So now it seems as though Tiger Woods may be checking himself into a rehab center in Mississippi to deal with purported sex-addiction. And while claiming to be a sex-addict is a great way to quickly "medicalize" one's dalliances and start the process of media redemption, Tiger may indeed fit the profile of a sex addict: the high number of mistresses, the sex in places like parking lots where he could easily get caught or even arrested, the lack of condoms, and oh yeah: being a new father.
More than just your typical pro-athlete celebrity, Tiger is a father of two young children and this makes him particularly vulnerable to sexual issues. According to a recent study at University of Devnver, more than 92% of new parents experience a decrease in relationship satisfaction after the birth of a child, and as a NYC-based sex-counselor and father of two young boys, I can assure you that we're an agitated lot.
Like many a new father, life after baby No. 1 left me confused and conflicted, not to mention sleepless, sexless, hard up and horny. And just when I thought life couldn't get any more hard up, along came baby No. 2. There was a point when everything made me think of sex. One time my wife, Lisa, was reading the Dr. Seuss classic "Hop on Pop" to our toddler, Owen, and I found myself thinking, "Hey baby, why don't you come over here and hop on this pop?"
Let me tell you: When even Dr. Seuss makes you think of sex, that's when things have to change.
Meanwhile, my wife didn't seem to miss sex at all. What happened to the woman who couldn't keep her hands off of me? In her book "Confessions of a Naughty Mommy," my friend Heidi Raykeil writes, "No one warned me that having a baby was like the excitement of falling in love all over again, except with someone much younger and better smelling than my husband. No one told me that for all intents and purposes, having a baby was dangerously similar to having an affair."
Calling it an affair may not be so far off. As Freud defined it, "eros" is a life force that motivates us to create and to love, and for many new mothers, the energy that goes into doting on, dressing, feeding, fawning over and coddling a baby is a powerful expression of eros. That re-direction of eros is part of what can lead a dad to feel like an all-around third wheel; there was a time not so long ago when we were the recipients of all that eros: You doted and fawned over us. You picked out our wardrobe, you wouldn't let you us go out wearing that tie. Now you're so caught up with the little one, you probably haven't noticed we've gone a full week without showering. Well, maybe not quite a week.
I'm not saying that he isn't one messed-up dude, but I do know that when you become a new parent, your relationship changes a lot. Suddenly, you need a lot of stability and transparency. For example, at any given time, my wife can text me, e-mail me, ping me, call me on the cell, try me on the home line, or sometimes just walk into the next room if she's feeling particularly energetic and say, "Hey, we need kale."
But while relationships require transparency and dependability -- not to mention kale -- they also require the opposite: unpredictability and mystery. Therein lies the relationship rub: How do we share everything with our partners and yet also remain mysterious and unpredictable?
As humans we are novelty-seeking creatures. We crave the thrill of newness. And when you can't get those thrills at home, some people will seek them out elsewhere, instead of trying produce them at home.
Who knows for sure? As a celebrity-athlete he's probably habituated to the rush of dopamine that comes both on the golf course and off.
And as a new parent, he probably wasn't prepared for the changes to his relationship -- both in the bedroom and and out.