SEX & THE CITY
Last month, Tiger Woods reportedly checked into a Mississippi clinic, pinning the blame for his alleged romps with close to 20 women, on his addiction to sex. But is sex addiction limited to celebrities and sexual rehabilitation purely a western phenomenon? Not really, if you look closer home.
Calcuttan Deepak Singhania (name changed), 35, is a member of Sexaholics Anonymous (SA), the India chapter of the sex addiction rehabilitation group that holds weekly meetings in the premises of a church in Delhis upmarket Okhla area. Of the 25 members that have enrolled in SA ever since it came into existence in December 2007, three are from Calcutta. They are all males in the age category of 25-45 and are active members, says Delhi-based SA member Virat (name changed).
Defined as an obsessive compulsive behaviour in which an individual thinks or engages in sex or sex-related activities all the time, interfering with his daily life, work and relationships, addiction to sex is on the rise in India and Calcutta.
I deal with three-four cases of sex addiction a year. Recently, a 40-year-old married woman underwent treatment for sex addiction, says city sexologist Govind Krishna Gupta.
I treat a number of cases of sex addiction where men visit brothels and prostitutes, contract a sexually transmitted disease and continue visiting brothels when they subsequently get cured, says a city-based venereologist who treats three to five such cases a month.
It is basically a personality disorder that manifests itself in the form of sex addiction, says J.R. Ram, consultant psychiatrist, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals, who deals with up to 10 cases of such cases a year in patients ranging from teenagers to 45-year-olds.
City-based NGOs, which till recently only dealt with instances of alcohol abuse and drug addiction, are now having sex addicts knocking on their doors. They generally belong to the lower strata of society and we refer them to psychiatrists or sexologists, says an official of a south Calcutta NGO.
Lack of knowledge about the disease has, however, ensured that a lot many more are unwilling to come out of the closet. In India, sex addiction is not considered by most to be a disease, says the venereologist. Also, most sex addiction is of the online variety, in the form of Internet chat and surfing of pornographic material. Online sex addiction is not only limited to the youth. Middle-aged men and women in the city are rapidly falling prey to this addiction, warns Gupta.
Even with a rising number of sex addiction cases, sex rehabs are unlikely to spring up here in a hurry. Inhibition arising out of the conservative nature of our society will not allow people to shed the garb of anonymity and enrol in these centres, explains Gupta.
Others believe that reported cases havent reached an alarming statistic yet. Virat of SA sums up: In India, an alcoholic is not looked upon badly, a drug addict sometimes gets sympathy, but a sex addict is always treated as pariah.
Thank god Im not Indian, did we hear the worlds greatest golfer sigh?
WHAT HAPPENS IN SEX REHAB?
From Sexaholics Anonymous to Sexual Recovery Anonymous, from Sex Addicts Anonymous to Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, help is at hand for the sexual addict around the world. Although most experts are of the opinion that the field is in its infancy as there is hardly any research on the affliction and its treatment, as compared to the vast information available on alcoholism and drug abuse, most sex rehabilitation clinics around the world follow a 12-step recovery programme for addicts and their partners.
While the initial phase of treatment is dedicated to a full evaluation of the patients history, including any record of sexual abuse in the past, the second phase lies in drawing the patient out to acknowledge and talk about the affliction, through probing but not embarrassing questions, with the objective of making the addict understand the how and why of his affliction. This period is invariably one of shame, guilt and depression for the patient key emotions to aid the treatment programme. The final phase is geared towards relapse prevention in which the patient and the therapist discuss what triggers off the addiction and devise ways and means to prevent it. In most clinics, treatment involves a combination of one-on-one sessions, group therapy and family counselling.
Length of stay in rehab varies from a two-week long treatment for outpatients to inpatient programmes that treat patients for up to six weeks. Tiger Woods had enrolled for a six-week inpatient programme at the Pine Grove facility. Called the Gentle Path Programme, treatment is gender specific and has a special focus on working through past trauma and family problems.
Treatment, in most cases, however, doesnt end in six weeks. Most experts believe that simply working through the addiction could take up to five years of therapy while working through related abuse could last a lifetime.
SEX AND THE CELEBS
Was he or wasnt he? Whether Tiger Woods was undergoing treatment for sex addiction at a Mississippi rehab remains hotly debated, but with a new mistress spilling out of the golf kit every other day, the 34-year-old golfer definitely seems a prime candidate for rehab. And as most would agree, this may well be his only chance to emerge out of the woods and redeem himself in the public eye.
JOHN F KENNEDY
What else would you call a man who pronounced, If I dont have a woman for three days, I get terrible headaches. The US President linked to the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Judith Campbell was described as an archetypal philanderer claiming to experience withdrawal symptoms, a cardinal sign of (sex) addiction. In 2003, singer Frank Sinatras butler revealed in a tell-all book that JFKs primary ambition in life was to bed every woman in Hollywood. Is that what made him the most powerful man in the world?
Sex is recreational for me, as well as a way of accruing status and validation, is what the troubled comedian and TV presenter declared, after admitting that he spent time in a Philadelphia sex rehab in 2008. The 34-year-olds insatiable appetite for sex (orgies are a favourite, he reveals) earned him the Shagger of the Year award (by a popular UK tabloid) for three years on the trot. At one point I had a harem of about 10 women, whom I would rotate in addition to one-night stands and random casual encounters. We all need something to help us unwind at the end of the day. You might have a glass of wine, or a joint, or a big delicious blob of heroin... And this is what sex provides for me, Brand writes in his autobiography My Booky Wook. Now engaged to singer Katy Perry, Brand says he has been cured of his addiction, but doesnt rule out the possibility of his roving eye leading him up the path of sin once again.
In a classic case of life imitating art, X-Files star David Duchovny who had portrayed the role of an oversexed writer in the TV series Californication and even won a Golden Globe for it admitted to being a sex addict two years ago. The 49-year-old, married to actress Tea Leoni for 12 years, checked into a sex rehab for a while and now claims to have been cured.
The two-time Oscar winner caused a stir 20 years ago, when he admitted that he was undergoing treatment for sex addiction. Later, Douglas, now a father of two, claimed that it was falsely attributed to him. But his ravishing wife Catherine Zeta-Jones is taking no chances. Douglas has a straying fee pinned on him 1.7 million pounds to be paid to Zeta-Jones for each infidelity! Thats whats called paying for sex.
Much like Tiger Woods (or so the birdie sings), singer Eric Benet signed up for sex rehab when wife Halle Berry caught him cheating on her. Berry and Benet quickly became history, but today the American R&B singer says it (as in the rehab, not the sex) was all made up.
LORD IRVINE LAIDLAW OF ROTHIEMAY
Tory peer Lord Irvine Laidlaw, a powerful political figure in Britain, underwent treatment at a sex rehab in South Africa after publicly admitting that he had been battling sex addiction for years. The symptoms? Regular one-night stands and frequent sex parties involving Playboy models, prostitutes, gigolos and transsexuals.
The actors biographer claims he has bedded 12,775 women. Thats 7,000 short of basketball champ Wilt Chamberlain. So, Warren was beat by the man who never Wilted.