3.02.2010

Secrets and Lives

I came across this phascinating article earlier and just HAD to share it with all my Starrphuk's. I thought it was a most interesting article. Please read and tell me what you think.






According to The Age











We've heard about the secret sexual lives of celebrities like Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton, but what about the man sitting next to you at work or the mate you play golf with every month?
WITH the sun on his face, he's the upstanding citizen, the devout churchgoer who runs a local business, perhaps the married father of three planting trees at a kindergarten working bee. But in the stolen hours of the night, he's making love to his secret boyfriend or gang-banging a stranger at a party that he hopes his wife will never find out about.
He is living a double life. Like Tiger Woods, without the golf trophies and private jet. Like Bill Clinton, without the Oval Office and expensive cigars. Like Herman Rockefeller - until his secret life was laid bare after his dismembered body was found in a junk-strewn backyard in Melbourne's northern suburbs four weeks ago.
Maybe he's a she, although psychologists suggest most people living double lives are men. Most are driven by a powerful sexual compulsion that cannot be satisfied in their conventional lives, so they embark on often extraordinarily complex secret lives.
And often, like Woods and Clinton, the potential for disaster upon being exposed is enormous. Relatives and friends are left devastated and shell-shocked. Families are torn apart. Careers are destroyed.
Melbourne-based private psychologist Marcus Squirrell, who specialises in the treatment of sexually compulsive behaviour, both online and offline, says the number of people living sexual double lives is growing.
A third of his patients are leading what can be described as a true double life - an entirely separate existence unknown to anyone in their ''real'' life. Their partner, friends and work colleagues have no idea of their compulsive sexual behaviour, affairs, bisexuality, or less conventional sexual interests such as attending orgies and swingers' parties, indulging in fetishes or spending hours each day engaged in erotic ''cybersex'' chats with strangers.
Advances in technology have made it easier for people to deceive their partners.
''I am firmly of the opinion that both the internet and mobile phones significantly contribute to one's capacity to develop sexually compulsive behaviour that otherwise would not have existed if it was not for easy access to an endless array of sexual material and other individuals who are also interested in meeting offline for sex,'' Squirrell says.
''I also see a number of bisexual men who act out sexually with other men and lead a double life where they hide these aspects of their sexuality from their girlfriends or wives.''
Squirrell has no doubt a small number of Victorian women lead double lives but says ''even though women go to the doctors for all sorts of ailments, many probably feel too ashamed to seek therapy for acting out sexually, so we don't see as many''.
It usually takes an unexpected collision of a double-lifer's two worlds for them to fully divulge the extent of their deception. ''It is typically only when they get caught that they disclose any of their history,'' Squirrell says.
Woods is a case in point. Although he must have known, at least on some level, how damaging exposure of his stripper-strewn secret life would be to his marriage, career and carefully constructed reputation as a wholesome family man, he only stopped when he was caught.
Like many double-lifers, Woods has been diagnosed as a sex addict. He has completed a 45-day inpatient treatment program to help him gain control over his compulsions, but it is also likely he is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.
People who are able to maintain double lives for a long period often have this personality disorder, according to Action Psychology director Sarah Calleja, a relationship and sexual issues specialist.
''The trouble with narcissistic personalities is that they don't have any genuine empathy or remorse for what they do - they just leave disaster behind them," Calleja says.
Squirrell suggests many double-lifers maintain their deception because they enjoy the excitement of living on a knife edge. ''The danger could make a person feel alive again and assist someone who may be struggling with a midlife crisis and their fading looks,'' he says.
But by the time they walk through his door, he says, most feel ashamed of themselves - either because their secret has been discovered or because their deception has hurt the people they love the most.
''Many of the men that I see are suffering from depression and feel powerless in regards to ceasing their behaviour because their attempts in the past have failed,'' Squirrell says.
Melbourne Addiction Recovery Service counsellor and experiential therapist Melvyn Bowler says the clients he sees fall into two categories: ''Those who want to stop because it is destroying their lives, and those coerced into seeing me because someone is forcing them to.''
The term ''double life'', he says, is not used in recovery circles. ''We would say the person is in 'denial', and has constructed a whole range of psychological and other defences to protect themselves from the painful consequences of what they are doing,'' he says.
''If someone is seeing me because they have been forced to, then I attempt to break through their denial. I do not always succeed. Living a double life becomes simply a part of life - second nature if you like. And some people can handle stress better than others.''
But what happens to families when the roof over their comfortable, often conventional, heads caves in and the truth comes out? ''Families do fall apart,'' Squirrell says.
''I am seeing increasingly more women wanting insight into their partner's behaviour. They typically feel devastated by their partner's betrayal and are often trying to make sense of the confusion … the children are angry with their fathers.''
This devastation is as strongly felt by partners who find their lovers are addicted to watching online porn or spending hours having cybersex with strangers, he says. ''You don't have to be engaging in physical sex at swingers' parties or orgies to be unfaithful in a relationship.''
However, to assume that most people involved in couple swapping and group sex are leading double lives would be quite wrong, according to well-known swingers' party organiser ''Paul''.
Melbourne's ''official'' swinging community exists around a collection of regular events, held in private homes or clubs on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. In any week in Melbourne, as many as 25 swingers' parties are on offer, each attracting between 50 and 100 guests. Most events involve couples, so there is not a high rate of ''double-lifers''.
But with websites such as redhotpie.com listing its membership at 1,790,584, it is likely that several thousand of those members are indulging in secret sex lives.
It is almost certain that some of the 1776 members of adultmatchmaker.com who were online talking sex at two o'clock on Friday afternoon were doing so without the knowledge of their partner.
''Lilah'', a mother of two adult children who works as a personal assistant in a small CBD office, concedes that some of her colleagues, if they ever learnt the truth about her sex life, might consider that she had been leading a double life.
But she says they'd be wrong. Her involvement in running one of Melbourne's best-known swingers' parties isn't a secret from her partner because he's involved too, so she's not deceiving anyone. She just doesn't divulge her sexual proclivities to her workmates.
''Sex is something that most people don't talk about to work colleagues, family and friends. It's not socially acceptable to do so - but everyone, pretty much, has sex. They aren't having a double life simply because they don't talk about it,'' the 55-year-old says.
''Swinging is called 'The Lifestyle' and that's how I see it in relation to myself and my boyfriend. It's just a part of our life.''
But she says some people in the swingers' community are certainly leading double lives.
''Quite often, when guys ring to make a booking, they will openly say they are married and quip that they will have to find a reason to be out on a Saturday night.''
The most common reason men give for cheating is ''that they either get no, or very little, sex at home''.
''Of course, there is potential for a negative impact if their actions are discovered by their partners but they obviously feel the need for sex is worth the risk - and that they will be able to get away with it,'' says Lilah.
''I don't get the impression that there is much guilt attached to their actions, though, especially for those who have been doing this long-term.''


I hope you enjoyed this article. It does provide a bit of insight into what some might consider double lives.

Have a great day the Starrphuk way;)!
La Reina

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