Five Addictive Aspects of Donald Trump’s Need for Love, Sex, and Intimacy

Over the weekend, Anderson Cooper interviewed two former mistresses of Donald Trump.  First was former Playboy model Karen McDougal on CNN.  Second was his interview on 60 Minutes with adult film actress Stormy Daniels (aka Stephanie Clifford).

The women—and their interviews—differed in significant ways.  McDougal was enamored with Trump, and the affair continued for eight months, when she finally broke it off because of her guilt over Trump’s wife, Melania. Daniels, on the other hand, had sex with Trump one time, although he continued to solicit contact with her, even though Daniels refused to be intimate with him again.

Neither relationship, it should be clear, involved coercion or harassment.  Each woman entered into her affair voluntarily (in fact, during the same golf tournament over ten years ago).  But both relationships revealed significant things about Donald Trump’s love life and, more importantly, his unfulfilled yearnings for love, sex, and intimacy, as follows:

  1. Donald Trump is in a cold marriage. Trump portrayed his marriage as cold and distant to both McDougal and Daniels.  Of course, he could be seeking to justify his straying by making such claims.  But stories of Melania maintaining a separate bedroom and the seeming distance the couple maintains in public support Trump’s descriptions to the two women.  Donald Trump lacks love, sex, and intimacy in his life.


  1. Donald Trump is drawn to his daughter. Both women described how Trump told them early on that he was attracted to them because they reminded him of his daughter due their intelligence and physical attributes.  Donald Trump is confused about familial devotion and sexual attraction.


  1. Donald Trump can be charming. One of the more remarkable revelations in the interviews was that McDougal—an attractive, intelligent woman—was drawn to him.  Daniels, although she was resistant to Trump’s charms, described how she told him off when he began haranguing her with his bombastic public persona and that he quickly started speaking to her in a normal conversational give-and-take way.  Donald Trump is capable of normal human interactions when he is motivated to be.


  1. Donald Trump pursued extramarital relationships heedlessly. Although he wasn’t a political candidate at the time of the relationships, Trump was a public figure.  Yet he let himself be seen caressing McDougal in public, and spoke with Daniels on a speakerphone while she was with other people who could hear him talk.  Trump’s high-risk behavior with women has come back to haunt him with negative consequences.


  1. Donald Trump is a lonely man who desperately seeks love and sex. Trump anxiously pursued both the McDougal and Daniels, and not just simply for brief sexual encounters.  He continued to seek contact with them, both for intimacy (with McDougal) and simply for human contact (with Daniels).  Donald Trump is a highly needy man susceptible to addictive relationships.


Of course, the type of younger, attractive woman Trump pursues is indicative of his neediness and insecurities, as though forming these relationships proves his value—not only in the eyes of others, but to himself.  Trump’s marriage to Melania demonstrated how Trump demands a younger, highly attractive woman who would be dependent on him. In Melania’s case, her dependence included not only financial support, but Trump’s helping to gain American residency and citizenship for her and her parents.

Taken together, Donald Trump is a portrait of a man who, bound up in his own ego needs to be worshipped, creates addictive relationships that have come back to haunt him.

Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts by The Fix, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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