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Sex scandal

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Nathan confronts David over his sex scandal with Bathsheba the wife of Uriah the Hittite, saying "by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14).

A sex scandal is a public scandal involving allegations or information about possibly immoral sexual activities, often associated with the sexual affairs of film stars, politicians,[1] famous athletes, or others in the public eye. Sex scandals receive attention if a prominent figure is involved, if there is a perception of hypocrisy, if a public figure's sexuality is non-normative, or if it involves non-consensual acts.[2] A scandal may be based on reality, the product of false allegations, or a mixture of both. Whether the scandal is based in fact or not, it may lead to the celebrity disappearing from the public eye or to the resignation of prominent political figures.[3]

Sex scandals involving politicians often become political scandals, particularly when there is an attempt at a cover-up or suspicions of illegality. Attempts at coverups include payoffs, threats, or, in extreme cases, murder.[citation needed]

While some commentators see sex scandals as irrelevant to politics, particularly where "professional performance [does] not seem to be impaired",[4] Gene Healy of the Cato Institute views them as not just "great fun", but a reminder "that we should think twice before we cede more power to these fools."[5] An increase in the prevalence of morally questionable expressions of sexuality is sometimes referred to as a sexidemic.[6]

Sex scandals, in relation to political and public figures, often lead to questions of one's own ethics and moral code. A politician who is caught in a sex scandal is more likely to resign than a public figure in the face of a sex scandal.[1]


Scandals have been a part of history in major declarations, false truces, when political or celebrity figures need to pay someone off to protect their legacy and more.[7] Scandals can involve bribery, immoral action, shame, slander, misdoing, etc.[8] The Hamilton–Reynolds affair, which involved Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who had a one-year affair with Maria Reynolds during George Washington's presidency, is considered one of the first sex scandals in American political history.[9] Political sex scandals in the U.S. have included the first sex scandal of Alexander Hamilton to five major national political figures, Newt Gingrich, John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.[10] Men and women have to face scrutiny of their career or life in the field of politics by the media looking for scandals.


Gender Differences in Jealousy When Looking at Actual Infidelity

Sex scandals involve sexual affairs which usually, but not always, involve infidelity. Infidelity has many definitions, either based on experience or research done on people who have been involved in the act of disloyalty and trust. To some, infidelity "is a complex phenomenon with multiple reasons driving people to cheat on their partners".[11] A 2018 New York Times article cited an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy national survey, stating "that 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have had extramarital affairs".[12]

Gender stereotypes in scandals[edit]

Sex scandals tend to include a bias when it comes to men and women who are caught and then need evidence to explain their situation. A 2015 study concluded that gender stereotypes were "refer(ed) to the meanings that individuals and societies ascribe to males and females".[13] According to Juliet Williams at the University of California, Los Angeles the 1998 Clinton–Lewinsky scandal in the United States made the US Congress, media, and citizens look at male candidates and politicians in a different light by "normalizing public discussion of sex acts."[14] John Edwards, David Petraeus, Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, are other examples of men involved in sex scandals that have caused the public not to give men the benefit of the doubt. This has caused the debate between politics and sex scandals to be seen in a different light. It has allowed gender-shifting and the role of gender to become more unbiased in the selection of candidates during their evaluation and allows more power for women fighting against stereotypes due to scandals, and men being seen as more skeptical.[13]

A year after the 2017 Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse cases was first reported, leading to the viral spread of the #MeToo movement, New York Times published a list of 201 names of prominent men in the United States who had lost their jobs following public allegations of sexual harassment.[15]

Social attitudes have traditionally been less forgiving when minors are involved. In France, for example, the scandal surrounding Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier and former call girl Zahia Dehar – for whom Bouvier allegedly acted as a pimp in the late 2000s, paying her to appear at dinners for entertainment when she was 17 years old – has caused outrage and opened a debate about powerful men in society abusing their power.[16][17] The fall from grace and imprisonment of Anthony Weiner, following his sexting of explicit pictures to a 15-year-old girl, is another notable example of the pre-#MeToo era.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dagnes, Alison. "Stand By Your Man: Political Sex Scandals in American Pop Culture" (PDF). wpsa.research.pdx.udu. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  2. ^ Juliet A. Williams (May 21, 2011). "Why the Strauss-Kahn and Schwarzenegger scandals don't go together". Washington Post.
  3. ^ Phillips, Amber (April 28, 2018). "Nine members of Congress have lost their jobs over sex in six months". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  4. ^ David Lamb (August 1, 1976). "Sex and scandal are old partners in Washington". The Tuscaloosa News. p. 23, Section D3.
  5. ^ Gene Healy (June 6, 2011). "Weinergate reminds us not to give these clowns more power". Washington Examiner.
  6. ^ Samuel, Lawrence R. (June 3, 2013). "America's 'Sexidemic'". Psychology Today.
  7. ^ "Scandals". HISTORY.
  8. ^ "Meaning of scandal in English". dictionary.cambridge.org. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  9. ^ "The Sex Scandal That Ruined Alexander Hamilton's Chances of Becoming President". history.com. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Value of Outside Support for Male and Female Politicians Involved in a Political Sex Scandal". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ Apostolou, Menelaos (2019). Why Greek-Cypriots cheat? The evolutionary origins of the Big-Five of infidelity. pp. 71–83.
  12. ^ Brody, Jane E. (January 22, 2018). "When a Partner Cheats". The New York Times.
  13. ^ a b McLaughlin, Bryan; Davis, Catasha; Coppini, David; Kim, Young Mie; Knisely, Sandra; McLeod, Douglas (2015). "When women attack: Sex scandals, gender stereotypes, and candidate evaluations". Politics and the Life Sciences. 34 (1): 44–56. doi:10.1017/pls.2015.1. ISSN 0730-9384. JSTOR 26372745. PMID 26399945.
  14. ^ Williams, Juliet. "20 years since America's shock over Clinton-Lewinsky affair, public discussions on sexual harassment are changing". The Conversation. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  15. ^ Carlsen, Audrey; Salam, Maya; Miller, Claire Cain; Lu, Denise; Ngu, Ash; Patel, Jugal K.; Wichter, Zach (October 23, 2018). "#MeToo Brought Down 201 Powerful Men. Nearly Half of Their Replacements Are Women". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  16. ^ "Affaire Zahia: l'homme condamné pour proxénétisme veut faire rouvrir l'enquête". BFMTV (in French). Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  17. ^ "La justice, Yves Bouvier et l'ex-call-girl Zahia Dehar – 13 janvier 2017 – lejournaldesarts.fr". Le Journal Des Arts (in French). Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  18. ^ "Anthony Weiner sentenced to nearly two years in prison for sexting scandal". NBC News. Retrieved October 27, 2020.

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