Published On: Tue, Jun 9th, 2009

Sex addiction on the rise in USA… more so with recession

sex-appleNYDailyNews-   David Duchovny just checked out of sex-addiction rehab, and his lawyer says treatment was a success. But while the “Californication” star is doing better, the problem may be getting worse here in New York.

Local sex therapists are seeing an increase in patients from the finance field, and a link between the dipping Dow and bad behavior.

Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert reports a jump in sex-addicted men at his Manhattan practice in the past six months.

“Since early spring, maybe late winter, there’s just been an increase, and I believe it might have something to do with the economy,” he says. “A lot of the Wall Streeters use sex as a way to cope with stress. Bankers do tend to rely on pretty unhealthy ways of coping with stress – drugs, sex.

“A lot of them will use adult services,” Alpert adds. “Some of them come right out and say, ‘I’m stressed. This is how I deal with it. It’s not the worst thing in the world. I’m not using drugs.’ But when it starts to increase, then it’s a problem.”

RELATED: PORN, SEX ADDICTION GO MAINSTREAM IN POP CULTURE

According to Alpert, many of these men consider going to an Asian massage parlor during their lunch break normal. “The service received may include being masturbated or even oral sex,” he says. “This has increased, as reported by several of my clients. Instead of going once a week, maybe they’re going three or four times a week. And these are married men.

“I’m also seeing clients who utilize escort services, visit S&M parlors and strip bars almost nightly,” he adds. “With the sex addict, where there’s a risk and danger, there’s often a rush. This temporarily satisfies their craving.”

According to Jodi Conway, a sex addiction specialist based in New Jersey, stress from the struggling financial markets is the kind of trigger that leads addicts to resort to “maladaptive coping mechanisms.”

“I’ve had a few guys that have come in from Wall Street, and I have brokers that have offices out here in New Jersey,” she says. “A couple have been caught through work, or on their at-work laptops, exchanging e-mails or looking at pornography, which is something that’s part of that sexual addictive behavior.

“I’ve had two people [in finance] that have been referred to me in the last two or three weeks that have gotten in trouble at work because of that,” she adds.

Most sex addicts have experienced some type of trauma in childhood, such as sexual or emotional abuse, according to Conway. “This becomes a way of dealing with their families, by numbing their feelings, as all addictions do,” she explains.

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A new movie and book on the topic, combined with Duchovny’s admission to being a sex addict in August, has brought the issue into the spotlight.

Sam Rockwell stars as a sex-obsessed con artist who even seduces his mom’s doctor in the recently released movie “Choke.” And that character has nothing on Susan Cheever, the 65-year-old upper East Side author who counts her mom’s oncologist among her conquests. In her memoir “Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction,” released Tuesday, she explores “the question of where does passion end and addiction begin.”

In “Desire,” Cheever writes that unlike with alcohol and drug problems, obsession with sex is often applauded and embraced.

“It’s hidden because we think it’s great,” she says. “The more proposals a woman has, the more lovers she has, the better, and it’s even more true with men. We’re in the very slow process of waking up to the facts of addiction, that it has nothing to do with will power and that it requires treatment. We realized it first with alcoholism, then with eating disorders, and we may soon realize it with sex.”

HOW TO TELL IF YOU OR YOUR LOVED ONE IS A SEX ADDICT

  • The frequency and intensity of the behavior increases.
  • There’s a significant impact on the person’s life. “It has affected relationships, career, health, finances, and that’s true with a lot of addictions,” Alpert explains.
  • Lying. “There are a lot of lies that go along with sexual addiction,” Conway says. “They just compound with more lies, and people can forget what they’re even lying about.”
  • Continuing the behavior when the addicts have a lot to lose. “Part of them is obviously aware of the great risk, but they continue despite that,” says Alpert.
  • Compulsive behaviors. “Even someone who is looking at pornography for four or five hours a day, when they’re doing this every day, they’re missing out on other things,” Conway says.
  • Failed attempts to stop the behavior. “A person saying, I’m not going to do this anymore, this is the last time [and not following through],” says Conway.
  • Problems at work. “I’ve had people come in as a result of being caught at work looking at pornography online, e-mails from women or prostitutes, escort services that they’re viewing,” Conway says.

Therapy for Don Juan’s

Sex addiction was not previously taught in medical school and is as yet not listed in the DSM psychiatry category of medical disorders. The disorder now becoming more officially recognized  and therapeutized has however been known for centuries by different cultures world over. The prophet of Islam, Mohammed(P) recommended ‘fasting’ as an effective, yet simple means to reduce a voracious sexual appetite.

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