According to much recent research, a defective gene, or genes, causes a chronic shortage of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, a chemical in the brain associated with feelings of pleasure and well-being. Ed in a last-ditch effort to corral a behavior that would sooner or later land him in prison, Ron to gain control over a voracious and indiscriminate libido. Indeed, Ed had been counseled by one therapist or another for twenty years, ever since he was first arrested for indecent exposure, when he was There was a point at which I began to realize it had control of me, not the other way around. Self-help groups for sex addicts—which had actually sprouted up in a few isolated quarters as early as the mid-seventies—began growing, and today SAA founded in Minneapolis in and now based in Houston has chapters across the nation. At about six-thirty he called his wife to see if she was awake. Groups have also diverged because of gender. Why would the most powerful man in the world risk everything for the momentary pleasure of an illicit sexual encounter? There was no real thought process per se. Yet for every skeptic there seemed to be a believer. I pull up behind an apartment complex where the parking lot joins an alley. He becomes addicted, as it were, to the trauma. Both Ed and Ron had tried and failed, despite the havoc they were wreaking on their lives. And like increasing numbers of people in the grips of compulsive sexual behavior, he turned to a twelve-step, self-help group called Sex Addicts Anonymous SAA. I get back in the car and drive on. In the tradition of recovering alcoholics, both do volunteer work with sex addicts, counseling sex offenders in Texas prisons and on parole.