as a Top 10 Addiction Podcast for 2019. He also hosts a weekly live no cost Webinar with Q&A on SexandRelationshipHealing.com. A skilled clinical educator, Dr. Rob routinely provides training to therapists, hospitals, psychiatric organizations, and even the US military. Over the years, he has created and overseen nearly a dozen high-end addiction and mental health treatment facilities across the globe. For more information or to reach Dr. Rob, visit SeekingIntegrity.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@RobWeissMSW), LinkedIn (Robert Weiss LCSW), and Facebook (Rob Weiss MSW).


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APA Reference
Weiss PhD, R. (2016). Sex Addiction, Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn: Understanding Men in Power Who Sexually Act Out. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 26, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex/2011/05/sex-addiction-schwarzenegger-and-strauss-kahn-understanding-men-in-power-who-sexually-act-out/

 

Last updated: 30 Apr 2016
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