It's fascinating how so many people can lead a double life, with even those closest to them not having even the slightest clue about it. Access to vast sums of money can be so tempting to some that they indulge their fantasies without any regard for morality, law, or the damage such actions may cause those around them. And once they start on this road, they often just keep going until they get caught!

Take the case of this Brisbane businessman:

DAMIAN O'Carrigan was outwardly a devoted husband, father and a trusted manager with one of the nation's biggest firms.

He had also siphoned $20 million from his employer over more than a decade, while having secret affairs and building his own property and racing empire.

Much of the money that he gained illegally was spent on a high priced call girl:

For eight years Belinda Leonard was the secret lover of Leighton Contractors finance manager Damian O'Carrigan, attending to his every beck and call, court documents reveal.

In return, he lavished her with extraordinary gifts, including a 21ha property, a new house and car, overseas trips and the unfettered use of a credit card.

Ms Leonard used the credit card to rack up an estimated $1.4 million in bills, it is claimed.

Ironically, just as he was deceiving his wife about this clandestine affair, the call girl herself seemed to have no idea about where he was getting all this money from.

Amazing that someone could keep going for years with such secretive behaviour. Money, and sex are powerful drugs indeed!
Dating scams are a huge problem in this country. Countless people get their hearts broken and their life savings stolen by unscrupulous fraudsters. That's bad enough. But the case of West Australian woman Jette Jacobs is even more tragic.

She was found dead in a guest house in South Africa. It looks very likely that she was murdered. And the prime suspect is the Nigerian man she had been charmed by online, and was in that country to marry.

Mr Omokoh was the last person to see Ms Jacobs alive and told police he found her body. He has since disappeared.

Ms Jacobs, a widow who had six children, struck up an online relationship with Mr Omokoh three years ago and travelled to South Africa to meet him in 2010 before he proposed late last year. Over several years she sent $200,000 to Mr Omokoh and another man she met online, known only as Isaac.

The woman's family knew about the relationship and tried to stop her form travelling to Africa. But she wouldn't be talked around. It shows just how powerful a motivating factor the desire for love can be.
Recently an Australian man using Grindr was attacked and robbed by someone he met through the hook-up app.

But this method of meeting people is probably no more dangerous than any other one, online or off. It's just that apps such as these are becoming increasingly popular. With so many people now using them it's no wonder that meetings facilitated by them occasionally turn very ugly.

After all, there have have been many cases of harassment and violence (even murder) involving users of the big dating sites. Last year, for example, a woman filed a lawsuit against after being attacked by a man she met on the site, then dropped it when she was satisfied they were screening out known sex offenders.
It's interesting that the AWU scandal now plaguing Aussie PM Julia Gillard had its genesis in a sexual relationship that she had with alleged fraudster Bruce Wilson many years ago. If she did not have this relationship and her professional conduct had been exactly the same it seems unlikely that this scandal would have built up such a head of steam now.

Then there's the Craig Thomson affair, which is also in the news. That saga relates to his alleged use of union funds to procure services from prostitutes.

This kind of thing keeps happening the world over. It seems that at any given time there's at least one government being threatened by problems caused by the sex life of one or more of its members.

Clearly, sex and political power are inextricably linked. There's that great line from Henry Kissinger: "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." He meant that it was an aphrodisiac for women. But it seems to make men a lot more libidinous as well.

In the case of Julia Gillard the problem seems almost inverted. Her past sexual relations indirectly threaten her present authority.

In any case, that link is a two edge sword: Sex is always causing problems for the powerful!
One interesting feature of politics in this country has been the development of the Australian Sex Party. Obviously they are against censorship of adult oriented material. But they're certainly not a one issue party. They support abortion, euthanasia, and the decriminalization of drugs. Not surprisingly they have been quite controversial.

They tend to be treated as a bit of a sideshow by the mainstream media. And their reputation seems to have had something to do with their problems running Google ads in a recent election. In that case, Sex Party president Fiona Patten claimed that they were being treated very differently to the Greens.

They certainly do attract some colourful characters. Comedian Sandy Gutman (aka Austen Tayshus) ran as a candidate for them not so long ago.

Feminist porn star Zahra Stardust is the latest candidate. She's running for Lord Mayor of Sydney. She obviously won't win, but it will be interesting to she how she fares.

While many of the other candidates aren't as socially liberal as she is, they still share several of her policies. This is because Sydney's inner city is dominated by trendy left-leaning greenies. Conservative Christian types barely get a look in.
It's interesting that as social media becomes more and more popular and influential, aspects of it are being incorporated into online dating site architecture. Since the whole phenomenon is all so new, it's hard to judge the success of this trend.

But if Pirate Date is any guide, then it's probably quite a risky proposition. This Facebook influenced online matchmaking site was started a couple of years ago, and is now nowhere to be found.

In any case there are some new sites for singles to meet each other that are heavily influenced by specific social media sites. One example is Tawkify:

E. Jean Carroll, co-creator of Tawkify and an advice columnist for Elle magazine, told Mashable that in her opinion the level of a person’s influence on the web can be as important as a profile photo.

“A Klout score will never replace our match-making instincts,” Carroll says. “But we’ve found that Klout scores are an authentic measurement of sophistication, wit, cultural savvy and appeal — a much truer and more trustworthy measurement than the typical online dating site bull-hockey-factors of height, weight and income.”

Then there is Pinstant Karma:

Online dating website Pinstant Karma has introduced a beta website for Generation 'D' that uses Visual Interest Matching technology via profile 'pin boards' for singles to meet and connect with potential matches based on similar interests.

Building on the growing popularity of social discovery websites, Pinstant Karma doesn’t use gimmicks, essays, lengthy questionnaires or formulas – just stimulating, fun, visual pin boards that allow people to discover new and interesting matches.
Relationships are difficult to navigate for pretty much everyone. But if you're in the public eye that makes them even more problematic. That's why celebrities tend to really struggle to keep them going for anything longer than a few months.

And if you're a professional sportsperson playing hard for very high stakes there's yet another thing to contend with...

For these reasons the budding relationship between boxer Lauryn Eagle and rugby player Todd Carney appears to have the odds stacked well and truly against it!

But you never know. It may turn out to be the exception that proves the rule and they end up being blissfully happy together for a very long time.
Just recently there was a media frenzy in Japan over a young woman who killed three men she met on dating sites. And there has been another case of a woman killing a man she originally met the same way.

British woman Carol Kemp became involved with a man she met on a dating site, then knifed him to death when he tried to end the relationship.
Fraudsters continue to fleece Australians looking for love on online dating sites. Queenslanders are a favourite target of these unscrupulous people:

The $16 million a year sent to phony "suitors" in Nigeria and Ghana by vulnerable Queenslanders represents a fifth of all the money extorted from Australian romance scam victims, a state cyber crime fighter has claimed.

This law enforcement official believes that the problem is so bad that the cash remittance industry itself should intervene to address the problem:

"Seventy per cent of all the money going to Nigeria is romance-fraud related and we're talking millions of dollars."

That is a staggering figure. At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, it makes you wonder how so many people could be so gullible, particularly since there has been so much media coverage of this criminal practice.

I suppose it just goes to show just how vulnerable people can be when they are lonely and looking for love.
These days there is so much talk about the need for equality between the sexes. The notion of sameness -- while not necessarily the same thing -- is often promoted strongly as well.

You often hear this in relation to debates about economic inequality. For example, feminists bemoan the lack of female CEOs, saying that women can be just as tough, ambitious and decisive as men.

Much of this is laudable, of course. It's also true, because there are many aspects of male and female psychology that hardly differ at all. But it can cause a lot of confusion and frustration as well -- particularly in intimate relationships. This is because whether we like it or not, men and women are also very different in so many ways -- often ones that are unchangeable.

Take the issue of a potential partner's relative height. Both men and women prefer it if the man is taller than the woman. And it seems that this requirement is more important for women than it is for men.

Here's an interesting and comprehensive post on this particular phenomenon.