The news has been dominated recently with men of power finding themselves with their pants down…metaphorically. The issue of solicitation rears its ugly head more and more, as we find ourselves contemplating our nation’s morality. Ronald McLaughlin, professor of psychology who teaches a course on human sexuality, shares his insight.
Can you speculate as to why these powerful men succumb to solicitation?
One is that, women are attracted to powerful men. That’s been true forever. If you look at personal ads, women tend to talk about their physical characteristics; men tend to talk about their occupation and their income. The other reason is, and I think that Bill Clinton said this pretty succinctly about Monica Lewinsky, “Because I could.”
Does this hold true of all men? And what is the real motivation?
I wouldn’t say all men, but if you look at the literature on extramarital affairs for men, the main motivator is sexual variety. In this regard, I think it’s kind of the same thing. Men generally go out of the home to get what they can’t in the marriage, but not all men would do that.
Can sex become a release?
Physically, obviously. Sometimes, this is not typical, but there are reports of some powerful men who hire a call girl for the evening and they get back to the hotel and all the client wants to do is talk. They don’t want to engage in sex, they just want to be in the presence of an attractive, intelligent woman. So in that sense, they are getting a release of stress.
What makes men willing to solicit a prostitute?
I would say there is probably not a good general answer. For some, if it’s a sexual service that’s fairly unusual. Generally, in these cases we are seeing in the news, however, these women are for more than just their looks. This is because a powerful man might want someone that is drop dead gorgeous to impress the guys at the business meeting. One of the things you find in terms of how men gain status; it is based on the attractiveness of the girl he is with. So if you want that level of glamour, you have to pay.
Is solicitation more prevalent with powerful men today?
I don’t think so. Powerful men have been seeing prostitutes forever. That’s why they call prostitution the world’s oldest profession. Thomas Aquinas once said, “Prostitution is like the sewer in the castle, it stinks, and no one wants to deal with it, but without it, the castle would be uninhabitable.” So you can see that prostitution is sort of a necessary evil. The governor hasn’t done anything that countless other men have done.
-Christopher Bender ’10, Juniata Online Journalist