Sex addiction: Big problem or big excuse? - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Sex addiction: Big problem or big excuse?

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MADISON (WKOW) -- All the talk about Tiger Woods has many people asking if sex addiction is a real problem.

If your best friend told you he was addicted to sex, would you believe him? What's the difference between being promiscuous and being a sex addict?

27 News asked a number of you for your thoughts on sex addiction:

"I think [sex addiction] could exist. I don't know how you could medically prove that, but it could definitely exist," said one Madison man.

"No way. It's an excuse [for people to say] it's a disease so it's not their fault," said Sarah Long of Madison. "I think it's just something people want to label it because they can't get over it, so they label it as an addiction."

"I don't know enough about human nature to be able to say, no, that's not real," said Anthony Dispanet of Madison.

It's easy enough to joke about being addicted to sex, but if what goes on in the bedroom takes over your life, it's no laughing matter.

"This is not just, 'Oh, I'm having a good time having sex,'" said Shari Cohn, a licensed sex therapist at the Midwest Center for Psychotherapy and Sex Therapy in Middleton. "The folks sitting across from me are not enjoying themselves. They're having a lot of sexual activity but they're just miserable. Their shame is great, and they feel out of control."

Cohn says like alcoholism, sex addiction is a disease, making people do things they wouldn't normally do.

"They'll typically say no, that's not what they really want to be doing, but they just feel compelled to keep doing it, and they just find it impossible by themselves to stop," said Cohn.

"It's just as powerful an addiction; it can disrupt your life just as much, only it's a lot harder to get help and to talk about," said Kata Delosh, who believes sex addiction is a legitimate disorder.

But while sex addiction may be a serious problem for some people, when it comes to Tiger Woods, people aren't so sure.

"I think he's got some very capable people telling him what to do, and I'm pretty sure this is the smartest thing he could have done. Whether it's the most accurate or honest, I don't know," said Dispanet.

Tiger Woods aside, therapists say sex addiction is something people across the country struggle with every single day.

Cohn says overcoming the problem isn't about abstaining from sex entirely; it's about learning how to have healthy sex without letting it define and control who you are.

Therapists say like any addiction, the first step to overcoming sex addiction is admitting there is a problem.

If you or someone you know struggles with sex addiction, Cohn urges you to contact her facility at (608) 237-8000 or by visiting the organization's website.

There are also a number of support groups for people struggling with sex addiction in the Madison area:

Madison Sex Addicts Anonymous

International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals (IITAP)

L.I.F.E. Ministries International

Online reporting by Jamie Hersch
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