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Is Tiger Woods a sex addict? Dr. Joel Block on whether sexual addiction is real

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Tiger Woods and wife Elin Nordegren in June, 2009 AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Does Tiger Woods have a sexual addiction? Like people struggling with addictions, “I think [Tiger Woods] has a lot of work to do to save himself, I’m not talking about his endorsements, but living a life that is satisfying,” said Dr. Joel Block, a noted couples and sex therapist, author, and expert in sexual issues.

“I’m sensing there’s a compulsive quality to the sex…compulsive sex is about ‘I have to,’ rather than ‘I want to’,” Block continued.

But whether or not to use the term “sexual addiction” is a controversial issue, he said. Block believes that sex is different from addiction to a substance. Sex does not grip a person as physically as, say, heroin does.

So what is the reason for compulsive sex? What compels people like Tiger Woods who has everything to risk it all for sex? Dr. Block explained that people who don’t know how to self-soothe, in healthy productive ways, will self-indulge instead. “Self-soothing is something that is priceless…The affair is self-indulgence – a way of comforting – a temporary patch."

He said, “One of the most important things someone can leave therapy with, if not the most important thing, is a way to self-soothe instead of self-indulge. Most people self-indulge.” He said those who self-indulge will live a far less contented life than people who can self-soothe.

Dr. Block practices couples therapy and sex therapy in Plainview, NY.

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