Tori and Dean: Cheating, Sex Addiction and Differences in Desire

Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott are going through quite a public rough spot right now. After months of cheating allegations and the insinuation of a sex addiction now that he has checked himself into rehab (I know, what don’t people go to rehab for these days), their relationship seems to be in a holding pattern of “should we stay or should we go”?

I have to admit; I’m a fan. I’ve seen most of their reality shows, read her books and I’ve followed Tori on her website. Maybe it’s the fact that we’re the same age and both had children in short order after meeting our respective husbands. Or perhaps it’s that I appreciate her entrepreneurial spirit and her openness to talking about her relationship and sex with Dean. Whatever it is, I feel like I have gotten as good of an outside perspective as any of us can, given the situation.

Most of you who have read my blog before know that I am suspect of “sex addiction” diagnosis. The addiction model just doesn’t work as well when it comes to sex. And cheating, well that is all too common. About 50% of women and about 70% of men report that they have cheated at some point in their relationships. In fact, that is how Tori and Dean met – they both allegedly cheated on their partners to be with one another. Some times we do end up with someone that is wrong for us. But the issue for me is more about how long term couples deal with differences in desire.Tori and Dean: Cheating, Sex Addiction and Differences in DesireLife changes – we have four kids in six years and almost die due to a c-section hemorrhage. We go from being foot loose and fancy free to being a wife and mother with what seems to be a non-stop work schedule. Dean has always claimed that he was a guy with a very high sex drive who just can’t keep his hands off of his wife. The couple said so much when Tori got pregnant a month after giving birth to her third child — fresh c-section and all.

What I’m saying is that it is a lot easier to match our partner’s high desire level (thank you testosterone) when things are new, exciting and unencumbered with children, let alone four children. There have been reports that since the birth of their latest child, that the sheets have run a bit cold in the McDermott household. Is that Tori’s fault? Just think what her hormones have been through the past few years. Or is the blame to be laid on Dean? You know, once a cheater always a cheater? He just can’t seem to keep it in his pants can he?

I’m venturing to guess that it is no one’s fault. Yes, Dean went outside of the marital relationship and that is a fact they will both have to struggle with. But when it comes to the ebb and flow of being with someone for the long haul, these issues will inevitably come up. That’s when we all have to ask ourselves what will keep us in these relationships? What will help us grow stronger? It’s obviously not just the love that we feel towards our partners or concerns for keeping our families together because obviously that is not enough. I think it comes down to our own personal sense of integrity and our willingness to discuss those deep dark shadows that we hall have with our partners. We have to expose those vulnerable places in order to help make sense out of them, so that we don’t end up simply “acting out” on them and putting our relationships and families on the chopping block. My hope is that this “rehab” stint will promote the rebuilding of a very rooted relationship. And that Dean won’t be made out to simply be the bad guy – someone who will serve as the whipping boy if they decide to stay together. But that the two of them can begin to heal by looking at this relationship by the light of day and by making friends with those lurking shadows that we all have.


 is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.

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