Tanya, a 25-year-old mom, wakes up ready for another day. She hears her two children giggling at a cartoon they are watching in the living room. It is early, 7am, but they are up and ready for their day.
Tanya yawns, stretches, and smiles as she thinks of the joy her children bring her. Her mind then quickly shifts back to her own childhood, one devoid of warmth, hugs and loving relations. In fact, her parents were distant and rigid, the only affection she recalls was when her grandmother came to visit and would spoil Tanya with candy, staying up late to play games, braiding her hair and talking and laughing into the night.
Grandma’s hugs always felt good, but Tanya only had her grandma for a short time in her life as she passed away when Tanya was 9. Tanya felt a tear drop, as she recalled her dear grandma, who was only in her life once or twice a year due to her living in another country. How she longed for her…
Her mind then snapped back to her hungry children awaiting her, and she said “I’m coming my love bugs!” Tanya jumped up out of bed and went into the living room. She swooped up the two children, ages 6 and 7 into her arms for a group hug, amidst laughter, and teasing squeals of “Oh Mom, not now!”
The children enjoyed their morning ritual with their mom, who promised herself long before she had children, that she would always be an affectionate, emotionally available mom when she had children, not like hers who was distant and cold.
After breakfast, the children washed and dressed and Tanya drove them to school. As she watched them walk through the door waving goodbye, tears fell down her cheeks. She felt so blessed to have such healthy, beautiful children, a wonderful, loving husband and a nice home. She was beloved at her Masjid for her kindness and helpful ways.
She was always cooking for Islamic events and took joy in seeing her sister’s smile when she brought in specials little gifts just for them during Ramadan. However, under her seemingly happy life, Tanya was often depressed, tormented by things she dare not share with any one.
The Hidden Part of Tanya’s Life
On her way home, Tanya looked at her watch, she was running late. As she weaved through traffic, she felt sudden pangs of guilt and was about to turn around and go home but somehow, she just could not. She pulled up to the tall yellow condo, parked and walked up to the door; she knocked lightly, and went in. Awaiting her at the table were fresh bagels, mangos, tea and freshly squeezed orange juice. She smiled at Mustafa, her lover and thanked him for his efforts.They made small talk while eating and then quickly made their way to his bedroom where they had sex for hours.
As Tanya made her way home, the tears fell hot and heavy. She hated herself for cheating on her husband, and worried about STD’s (sexually transmitted infection) as she only met Mustafa two weeks ago at a local club she goes to alone when her husband is away on business and her friend is available to watch the children.
Weeping, barely able to drive, she thought of all the men she has had sex with over the past six months. None of them she had known, just random strangers she met for the purpose of having sex. Six men? Maybe eight, she lost count. As she pulled in the driveway, she thought of the routine she would once again have to go through, the lying to her husband about not being able to make love because of cramps, until the testing for STD’s was done. At least she thought, I can control that, I won’t give him an STD.
She usually uses condoms, but this time she forgot. She was under stress from her job as a part time accountant and worried about pleasing her in-laws as they were coming in for Eid festivities. What if she didn’t please them, what if she messed up one of their favorite dishes? And then she had sad thoughts, her parents would not be there, as usual.
As Tanya cleaned the home, her thoughts wandered to her morning activities. She sat down and began to weep. She did not know why she did what she did, she had a loving husband who took care of her and the children. He was romantic and thoughtful and pleased her in bed. She had a home, children, nice friends and a wonderful Masjid. She tried to stop her behavior many times, which was not only risky in terms of STD’s, getting killed by a stranger, and hurting her husband, but it was a grave sin, and she knew it.
However, ever since she was 12, and introduced to deviant violent behaviors via an uncle who raped her-she changed. Soon after, Tanya began craving sex. She started with masturbation which increased during times of stress or depression and graduated into sexual intercourse with a stranger she met at the school’s library. When she saw him, she suddenly felt that familiar twinge below and smiled, he returned the smile, and they soon found themselves in the library bathroom, door locked, having sex in one of the stalls.
For Tanya, this was the beginning of an addiction she could not stop. It never fulfilled her sexually, but it dissipated her feelings of depression or stress for the moment. But soon after the act, when she was alone she would break down crying, then praying to Allah for forgiveness with all her heart. Even when she married she could not stop. She did for about a year after her marriage as she was busy with her new life, and her husband’s family was staying with them off and on. But soon after everyone left and she was alone with her thoughts, the craving began again.
Tanya at one point went to counseling after the birth of her child for mild postpartum depression. It crossed her mind to tell the counselor of her sexual behaviors, but she was too ashamed. Thus, the counselor found nothing unusual about her mental health status after assessment and treated her for mild hormonal based depression.
Reflecting back on her double life and her uncontrollable addiction, Tanya could not figure out why she did it, nor how to stop. Too ashamed to tell anyone, she lived her life in a hellish nightmare…
The Second story
Hassan was a 31-year-old man when he got married. He had a lovely, pious wife and a good job. They were living with his parents and things could not be better. Hassan thought getting married would be great for him as he had a strong sex drive. He struggled in the past from porno addiction, sexual affairs with many different women to even paying prostitutes for that insatiable high he feels when having sex.
For him, sex is the ultimate. Hassan has even rushed out of business meetings to meet a coworker for a “quickie” in his private office, despite the risk of getting caught. Now married, Hassan has relaxed in the fact that this high sexual joy can be his in a halal way whenever he wants it.
For the first few months, things were wonderful. Hassan and his wife enjoyed each other in their private time and socially. His family and wife seemed to love each other as well and his enthusiasm at work picked up and he landed many new accounts.
About eight months into the marriage, Hassan found himself getting bored with his new wife. She no longer seemed exciting or appealing to him. In fact, he would often avoid making love to her as he could not get an erection. Additionally, his family started placing more pressure on him for more money as he now had an increase in pay and a new wife. Hassan began to worry about his feelings towards his wife, his inability to perform as well as the financial burden.
He found himself secretly watching porn, and after getting caught a few times by his wife, it led to arguments which ended with her saying that he didn’t love her, that she wasn’t attractive to him anymore and her going to her room crying. Hassan felt guilty for hurting his wife, however, he did not know what to do as part of what she said was true-the “thrill was gone”. He wondered how it could be gone so soon, and he did find her attractive, but not in the exciting way he was used to.
Hassan soon reverted back to his secret sexual encounters during the days and nights, as well as watching porn at work as it was too risky at home. He needed this, he rationalized, and although he knew the risks, he could not stop this need. His work performance started to go down, and he spent more and more time away from home to avoid his wife and the questions his family had, now that he was married, had an unhappy wife and didn’t seem to care.
One day while at work, Hassan was watching a porn movie with a female friend whom he has a sexual relationship with. He brought her to his office on the premise that she was a potential client for the company and they were discussing a contract. As she began to perform oral sex on him, the CEO walked in to join the conference. Hassan, shocked as he thought he locked the door, was left speechless, ashamed and shocked as the CEO in a fury, fired him, as the “friend” scrambled for her clothes and ran out the door.
Hassan now jobless and shamed, walked to the park. He cried. He remembered Allah SWT and prayed and cried for help.
In the next part, Dr Aishah will reflect on the 2 above cases, explaining different models of sexual addictions from scientific and Psychological point of view and exploring causes, Symptoms and ways of treatment.