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Serial Cheaters: Sex Addicts or Just Jerks?

I'm not a big sports fan, but I sure did hear about the big scandal with ESPN sports analyst Steve Phillips. He cheated on his wife with a young production assistant who became unhinged, messed with his family, and the result, not surprisingly, is that he lost his job, and his wife has filed for divorce.

Now that Phillips's life is in a shambles, he's checked into a rehab clinic for sex addiction. People are divided on whether or not this is a real affliction. Some say it's just a way for serial cheaters to hide their sociopathic behavior under a rubric — addiction — that may garner more sympathy from others.

Some therapists, on the other hand, think it's on par with gambling or drug and alcohol addictions. They say that sex addicts use sex for the same reasons other addicts use their drugs: to numb emotional pain or feelings of emptiness, to feel attractive or powerful, or to engage in high-risk behavior that masks underlying depression.

What do you think about serial cheaters who subsequently claim they're sex addicts? Are they sex addicts, or just jerks?

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
fishbulb fishbulb 7 years
I'm not saying he's a sex addict, but sex addiction is real. While one can't be physically addicted, it falls on the obsessive compulsive continuum. You can't be physically addicted to washing your hands or touching a light switch 42 times before leaving the house, but it can consume your thoughts and impair your quality of life. Compulsive masturbation that takes 3 hours of your day is actually quite similar to rituals like touching certain objects in your house that take 3 hours of your day. It ruins your life and impairs one's ability to nurture healthy relationships. He may be a sex addict, or not, but it's really a private matter. If he is, I feel truly bad for him. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors can ruin lives.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
Sometimes a cheating a$$hole is just a cheating a$$hole.
lawdawg08 lawdawg08 7 years
yes, it's a real medical/psychological condition. Whether mr. phillips is suffering from it is another issue.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 7 years
Very true Vanonymous. If the guy thinks therapy will help him, why didn't he go to couples therapy WITH his wife, after the first time he cheated, or maybe even as soon as he realized he had feelings like that?
Vanonymous Vanonymous 7 years
I think it can be an "addiction" but I become skeptical when people only consider themselves addicts once they're caught.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
agree - cheating isn't the answer and RebelTXAngel - i'm the first one to say "you have to give your man some lovin in order to keep him happy" - maybe not like 5 times a day if that's what he wants, but you know, a normal amount of sex (like once a day or whatever) in order to keep him satisfied...if a wife withholds sex completely and a man strays, i don't condone the cheating but i do blame the wife for holding out...but that's NOT what this is asking...this is asking if so-called sex-addicts are just jerks and yes, they are if they cheat on their wives and blame it on an addiction
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I do believe in an addiction to sex, but I wouldnt go for anyone but my partner were I sex addict. What I want to know is how they treat it?
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
I have a friend who is a sex addict, but he made that clear to his girlfriend before they started dating. In the end it destroyed their relationship because she couldn't handle it (not that I blame her!), but a) he didn't marry her, and b) he never went behind her back. He was always very up-front about what he needed and how he was going to get it. I think it's a very real thing, but it's no excuse for sleeping with young interns or lying to your spouse.
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 7 years
I think that there are people who are sex addicts, but I also think some people use it as an excuse. I actually know someone who is a sex addict, and she is finally getting the help she needs.
juicebox07 juicebox07 7 years
I agree with #19. I believe sex addiction is real, and I personally know a girl who is a sex addict. I also saw a special on TV about it before. I do think some people use that as an excuse for their actions though, which is wrong.
soulight soulight 7 years
Sexual addiction is a very real problem. I think the problem is when people abuse the term as a way to deflect blame. There are plenty of people who battle with this problem to the point where they have lost jobs, loved ones, and their physical health, which makes it all the more appalling when someone who just enjoys cheating uses it to their advantage. You see this in Hollywood in general where a starlet will get caught driving drunk and claim she has a "disease" when in reality she is just a girl who likes to party hard but this time she was caught red handed. It's an insult to all who are actually battling mental health issues. This kind of cowardice is what sets the science of Psychology/ Psychiatry back as a whole.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Oh whatever. I'm not sure I believe it at all, but even if I did cheating isn't the way to go about "fixing" the problem. Seriously, grow the hell up and stop making excuses.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
I think that sexual addiction is a real thing, especially when someone uses it to make themselves feel better, no matter who it hurts. Like being addicted to drugs, food, etc, you rationalize your behavior so that to you, you arent a jerk, you are just feeding the addiction. Sex is a powerful thing, that feeling of lust is a chemical driven thing that can turn into a monster if left unchecked by morals and responsibility.
Studio16 Studio16 7 years
I think it's a little bit of both. I'm sure some men really do get addicted to sex. But I also think that it's definitely not as common as they like us girls to think it is. Either way, cheating is wrong. But this chick is crazy. She telephoned Mrs. Phillips saying "we can't both have him!" and got ahold of their son on Facebook, pretended to be a classmate and got info on the family. She's got a couple screws loose, not to mention that in the picture I saw of her (or what I think was her, anyway) she was downright scary looking.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
Anywaayyy... I do think that there is such thing as a sex addiction, but these guys who simply cheat on their wives with interns (or production assistants or whatever) are not such addicts. I've seen a couple of documentaries on people who are addicted to sex, and they do things like spend hours a day masturbating and watching porn and then go out and seek sexual encounters with any willing strangers they find as many times as they can. It's just not on the same level as "needing" to cheat on your spouse because he or she only wants to have sex once or twice a week.
medenginer medenginer 7 years
He chose to cheat did he not think he wouldn't have repercussions. He needs to understand he's accountable for his actions and shouldn't scream addiction.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
RebelTXAngel... I'm with Chouette, I have no clue what you're trying to argue. cheating isn't the answer, it just isn't.
AlexisSF AlexisSF 7 years
RebelTXAngel RebelTXAngel 7 years
thank you torobee!! You put what I was trying to say in your own words.
RebelTXAngel RebelTXAngel 7 years
Didn't expect you would.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
"I'm not saying cheating is right but you can't kill a man by not giving him sex. Just like you can't kill a woman by not giving her any. The adrenaline rush is what keeps most going." Sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say here.
RebelTXAngel RebelTXAngel 7 years
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I'm not saying cheating is right but you can't kill a man by not giving him sex. Just like you can't kill a woman by not giving her any. The adrenaline rush is what keeps most going. I know none of you will see it many way ever but I like to put my ideas and thoughts out there.
Chouette4u Chouette4u 7 years
RebelTXAngel, neither partner is entitled to as much sex (or anything, really), as they want in a relationship. It's about compromise and communication, and if my husband needed so much more sex than I was willing or able to give him, it's on him to either decide to seek help or end our relationship. Cheating is never the solution.
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