We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, December 15. 2009
Does that, or should that, exist as a medical diagnosis?
I doubt it, although the idea of diagnosis nowadays is rather arbitrary and designed mainly to complete insurance forms.
In light of Tiger's family problems, I have been hearing the term "sex addiction" used a lot by non-professionals and by some quasi-professionals. Rock star-types have endless temptations and opportunities for recreational sex. And so does any guy who doesn't mind going to massage parlors or titty bars.
It seems to me that pathologizing hedonistic behavior of any sort tends to diminish the fact of human choice - and moral choice. We primates are wired for sexual adventurism, but also wired for restraint and for considerate behavior.
What do you think? How many of our guy readers could resist lovely young women constantly throwing themselves at them, and licking their ear?
Weds. evening heavy-duty links
Tom Sowell's Christmas reading How about a doppelganger for Christmas? Militant Theophobes Illegals, yes. Anatolie, no. Climategate: Something’s Rotten in Denmark … and East Anglia, Asheville, and New York City Copenhagen: 'This Guy's Just Sho
Weblog: Maggie's Farm
Tracked: Dec 16, 18:39
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The idea of it being a medical condition is ever-so-much baloney. Resisting temptation is a test of character, & character is something popular culture doesn't give much credence to.
I'm not a psycologist nor do I play one on TV, but it seems to me that the push to describe any behavior as addiction that is not directly related to chemical substances is only an excuse meant to defend bad behavior.
I also think that this is blown way out of proportion. If Mr. Woods had been single I seriously doubt that the revelation of him being a horn dog would have been as severe. Certainly it would have given his squeaky clean image a bad case of road rash, but ultimately it would have worked in his favor - if he had not been married with children. Most of us don't view infidelity with any sort of sympathy - I certainly don't.
I don't view it as a "character" flaw as much as I view it as a moral failure of his part to understand his commitment to his wife and family.
With respect to the question posed - I honestly don't know. The pro-forma answer is "of course I wouldn't". Then again, I'm not a billionaire with an outsized ego and a sense of infalliability. I am merely an over size white middle class male who has been happily married for 33 years this coming July and honestly can't think of any other way to live.
I am sure that there are some souls who are addicted to various thrill behaviors in the sense that their drive is very strong and their restraints are poor. The line between bad choices and mental illness of some kind is fuzzy at best. In child psychology there's a diagnosis for Oppositional Defiance Disorder, but I don't know how you can tell it from snotty kid behavior. Same with Tiger -- is he driven by forces I don't experience, or does he just lack a moral compass?
I have to part company with Geoff about Oppositional Defiance Disorder as my daughter clearly has it. I think the key that she will be oppositional even when it clearly to her detriment. To anybody who saw her act out, it was obvious to them that my wife and I did not know how to raise a child. In fact, I would think the same thing if I witnessed many of the things my daughter did.
However, a diagnosis of sexual addiction is a bit too convenient for me: "pity me because I just can't help getting my rocks off as often as I can". It does give me a little pause, though. I think Oppositional Defiance has been around for a long time but just not reported on till recently. Maybe sexual addiction is in the same category... But it seems most likely to be a just a new kind of victim. Just what we need!
I am sure that ODD is a valid issue and your description of it sounds right to me. I'm also sure that its criteria are fuzzy. My son meets most criteria for low-level Asperger's syndrome -- to the casual eye, he just seems hard to work with.
I don't know if you'll get back to this thread, but in case you do: You're right about the fuzzy criteria. My daughter was actually diagnosed as mildly autistic. The criteria for that has grown so much over the years so that now, it seems the new "trendy" affliction. As a parent, you try to mold your child into a responsible person but in her case for some things, it is/was like trying to mold granite. She's talented, smart, and honest, but has a hard time with things that prohibit her from having a job or a good friendship.
While I agree with all those who are very skeptical of sex addiction, there really are some cases where some people are twisted in ways that other observers lack sympathy. I think those cases are very rare, though and not nearly as prevalent as some on the squishy/emotional/do-gooder type would claim.
I guess sex-addiction could be diagnosed similar as other compulsive pathologoical behaviors but it shouldn't absolve anyone from moral responsibilities and corresponding consequences.
Would I be so tempted? No way to know as I've never been in a position of wealth and power and the temptations those bring. I was certainly no angel during my college and post college years, but cleaned up my act for marriage and have remained faithful ever since.
I have no particular issues with his life style prior to marriage although it seems rather sleazy and unsophisticated, but once he decided to bring a beautiful lady out of her home country and commit to bringing children into the world all that should have changed. At the minimum, as the rich and famous are different than the rest of us, he should have toned it way down so as not to pubicly humiliate wife and bring shame down on his family and harm his career.
This isn't addiction just stupid, arrogant behavior by a jerk.
Ah... The stroy of my life! Grapes, beautiful women whispering sweet nothings in my ear....
Riiiinnnnnnggggg. Time to get up.
If they ever declare my breath to be a pollutant, deadly CO2 and all (not my stink mouth! that's a toxic pollutant), I will claim to be addicted to breathing.
That's what I think of Sex Addiction. It's like being addicted to sleep or eat.
Had Elin took more interest in her husband, instead of building her nest for their sons and pushing him away-into the always available arms of women who's desire is to bed any sports celebrity, Tiger would have always come home to her. Today's women don't know/never been taught how to keep a mate at her beckon call.
>>>How many of our guy readers could resist lovely young women constantly throwing themselves at them, and licking their ear?
Once in a while, no problem.
As often as a good looking, young, fit, billionaire sports hero? No frickin' way. I'd have probably done as bad, if not worse. I'm with Richard Feynman on that; he turned down an incredibly lucrative offer from U. of Chicago on the grounds that he'd finally be able to afford a mistress and all sorts of other hedonism that would ultimately be his downfall, so he declined enormous wealth and stuck with his modest salary at Cal.
"It's physics dear boy!" as Richard would say.
Regarding Mr. Paul's comment about women today not knowing how to keep their man happy , I say HUMBUG!( in keeping with the holiday) It takes to tango dear sir and Tiger was dancing with way too many partners. I feel bad that she has to check herself for a number of STD because he couldn't keep his putter in his pants.
"What do you think? How many of our guy readers could resist lovely young women constantly throwing themselves at them, and licking their ear?"
I shall selflessly volunteer to be the subject of this experiment. First I'll need a grant from the gov, let's say $10 mil to start. Then send in the young women. My wife say's it’s ok as long as the funds are in the joint checking account! What!?...The young ladies want young, fit, and good looking! There must be some kind of discrimination going on here!
How many guys can resist pretty young women constantly throwing themselves at them and licking their ear? Some can. Some still believe in an ideal called honor. They don't want to humiliate their wives and embarrass their families. They don't want to sire children out of wedlock or pick up hard to treat STDs. There may not be many but I believe there is more than you think, Doc.
PS: If pretty women are so tough for people like Tiger to resist, then do you think all the other golfers on the PGA are just as promiscuous?
"Some still believe in an ideal called honor. They don't want to humiliate their wives and embarrass their families. "
Somewhat agree but those are two separate things. Honor related to how you feel about yourself. The wife and family humiliation/embarrassment is about respect for those closest to you.
Sorta' like integrity. That's what you do with your fast food trash at night on a deserted country road. If you still got it, you still got it. If you left it back there on the side of the road, you left it back there.
"should that, exist as a medical diagnosis"
As in, should insurance be required to pay to treat it?
A friend's now ex-husband wiped out their kids' college funds treating his "sex addiction" at a clinic. Seems to me that the will to stop looking at porn on the computer and going to hookers -- the choice to keep his marriage and family intact -- should have been enough.
Character flaw. Not chemical problem.
I think that sex addiction DOES exist. It may be a character flaw, but I've known far too many people who allow sex to get in the way of their lives, just as an alcoholic allows alcohol to get in the way of their lives.
Tiger was NOT a sex addict. Last I saw, he was still near the top of his game. Thus, sex hadn't gotten in the way of his day-to-day responsibilities.
But what about the day laborer who spends a good portion of his income on sex to the detriment of his family and the interference of his job? I had a good friend who once said "I don't HAVE to pay for sex, I WANT to pay for sex."
Why? Because he had his choices of whatever he wanted.
Mr. Paul's comments may have been sarcastic and over the top, but there is a slim degree of truth to his point. My friend was disappointed in his sex life at home. It was infrequent, plain vanilla, lacked adventure or "edginess". He wanted some "fun".
Because of his addiction, he lost his job and had to take one which paid less well. Did he feel bad? Not at all, he was still having his fun. He didn't make the connection between his behavior and his family's increasing income gap.
The problem with the addiction, like any other addiction, is the abuse of the term. Tiger being a sex addict is like calling Andre Agassi a Meth-head. Both of them dabble(d) in the stuff, but neither got so deeply involved that their lives were ruined.
I forgot to mention:
If lovely young women were indeed throwing themselves at me, and promising things I can barely imagine.....I'm afraid I could NOT resist.
It's not an issue of family, promises, or anything like that. Good Lord! It's just incredibly powerful stuff when you get to a certain point. If money were mentioned, I'd disappear faster than you can say boo. If it couldn't be kept quiet or discreet - the same.
But if I'm at a bar on the opposite coast and I hit it off with a model beyond my wildest imagination....why not? I know it sounds horrible, but at least I'm honest. Many men would say they wouldn't. I say they are lying.
The want of pussy is what underpins just about every bit of human productive activity. Women rule the world. The smart ones know they do. The dumb ones call themselves feminists and seek to "liberate" other women by teaching them to be men and thereby become worthless to men.
There is a reason female virginity is enshrined by every tribe of upright primates on the planet...
Among the sane and honest, pussy rules.
You are missing the important point. I was stunned to hear his "all business" tone of voice on one of the gal's cell phones. Tiger treats women as something you buy/pay for in some way. He has no--NONE-zero tone of any concern for the woman to whom he is talking. My gut tells me that he is that way with all other human beings except perchance his children. I think with some serious professional evaluation we would find that our boy Tiger is probably cold enough to be considered a sociopath.
Taking something for granted doesn't lessen the worth of that something. The only variable is ego...and gratitude.
I pity the little twit. He has all the money in the world and can't buy what normal people get for free every day.
Having your ass continually kissed will turn you into an asshole. Adoration is a curse.
I blame his parents. They created a gargantuan flake.
Licking my ear? I think the chances of straying goes up exponentially for every inch that tongue goes south of the ear.
IMHO the key to whether some sexual behavior is a disorder is in the motives/attitudes of the individual. For some, sexual conduct is not desired and there is a real struggle to stop, but holding back causes anguish, and the person literally "fixes" himself -- to his shame and regret. I suggest that pattern does exist, and that it has parallels with physical drug addiction.
For others, sex is recreation, and variety and adventure make it difficult to remain celibate or monagamous. When these folks cheat, they are just being selfish, immature, or irresponsible. It's like spending too much time surfing the internet.
But I'm not so sure about the first group. There are things in a man's upbringing that can warp his view of others, and especially of females (I won't try to speak for women who are said to suffer from sex addiction). The result can be dysfunction that has many similarities to addiction to chemicals.
It is possible to hate yourself for what many perceive as your character weaknesses. Now could those shortcomings be literally beyond moral preachments? Are are there no exceptions to the claim that all sexual misbehavior is simply egotistical, anti-social nonsense?
Yes, I speak from personal experience, and I can tell you it's a lifelong struggle. The constant question is, "Am I normal, and can I control this? Or am I just finding an excuse to behave badly?" I can't offer any insights there, because each person is different. Temperament has a lot to do with it, and perhaps evolution has produced a type of male who just can't stop making babies. Whatever lies behind the questions discussed here, it can cause a lot of pain -- especially when the need to "fix" oneself sexually is the only area in which self discipline is inadequate.
oh geez Benson--here it comes--another lecture of indoctrination as to why homosexuals "can't help it"! Those of us who have worked around Hollywood, or in any of the industries that have become infiltrated (airline stewardess/stewards for one) understand that being gay is a "job requirement" !
No lectures from me, and I'm not even going to speculate about homosexuality.
I don't know. Unfortunately, I've never had that problem/opportunity/good luck.
I am reminded of a story from some celeb (politician I think).
"If my wife found out that I had cheated on her, in no time at all I would find her standing over me as I lay in pool of my own blood, yelling, "How do I reload this damned thing?!?"
My wife owns a Remington 870 12ga... get the picture?
A lot of people assume Tiger's wife has sex with him. I'd bet not.
The longer my wife goes without, um, wifely duties being performed, the more her friends look really good.
If the wife gives up her end of the bargain "to love, cherish, screw, etc..." then I can't be giving up my end of the bargain to "honor and obey" now, can I?
Sex is sex, my paycheck goes to the ones I love. No addiction required. It's like pissing. A man's gotta do it sooner or later.
#15 and #24. Yeah, I can see that.
If you're out looking for it elsewhere, something's wrong at home. If she ain't giving it up, something's wrong at home.
If you don't want what she's giving, something's wrong at home. Or you're a gynecologist, (and not a Hollywood gynecologist) and you've just had too many bad experiences, leaving you not wanting any at all.
Wow! You go out of town for two days, Dr. Joy mentions sex and the thread rolls on...and on...
? What is the correlation between stress and the need for sex...or alcohol, gambling, execise, food, etc. I think women and men may proess stress differently, but would much appreciate any comments,
I'm not sure all these activities are stress-relievers for most folks; some may be pleasurable stress-inducers, eh? Maybe some people gamble not to relieve stress, but to change its focus, and increase it. Too, I suspect the mere desire for excitement is not what we should call stress. - It seems obvious that the need for sex is not at all the same as an addiction to it, any more than the need for food is a harmful condition. So does your question relate to sex addiction?
Benson, I'm not sure. I have noticed that potential employees, acquaintences, fellow workers who comment on being "stressed out" seem to have affairs, enjoy gambling, take sports too seriously (to the point they endure way too many injuries), are quick to get angry, eat to an excess, take risks that befuddle me. Also, WAY more kids being labeled with learning and attention disorders. We have had foster children with seriously disfuntional families and they manage quite well as adults, so stress unto itself can't be the problem.
Frankly, I' was in a situation where I worked with the Tiger Woods/$$$CEO/starlets with too many managers. But as I try to counsel my children on toxic -- is that a good word -- relationships, I feel more info would be helpful so they can identify and avoid such situations. Maybe sexual addiction is a power thing and those under stress need to feel in control. ????
My feeling is that stress is not a defining quality of addiction. Folks who are under pressure and respond by overindulging may be unwise and guilty of wretched excess, but their habits are not necessarily an addictive trap. True addiction has always been a slippery concept, and maybe there are degrees of it -- I suspect so -- but "work hard, play hard" or "make stupid choices" and "get carried away" seem to explain a lot, without the need to get into psychological jargon. People may say they are "stressed out," but that could be just poor choice of words ("bugged," "hyper," "frantic," "need to chill out" might be better). Addiction means something very different to me. I could be off target, of course.
As for power and control issues, again I am skeptical. Certainly addiction involves a loss of power and the denial that it has happened. Choices are restricted and responses become maladaptive, but in ways that are distinct, IMHO, from simple bad decision-making in non-addicted people. The true addict cannot assert power; he has no options. He does not even try to control others, because they don't matter to his addiction -- he just tells busybodies to go away and leave him alone.
Again, this is just my take on a complex subject, so CMIIAW.
But I do insist this is a fact: a sex addict can get plenty of cooperation from others in the pursuit of his desires, all without the need to control anybody. Society is his oyster.
Boy, does this post have legs! When I first interviewed several "sex addicts" in a hospital psychiatric setting in 1991, the first thing that came to mind was that these two guys made choices on a daily basis. The choice to leave work or home and drive to one of the well-known street corners for sex was probably driven by several self-interested motivations and convenient (and defenseless) rationalizations, such as no sex at home.
I'm not sure if there is a "medical diagnosis" for sex addiction, but someone must have tried to link the behaviors to some objective measure at one point, most likely the higher level of dopamine found in drug addicts' brains. Google away, and you'll find lots of references!
If it were an addiction, has anyone observed withdrawal signs and symptoms, which would seem to be necessary, by definition?
I doubt that I would be able to resist the pull of the ear licking, but I can resist what would get me to that point, and I have done so, up to this point.
Short answer: yes, withdrawal signs and symptoms. Better answer: parallel to, but not identical to, physical addiction -- but physical addiction has a component of sexual addiction that appears when chemical addiction is broken, namely the endless nagging of the voice telling you you need/want/can have a "fix." Life without the fix is empty, pointless, which indicates the addiction is effective. Obviously recovery is possible, as with chemical addiction. Good answer: too long for comments on a weblog.
Although Sex Addiction is not classified as a legitimate medical diagnosis compulsive sexual behaviors are a very real problem and it does have many of the earmarks of chemical addiction.
Sex Addicts become addicted not only to the behavior but also to the pleasure chemicals that are released in their brains.
The brain chemistry of Sex Addicts is significantly different from non Sex Addicts as pathways are altered over their lifetime.
I have several articles on the Brain Chemistry of Sex Addicts on my site.