McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Announcements

July 29, 2013

Is there science to why Anthony Weiner keeps doing it?

The lewd behavior that New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner engaged in suggests he is struggling with more than bad behavior and could be dealing with a variety of issues driving his problematic sexual behavior, experts said.

But doctors, clinical psychologists and sex therapists differ on the role of biology, as well as issues such as anxiety, depression and insecurity.

Fred Berlin, director of the Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said many of his patients exhibit behavior similar to Weiner's, although he and other experts cautioned that they could not speak to the former congressman's specific situation.

"It's driven behavior," said Berlin, a psychiatrist who has been treating patients for more than 30 years. "People are feeling they are pushed to act a certain way even though their intellect and their conscience may be telling them otherwise."

Berlin said he has treated patients with problematic sexual behavior from all backgrounds and levels of society. People with this type of behavior are energized by a powerful biological force, he said. Other factors, such as anxiety or depression, may play a role.

"But fundamentally, there is a driver there that they are not resisting for whatever reason," he said. "It really is about sex."

He likened it to someone who is going on a diet to lose weight. That person may be convinced they want to stop overeating when they're not hungry, he said. But when they get hungry, they may not be able to stop themselves and end up gorging. The person is genuinely sorry afterward, he said, and then the cycle repeats.

In 2011, Weiner resigned from Congress after he admitted to sending lewd pictures of himself to young women. On Tuesday, he acknowledged that under the pseudonym "Carlos Danger," he again sent graphically explicit texts and images to young women more than a year after stepping down from political life.

Berlin and others said that in the past five to six years, they have seen a significant increase in the number of patients with problematic sexual behavior related to the Internet, including inappropriate chatting, accessing inappropriate images and engaging in virtual relationships.

In addition to making it easier for people to say and do things they might not otherwise, the Internet has become a delivery system through which someone can get access to an unlimited number of partners and sexual fantasies, said Michael Radkowsky, a District of Columbia psychologist who treats couples and individuals with sexual issues. The human brain is wired to look for sex and sexual partners, he said.

"Our brains have all these receptors looking for sex, and there's the Internet providing all sorts of opportunities for sex. Wham, plugs right in."

Experts disagree on whether this type of behavior should be considered an addiction.

The American Psychiatric Association considered including "hypersexual disorder" in its most recent edition of the guidebook that psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians use to diagnose mental disorders.

Among the symptoms associated with that behavior, according to preliminary criteria, are recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges or sexual behaviors over a period of at least six months that interfere with other important activities; are in response to stressful life events; or are undertaken while disregarding risk for physical or emotional harm to self and others.

The issue sparked huge controversy, experts said, and ultimately, the behavior was not included in the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5.

David Kupfer, chair of the DSM-5 task force, said the disorder may interfere with a person's life, "but the empirical evidence on the condition was not strong enough to support including it in DSM at this time."

A recent study from the University of California at Los Angeles questioned the validity of sex being addictive. Past research has shown that when addicts view pictures of their drug of choice, their brain activity spikes. Psychiatrist Nicole Prause thought she might see the same type of response in possible sex addicts when viewing images of people having sex - but she didn't.

Rather than an addiction, hypersexuality could mean possessing a high libido coupled with other factors such as impulsivity, said Prause.

Whatever it's called, experts also disagree on other issues involved in the behavior.

"With men like Anthony Weiner, it's rarely about the sexual component. There are usually other issues, like grandiosity - thinking that rules don't apply - or certain personality characteristics," said Rachel Needle, a West Palm Beach, Fla. clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

To treat people like Weiner, one also needs to understand what role the sexual behavior is playing, she said. "What is it helping him with controlling anxiety? Or feeling not good about himself?"

Thinking that rules don't apply to them is a common personality characteristic of people in power, not just in politics, but also in sports, she said, citing the problems of golf star Tiger Woods, who apologized for cheating on his wife in 2010 after weeks of tabloid reports of marital infidelity with as many as a dozen women.

Hani Miletski, a Bethesda, Md. sex therapist, agrees that other issues besides sex are often involved.

"It never happens in a vacuum. There are always other things going on," she said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Announcements
  • RICHARDSON 50 1.jpg Richardsons celebrate 50 years of marriage

    Haileyville High School graduates Jim and Connie Richardson, of rural Claremore, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Saturday.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Masonic Officers South McAlester Lodge 96 announces officers for 2014

    South McAlester Lodge 96 officers for 2014 are, from left, front row, Senior Warden Larry Ivy, Worshipful Master Chad Peery, Junior Warden Lance Hess, Senior Steward Christopher Hitchcock and Secretary Brian Engleman; and top row, Senior Deacon Matthew Box, Junior Steward Gregory Steidley, Chaplain Billy Erkin and Trustee Mike Sexton. Not pictured are Treasurer Jack Inman, Junior Deacon Jake Tannehill and Brent Yates.

    January 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • facebook.png Have teens really stopped using Facebook?

    In baseball, trend-spotting tends to be based on statistical analysis. In fashion, it's driven by runway shows. And when it comes to social networks, the ascendant paradigm for forecasting the future seems to center on first-person anecdotes and unsupported hearsay from random teen-agers.

    August 24, 2013 1 Photo

  • amazon Why you shouldn't trust Internet comments

    A new study suggests that such online scores don't always reveal the best choice. A massive controlled experiment of Web users finds that such ratings are highly susceptible to irrational "herd behavior" — and that the herd can be manipulated.

    August 23, 2013 1 Photo

  • Screen shot 2013-08-13 at 10.25.04 AM.png VIDEO: Timelapse shows Perseid meteor shower

    This CNN video, shot in Hawaii, shows dozens of meteors crossing the skies during the Perseid meteor shower.

    August 23, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0812-forged.jpg Man accused of forging divorce papers to fool new girlfriend's mom

    A Pennsylvania man is accused of forging a judge's signature on a divorce decree to fool the mother of his much-younger new girlfriend, according to court documents.

    August 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • RAV4Ext.jpg Cargazing: Toyota RAV4 gets more efficient, better looking

    If you're looking for a compact crossover these days, you've got plenty of options: the sporty kind, the luxury kind, the truck-like kind and the just plain funky kind. But what I'm checking out this week is the traditional kind. It's the 2013 Toyota RAV4, and it's the kind of middle-of-the-road crossover that's made this type of car so popular in recent years.

    August 22, 2013 2 Photos

  • AVIS12.jpg 'We try harder': The most brilliant ad slogan of the 20th century

    In 1962, Avis was in search of a new advertising campaign. So the ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach decided to embrace Avis' second-place status as a sneaky way to tout the brand's customer service. "When you're only No. 2, you try harder," went the new tagline. "Or else."

    August 22, 2013 1 Photo

  • 0812-twins.jpg 8 sets of twins enrolled in school's kindergarten

    Sixteen tiny kindergartners sat on the slide at Pipe Creek Elementary in on their first day of school, waiting for a photographer to take their picture. Those 16 children are bound together by a common thread — they are all twins.

    August 16, 2013 1 Photo

  • iStock_000018389392XSmall.jpg 10 worst password ideas and tips for picking a better one

    Are your online passwords easily hackable? Measure yours up against this list of the 10 worst password ideas as outlined by Google Apps.

    August 16, 2013 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Mass. Mayor: Families Lost Everything in Fire Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup'
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.