We’re human after all

So I’m watching “Ides of March” with Ryan Gosling and George Clooney. Well, Ryan and George were not there in the room with me. My wife was. Anyway, I won’t spoil too much of the movie’s plot except to quote you one part:

“You broke the number one rule in politics… Don’t [have sex with] the interns.”

Ah, sex, the quintessential of human flaws. Aside from love, I don’t think that there is some other thing that can get us into so much trouble. We can lie, cheat, steal, be envious, and all those bad things. But none of them can get us into so much trouble as good old sex.

Anyone who tells you that they can have sex with someone without any consequences is flat-out lying. Sex has been used as a weapon. It has been used to barter for money and power. It has brought down empires and built alliances between kingdoms. Powerful men, like the one depicted in the movie and many others in real-life, can be brought to their knees because of sex.

One little fling and the whole damn thing comes undone. But why? Why is it so hard to “keep it in your pants”? The answer is incredibly simple: Men are simple. To paraphrase a comedian: Ask any man what is good, and he will tell you that “woman” is good. Ask him what is better, and he will tell you “two woman” is better.

The very depths of our brain, the part that controls things like hunger and thirst, is also very much interested in sexual desire, a special kind of hunger. We cannot go without some sort of sexual satisfaction any more than we can go without water or food. Sure, we starve and die if we don’t eat or drink, and you have never heard of someone dying if they don’t have sex. But we do kind of go insane. We do crazy things when there’s no sex around… Like sleep with interns.

So why are we so surprised and outraged when someone “who should know better” does it? Because it is the “villains” in the story who do those kinds of things, not so much the “heroes”. Or, if the “heroes” do those kinds of things, they have a long road of redemption ahead of them, one with a lot of consequences. Again, people get hurt because of the things done between the sheets with people who shouldn’t be in the bedroom to begin with.

However, in all of this, we need to remember that we are human. We need our world to not collapse when we realize that a perfectly normal, fallible human being is capable of sexual misconduct. It doesn’t make it right, but it does allow for the process of dealing with it to get on if we accept that the person is human.

Anyway, it’s a complicated matter, and something that cannot possibly be discussed in about 500 words.

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen