“Because I could.”

That was the reason former President Bill Clinton gave for why he nearly derailed his entire presidency in the pursuit of sex with a woman who was not his wife – White House intern Monica Lewinsky. And I can’t imagine any better answer Army Gen. David Petreaus, now former head of the CIA, would have about how his married penis found its way into the also-married vagina of his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

The scandal, which has turned into an embarrassing series of “he said, she said and hey, now there’s this shirtless FBI agent and some social-climbing broad in Tampa,” isn’t surprising … if you’ve

A) Ever been to Washington, D.C.
B) Ever fell under the lure of the rich, powerful or better-looking-than-you-can-normally-get or …
C) Was bored one day and yadda-yadda-yadda-ed yourself into sex.

In the case of “A,” have you ever been to Washington, D.C.? It’s a land of nerds who grew up to be somewhat OK looking to kind of hot, who after spending obscene amounts of time learning, studying, and collecting degrees finally made their way to the holy tabernacle of political power (and subsequent popularity) that eluded them when they were pimply-faced teens. But since they never learned the proper social graces because they’ve been poor, put-upon nerds for so long, they tend to be clumsy with their new-found popularity.

Really clumsy.

Send penis and shirtless pictures to strangers on Twitter and Craigslist clumsy.

To work so hard to get to D.C. and to lose it all after P90Sexing your abs into the greatest shape they’ve ever been, only to blow it all on “virtual ass.” You didn’t even get laid, Anthony Weiner.

You. Didn’t. Even. Get. Laid.

But that brings us to “B” … the “lure” of the “Power Daddy,” aka … the man standing next to the man. (The man in D.C. would be whomever is president of the United States – the ultimate Power Daddy.)

If you love politics and love power, the lure of this person is pretty hard to resist, even if you’re supposed to know better, because this person represents the dreams and desires you’ve had for yourself AND who you’d like to have sex with. This is why nearly every black guy with a PhD and a fondness for Malcolm X – no matter how in debt they are from their various Morehouse/Ivy League-based institutions – that I know seems to have “Degree Groupies.” People who pursue intelligent, politically-savvy people or powerful people or folks who are trying to commandeer a political movement like some kind of MLK 2.0 are going to have one or a thousand people trying to get closer to them, many in a sexual capacity.

Because, if you can’t have power, might as well screw power.

The same goes if you can’t be rich, screw rich. If you can’t be good-looking, be rich (or powerful) enough to attract someone good-looking who will have sex with you.

People are weak and shallow … and hornier than they let on. It happens.

Which brings us, finally, to option “C.”

It’s an old story – two consenting adults spend too much time (or just enough time) together and find an attraction. Maybe it’s out of mutual admiration? Maybe you’ve always had a crush on them? Maybe they’re just ridiculously better looking, smarter and more charming than the folks you usually end up with? Maybe you messed around and fell in love? Maybe it was Hurricane Sandy and you were out of power for a week and your neighbor down the hall started looking not half bad?

I’m not here to pass judgment. I’m just saying … these things do happen. Years ago, at an old job of mine, there was a guy I worked with I found so good-looking, sensitive and friendly, and I was so beat down from circumstance that I’m pretty positive that if he had so much had breathed on me, I might have lost all moral foundation.

That’s how desire works, folks. As a woman who says no way more than yes, I could see how someone would just screw up. It’s hard out there holding it in when everyone else is running around letting it all hang out. I’ve got sympathy for those who screw up. One-false-breath and THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME!

Because people are especially stupid when it comes to their emotions and libidos and desires.

To those reading this and scoffing: She (or he) without lust cast the first stone. If I see you throwing a rock it’s more likely because you’re one of the few, the proud, the obnoxious who never acted on a desire and can’t shut up about it.

The crime in your condemnation isn’t in that you could keep it in the pants and the others who couldn’t are “haters” or looking for excuses. Quite a few people can keep it in the pants. Choosing to NOT have sex is about the easiest choice anyone can make since it simply involves avoiding being naked with someone you want to screw who also would like to screw you. It’s the bragging and “holier than thou” attitude that’s off-putting, because it ignores the reality that A LOT of people do what Clinton did and Monica did and Petraeus did and Broadwell did and name-your-random-bar-room-hook-up did and never got caught or never find themselves in a public undressing. That is after all, how these sort of things typically happen.

You don’t get comfortable and lazy about hiding your cheating because you’ve never done this before. It’s because you’ve done it too many times before, didn’t get caught, and now see yourself as untouchable.
People are only as good as their options.

Depending on which surveys you believe, between 25 and 72 percent of married people at some point cheat on their partners – at least once. And since marital cheating is something most folks are pretty motivated to lie about due to the premium put on monogamy in this country (but also the ever-expanding definition of “cheating” which now includes for some sexting, talking to your ex on Facebook and “emotional” affairs), I’d wager you’ve got a 50-50 shot of messing around on the one you love at some point, even if you’re a do-goodnick, prudy-prude like myself.

Human beings keep living longer and inventing more things to allow them to have sex as they age with increasing proficiency.

What do you expect? That’s just more opportunities to screw everything up. (Or mess around, not get caught, and go on to lead a dull, productive life.)

All you can really do in these situations is “own it.” Which is what Petraeus had done, accepting that he compromised his CIA career in the pursuit of booty or love or whatever caused him to get with a woman who would turn around and send harassing emails to another woman he may or may not also be trying to slip the pipe.

Owning it is what Clinton did … eventually … long after Lewinsky’s life was permanently wrecked. You’d think he’d send her a check or something since he’s a multi-millionaire running charitable foundations and she’s unemployed, still living off her parents trying to sell yet another book as a walking cautionary tale.
But he did own it.

So, I’ll leave you with Clinton’s explanation – which is really anyone’s explanation – as to why he didn’t not keep the pee-pee in the pants.

“I think I did something for the worst possible reason — just because I could,” Clinton said. “I think that’s the most, just about the most morally indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything. When you do something just because you could … I’ve thought about it a lot. And there are lots of more sophisticated explanations, more complicated psychological explanations. But none of them are an excuse … Only a fool does not look to explain his mistakes.”

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