Workshops Help Men Battle Sex Addiction
Anthony Weiner, Tiger Woods, David Duchovny. High-profile men with high-profile sex addictions. We've come to expect these lapses from the rich and famous.
But what about the every man?
A range of 12-step programs exist to help those struggling with sex addiction. One such program operated by Laguna Beach-based New Life Ministries is designed to help men who claim that sexual obsession is ruining their lives.
"I need to fix myself. I need to fix my marriage. I need to restore my family," said one man who asked not to be identified.
At a recent gathering the men paid $1,400 for a three-day workshop on "Every Man's Battle," a faith-based program run by the ministry for the past decade geared toward men "involved with pornography, affairs, or other sexual temptations."
"Licensed Christian counselors...will arm you with the weapons you need for victory," the program website says. "The enemy may have wounded you, but the battle is not over."
The leader of this recent session was Jason Martinkus, a therapist who lives in Colorado and who identifies himself as a recovering sex addict. Martinkus calls his addiction "a hellish prison" and says his goal is to help others facing the same challenges.
"We're going to give them a full tool box so they've got tools to fight this day to day," he said.
The first step is getting men to acknowledge the problem, one often hidden away, he said.
The secrecy may stem in part from the lack of official acknowledgment of sex addiction as a medical disorder. It does not appear in the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the "bible" of mental health compiled by the American Psychiatric Association. It is under consideration for inclusion in the next edition, due out in 2013, as hypersexual disorder. The men are also hiding their behavior from their wives or girlfriends. That's the next step: coming clean.
One participant, Juan, said that before the workshop he told his wife about some of the women he'd had sexual relations with, but not all. After the workshop he said he planned to tell her everything. Would his marriage survive another lapse?
"I don't know," he said. "I really don't know."
At the end of the weekend the men are encouraged to do three things: seek out individual therapy, to exchange contact information and reach out to one another for support.
"We'll hold each other up," Juan said. "Keep each other accountable. I am only one man. I am unable to do these things alone."