Unless you live in a cave you have heard the stories and speculation about Tiger Woods’ extramarital dalliances. Whenever a rich and powerful man is caught with his pants down it makes me wonder. Are these men really Sex Addicts (as many claim) or are they just self-centered idiots who take advantage of their power and position?
Thanks to Dr. Carnes and others who have studied Sexual Addiction we have a better understanding of this disease. But, not everyone who has multiple affairs, visits prostitutes and massage parlors or sneaks out of the closet every now and then is a Sex Addict. Some of them are just jerks.
It will be interesting to see if Tiger owns up to what he has done, admits that he was a total and complete jerk and throws himself upon the mercy of his wife and the public. Or, if he hides behind what may be perceived as a shield of Sex Addiction. We may never know for sure if Tiger or any of the other recent celebrities involved in sex scandals are really Sex Addicts or just pompous jerks but it is important that we know the difference in our own relationships.
So, how do you know if your spouse or partner is a Sex Addict or just a jerk? I think the line is pretty thin, and let’s face it, Sex Addicts are complete jackasses at times. But Sex Addicts have certain common traits that make them unique. Most have suffered some sort of abuse during their childhood that arrests their emotional development. Sex Addicts are driven by compulsion, they try to stop what they are doing but cannot and they use sex as a medication rather than for pleasure.
On the other hand, there are other people–the total jerks, who just feel entitled to their pleasures. They seek them out and take what they can, not caring who or how many they hurt. They know what they are doing and when caught will cry crocodile tears over being caught rather than feeling true remorse. They may enter a recovery program and feign rehabilitation, but these guys (and gals) have no intention of stopping their sordid behaviors. You can find a few of these guys in every SA 12 step group–they’ve been coming to meetings for years, sometimes decades, but still continue to act out.
I think the Tiger Woods scandal shows us two important points. One–you just never know who has a dirty little secret life, no matter how squeaky clean they may look, and two–there are a lot of Sex Addicts and jerks in this world. We can never be too cautious about whom we trust.
We don’t devote enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Bill Watterson
I just love your blog and the new format is fine, except I couldn’t easily see how to do that until I clicked on the bold header and then, the reply box opened up. Perhaps that is why no one else has responded recently?
About a week ago, without intending to, I happened across a new profile for my sex addicted friend who got out of sex rehab a month ago—This is a dating site for people looking for intimate encounters and it is where I met him. This is a man who was busted because he was recognized on THIS web site. He has a reasonable IQ (hmmmm, maybe not) and yet, simple logic tells one that he is playing Russian Roulette as he totally sucks at disguising his writing style. I guess this is also part of the arrogance associated with this disorder. He does not know yet that I have seen him on there. I have only known him for 17 months, and based on what I know, I am presuming that perhaps this wasn’t his first time in rehab,(or his last). It is truly sad on many levels and unfortunately, (for me) I still miss him. Are all sex addicts just extra yummy, so that they become even extra enticing and even a bit addictive in and of themselves? In other words, could the addict, somehow, through his own unique chemistry, be addictive?!?!?!? This has occurred to me as I have dated a LOT of men and no one even comes close to that special something he has.
As far as the line between jerk and sex addict, well… I think it goes back to the narcissistic personality. A narcissist cannot help but be a jerk because his entire life revolves around HIS needs, HIS desires–and if you don’t fit in to whatever HE sees is YOUR place–TS.
Someone like Tiger Woods, may or may not be a sex addict per se, but over time, because of his talent, position, money, power, attention, etc. has an extremely skewed (understandably) vision of the real world and lack of awareness of what his boundaries are, moral and otherwise. In his case, it comes across as bratty, immature, spoiled entitlement. However, people get married for many different reasons; we do not know what is going on in that particular marriage. So, a man may have affairs on the side and not necessarily qualify as an addict. That man may just be a misguided asshole.
I think its as you say… A true sex addict cannot control his behavior (at least not without a LOT of help!). He NEEDS the fix that ONLY sex can provide. A sex addict is acting out to get the high, but it actually has very little to do with SEX per se, as I see it…That is, the intimate connection between a man and a woman but an addiction to the high that comes with it. If he could get that same high by eating bananas, then he would become addicted to bananas and would go to great length to have a steady stash of them whenever the craving hit.
Again, thank you so much for this wonderful blog. It has given me a lot of comfort and I am really looking forward to reading your book. I admire you a lot!
This is tricky business–jerk or SA, because all SAs are jerks by definition. I can imagine that Tiger is a SA. Many many men are–that’s why folks are so loathe to accept the diagnosis, because it names what we have considered a male right (unlimited access to the female body & an almost deep cultural acceptance of that pursuit of the female body as NOBLE even ) as a problem. In some ways this is about feminism. It is suddenly no longer ok to have sex w/ multiple partners without a condom while sleeping with your child-bearing wife because it makes you feel really really good.
I just found this article by Jenny Sanford the wife of the fallen governor of South Carolina. wow! Now this is one amazing woman!!!
Hey great post! I wonder sometimes if my “addict” isn’t just a “jerk”
Loving the new format.
I don’t think we will ever get the “insider look” in to Tiger’s life needed to determine if he is or is not a sex addict. However, the media coverage has brought the topic to the fore front of discussion. Regardless of Tiger’s diagnosis the exposure is beneficial.