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Does Tiger Woods fit the profile of a sex addict? Check this list if you really want to know.


Does Tiger Woods fit the profile of a sex addict
Photo:  AP/J. Super

Reports about Tiger Woods undergoing treatment for sex addiction at Pine Grove in Mississippi, have raised the question once again, of whether or not Tiger is really a sex addict.

Many people feel the sex addiction story is just a publicity tactic designed to help Tiger repair his reputation and save his marriage.

Is Tiger REALLY addicted to sex?
Or is this just a publicity ploy?

Last month I received so many questions from readers about sex addicts and sex addiction that I went to several medical websites and compiled a list of behaviors and characteristics common to sex addicts.

While it’s true that only a qualified medical professional can make an accurate diagnosis about sex addiction, anyone can look at the list of behaviors and form their own opinion, or make an educated guess.

I’ve reprinted the list below, for those who may have missed it the first time around – or for those who want to review it again in light of the recent reports about Tiger Woods.

Does Tiger Woods fit the profile of a typical sex addict?  Check the list and decide for yourself.

Profile of Someone Addicted to Sex

Listed below are 25 behaviors and characteristics common to sex addicts. The list is based on information gathered from a number of medical websites, so some of the items listed may overlap.

My updated personal comments appear after some of the items on the list.

1. Behaviors associated with sexual addiction include multiple affairs, multiple partners, and unsafe sex. NOTE: Tiger is alleged to have had more than a dozen mistresses, several of whom said he engaged in unprotected sex with them. One even claims to have had his “love child.” Another claimsTiger had sex with men.

2. The term sex addiction describes the behavior of someone who has an unusually strong sex drive or sexual obsession. NOTE: With 14 to 16 alleged mistresses, Tiger was obviously obsessed with sex. He’s also reported be addicted to prescription drugs which boost the male sex drive.

3. Most sex addicts live in denial of their addiction. NOTE: Sources reported that at first Tiger stubbornly refused to seek professional help, but finally relented at his wife's insistence. Recent reports say that he’s undergoing treatment for sex addiction at Pine Grove in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but that he's still in denial that he has a problem. To me, this is the most telling characteristic of all.

4. Is defined by an addict's compulsive use of sex to address non-sexual emotional needs.

5. Compulsive behavior that completely dominates the addict's life

6. Sex addicts turn to sex when they need comfort, like binge eaters turn to food. NOTE: One mistress claims Tiger had sex with her the same night he learned that his father died.

7. Sex addicts may engage in exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitution, compulsive masturbation, or cybersex. NOTE: Some reports say Tiger Woods patronized brothels, or used call girls. At least two of Tiger’s alleged mistresses are known porn stars

8. An uncontrollable urge to have sex with many different partners. NOTE: I’ve lost track of the number of mistresses Tiger is alleged to have. The count stands somewhere between 14 and 18.

9. Withdrawing and becoming frustrated over their inability to stop engaging in addictive behaviors. NOTE: Tiger has not been seen in public since the scandal broke. He has completely isolated himself. Some of Tiger’s closest friends say they have been unable to contact him, and fear for his state of mind.

10. Like other addicts, a sex addict becomes preoccupied with a behavior that is used to numb his or her feelings.

11. Lacks normal coping mechanisms and uses sex as a way to self-medicate every feeling.

12. Sex and thoughts of sex dominate a sex addict's thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships.

13. They are also known to be shameful, suicidal, and prone to other addictions, as well. NOTE: Tiger Woods is reported to be addicted to the prescription drugs Vicodin and Ambien, both of which are said to have the side effect of boosting the male sex drive. That sounds like a deadly combination for someone supposedly addicted to sex.

14. A sex addict, like all addicts, continues such behaviors despite decreased pleasure and the negative and serious consequences they bring. NOTE: It appears that Tiger has been having affairs over the course of several years -- before, as well as during his 5-year marriage to Elin Nordegren Woods.

15. People with a sex addiction often have a history of emotional and sexual abuse.

16. An intense preoccupation with sexual urges, fantasies and behaviors. NOTE: Some of Tiger’s alleged mistresses said they acted out fantasies (spanking, threesomes, etc) with him.

17. Lying or minimizing their involvement with sexual activities. NOTE: To keep multiple mistresses a secret for several years, many lies must have been told.

18. Using sexual activities to escape from their problems.

19. Wasting time and neglecting other responsibilities because of their sexual preoccupations

20. Unsuccessful efforts to stop or cut back on these behaviors

21. Most people who struggle with sex addiction are men, and their sex addiction becomes the most important need in their lives. NOTE: It must have been an important need since Tiger went to great lengths to initiate and maintain these affairs, and keep them a secret from all but his closest friends.

22. Like an alcoholic unable to stop drinking, sexual addicts are unable to stop their self-destructive sexual behavior. NOTE: Tiger continued to engage in this behavior even after he married Elin.

23. Sex addiction is almost always about a secret life. NOTE: It was certainly a well kept secret that Tiger had multiple mistresses over a period of several years. He had a pristine reputation, so it’s obvious that he led a double life.

24. A sex addict will continue to engage in certain sexual behaviors despite facing potential health risks, financial problems, shattered relationships or even arrest. NOTE: Tiger persisted in engaging in this behavior despite the knowledge that if his secret sex life were exposed, it would jeopardize his sponsorships and his marriage, and ruin his squeaky-clean reputation.

25. Denying the risk and seriousness of sexually addictive behavior, despite their obvious consequences. NOTE: Tiger ignored the fact that he was putting himself and his wife at risk for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases by engaging in unprotected sex with women who were porn stars, and women who were known to be sexually active with other men.

Does Tiger fit the profile of a sex addict?

After reading this list, what do you think?

Please feel free to share your comments and observations in the comment box at the bottom of this page.

*** © copyright 2010 Ruth Houston All Rights Reserved.

Ruth Houston is a New York-based infidelity expert who is frequently called on by the media to comment on infidelity issues in the news. She is the author of Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs, the founder of and publishes the Infidelity News and Views blog 

Tiger Woods’ Infidelity Due to Sex Addiction Plus Drugs that Boosted His Sex Drive

New Details about Tiger Woods Secret Love Life Reveal He May Be Addicted to Sex

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14 Reasons Why Tiger Woods and Other Rich and Famous Men Cheat

Where’s Tiger Woods?

The Tiger Woods Sex Scandal from an Infidelity Expert’s Point of View



  • 62 Years Young 5 years ago

    So what's your formal education relative to all this? Yeah, you wrote a book and did some self-study, and all of a sudden you've been appointed the guru of infidelity. Having had 12 (or any number) of sexual partners just means you like new experiences, sexually speaking. Let's equate Tiger playing a new golf course with his having sex with a new woman. Both are unknowns, and they're exciting. His sexual encounters are just another manifestation of his passion (addiction) to golf. His first mistake was listening to his PR agent who thought marriage and a family would improve/soften his image of aloofness. Tiger acquiesced even though he wasn't ready. He needed to sow his wild oats before such an undertaking. Women threw themselves at him constantly so he didn't have to seek them out. And as for his "fantasies", by definition, fantasy is a mental image. His actions were real - not imagined! The only agreement I have with you is he was not very discreet when it came to his partners.

  • Don Mathews 5 years ago

    Nice've done your research! We are the oldest/largest Sex Addiction Treatment Center in the Bay Area. If you'd like to talk sometime...(925) 280-6700. For clinical information (which would back you up) "Journal of Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity" Publisher...Routledge

    Don L. Mathews MFT, Director
    Impulse Treatment Center

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