If you’ve gleaned nothing else from watching Braxton Family Values, you should be able to recognize the signs of a failing marriage. Actually, you don’t even have to watch the show to figure that out because the cast member’s transgressions are all over the World Wide Web for us to see—particularly those of Trina’s husband, Gabe Solis.
For the second time in one season, Gabe has been caught with his pants down—literally—engaged in some sort of cyber affair. This time around, the rumored partner is a transgendered woman by the name of Julisa Abadshian, and Gabe wasted no time clearing up this news, and in the process dropping another bomb. He’s a sex addict?
“Yes, I know I will be the target of many gossip bloggers because of my past record. Like I said, I have NEVER Resorted to same sex affairs or any physical affairs. I know that cheating is cheating and I am in no way making excuses. I am currently in therapy because I have a SEX Addiction Problem. I very much want the help that it will take to restore my family.”
This isn’t the first time an unfaithful man claimed to be addicted to getting it on after they were caught doing just that. Remember Eric Benet, Tiger Woods, Dominique Strauss-Kahn? I suppose there’s no other time you would really announce being a sex addict, other than when you’re caught doing the do with someone you’re not supposed to, but the admission always comes across as a little contrived when it’s made, causing people to question whether the person really has a psychological problem or they’re just trifling.
Psychologists can’t even agree on whether sex addiction is a true condition like alcoholism or drug addiction, but according to a November article on The Daily Beast, diagnosis is on the rise—as evidenced by the increased number of treatment options. An estimated 3 to 5 percent of the U.S. population could meet the criteria for sex addiction, and those 9 million people have the option of being treated by one of some 1,500 sex therapists practicing today, which is up from less than 100 a decade ago. According to Tami VerHelst, vice president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals, there’s a need for these services.
“Where it used to be 40- to 50-year-old men seeking treatment, now there are more females, adolescents, and senior citizens. Grandfathers getting caught with porn on their computers by grandkids, and grandkids sexting at 12.”
But does that make one a sex addict? Not necessarily, but the potential is there. One of the reasons the whole idea of sex addiction may suddenly be appearing out of nowhere is because sex is shoved down Americans’ throats now more than ever. And if you have a predisposition to the condition, sexed-up commercials, a raw scene in a movie, or access to porn online could be the trigger that sends that urge into overdrive.
“Not everyone who looks at a nude image is going to become a sex addict. But the constant exposure is going to trigger people who are susceptible,” says Dr. David Sack, chief executive of Los Angeles’s Promises Treatment Centers.
That, I can understand. But what I don’t get is how the addiction never seems to be an issue until years into a marriage. If you are in fact a sex addict, then shouldn’t that behavior be evident all along in some way? I’d be hard-pressed to think Halle Berry or Elin Nordegren would’ve signed on for marriage to men who displayed that kind of behavior before walking down the aisle. But maybe, as it is with other addictions, different issues—perhaps even stress in a marriage—cause things to spur out of control.
All I know is if someone I was with tried to hit me with that mess after we’d been together for a while, I’d have to say boy, gone. Unless I’d seen evidence of the addiction long before he was caught creeping, I’m inclined to think he just refuses to own up to his ish at that point.
What do you think about sex addiction? Are men using it as an excuse for lack of self-control or do you think it’s a real condition?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.