SINGAPORE - He knew how serious his condition was only when he nearly molested one of his clients.
The insurance agent, who wants to be known only as Ang M.T, recalls the day his life fell apart.
"We were at a cafe and I was showing her the various plans I had worked out when her hand brushed mine," says the 35-year-old.
"I was suddenly aroused and I just wanted the meeting to end. In bed."
What happened next was a blur of events that nearly landed him in trouble with the law.
Mr Ang, who's stocky and good-looking, says: "Let's just put it this way, I got carried away and flirted with her, and the next thing I knew, she had accused me of touching her breasts."
Mr Ang's client wanted to report him to the police but after "much begging and apologising", she agreed to forgive him.
"I felt so rotten but I knew then that I was in deep trouble. I also knew I needed help badly."
He agreed to share his story in the hope that some people will understand what a sex addict goes through.
He says: "Life is not easy for us, we have to struggle with our condition. Yet it's not something that we can discuss openly.
"But that does not mean that we are perverts. We are not. It's just that we enjoy sex on a different level from others."
After the incident with his client, Mr Ang confided in a close friend, who advised him to seek professional help.
Easier talking to a stranger
Easier talking to a stranger
He recounts: "I knew he was right but I refused to admit it. And I felt it'd be embarrassing to get help.
"I mean, how do you tell a doctor or someone, hey guess what, I am addicted to sex?"
But it cost him his marriage of five years. His ex-wife, a housewife, could not tolerate his constant requests for sex.
"I don't blame her for being fed up and giving up on me. She didn't understand what was wrong with me and just felt that I was out of control," he says.
"Thankfully, we didn't have any children."
He has now been dating a 30-year-old sales executive for about a year and they have regular sex. They have got engaged and she has finally managed to drag him to a doctor.
The pretty woman who wants to be known only as Seline, says: "But there are times when I'm in the middle of work and he'll text me to say, 'let's meet'.
"Basically, it just means, let's have sex."
Seline admits she found it exciting at first. "When we started dating, it was fun. You feel so loved... but after a while, I realised that something was not right."
Worse, every time she rejected Mr Ang, he'd turn moody or not return home for the night.
He says: "When she turns me down and I don't come home, it means that I have found satisfaction elsewhere, either with a prostitute or in a one-night stand."
Seline issued an ultimatum - either he gets help or she walks out.
"I didn't want to end up with someone like that for the rest of my life," she says.
Mr Ang opted to see a psychologist.
He says: "I found it was easier talking to a stranger, with someone who has professional knowledge about my condition."
One of the first things his psychologist advised him to do was to cut down on viewing pornography.
The psychologist, Mr Richard Lim, who has been practising relationship and family counselling for 15 years, says: "We tallied the hours and found that Mr Ang would devour all forms of porn, whether films or books or images for a total of about eight hours a day.
"We worked out a system where the minutes gradually dropped and for now, he uses only about an hour maximum a day."
Mr Ang points out happily: "But I've also gone without it for two to three days in a row. Sex no longer became all-consuming."
He hopes that by the time of his wedding in November next year, he'd have fully overcome his sex addiction.
Says Mr Ang: "If anything, I now have a constant sex partner."
Think you may be a sex addict?
There are various types of self-diagnosis tests available online, such as the one on the S.L.A.A Singapore Group's website recommended by psychiatrist Tan Teng Kiat.
It's the Singapore site of the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, a programme of recovery from sex and/or love addiction.
It's based on the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, a model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Some of the questions designed to be used as tools to identify possible signs of sex and love addiction include:
- Have you ever tried to control how much sex to have or how often you would see someone?
- Do you feel that you don't want anyone to know about your sexual or romantic activities?
- Have you had sex at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places, and/or with inappropriate people? Have you ever felt that you had to have sex?
- Do you keep a list, written or otherwise, of the number of partners you've had?
- Do you feel despair or uneasiness when you are away from your love or sexual partner?
- Have you ever had a serious relationship threatened or destroyed because of outside sexual activity?
The full list of 40 questions can be found at www.sg-slaa.com/self-diagnosis-test/
Different levels of severity in sexual addiction:
Masturbation, watching pornography (with or without masturbation), phone sex and/or cybersex, voyeurism - online or live.
Chronic infidelity, sexual relationships with multiple partners, anonymous sex or one-night stands, paid sex, public sex (in bathrooms, parks, and so on), frotteurism (rubbing one's genitalia against a person, usually a stranger), stalking.
Rape, child molestation/paedophilia, viewing rape, snuff pornography (where at least one person in the film is killed), sexual abuse of older or dependent persons.
This article was first published in The New Paper .