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.