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Is Sex Addiction Just a (Convenient) Myth?

Posted on Jan 22, 2010
Tiger Woods
U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess

Tiger Woods, shown in 2007 at the first Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am, is rumored to be in rehab for sex addiction after last year’s post-Thanksgiving revelations about his extramarital escapades.

Here we go again: Just as the question was raised during the latter phase of the Bill Clinton era, Tiger Woods’ recently revealed indiscretions have prompted questions of whether there is such a thing as “sex addiction,” or whether it’s just code for “boys will be boys” ... until those boys get busted, that is.  —KA

Chicago Tribune:

“In the field of psychiatry, there’s not a clear agreement about whether or not it’s even a diagnosis,” said Ginger Manley, a nursing professor and certified sex therapist at Vanderbilt University.

To many Americans, sex addiction is often a punch line. “People say, ‘If I have an addiction, I want to have that one,’” Manley said. But Manley and other sex therapists say most clients don’t get treatment until their sexual behavior has ruined their lives - wrecking their marriages, causing them to spend thousands of dollars on pornography or prostitutes, or even getting arrested for soliciting prostitutes.

But for someone like Tiger Woods, is this an addiction - or merely a way of life for rich, powerful men?

“I am cautious and a little leery of the term sex addiction,” said Dr. Alan Grieco, an Orlando, Fla., psychologist who noted that the American psychiatric community considered homosexuality a mental disorder 60 years ago. “In my opinion, monogamy does not come naturally to most men. We can do it, but it’s a struggle. ... If an attractive woman throws herself at a guy and he thinks he can get away with it, he will - married or not - have sex.”

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By faith, January 26, 2010 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

America has what, 90% of the world’s psychiatrists?  Why do we think that we
must listen and accept every single idea they project?  They tend to present an
argument for every misbehavior in order to either excuse it or heal it.  They are
making billions by causing everyone to think there is something wrong with
them.  I once asked in a psych 101 class if my professor thought that everyone
in the world needed psychiatric counseling.  He said, “yes”.  I disagree. 
Furthermore, I think the field of psychology has facilitated as much harm as
possible benefit.

Sometimes, people behave inappropriately by society’s standards.  Sometimes
people are sad with just cause or no cause.  It isn’t always “dysfunctional”. 
There is a place for psychiatry, and it does help some people tremendously. 
However, thinking that everything can be measured and evaluated by a group
of specialists who assert that they can unlock the mysteries of human cognitive
reasoning is ridiculous.

This new area, “sex addiction” is really out there.  There are, unquestionably
people with distorted sexual deviancy.  A rich man, with time on his hands,
famous, status, and reaching out for hanky panky may be inappropriate and
wrong in our society, but it is not deviant behavior.  Get a grip, folks !  Get a
grip Mr. Woods !
Just remember, America supports, finances, has over 90% of the “world"s
shrinks.  That is fairly telling.  We need someone to tell us what to think and
how to act.  I am not so certain.

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By elwoodpdowd, January 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No.Wrong. The real question is why is this entire story even in the news?

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By MARK OF THE BEAST, January 26, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Man has invented every excuse he can to explain away his genetic tendencies to do what he thinks he shouldn’t.  Addictions are very convenient for this purpose, and are also convenient for the pocketbooks of psychiatrists and drug companies.

But man is an evolved being, and he is the sum total of all the choices he has made over millions of years.  Is there evil involved, or is it all just natural selection?  You can call man evil, but you all know that good and evil do not exist any more than addictions.  Behavior is chosen by the organism for the purpose of satisfying the organism, and the organism chooses whatever it will choose.  Good and evil are not a part of the choice process. 

The being that has no power complains about those that do.  But it is all natural selection.  Like the runt of the pack, he gets picked upon until he is annihilated.  But the runt has no one to complain to.  Man thinks he can complain because he is weak, and someone will run to his rescue.  He thinks he can vote himself into power.  But those who vote sign away their power and become enslaved in the process.  It is all an illusion, like addictions, designed to smooth the transition to the grave.  You all go to your grave sooner or later.  It may be a benefit to go sooner if you have no power.

The strong have a natural responsibility to destroy the weak.  It is what keeps the gene pool healthy.  The weak complain, and the strong pretend to help them, but it not hard to see that the help is also an illusion, and the weak are always there, all around, hoping someone will pick up their cause, but no one really does.  And they are destroyed for believing they will have a saviour. 

If you are to survive, you must become your own saviour.  You must fight for survival, as do the beasts of the earth, for you are one of them, only different by small degree.  The male chooses to impregnate as many females as possible, because he believes in his power, that it should be perpetuated.
Man creates the illusion of fidelity to counter this natural process, but the fidelity illusion is a weak one, and easily seen through.  Forget fidelity.  Forget marriage.  Power to the powerful.  Survival to the strong. 

May Tiger Woods win 25 more major championships, to establish himself as the most powerful to ever swing a golf club.  May be sire 250 strong children to perpetuate his power.

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By Grousefeather, January 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In my opinion the only thing preventing many, if not most, people from having a sexual experience with a new partner is the right opportunity.

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By samosamo, January 25, 2010 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

Agreed, what a world, but what else do 7,000,000,000 have to

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By Blackspeare, January 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment


Your point is made and taken at face value.  I said a “substantial number of men”——I didn’t say all!  Yes, there are men who are true and faithful to their spouses in the face of opportunity, but they are in the minority.  And yes our society foments such activity.  Remember, on the Internet the largest category of websites is pornography in all its forms followed closely by gambling sites——what a world!!!

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By samosamo, January 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Look at this way, it is easier to stop a person from breathing or
the heart beating than it is to stop them from having sex or to
stop it from raining.

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By diman, January 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment

By Blackspeare, January 25 at 4:13 pm #

“Sex Addiction” is a contrived disorder——useful for those caught in so called illicit relationships.  The fact remains that a substantial portion of married men who do not fool around do so because the opportunity never arises and no pun intended.

Nice generalization, I guess by implication all men who do not fool around and have all opportunities for that - are idiots. My friend, to some men, not the whole lot of them, but to some, being faithful to their women is a question of inner integrity and love. Does it sound familiar to you? Love, you know, something that is being destroyed and distorted by reality shows a-la Bachelor, Big Brother and so-on.

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By Blackspeare, January 25, 2010 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

“Sex Addiction” is a contrived disorder——useful for those caught in so called illicit relationships.  The fact remains that a substantial portion of married men who do not fool around do so because the opportunity never arises and no pun intended.

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By Super Lou, January 25, 2010 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“People have sex.  Its what they do.”

No greater words of wisdom and simplicity could be spoken No Man’s Land.  Marriage and monogamy are both dying institutions no matter how hard the cultural and religious “puritans” inveigh against this trend.  Visit and hang out at any college campus or research the prevailing “sextexting” youth culture, throw in, for good measure, the “cougaring,” “swinging,” and sexual bacchanalia available through the internet and joilla, “People have sex.  Its what they do.”

Don’t hate on Tiger, he’s just gaming the P.R. system as you Puritans would have him do, so you can give him his “penitence.”  The public wants to revel in his prurient sexual appetite while “demanding” that he “own up to it.”  What a crock of shit.  He likes sex, and variety, like most “normal” people do.  He got married too young, and was straight-jacketed by his corporate sponsors and parents, and the childish expectations of his “fans” to be a goody-two-shoes symbol of “Protestant work-ethics, and sound morals.”  Projecting their bullshit on him like they projected “hope and change” on Obummer.

The “myth” of sexual addiction, at least in Tiger’s case, was invented to vent the Puritanical sexual dysfunction of Americans, to provide public dispensation for their hypocritical, dishonest, confused, and closeted- sex drives.  Sure, if you can’t hold or job or otherwise be a productive member of society due to sexual conquest, you might have an addiction.  But liking p*ss* in infinite variety, based upon safe practices and consent, is quite sane to me.

Increasingly, if you follow the trend magazines, it’s the women who are complaining about not getting enough sex, or (how about this one dear Puritans) enough “good sex,” a case in point where this is well documented is Japan.  The poor, driven males there are overworking themselves such they they don’t enjoy a little nookie now and then. There are few “sex scandals” in Europe because they have “evolved” beyond America’s dysfunction. 

And speaking of the mindlessness of Tiger’s travails perpetrating as “newsworthy,”, the show biz rumor mill (i.e. “news” in America) now reports that Angelina Jolie has been f***king around on one of the “hottest males in America if not the world,”-Mr. Pitt.  Chew on the banality and irony of that as you search the web for sexual titillation.

Last but not least, it takes 2 or 3, or whatever your fantasies demand, to tangle.

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By diman, January 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, of course it is a disorder, just like bulimia and anorexia, the invented diseases of the sick american society. Why would the Truthdig even bother to post yet again about this asshole and his imaginary dysfunction?

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By lichen, January 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Yes, there is such a thing as sex addiction.  The fact is, a historical, silent epidemic of boys being subjected to childhood sexual abuse (by both men and women) exists in this country, and it messes up their lives almost permanently—leading to things like hypersexual behavior, ptsd, eating disorders, and a wide range of serious consequences.

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By G.Anderson, January 24, 2010 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Marriage is, and has always been a form of property exchange. Monogamy, is just one form.

Many other cultures practise, marriages in which sexual relations, with others are not restrained, and maybe even encouraged.

In some cultures women as well as men may marry multiple times. Some cultures encourage pregnancy before marriage, as a way of determining if a women can produce healthy children.

The west curently plays a game of “gotcha”, where wealth exchange is taken to the extreme, where a whole host of legal entities stand to benefit financially from divorce, and marriage is just the opening move in a charade, designed to extract the largest amount of money from divorce as possible. This is why marriage is not enforced, and divorce is.

Care for Children is often touted as a reason for the rules we make, but typically they do not benefit financially from divorce litigation.

That being said, promiscuous behavior, is often symptomanic of many forms of hypermanic behavior. Intercouse, is a potent releaser of endogenous endorphins.

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By dihey, January 24, 2010 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

There is no such thing as “sex addiction”. There are alpha and beta males an that’s it.

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By VickyS, January 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Which church instituted marriage simply for puritanical reasons?  Christians get married, Buddhists get married, Muslims get married, Atheists get married, etc. etc.  Why?  Because most people want to have family - they want to love and to be loved.  And most people want their spouse to be faithful to them.  Wives don’t like their husbands to cheat on them, and husbands don’t like their wives to cheat on them either.  If there is cheating, trust is shattered, the spouse feels betrayed, and unless there is contrition and reformation, the family unit breaks down, with a lot of suffering for every one involved.  It’s as simple as that.

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By samosamo, January 23, 2010 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

Seems to me that if a marriage license is required then it will
be a high probability that the 2 people are not compatible and
will, sooner or later, separate.

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By no mans land, January 23, 2010 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

You’re right dave. We’ve magically reached a point in human evolution
where we’ve discovered infidelity. If only the 60’s had never happened we
wouldn’t be this mess.

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By omygodnotagain, January 23, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Alcohol, Drugs, Cigarettes are addictions, they created a physical need, sex is a built in physical need, it is just that some men want more, and have the ability to get it. I think any woman married to a wealthy, attractive guy with a strong libido has to recognize that there is a strong likelihood her man will stray.
Why not focus on female delusions that they have powers no other woman on the planet has?  For that you need therapy

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By Ouroborus, January 23, 2010 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

To answer the question title of the article;
yes, it’s a myth just like all of the other myths
created to excuse behavior that doesn’t fit the
narrow confines of acceptable behavior in our
Victorian, PC society.
If one goes for “treatment” that alone is tacit
admission that one recognizes ones societal
transgressions and is appropriately sorry for said
behavior and has made acceptable amends.
How pathetic and manipulative; and most opt for the
phoney displays of contrition so they may be allowed
back into “polite” society where all is forgiven, but
never forgotten.

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By DaveZx3, January 23, 2010 at 1:05 am Link to this comment

It’s not about sex.  That is just one manifestation of the inability of people to behave honorably.  Alcohol, drugs, gambling all are equal in their ability to break families, ruin lives and careers and put burdens on society. 

No matter what obligations people take on, often for remuneration, we have come to the point where it is o.k. not to honor those obligations, and to lie like hell to cover up the fact that we are not honoring them.  All behavior is acceptable as long as you don’t get caught.  Then when you do get caught, you become the victim of this evil addiction. 

If there is no honor, and we can’t rely on people to do what they say they are going to do, then there is no basis for a civilized society, and it will break down into what you actually see in the world today.  Divorce, conflicts, broken families, lying, cheating, stealing, all over the place.

But as No_Mans_Land states, “None of my business

Morality is a construct of the church. People lie, cheat and steal etc, etc. Its what they do.  We have progressed beyond morality to where all behavior is relative to your circumstances.  All in the name of progress.

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By azythos, January 23, 2010 at 1:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What an incredible load of bullshit!

Such an “addiction” could only be invented in the country of religious nuts, prohibitonists and and sanctimonious private life nazis, second to none—not even Saudi Arabia.

So now two consenting adults screwing has become a crime, eh?

Anyone who even thought of discussing the private life of Mr. Woods, or Me Edwards, or Mr. Spitzer, or other thousand cases like it, is either a moron or a piece of religious slime.

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By G.Anderson, January 23, 2010 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

It’s very easy to be objective about someone else’s problems, to offer advice, and pass judgement, to enjoy bringing someone down as revenge for their success.

It’s really the cheap way of going about it. It’s much harder to get up in the morning and start hitting those golf balls at 4 am. 

That being said, I’ve met few therapists,  psychologists, or psychiatrists, who didn’t suffer from their own share of personal problems.

Needless to say, it’s different when a therapist says your crazy in public or makes a diagnosis of your illness, than the average person on the street, it’s called slander. And it can easily become the basis of a lawsuit.

Still it’s seems that many still do comment on someone without really knowing their situation more than what is portrayed in the media. 

I did notice however in this post what seemed to a typical sexist dig, against men, “boys will be boys”. I resent your unconscious implication that you view Tiger Woods as a boy, who ever you are.
Perhaps you view all men that way?

Just because you seem to collect a few off the cough remarks, by your so called experts, that doesn’t make you one, and it doesn’t justify shaming someone, who you cleary have no concern for, other than to entertain people at their expense.

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By hidflect, January 22, 2010 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I stayed at a lodge with a guy who was an orphan. In the 2 months I was there he must have screwed over 80 women. It was dysfunctional. He couldn’t even keep down a job, so yes, I suppose anything can be a mental problem. But Tiger? I’d guess it’s just more image-fluffing lies like before.

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By no mans land, January 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

Bad form. Its easy to shame people over sex. None of my business
anyway. Stop feeding this puritanical zeitgeist and write about something
else. People have sex. Its what they do. Marriage and monogomy are
constructs of the church. A lot of people try them and a lot of people fail
at them. great scoop truthdig.

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