Is Tiger Woods Really A Sex Addict?
One L.A. psychologist thinks “sex addiction” may just be the latest celebrity fad; a way to cover up infidelity and rehabilitate their images.
Say you have a guy pal, a handsome, charming, thirty-something, athletic, well-to-do gentlemen who does well with the ladies. In a little over a year he sleeps with 14 women. He occasionally forgets to use condoms. Perhaps you might sit down with your buddy and remind him that sex without protection is risky behavior. But would you go so far as to stage an intervention and have him committed to a rehab clinic — or does that seem a little extreme?
Now say that same gentleman is a famous billionaire golfer with a wife and two young kids. Suddenly the guy needs to call a press conference, issue a public apology, and enter treatment for sex addiction. Based on what has been reported about Tiger Woods’ behavior, if he weren’t married, he wouldn’t be considered a sex addict. An expert tells BettyConfidential that Tiger has joined a group of celebrities and regular people who grossly overuse the term “sex addict” as an excuse for behavior that may actually be caused by deeper underlying issues.
Diagnosing someone as a sex addict is very difficult for psychologists, and according to Los Angeles-based psychologist Dr. Morris Halperin, anyone who is diagnosed “should be someone whose addiction to sex prevents them from functioning properly in life: for example, not being able to go to work, attend social events or have regular human contact.”
One former patient of Dr. Halperin’s, James*, is a sex addict. When he was in his late thirties and living in Los Angeles, he engaged in disturbing behavior that eventually landed him in jail. He would break into women’s apartments, steal their panties, masturbate with them and return them. James was marginally functional at work, had no friends, and barely left the house. He was eventually sentenced to 26 years in jail for raping a prostitute.
Tiger Woods reportedly slept with 14 women – that we know of – and lied about it. This seems to be a far cry from the behavior of Ted*, a Dallas bartender in his mid-twenties who would charm and present fake business ideas to people for front money he then spent on prostitutes. Ted would have sex multiple times with at least two prostitutes a night, until he passed out from his drinking. In the process, he spent hundreds of thousands of other people’s money on prostitutes.
“Tiger Woods is America’s best golfer, was functioning in his work and social life and engaged in reported promiscuous and adulterous behavior. Had he not been married, this wouldn’t have been considered problematic,” Dr. Halperin tells BettyConfidential. Based on what has been reported about Tiger’s behavior, Dr. Halperin believes, “he has been misdiagnosed as a sex addict. This diagnosis is taking the focus off other areas of therapy he is or should be working on, such as the lying and deceit in which he engaged as a result of his multiple affairs. In most cases of infidelity, there are underlying problems and the road to recovery is much longer than a 30-day stint in rehab.”
Tiger is not the first celebrity to label himself a sex addict following adulterous behavior. Halle Berry’s ex-husband Eric Benet, who was rumored to have cheated on his then-wife several times, said he never committed adultery, but copped to being verbally inappropriate and having physical contact that was extremely improper for someone who was married. Although he entered sex addiction rehab in 2004 in an attempt to save his marriage, he later admitted, “In retrospect, it’s not what I would label my situation,” referring to his diagnosis of sex addiction and attributed his cheating ways to simply, “Making some stupid-ass, stupid-ass mistakes.”
Although he denied he was a sex addict in a 1997 Playgirl interview, actor David Duchovny entered sex addiction therapy after reportedly cheating on wife Tea Leoni in 2008.