Tiger Woods a Sex Addict? Only If He's Lucky

Addiction might explain golfer's many alleged affairs, offer way to redemption.

ByABC News
December 9, 2009, 6:33 PM

Dec. 10, 2009— -- Reports of alleged sexual encounters in a church parking lot, after watching a Tom Hanks movie, and with two porn stars, a lingerie model and a breakfast waitress -- among others -- were quickly followed this week by headlines and talk-show guests wondering aloud if the world's No. 1 golfer, Tiger Woods, is a "sex addict."

The jury is still out on whether Woods is addicted to sex, psychologists told ABC News.com, explaining that such a diagnosis requires several criteria, including determining if he can control his urges, and whether not having sex makes him anxious.

"There are a lot of people out there calling him a sex addict," said Judy Kuriansky, a psychologist and sex expert at Columbia University. "But you have to ask is this really the behavior of an addict, or this the behavior of a very rich, powerful, celebrity, man, who has been given lots of opportunities?"

Ironically, if Woods declares himself an addict, it might prove to be the one path to redemption, Kuriansky said.

"Once you medicalize it, once you call it 'sex addiction' then the guy has an excuse; he gets a pass," said Kuriansky, author of "The Idiot's Guide to a Healthy Relationship."

"Years ago, if you called someone a sex addict, that would be big shame. But now someone can hold up that diagnosis and say, 'I can't control my behavior.' Then he goes into rehab and the public gives him a pass," she said.

Several celebrities, including actors Michael Douglas and David Duchovny, have admitted to being sex addicts and have sought treatment.

In the days since Woods wrecked his car early on the morning of Nov. 27 outside his Florida home, sparking rumors of marital problems and a flood of allegations of marital infidelities, tabloids have claimed the golfer engaged in affairs with at least 11 women.