There are also concerns that Broadwell could have gotten classified information from Petraeus. For example, in a speech in Denver in October, Broadwell brought up details about the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi that may not have been public knowledge, according to The Daily Beast.
With risks like that on the line, could an extramarital affair be worth it? As it turns out, men may become blind to risk when an attractive woman enters the picture. One 2008 study found that men who played blackjack after seeing beautiful female faces took more risks than men who played the game after seeing unattractive faces.
This was true if the men were highly motivated in seeking new sexual partners. The blackjack risks seemed calculated to impress potential mates, study researcher Michael Baker, now a professor at Eastern Carolina University, told LiveScience. [The Sex Quiz: Myths, Taboos & Bizarre Facts]
More germane to high-profile affairs, Baker said, the risk of losing one's career or reputation is nothing compared with the evolutionary drive to reproduce. In that sense, while embarking on an affair may seem dumb, it actually shows something called "mating intelligence."
"These individuals have these very high-status, high-power positions, and the whole idea behind why people might be motivated to get these positions is because it gives them better access to resources that could be used to increase their reproductive success and attract more mates," Baker said.
Until the last few decades, extramarital affairs wouldn't have put a crimp in the careers of high-profile men, Baker said. It's only recently that men have been subject to the consequences of infidelity. And, of course, monogamy is often a lofty ideal.
"The human race has had thousands of years of problems with monogamy," Farley said. "The problems have not been resolved."
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