Sex addicts fight for help
Sex and pornography addicts continue to face the cold shoulder from government with victims unable to access its funding to treat the disease.
CEO for the Addiction Action Campaign Warren Whitfield said the organisation had approached parliament four years ago to appeal for the specific addictions to be recognized alongside that of drugs and alcohol in the prevention and treatment of substance abuse legislation.
“We were virtually laughed at. It just showed the level of ignorance at government,” said Whitfield.
“We are [still] trying to put pressure on government.”
There were a recorded number of 7.5 million substance and behaviour addicts in the country and Whitfield said a large proportion of these were sex and porn addicts.
Whitfield said the campaign received about 10 new calls from people asking for help each day, of which five were asking for help to deal with a sex or pornography addiction.
“It doesn’t matter whether it’s a substance or a behaviour, if you cannot control it, you are addicted.”
Chris S*, a recovering sex addict, said he had also been addicted to alcohol and drugs but sex was his real high.
“My addiction of choice was primarily sex, my euphoric high came from sex,” he said, adding that he would forgo the other drugs in favour of a better orgasm to feed his primary disease.
After seven years in recovery, which Chris describes as surviving a miracle, he said sex and pornography could be considered a disease if it became ritualistic.
“You can sit with your boyfriend; get hot and horny and have some great sex and put it away. What happens with a porn addict is that they want to watch it again and again and again,” said Chris.
He said while people could only help themselves, government had a bigger role to play in creating awareness.
According to Whitfield, the disease was an “epidemic” which needed legal recognition in order to get funding to treat sufferers and highlight how damaging it was.
Whitfield said he knew abusers who had spent R10,000 a night on sexworkers as well as R30,000 on porn material in a month to satiate their habit.
A stay at a rehab centre cost between R28,000 to R50,000 for over a month but only one percent of those looking for help could afford it.
Many addicts opted for shorter stays or out patient visits which merely arrested the addiction, said Whitfield.
“It’s a hassle [to get help],” he said.
He said the disease certainly had contributed to the country’s approximate 70 percent divorce rate as well as the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases and mental illness.
Chairman of the Central Drug Authority Mogotsi Kalaeamodimo said the department within social development was focused only on drug, alcohol and tobacco related issues.
“We are not mandated to deal with that [sex and porn addictions],” he said.
Department of health spokesman Joe Maila said he was not aware of any amendments to legislation or regulations regarding sex and porn addictions.
“I really don’t know about that,” he said directing questions to the department of social development which in turn referred questions back to health.
Former health portfolio committee chairman Dr Bevan Goqwana said more attention needed to be given to the issue.
“There seems to be a problem on this side [regarding the addiction]. Definitely it needs to be looked at and it needs to be investigated. After doing research then decide whether we should legislate and then see what we do from there,” said Goqwana.
How do you know if you're an addict...
Key things to look out for:
- you hide how many sexual encounters you have had or lie about how often you use porn;
- you engage in risky sex and with strangers;
- it affects your finances;
- your health is compromised; and
- your relationships start to be affected negatively.
If you are concerned about a possibly addiction, contact Warren from the AAC on 072-522-5352