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Sat, Jan 09, 2010
The New Paper
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Evil hubby or sex addict?
by Ng Wan Ching

LILI, 47, feels emotionally dead inside because the love of her life is gone and the husband she has no more feelings for is due to come out of jail in a couple of months.

Lili, a mother of two, had called the Chinese newspapers last week in a bid for help to get in touch with the boyfriend, who has disappeared.

She just wants to know if he is alive and well.

In the midst of telling her story, another story emerged – that of a husband who had allegedly forced himself on her constantly.

Lili, who works in sales, was extremely reluctant to talk about it, but claimed that her husband of 10 years, whom she wants to divorce, always had sex on his mind.

“I married him and a few years later I realised that I couldn’t stand him any more.

He never supported the family.

My feelings for him died and I didn’t want to have sex with him any more. But he never took no for an answer,” she said.

When she left the marital home, he called her repeatedly to cajole her to return home.

“He said he wanted me to come home to look after the children.

I told him that I would come home only if we had no more relations as husband and wife. He said okay,” she said.

But once she was home, he allegedly went back on his word and forced himself on her again and again.

He was also into pornography and always talked about sex to her, Lili claimed.

Then about five years ago, she got to know a man who was 10 years younger than her.

He went with some friends to the neighbourhood coffee shop she was working at and ordered some drinks.

Then he gave her a $50 tip because he had just won the lottery. Soon after, they started going out together.

“We visited the zoo, went to Ang Mo Kio for yong tau foo and also to the karaoke,” she said.

“He made me happy and I had thoughts of leaving my husband for him.”

But her husband found out and allegedly threatened to beat up her boyfriend.

Lili said she told her husband repeatedly that she wanted a divorce.

But he never agreed to it and continued to force himself on her, she alleged.

Frightened for her boyfriend’s safety, Lili claimed she met him secretly and told him to look for a younger woman.

“I also said things to hurt him to make him go away from me,” she said.

Some time after that, her husband went to jail, but she wouldn’t say for what.

And she never saw her boyfriend again. “Now my husband is coming out of jail.

I don’t want to go back to that way of life again, with him forcing himself on me whenever he felt like it. I’m desperate and depressed.

I want to know if my boyfriend would consider taking me back,” she said.

She called her husband a sex addict whose addiction she feels she is being forced to feed.

“I never had sex with my boyfriend. He always respected me, unlike my husband,” she said.

Is her husband a sex addict or does it just seem that way to her because she is an unwilling participant?

Shy to come forward

Doctors here have been seeing patients with sex addiction.

The numbers are not high as not very many come forward to admit they are addicted to sex.

In western societies, it is estimated that 2 to 5 per cent of the population are obsessively compulsive about sex.

Some 80 to 90 per cent of sex addicts are men.

In Singapore, most people who seek help for addiction are substance and drug abusers.

About 10 to 20 per cent of them are gamblers.

And a very small percentage are sex addicts.

These are people who spend more and more time thinking about sex and how to get it,and have altered tolerance, said Dr Munidasa Winslow, consultant psychiatrist at Raffles Hospital.

Altered tolerance is when someone needs increased amounts of a particular activity to be satisfied.

“Where previously doing one activity was enough, now you have to do it many more times or you take more and more risks to get turned on,” said Dr Winslow.

Unlike healthy sex that is integrated into relationships, sex addicts use sex as a means to cope, to handle boredom, anxiety and other powerful feelings or as a way to feel important, wanted or powerful.

Behaviour addiction

Sex addiction is not defined by any particular sexual act. It is also not defined by how many times a person wants to have sex.

“There are three levels of sex addiction,” said Dr Winslow.

At the first level, people are addicted to either pornography, fetishes or masturbation.

At the second level, people have multiple relationships and they have sex with more and more partners.

At the third level, sex addicts become dangerous and force themselves on others.

That is when they become rapists and paedophiles.

“The vast majority of sex addicts fall into level one, some are in level two, it is much less common to find level three sex addicts,” sad Dr Winslow.

He helped to start an addictions service at the Institute of Mental Health in 2001. In a time span of four to five years, he saw about 80 sex addicts.

“But they don’t come in saying they are sex addicts. Almost nobody comes in and says ‘I am a sex addict’. It’s pretty shameful and people prefer not to talk about it to a stranger. The ones who come and seek help are usually the more intelligent ones who have insight and realise that something is wrong in their lives,” said Dr Winslow who left IMH in Maylast year.

He conducted a three-day workshop on sexual addiction last month, and will be conducting another one in December. He treats sexual addiction much like he would treat any other addiction.


Cruising for sex

Brian, a 45-year-old in a long-term same sex relationship, cruises for anonymous sex in pubs and bars.

Each time, he would promise himself that he would never return there, that he was done with having sex with strangers.

Yet he continues to engage in sexual behaviours which put him at risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.

He also lies to his partner about where he goes after work and has a never-ending stream of excuses about his invariable lateness, fatigue and irritability.

When questioned, he quickly becomes angry and defensive, pushing his partner away time and time again.

Affairs at work

Andrew worked in a large company in a supervisory position.

He was always chatting up women. Women around him quickly learn to be careful how they engaged him.

He would put his hands around women in a friendly way, and also invite them out often for drinks after work.

Married with young children, he also had affairs both at work and with various women he met at the pub or bar.

Over the last 10 years, he has had more than 100 affairs.

Recently, his wife found out and he had to seek help to salvage the marriage.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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