In Practice

A practicing doctor's views on psychiatry and contemporary culture.

Risking Everything for Sex

Why Someone Would Risk It All

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Sex…Power…Scandal: Are We Surprised?

From Arnold Schwarzenegger's lovechild to an alleged rape by France's would-be president, high-profile missteps show how those with power forget that their privilege is not universal.

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New York State Governor Eliot SpitzerWhy would a politician endanger everything—family, career, and reputation—for naughty, illicit sexual excitement? I know nothing particular about Eliot Spitzer. Sometimes seemingly obvious situations come to reveal complexities: mental illness, substance abuse—people have a way of surprising us. Still, I thought it might be timely to link to a brief essay I wrote in 1998, when Bill Clinton was making us ask the same question. Titled “Why Someone Would Risk It All,” the piece appeared in the February 1, 1998 issue of U. S. News & World Report.

Peter D. Kramer is a psychiatrist and author. His books include Against Depression and Listening to Prozac.

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