Batsi Chikura

Dr Batsi Chikura is a consultant physician and rheumatologist based in Lincoln, UK. He is a member of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and a member of the British Society for Rheumatology

Morgan Tsvangirai: sex addiction and denial

Sex machine … Some of Morgan Tsvangirai’s women

THE recent sex scandal that has rocked the life of the lascivious Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai, left many with some intriguing questions: is the Prime Minister a sex addict; just has poor judgement or is a bystander in a smear campaign or all of the above?

Tsvangirai, who is over the age of 60, has been linked to a several women, one of them in her early 20s.

It’s never easy to identify who is addicted to sex and who is not. Many people shy away from talking about their sexual exploits. The question here is whether or not having multiple partners, like the Prime Minister, makes you a sex addict? Is sex addiction a real addiction?

Sex, like eating is necessary for human survival. Lack of interest (loss of libido) or low interest in sex can be seen as a medical problem or psychiatric illness and doctors are frequently consulted about such issues.

The existence of sex addiction as a medical condition has divided psychologists, sociologists and clinical sexologists into believers and non-believers. However, the analogy between sex addiction and negative behavioural patterns seen in gambling and alcohol addiction gives a compelling argument to its existence. Despite some scepticism about the existence of sexual addiction, the addiction model has proven very useful for treating compulsive sexual behaviours.

The term ‘sex addiction’ emerged in the1970s from members of Alcoholics Anonymous who saw the similarity of sex addiction and alcoholism in that the affected  individual are powerlessness to put a stop to their  behaviours. Other terms that are used for similar problems include love addiction.

Sex addicts cannot help themselves from thinking of particular intrusive thoughts which are sexual in nature and this can involve a compulsive searching for multiple partners, compulsive love relationships and compulsive false promises to multiple partners. In sex addiction, such thoughts are progressive and pervasive and develop along with denial – they simultaneously make excuses, justifications and blame others for their problems. They loose the ability to choose freely whether to stop or continue with the behaviour despite consequences.

Sex addiction is often associated with other addictive or obsessive behaviours like psychological disorders, self-destructive behaviour, low sexual inhibitions and behavioural conditioning. Sex addiction is characterised by a recurrent failure to resist impulses to engage in acts of sex and frequently engaging in sexual behaviour when expected to fulfil occupational, domestic, or social obligations. Both sexes can be affected.

Addicts have a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce, or control their behaviours. Addicts generally deny they have a problem and make excuses for their actions. They continue their behaviour despite knowledge of their behaviour having a negative social, financial, psychological and physical impact. Their work, family and friends are usually negatively affected by such behaviours. Addicts risk money, marriage, family and career in order to satisfy their desires.

Tiger Woods, who is a famous golfer and self confessed sex addict, has some similarities with the Prime Minister. Both are famous, influential and loaded with cash. The only difference between the two is that one has admitted to his addiction and the other one is in denial and blames his problems on his perceived enemies – Zanu PF and the intelligence services in the case of the Prime Minister – for capitalising on his weaknesses. No-one should blame them for it. The Prime Minister does not see anything wrong with his behaviour and remains defiant and in denial.

According to Morgan Tsvangirai, “some have a chain of wives and some took other people’s spouses. So what is my issue?” The issue Mr Prime Minister is that you could be a sex addict. The grieving widower appears not to have wasted precious moments of his freedom. Mr Prime Minister, you have let your party and voters down and unfortunately you still do not get it. Politicians have to learn that they are role models and should be whiter than white. The Prime Minister has continued with his behaviour despite the negative impact on social, financial, political, work, family and friends. He has risked his money and career in order to satisfy his earthly desires.

Sex addiction these days has gone to the helms of space and imagination i.e. cybersex (internet sex) and sex addicts have found heaven on earth in chat rooms. Cybersex addicts often spend several hours a day feeding their habits. This has led to the development of internet sex screening test to help assess whether someone may need help with their cyber-sex addiction.

The Prime Minister could be a victim of the tides of changing times. In this digital era, there is nowhere to hide. Pictures, videos and sound recordings can be obtained easily using mobile phones and other devices. You may not be ware of such recordings at the time.

Acceptance of the problem is the first step to recovery. If you are in denial like the Prime Minister, you have no chance; you will always be an addict. If you are Tiger Woods and have unlimited resources, getting expert help is advisable. Otherwise seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist is advisable. There are online tools which can help to identify sex addicts and you should consider taking the test if you think you have a problem. Your health is your priority so take care of yourself.