“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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  • bob

    I dont see whats all the fuss is about so what he had sex with a woman. He still can do his job. What you do in the bed room , should not affect work or your career. This is so dumb this man had to resign over a sex scandal. ehoot people cheat thats nothing new under the son. if you think it cant happen to you , you are dumb you need to be mentally prepared for situations like this to occur cause it can happen and you need to react in the proper way. Not off your emotions and ending up on snapped.

    • lol

      bob, don’t be short-sighted. he is resigning because a man of his position having an affair makes him very vulnerable to being blackmailed.

      and what the heck was Broadwell doing with sensitive, classified material in her possession?

    • Gail

      Exactly. That is what bothers me. Fine, you don’t think the cheating is a big deal Bob (side eye*) but seriously, if at this level of power you couldn’t keep it a such a career shattering secret, how the heck are you able to manage matters of national and global security under wraps? It goes to his character and how his clearly weak nature will affect his extremely sensitive job.

  • edub

    Man, black people’s private parts write checks they can’t cash all the damn time. How many people do you know struggling with 2-3 kids by multiple fathers? How many men do you know with astronomical monthly child support payments?

    The black community needs to have SEVERAL seats with this General Patraeus mess.

    • Anthony

      The truth hurts.c

    • Chillyroad


      I don’t get what point you’re making.

    • Anthony

      I think the point is that you don’t have to be a powerful person or have access to a powerful person to make really stupid decisions about sex.

  • justanotheropinion

    Where there is male money & power, females will follow. It’s a given. Why any man feels like the will never be caught/found out baffles me. Age old story with the same predictable end…He will be questioned and held up for scrutiny but ultimately forgiven and will continue to make a ‘more than respectable living’, the woman/women will be made out to be hoe’s, she will go on the talk show circuit and co-write a book to capitalize on her 15mins of fame and all will be overlooked in a few weeks, never mind how sad the commentary on life this really is.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along – same story as yesterday.

  • bob

    I feel bad for the man . His wife looks horrible. compared her to the mistress and you see why he cheated. Men are visual creatures, looks matter ,it is in are dna, like its in a womans dna to get with the strongest mate she can find. This is why women often reproduce more than men because they are more selective. They only choose strong men. while men will bang down anything that looks decent. its in his dna, unless he was taught to have high standards from young. and even then sometimes the instincts of a man are just to strong. Do not forget we are animals with animal instints. HIs wife looks horrible compared to the misstress. Man imagine that woman walking around you in high heels and a sexy pencil skirt , and then you got to go home to a ugly wife. The sexual frustration must of been tough for this poor man. He broke down and gave in to his lust. I feel sorry for him.

    • justanotheropinion

      And yet when the man lets himself go and a woman cheats, she’s a Hoe. If you married someone primarily on their looks, you got bigger problems. Vows are vows – you are either in it for the long haul or not. Period.

    • bob

      men and women are not the same stop trying to compare them like they are. And if a man was not giving a woman the emotional support she need, and he let himself go you damned right he just pushed her to go cheat. Women cheat all the time. The mistress was married too. And stuff like that is why im not getting married you be a fool to trust anybody now a days.

    • bob

      you know why it’s worst when a woman cheats. Because legally a woman can cheat on her husband, get pregnant by the other man. Bring home the bastard and the husband is legally responsible to take care of the bastard. Do you not know how messed up this is. Laws like that are why im never getting married. and dont tell me that you just got to find the right one. because before marriage she might be an angel but things change. Even the devil was an angel.

  • Cash

    Daaanng, he was in charge of Afghanistan while I was there.. smh.