|A still from the TV show Mad Men|
Henry Kissinger said power is an aphrodisiac. Well, it works for some people, but you know what, a lot of us don’t find it that attractive.
The two top stories in the news here in the UK today are about sex and power.
The gay-bashing head of the Catholic Church in Britain, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, has had to step down because of allegations of “inappropriate behaviour” with priests.
The chief exec of the third political party, the Liberal Democrats, is under fire for propositioning or possibly groping, colleagues – a lot. It’s still not quite clear what he did or did not do. Lord Rennard’s (alleged) roving hands and loose talk have led to a lot of discussion about what is and what is not acceptable behaviour at work.
I have to say in my experience offices can be hotbeds of sex, but also of romance. After all, a lot of people meet their life partners at work. It’s around one in five married couples in the West. Come to think of it, a friend of mine is in the midst of tremendously torrid and enjoyable work affair. But it’s with a peer not her boss.
Lord Rennard could make or destroy a person’s career. The Cardinal was actually ordaining priests, and preaching against homosexuality.
The problem is power, of course. If one person holds power over another person then he or she is in a coercive position. It’s that simple. If you’re the boss, you need to keep your hands to yourself. Healthy sex is about mutual attraction and mutual consent. It’s about equality of desire. (Fifty Shades of Whatsit notwithstanding.)
Since the so-called sexual revolution of the 1960s, we in the West have been confused about where the boundaries of behaviour lie. One person’s friendly squeeze is the next person’s gross fondle; which leads to one person’s casual shag being the next person’s token of love, or much worse one person’s romantic coupling being another person’s humiliating submission.
Saturn (rules and regulations) is going through Scorpio, the sign that rules sex. The planet is also in retrograde motion, which suggests a bit of a rethink is in order. Last time Saturn was here, we were in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and rapidly reworking our attitudes to sexual freedom.
Saturn is the planet that helps us to say “no”. Saturn is not a victim. Saturn is about acting like a grown up, and when you see something wrong going on, acting on it. It’s just a fact that in some companies, there is a culture of “no boundaries”.
Saturn is here to make us think about the rules of engagement. These two scandals are just the latest in a long list which are forcing us to reassess the rules about sex in the modern world.