I feel terrible for Tiger Woods. He has spent years married to a wife of average attractiveness, dealt with the disappointment of two toddlers who have not yet measured up to his early golfing aptitude and suffered through a hard-knock life of solitude on driving ranges.
These factors have led to a crippling sex addiction through which he has battled to become the best golfer of his generation.
And what does he get in return? Media coverage and a dismissive public minimizing his suffering by suggesting that his therapy is an attempt to shield blame. It makes me sick.
Even the medical field has turned its back on Woods. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), the authoritative psychiatric manual, does not list sex addiction as a diagnosis.
Instead, Tiger would fall somewhere in the realm of impulse control disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Get with it, American Psychiatric Association! These labels do not properly describe the seriousness of Woods’ affliction.
Semantics aside, it is no wonder that Tiger Woods fell ill to a compulsive sexual disorder given his many risk factors.
First, Woods has spent countless hours alone on driving ranges. A recent review on the subject reports a high prevalence of social isolation among those who engage in sexually compulsive behavior. A lifetime of seclusion has left Woods craving intimacy like a Victorian-era nymphomaniac.
These issues are compounded by a spouse that does not measure up. Sure, Woods’ wife Elin Nordegren has decent looks and child psychology training that boosts her stay-at-home mom credentials, but that does not hold up to Tiger’s standards.
Nordegren’s undistinguished modeling career left Woods desiring a more accomplished woman, something that is commonly seen in sexual compulsive disorders.
Tom Brady courageously avoided falling prey to a sex addiction by ditching his pregnant girlfriend Bridget Moynahan, who also had a short-lived modeling career, to marry supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
Help begins at home. Elin failed to alleviate Woods’ addiction by trying to make the cover of Vogue or allowing Tiger a mulligan, like Brady’s wife.
His kids were not helping out much either. At age two, Tiger was on television putting against Bob Hope, a skill his pair of toddlers should be practicing every day. Instead Woods comes home to half-assed finger paintings and Play-Doh sculptures. Who can blame him for preferring the company of porn stars?
The unjust reactions to Woods’ multiple affairs and resulting therapy might worry the undiagnosed sex addicts out there.
But do not fret. You can avoid stigma by quietly shuffling off to Sexaholics Anonymous meetings on Friday nights or asking your doctor for a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, like Prozac, that treats compulsive sexual behavior with the potentially therapeutic side effects of profuse sweating, diarrhea and difficulty reaching an orgasm.
Alternatively, for those blessed with self-control, pay heed to what will surely be the slogan for Tiger’s next Nike campaign: Just Don’t Do It.
Moon is a second year medical student in the School of Medicine.
To contact him, e-mail him at Andrew_moon@med.unc.edu
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