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Is Tiger A Sex Addict? - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is Tiger A Sex Addict?

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

TXA 21 News, Dec 10, 2009

With the growing number of mistresses being identified in the Tiger Woods scandal (nine so far), many are wondering if the legendary golfer may be a sex addict. Why do so many famous men suffer with a compulsion to cheat and is it because of sexual addiction?

America is reeling from the barrage of new disclosures from former affair partners of the famed golfer. Now there are whispers that Tiger may actually be a sex addict. This begs the obvious question - what is sexual addiction?

Sexual addiction is a persistent and escalating pattern of sexual behaviors acted out despite potential negative consequences to the self and others (Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health). Secrecy, systematic betrayal and a sense of entitlement to using other people sexually are all hallmarks of sexual addiction.

Whenever you see any kind of irrational, highly self-destructive behavior that just doesn’t add up, be on the lookout for some kind of addictive behavior behind it.

As an addiction progresses, there are graduated levels of importance in the addict’s life:

Here are the general stages of addiction:

Internal Shift: The addict begins to turn toward behavior that is relieving of their stress or changes their mood to the euphoric or exhilarating. The highly destructive aspect of the addictive behavior is minimized or denied (“I can quit anytime I want”) even though such behavior is a direct assault on the faith and trust of others around them.

Lifestyle Change: A behavioral dependency on the addiction begins to enter the picture. His life is altered to accommodate the addiction even if he becomes reckless and self-destructive. He moves deeper into the sabotaging behavior.

Life Breakdown: The addiction has now taken over. The individual builds his life around the emotional release from acting out destructively. At this point, nothing matters to the addict but the acquisition of the addictive object. The obsession with the addiction causes a trance state. People don’t matter, commitments are broken and honesty isn’t even a part of the conversation.

It is important to differentiate the motivations for sexual addiction:

Bio-chemically Depressed: Depression can cause irrational, self-destructive behavior in individuals (particularly men) who often do not recognize their depression or their errant behavior. Turning to sex is a direct effort to escape their pain, frustration and helplessness. They experience a numbing of emotional connection and restructure their behavior as they begin to serve the addiction first and foremost.

Personality Disorders: Many people with chronic developmental and personality disorders such as narcissistic or socio-pathic personalities are prime candidates for sexual addiction. To them, all people are a means to an end and they are entitled to the shameless sexual exploitation of others.

Unfortunately, narcissistic celebrities are abundant and it is only a matter of time for many of them before some sort of addiction enters the picture.

With the recent rash of cheating men in the new, you may be wondering — are men more vulnerable to sexual addiction than women are?

Both genders can become addicted to sex but show highly different patterns:

Sexually addicted men are often attracted to high status positions such as entertainment or politics where they have an endless supply of beautiful women willing to engage. They shamelessly exploit women, idealize the next new girl until she loses her novelty and then throw her away as they pursue for a new conquest.

Women show a much different pattern. They often substitute sex for love and fidelity and become the willing partners to exploitative men. They begin to dress seductively and to augment every aspect of their physical appearance. Their seduction of the idealized partner and the admiration they derive become the addiction. They remain dependent upon the attention of the narcissistic, demanding partner who is now in control.

However, there is hope for recovery from sexual addiction:

It is quite possible if there is an absolute commitment to change and to getting the appropriate help. Since addictions hijack the brain chemistry and the judgment of otherwise cogent people, specialists in the addiction field who are experienced, savvy and realistic about the long road to recovery are the best treatment professionals. Twelve-step recovery programs are essential parts of treatment for sexual addiction along with intense individual therapy focusing on developing a new, empowered self firmly rooted in reality and concern for others.

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