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Men in Power Abusing Women – What a Surprise!

Thanks to Donald Trump and Alabama judge Roy Moore, men in power nationwide suddenly find themselves besieged by accusations of sexual misconduct including rape and pedophilia. No one should be surprised. The same year Assistant District Attorney Roy Moore was reportedly forcing himself on 16-year-old Beverly Nelson, a book-length psychiatric study revealed in detail the abusive sexual habits of men in power, especially those in politics.  There’s no reason to think men in power are any different today than they were back then, in 1977.

Here’s what the study found:

Many politicians have an exaggerated drive for sexual dominance.  To compensate, they are much more likely than ordinary men to visit prostitutes, and to do so much more often, averaging 2 or 3 times per week. This reflects “a psychic structure which generates extreme sexual needs that seem to be basic to the power drive itself.”

Furthermore, few politicians visit prostitutes for straight sex: “the vast majority” of them are seeking “kinky sex,” which the 1977 study defined to include exhibitionism, voyeurism, cross-dressing, fetishism, threesomes, golden showers, humiliation, bondage, and flagellation.  “By far the most common service politicians demand from call girls is to be beaten,” the study reported. Most politicians prefer sex that is sadomasochistic in nature, involving bondage, “discipline,” humiliation and pain. As one prostitute reported, “Sometimes it is hard to think of things that will hurt them badly enough to keep them happy.” The study offered an elaborate Freudian explanation for this weird behavior.

A Sexual Profile of Men in Power

The study, A Sexual Profile of Men in Power, was carried out over a seven-year period by Sam Janus, Ph.D., and Barbara Bess, M.D., both at that time members of the psychiatry faculty of New York Medical College. Between 1969 and 1976 they conducted lengthy and repeated interviews with 80 sex workers (68 elite call girls and 12 madams), gathering reports about 7,645 “johns” or clients, 60% of whom were politicians. In addition, they conducted another 300 hours of interviews with 10 legislative aides, 10 secretaries, and 10 research assistants on Capitol Hill in Washington or in state legislatures. {pg. xviii} When gathering data on politicians’ specific sexual preferences, each story was confirmed in detail by at least two other unrelated sources.

The published report is based on data from 773,920 separate visits to prostitutes by judges, mayors, governors, congressmen, senators, district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, city councilmen, and aldermen, but the statistical analysis was limited to members of the U.S. Congress.

The study concluded that politicians “are motivated simultaneously by the highest ideals, and by the most primitive need to prove their mightiness by imposing their will on others.” The politician “presents a clinical picture of an obsessive striving for power and control, to which he has subordinated every other aspect of life and sacrificed all human relationships.”

An insatiable need to control and dominate

Politicians — at least the ones who visit prostitutes — are “narcissistically vain” and are “compulsive risk takers” because “the arrogance of power wraps these men in an illusion of invulnerability.”   In addition, they are “incapable of publicly admitting to error.”  “The politician needs to win… not only for the intoxication of victory in a hard-fought battle, but because he has a compelling drive to dominate.” “It is very common among men who reach high office to speak of themselves as singled out by a supernatural agency to fulfill the will of God,” the study noted. Some of those who stay in office long enough to gain seniority, and thus unusual power, “have virtually abnegated their humanity in the relentless, all-consuming, and insatiable need to control and dominate.”

Once he reaches a position of power, an elected official gains “many privileges which are denied the lower and middle classes but traditionally have been enjoyed by the aristocracy…. He quickly becomes accustomed to the privileges of the class he now belongs to, and begins to take it for granted that if he wants them, women will be made available to him to use pretty much as he pleases.”

Sex lubricates the wheels of legislation

“The multitude of lobbyists and influence peddlers who understand very well that sex is the emollient which lubricates the wheels of legislation also see to it that these gatherings [receptions, business lunches, cocktail parties, and official dinners] always include a generous sprinkling of compliant single girls, professional prostitutes, or secretaries and aides who have retained a semi-amateur status.” So, “Very soon [the politician] comes to regard access to quantities of available young women as one of the many fringe benefits that naturally accompany his exalted position.”

The most notorious womanizers are the most hostile to women

Many men in power are deeply conflicted in their feelings toward women.  On the one hand, they want to dominate, use, and abuse them; on the other hand, they want them held sacred on a pedestal.  The study examined the voting records of 48 men in Congress “who have wide reputations as ‘womanizers,’” finding that – far more than the average politician – they are hostile to women. Ninety-two percent of notorious womanizers opposed abortion, expressing a “strongly punitive attitude toward women’s sexuality.”   The “most notorious womanizers, not to say whoremongers, are the most narrowly repressive,” the study found.

The study reported some pretty bizarre behavior among men in Congress: one politician “has a woman come to his office and torture him while he makes business phone calls.” And: “the chairman of a committee of the United States Senate regularly has himself bound against a wall and subjected to mock crucifixion.”  And: “Another senator has to have ‘surgery’ performed on him with kitchen knives.” (These men are trying to convince themselves how much stronger they are than ordinary humans.)  Most bizarre of all, one congressman asked a prostitute to “kill a cat, skin it in front of him, and let the blood drip all over his body.”  She refused.

In 1977, the authors wrote, “We were totally unprepared for the startling results” of their study. Today, on the other hand, no one should be surprised when politicians — and other men in power — assume they have a right to use and abuse women. Power itself drives men to take advantage of subordinates, and the urges for power and sexual dominance are inseparable.

What is to be done?

The saving grace in all this will be the rise of many more women into positions of countervailing power. In 1976-77 there were only 18 women (3%) serving in Congress; presently there are 105, which is 20%. Thanks to reports of sexual abuse by President Trump, former President William Clinton, Alabama Judge Roy Moore, and many other prominent politicians, aggressive nationwide campaigns are now under way to increase female representation at all levels of government.  As these campaigns coordinate and come together, they will surely succeed.  Slowly the abuse of women, at least in Congress, will likely diminish.  Until then constant vigilance and zero silence are in order.  If we abandon our illusions about men in power and act accordingly, we can avoid many future unpleasant surprises.

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Peter Montague is a fellow with the Science & Environmental Health Network, living in New Jersey.

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