Confessions of a sex addict: I've lost everything that's dear to me
The New Paper
By Maureen Koh
Shame stops women from getting help
The first step to dealing with sex addiction is to admit it, say experts.
Psychologist Richard Lim, who sees a new case every two to three months, says: "While some sufferers may be aware that something is wrong, they refuse to get help because they don't want to be labelled as abnormal or that they are mentally ill.
"And until the sufferer is willing to acknowledge that he needs help, it won't be easy for him."
Most times, it takes a crisis, such as losing a job, a divorce or in a worst-case scenario, an arrest, to make the addict come forward.
Mr Lim says: "Sex addiction is more private. It's not like smoking, drinking, gambling or drug consumption that another person can spot easily."
Both men and women suffer from sex addiction. And it's tougher for women to admit it. Among Mr Lim's clients, some 10 per cent are women.
He says: "A woman is less likely (than a man) to get help, mostly because of shame or embarrassment. "Our society is still very conservative and in general, women are conscious of the social prejudice."
But clinical sexologist Martha Lee says: "Why does it have to be harder? It depends on the individual's attitude towards sex and their perception of what a sex addict is."
She stresses that sex addiction is not a mental illness.