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Tiger Woods’ sexcapades are as hard to miss as the latest blizzard. There are numerous theories of Why He Did It, ranging from logical to ridiculous. His current defense is that he’s a sex addict; Woods recently checked into rehab in Mississippi.

Sex addiction is one of those problems that actually sounds pretty fun, like “I have to eat constantly because I can’t gain weight” or “No one takes me seriously because I’m too attractive.” Regardless of your opinion of the legitimacy of sex addiction, you can still use Woods as a catalyst for a conversation about infidelity and sexual behavior.

Is sex addiction even real? Psychology professor Robert DeRubeis wrote in an e-mail, “The term ‘sex addict’ is not recognized in the standard American system for classifying and defining mental disorders and addictions.” Arguably more relevant is “the tendency most of us have [to sometimes] act in ways that ‘discount our futures.’”

DeRubeis explained that an addict is essentially someone who pathologically puts present pleasure before long-term consequences and for whom ordinary life becomes intolerable when a craving goes unsatisfied. Addictions are all treated fairly similarly, he added: seek treatment, learn to resist temptation and think about consequences when temptation strikes.

Can sex addiction be treated this way? “How do you go to rehab for that? You can’t never have sex again,” College sophomore Rachel Ashton said. “I don’t know how that problem can be solved, or if [sex addiction] is even a legitimate thing. If it’s even real. Humans are made to like sex.”

It would be easier to dismiss sex addiction as fiction if there weren’t people like Stephanie (whose name has been changed to protect her identity), a Penn graduate student and reformed sex addict. “I had a husband who cheated on me for several years. When we separated and subsequently divorced, I became addicted to having sex with other men.”

“I had no idea there was anything called ‘sex addiction.’” Until, that is, she was handed the 40-question diagnostic test Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous gives out at meetings. If you answer “yes” to at least half, it’s a warning sign. “37 out of 40, I answered yes. I broke down crying … I couldn’t believe you could be addicted to sex.”

At the risk of sounding flippant, many of those questions seem like things some Penn students could say “yes” to: “Have you lost count of the number of sexual partners you’ve had?”; “Have you or do you have sex regardless of the consequences?”; “Does your sexual/romantic behavior affect your reputation?”

Stephanie revealed no skepticism about Woods’ alleged condition. “No one wanted to talk about [sex addiction] but … [Woods has] really made it easier for others.” (Others, presumably, do not include his wife and two young children.)

College freshman Jordan Sorokin, disagreed. “I think he’s just trying to think of excuses to make himself look more helpless. … While it may be true, it just seems like a way to give himself a little more of a cushion.”

For us, though, this scandal is not about Tiger Woods. How likely is it that you’ll ever know him, biblically or otherwise? Not very. We get Woods’ views on fidelity, but what do we think? For people in committed relationships, what is unforgivable?

“I’m in a serious relationship,” said Engineering junior Kathryn Downes. “We’ve been dating for three-and-a-half years. If he cheated on me, it would not be forgivable.”

There might not be a general consensus on the nature or existence of sex addiction. At least we all know not to give into temptation. Especially not like Woods, over, and over and over again.

Jessica Goldstein is a College junior from Berkeley Heights, N.J. Her e-mail address is Say Anything appears on alternate Wednesdays.

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