Add General David H. Petraeus to the list of the powerful and high-profile who have gotten into very public trouble because they have cheated on their spouses.
Now take a look at that list. Notice anything?
Bill Clinton, impeached because of Monica Lewinsky. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered child with housekeeper. Mark Sanford gave new meaning to "walking the Appalacian trail". Anthony Weiner who displayed his on Twitter, Elliott Spitzer whose preference was call girls, Newt Gingrich and John Edwards, both stepping out on ailing wives.
What is it about powerful men and sex?
As writer Anne Lamott tweeted soon after news broke that the head of the CIA, and an architect of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan had resigned because of an extra-marital affair, reportedly with Paula Broadwell, who wrote a book about him:
There are many things I'm not going to understand this side of the grave, &at the top of that list is grown men and their little pee-pees.
-- ANNE LAMOTT (@ANNELAMOTT) November 9, 2012
Later, Lamott added:
So many hugely famous and exalted men seem willing to burn down their lives, their marriages, families, and reputations, to get laid.
-- ANNE LAMOTT (@ANNELAMOTT) November 9, 2012
It's not that there has never been a political sex scandal involving a woman politician. Historically we have Cleopatra and Catherine the Great. More recently, Helen Chenoweth, who was the first woman to represent Idaho in Congress, had a six-year-long fling that only became public after she ran an ad calling for Clinton's resignation. And, in Ireland, MP Iris Robinson -- I know, Mrs. Robinson, but that really happens to be her name -- financed her 19-year-old lover's cafe with money from contractors who stood to benefit from her votes.
But these two are such outliers against the panoply of cheating men that they prove the rule. Powerful men use sex in ways that powerful women don't.
What is unclear is why. Is sex so fundamentally different for each gender that men see it as exerting their influence, while women somehow succumb to it? Have we simply not reached the point where there are enough women in positions of power, a critical mass that will make cheating an equal opportunity perk of office -- men do this because they can, and women don't because they can't...yet? Or are women just more moral than men?
The answer is probably all of the above, none of the above, and it is much more complicated than that. If -- when -- the scales balance (the last election was a good start) we will likely learn that it isn't just sex that means different things to men and women, but also power.
Until then, the parade of cheating men will inevitably march on.
RELATED ON HUFFPOST: 13 Political Figures Who Admitted To Affairs
Former Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich publicly admitted to cheating on both his first and second wives during a March 2007 radio interview. He is currently married to Callista Gingrich, a former House of Representatives staffer that he cheated on his second wife with in 1993.
In 1998, then-President Bill Clinton copped to having an affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky while still married to former First Lady Hillary Clinton. The couple chose to stay together after news of the affair surfaced, and are still married today.
At a 2004 press conference, former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey came out as gay and also admitted to having an "adult consensual affair with another man." McGreevey filed for divorce from Dina Matos -- his wife of seven years -- in February 2007.
During a July 2007 press conference -- one month after then-wife Corina Villaraigosa filed for divorce -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa confessed to having an affair with Telemundo newscaster Mirthala Salinas. The Villaraigosas finalized their split in October 2010.
After lying under oath about an affair, former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick eventually admitted to cheating with his former aide, Christine Beatty, in September 2008. Kilpatrick is still married to his wife, Carlita Kilpatrick, whom he cheated on.
After previously denying infidelity accusations, former North Carolina senator John Edwards finally confessed to having an affair with filmmaker and campaign aide Rielle Hunter in August 2008. He later revealed that he also fathered a child with Hunter. Edwards and his then-wife, Elizabeth Edwards, separated in January 2010, and she died in December 2010 before the divorce could be finalized.
In June 2009, former Nevada senator John Ensign revealed that he had an extra-marital affair with someone who worked for him. Cynthia Hampton, an ex-campaign aide who was also married at the time, came forward and admitted that she had been involved with the senator. Ensign is still married to his wife, Darlene.
In July 2009, former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford came clean about a secret affair he was having with Argentine woman, María Belén Chapur. Nearly six months after news of the scandal broke, his wife, Jenny Sanford, filed for divorce in December 2009.
In March 2008, Elliot Spitzer -- who was governor of New York at the time -- admitted to being linked to a prostitution ring that was under government investigation. He was caught while making arrangements to meet up with prostitute Ashley Dupre.
Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger confessed to fathering a love child with household staffer Mildred Baena in May 2011 -- just a week after he and wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, announced their separation. In July of that year, Shriver filed for divorce, but rumors of a potential reconciliation continue to swirl.
Amid a 2001 missing person scandal involving congressional intern Chandra Levy, former California congressman Gary Condit admitted to having a romantic relationship with the then-24-year-old. It was eventually determined that Condit -- who later switched gears and denied the affair -- was not tied to her disappearance or murder. Condit and wife Carolyn stayed married after the scandal.
Former New York congressman Vito Fosella was arrested in May 2008 and charged with driving under the influence. In an interesting turn of events, it was his mistress -- retired Air Force lieutenant colonel Laura Fay -- who bailed him out. In a prepared statement, Fossella later admitted that he had a relationship with Fay and that he was the father of her then-three-year-old child. Fossella and his wife, Mary Patricia Fossella, remain married.
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