Weiner's Sex Addiction: Disease or Excuse?

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Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., is following in steps of many other public figures who have been caught in a sex scandal as he sought therapy Monday for his sexual Internet activities. 

"I've made some pretty serious mistakes and I need to redeem myself and I'm working hard to try to get back to normal," said the New York Democrat, who recently admitted to tweeting lewd photos of himself to strange women.

It's a story line Americans are getting all too accustomed to -- powerful men falling to sexual temptation and blaming addiction.

In 2010, professional golfer Tiger Woods received professional help for his so-called addiction after his very public affair. He admitted at this year's Masters Golf Tournament that while therapy helps, it's not a cure.

"Just because I've gone through treatment doesn't mean it stops," he said. "I'm trying as hard as I possibly can each and every day to get my life better and better and stronger."

The big question: is sex addiction real? Some say it's a self-control problem, while others claim it's an actual psychological issue.
 
"We're not talking about people who just like a lot of sex. We're talking about individuals where sex controls their lives," Dr. Charles Samenow, a psychiatrist and professor at George Washington University, told ABC News.

Fourteen million Americans claim to have a sex addiction -- that's one in every 17 adults. Recovering addict Samantha Ciciora claims to be one of them.

"I had two affairs, and I hid them very well. My husband had no idea..." said the married mother of two.

"I realized that something was wrong more than early promiscuity in my life...when I really couldn't stop," Ciciora said.

She sought help at Treatment Centers for Sexual Addiction. The treatment includes a 12-step program and individual and group therapy.

Experts say the Internet makes temptation even greater for those with sexual addiction.

"It allows for early access, affordable access, and anonymous access," Samenow explained. "The Internet has caused a huge boom in our business. Unfortunately, it's the crack cocaine of sex addiction."

For most people, the lack of moral judgment of cheaters is hard to believe -- almost idiotic. But as former President Bill Clinton, one of the country's most famous cheaters suggests, it's sometimes all about ego.
 
"I did something for the worst possible reason -- just because I could," he said.

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Tyler James

Tyler James

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