Let’s state something important right up front: we have no idea if Robert Kraft is a sex addict, or any other kind of addict. We don’t personally know the man, and it’s not our place to diagnose anyone from afar.
However, his story being in the news right now does give us a unique opportunity to talk about some addictive behaviors, and reality versus fantasy – something addicts often struggle with.
What’s Going on Here?
When the news story first broke, it almost felt like it must be a joke. What do you mean Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, was busted as part of a sting on a dingy massage parlor in Florida? Not only him, but apparently other billionaires too!
Look, setting all personal ethics and politics aside for a moment, there are places in America where sex work is perfectly legal. If a billionaire wanted to have an experience like that, why not visit a reputable place? Why not avoid the legal trouble and scandal? It’s a question I can’t necessarily answer, but I do have a few theories as to why they did what they did.
The first thing to consider is the excitement. You could have all the money in the world, but that doesn’t necessarily take away the thrill of transgression. So many factors are probably making this a potentially addicting experience: sneaking in and out of the establishment, the novelty of the surroundings (for a billionaire, anyway), the excitement of knowing that what you’re doing is wrong. There are a lot of different brain chemicals firing in this situation, and they’re all tied to sex. That could be a huge problem for an addict, or someone developing additive behaviors.
Second, I think the anonymity might have been really important to some of these guys. Sure, there are $5,000 escorts, but if they know who you are, there’s always that risk. In this case, these were women right from Asia who didn’t speak the language, and likely had absolutely no idea who their clientele was. So even though the experience costs little more than pocket change to a guy like Robert Kraft, perhaps there was a different kind of value there.
The Billionaires Weren’t the Only Ones “Hurt” by This
Certainly, the high-profile clients are going to claim that the release of their names will hurt their reputations, and that may be fair, but what about the women in this establishment? The odds are overwhelming that they are victims of human trafficking. They were cooking rice on a camp stove on the back porch. They probably couldn’t even leave the building.
This is where things take a darker turn. What kind of rationalizing does a person have to do to overlook all that? Is “I’m paying her,” enough to justify the way these women were living? Is an “out of sight, out of mind” approach okay when you’re placing your sexual compulsions over the well-being of other people?
This is a behavior we’ll see often in addicts. There’s a lot of internal bargaining going on. They might see the situation for what it really is, but their addiction kicks in and sweeps all the bad parts under the rug. My plea to anyone in this situation is to listen to that voice. When it breaks through for a split second, stop. What’s it saying? That’s the real you talking, not your addiction. That’s the voice you need.
False Relationships Over Meaningful Ones
Again, I can’t say with any certainty what’s going on in Robert Kraft’s mind, or in the mind of anyone else involved in this case. What I do know is that it’s impossible to behave like this – visiting $79.00 massage parlors full of women in dire circumstances – and carry on a healthy intimate relationship at the same time. The mindset you need for the latter would keep you well away from the former.
I often work with men who are very much at the mercy of their fantasies. I hear them talk about how if they had a billion dollars, they’d spend it on high-cost escorts, or how all that money would mean they could get any girl they want. Then a story like this comes along, and I feel like it’s an important dose of reality. There’s nothing glamorous in what happened here. There’s only a dilapidated strip mall and some women who aren’t being treated well.
Hopefully this story disrupts the usual line of thinking about what it must be like to “have any girl you want.” Does this seem like a happy situation to you? Do you think these men were fulfilled after they left this establishment, or is it more likely that they were ashamed? Yes, there definitely are high-cost sex workers who might offer you a more refined experience, but they don’t love you. They’re not going to help you through the tough times or stand by your side when you need them. The exotic dancer offering you lap dances… do you think she’d give you one for free?
Obviously, in my line of work, I’ve spoken to many men who visit massage parlors compulsively, and I have to tell you that none of them feel good about it. For a sex addict, the ways in which they act out only serve to begin a shame and fear spiral. They visit the parlor, they leave feeling ashamed, angry, and lonely, and those feelings build until they go right back to the same place to try and feel better again. It never works. It never will work.
If the Robert Kraft story has caused you to examine your own behavior, I urge you to grab onto that thought. Uncomfortable as it is, it’s trying to tell you something. If you can find it in yourself to listen to that voice, you just might be ready to turn things around.
Let’s get you out of this destructive behavior before you end up in the papers too.