Friday, January 22, 2010

Is Tiger Woods a Sex Addict?

It may not be the most burning issue of the day-- or better, it is surely not the most burning issue of the day-- but we have all learned from a reasonably reliable source-- that is, the National Enquirer-- that Tiger Woods is being treated for sex addiction in Mississippi. Link here.

We have also learned that he's theret because his wife urged him to do it-- or better, because she threatened to take his children to Sweden where he would never be able to see them again.

Not much of this makes a lot of sense. Have you ever seen or heard of a pre-nup that stipulated that one parent could take the children so far away that they other could not have normal visitation? Or else, have you ever heard of a judge who would allow such an arrangement?

Are we so consumed with anger at Tiger Woods that we are willing to believe just about anything about him? And are we so compelled to side with his wife that we are willing to grant her everything? For my previous posts about Tiger, see here.

Back to today's question: Is Tiger Woods a sex addict? And what is this thing called sex addiction anyway? Is it a treatable condition that can be controlled with a 12 step program or is it, in Tiger's case, a public relations move designed to salvage Tiger's reputation and endorsements?

Is rehab going to cure Tiger's addiction or restore his public image?

Nowadays America believes in rehab. Rehab has become the new therapy.

America also believes in 12 step programs. 12 steps have become the new psychoanalysis.

America is so thrilled at the effectiveness of 12 step programs that physicians are working to label each and every moral failing as an addiction.

Rehab has helped solve the greatest problem with 12 step programs. Clinicians have always know that these were effective against alcoholism. But the same clinicians could not embrace these programs because... they were free.

Now, with rehab, they have learned how to monetize 12 step programs. Apparently, Tiger Woods is paying $60,000 for his stay in the Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Clinic.

Would Bill Wilson and Bob Smith be proud?

Anyway, is Tiger Woods a sex addict?

Personally, I would vote No. An addict will show signs of dysfunction in his everyday life. Addiction compromises focus and concentration, making it difficult for the addict to relate with others, and to complete his work successfully.

An addiction is a compulsion that consumes your life and makes it nearly impossible to function. For some people sex might become such an addiction. But does this describe Tiger Woods?

Golf is an especially unforgiving taskmaster. If your focus and concentration are off, if you mind has been pickled by alcohol or addled by narcotics or flooded with images of naked lovelies, you game is going to suffer.

In golf it does not take very much to break down your concentration. When it does, the effects are immediately evident.

A golfer-addict plays like John Daly, not like Tiger Woods.

I would also vote No because Tiger's sexual antics can be explained by other factors. To diagnose Tiger Woods as a sex addict you have to distinguish a sex addict from someone who has a strong sex drive, fueled by competition, victory, money, and a gaggle of readily available women.

Also, when you make sexual indiscretion into an addiction and try to treat it with 12 step programs you will create several problems. When someone is addicted to alcohol, narcotics, or gambling he can begin treatment by renouncing the behaviors. You can live without alcohol, narcotics, and gambling. It is far more difficult to live without sex, which is, a normal adult activity.

Next, when an alcoholic goes to an AA meeting he hears stories of the abjection visited by alcoholism. These visions provide a cautionary reminder of what happens if he abandons the program.

What happens when a sex addict goes to meetings for his addiction?

As everyone knows, if you go to a sex addiction meeting and listen to people recount their sexual experiences, you might get aroused and you might find someone who is similarly aroused.

Sex talk can easily become pornographic. Assembling a group of recovering sex addicts in a room to talk about sex can easily become combustible.

Those who run these programs have tried to deal with this problem by creating a "stop word," known to all participants, whose utterance by anyone signifies that the account is getting too racy and that it needs to be stopped.

Wherever did they get this idea? I would guess that they did not glean it from a medical or psychological textbook. If it resembles anything, it represents a staple of extreme forms of masochistic rituals, where the victim of sadistic abuse will have a word he can utter to stop the process.

But that is not the worst. As the New York Post headlined, Woods' sex addiction treatment will involve something called "Disclosure Day." On that day he will be required to tell his wife about each and every time he betrayed her. In detail...

I have it on very good authority that such a practice would never be permitted in AA. It is not one of the traditional 12 steps. Even if you stretch things and class "Disclosure Day" under the step of making amends to those you have hurt, that step also says that you should not do so when you will be hurting the other person.

Can any sensible person really imagine that Elin Woods wants to hear all about her husband's sexual escapades. Isn't this a clear case of adding insult to injury?

And why would any sensible person imagine that this would be therapeutic for a marriage?

The fact that the program is being administered by a physician who has written a book on sex addiction does not justify putting these two people through such a harrowing ordeal.

If Tiger and Elin want to put their marriage back together, one good step would be to look forward, not backwards. Making Tiger assume a posture of extreme abjection will not contribute to their marriage. Nor will forcing Elin to feel utter and complete disgust about her husband's behavior.

It is bad enough that this practice has received legitimacy and respectability because it is being called medicine and is being practiced by a physician. Larger problems arise when people who have committed sexual indiscretions, regardless of whether they rise to the level of a life-consuming compulsion, start thinking that they now know how to solve their problems.

They can proclaim themselves sex addicts, declare that they have no control over their behavior, and propose that they work their way out of it by telling all of the sordid details to their wives.

Do you really think that that will help?


Freedom Fighter said...

Have you ever seen or heard of a pre-nup that stipulated that one parent could take the children so far away that they other could not have normal visitation? Or else, have you ever heard of a judge who would allow such an arrangement?


Prenuptial agreements almost always deal with financial assets in the event of a marital dissolution, not child custody.

I'm afraid you're obviously not familiar with the travesty of our family courts.

In divorce or custody proceedings under American law, child support is automatic and in most states based on a computer program called Dissomaster, which calculates the level of child support based on the amount of time spent with the child and the two parties' income.

An award of child support based on Dissomaster is automatic if the so-called custodial parent(almost always the mother) files for it, and the county involved automatically becomes what amounts to a collection agency for the funds, backed by the police power of the state.

Visitation, on the other hand, is not automatic. If the non-custodial parent (almost always the father)wants it, he needs to hire an attorney at his own expense to go to court . If the wife hires an attorney and the court deems her to have insufficient funds to pay for her legal help, they can require the husband to pay her attorney fees for her,believe it or not.

State laws differ, but in many cases family court judges adopt the so-called 'tender years' doctrine on visitation with younger children, which always favors the mother.And in a number of jurisdictions, the mother can take the children wherever she wants if she 'feels it is in the children's best interests' regardless of what it does to the children's relationship with the father or what hardship it creates on his exercising whatever visitation he's been granted.

Gloria Allred made that a part of California law for a number of years and similar laws are still in effect elsewhere.

Family law attorneys refer to this legally sanctioned kidnapping as a 'move away'.It's quite common.

There is absolutely nothing to stop Elin from taking her kids to Sweden to live. While she couldn't prevent Tiger Woods from seeing his children because of his financial status, she can certainly make it expensive, inconvenient and difficult.

I personally doubt she threatened never to let him see his kids again, since a lot of the delays in her seeking a divorce are probably due to her qualms at depriving her two young children of her father.

But there's legally nothing to stop her from taking the kids to Sweden to live permanently.

Tiger's fortunate he's a millionaire. If he wasn't and his wife decided to be vindictive over the way he humiliated her,she could in fact curtail his relationship with his kids de facto.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for the clarification and correction.

Elsewhere said...

I'm arriving so terribly late to the party, my apologies. It won't be surprising to you that I arrived at this site via a feminist blog (it's always fair to warn your reader what your bias is, as you so graciously did in the beginning of this article) and found that *this* piece, when paired with the article about the woman reclaiming her sluthood carries an interesting gap in logic.

You seem to have no problem accepting that women having sex with lots of men is a shameful thing, and yet feel it is unfair to shame a man who has sex with lots of women. Even more interesting, you bid this assertion when the man has signed a legally contract that states he will only have sex with one woman. (Since no other arrangement has yet come out concerning the now defunct Wood's marriage)

I disagree wildly with much of your site (as well written as it is - and that's not sarcastic, you write well) but that particular leap in logic, well, leaped out at me.

Carry on, Sir Blogger. Good luck.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thanks for your comment, Teressa. Everyone is welcome here, and I am happy to see comments from people who disagree with me.

I would certainly not preclude my making errors, but I would prefer offering some clarifications about these issues.

As you point out, there is something of a double standard involved here.

Truth be told, the risks and consequences for a sex act are not the same for men and women. Much of this forms part of evolutionary biology. Even though it has been disputed, as we all know, there is no such thing as a culture that treats the sex act as the same thing for a man and a woman.

In the case of Jaclyn Friedman she announced to the world, voluntarily, that she had discovered a way to feel better after a broken romance.

That was to engage in random, anonymous sexual acts with men she had met through Craigslist's Casual Encounters.

She called herself a slut; I was merely repeating what she said about herself. I have no special knowledge about her beyond what she has revealed in her own article.

I was trying to explain that I do not believe that for a woman such behavior, beyond the risks, is therapeutic. And that JF was not setting a very good example or giving very good advice to young women.

And I believe that Friedman's own reaction, as she described it, supports my point of view.

As for Tiger Woods, this post was specifically about whether Tiger was suffering from a sex addiction, something like a disease, and not just a moral failing.

Note that I did say that Tiger had suffered a moral failing, but that I did not consider sex addiction in most cases to be a disease.

Of course, Tiger Woods did not announce any of this himself. It was announced by others, and the announcement was greeted with a veritable orgy of opprobrium.

For my part I thought that the reaction was excessive. It seems to be an unfortunate side effect of high level male competitive sports that it produces an excess of testosterone and attracts a certain type of woman.

The same applies to politicians. And, as it happens, our most recent skirt chasing president, Bill Clinton, was treated very kindly by feminists.

And Bill Clinton was accused of some actions that went well beyond cheating on his spouse.

Neither Tiger Woods nor Bill Clinton was especially proud of what he had done. By contrast Jaclyn Friedman was very proud of behaving like a slut.

Anyway, those are a few thoughts for now.

human pheromones said...

We have all learned from a reasonably reliable source when it comes on sex matter it is a important issue that good subject to explore.


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