Tiger Woods Effect: More Sex Addicts Seek Help


His 23-year marriage fell apart because of an addiction to online pornography that led to an affair. Since February, Sid has been kicked out of his house, away from the wife he loves and his two teenage children.

"My life is a disaster," he said.

Sid was also exposed to pornography at an early age and was molested as a child at camp. That "acting out" continued with a male cousin. "I felt a lot of shame and guilt," said Sid, who is heterosexual.

"Before the days of the Internet, I would put on a baseball cap and go to the dirty little book store in the next town over," he said. "When the Internet came along, it just progressed and instead of going to the bookstore, I could point and click after my wife went to sleep. It's viscous freaking circle. I was meeting people online and having affairs.'

Several times, he tried to "clean it up," but each time he got stressed, he would go back. His wife caught him several times, finding photos on his laptop.

"My wife is crazy right now," he said. "I do love her."

The goal of therapy is to stop the behavior -- but unlike alcohol addiction, addicts cannot give up sex altogether. Programs target triggers, build social networks and require addicts to make a full disclosure of their affairs to loved ones.

About 80 percent of sex addicts seeking treatment stay with it for the first year, but there is a high rate of relapse, according to Weiss.

The day before Thanksgiving, Sid sent an e-mail to his parents, informing them of his "indiscretions" and why his marriage fell apart.

He also spoke again to his wife, revealing more.

"I am really tired of not being honest with people," he said. "This is a first step. I don't know what tomorrow will bring."

Sex addiction is "powerful," according to Sid.

"Look at Eliot Spitzer, Bill Clinton and Tiger Woods," he said. "It's easy for people to sit back and call then dirt balls, scum bags and be ostracized. But the bottom line is these people are suffering. I am not saying I couldn't have done more. We all make our choices. But when you are stuck being the same way, it's pretty hard for a leopard to change his spots."

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