Anabolic Steroids and Birth Control Pills – Part Two

According to a study done by “Scientific American” birth control pills have structural effects on regions of the brain that govern higher-order cognitive activities and the pill seems to adversely affect a woman’s ability to choose the most biologically and emotionally compatible mate. It seems reasonable to suspect that anabolic steroids would do the same with a man’s ability to choose the most compatible mate.

Both anabolic steroids and birth control pills may be taken for legitimate medical reasons including helping with hormonal imbalances. Both are not being used for truly medicinal purposes in that they have little or nothing to do with alleviating or curing disease. Both are being used to force the human body to do something it was not designed to do. The reward for using anabolic steroids is fame and fortune. For birth control pills the supposed “reward” is not having a baby. What is dramatically different about anabolic steroids and birth control pills is our reaction to them as a society.

With regard to anabolic steroids society has clearly come to the conclusion that steps should be taken to keep individuals from using them in ways that are truly not medicinal. But in the case of birth control pills society has gone exactly in the opposite direction. As a society we try to ensure that everyone has easy access to birth control pills, even to have them paid for by insurance. Many would like them available over-the-counter. It has even gotten to the point that the president of the US is mandating that health insurance must cover the pill free of charge and violate the First Amendment in the process. So why do we have such polar opposite views of these two types of “steroids” in our society? If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

Anabolic Steroids and Birth Control Pills – Part One

Anabolic steroids pose many documented and significant risks to an individual’s life and health. This can include changes in the way the brain functions, a weakening of the immune system, high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, increased aggression (so called “roid-rage”), heart enlargement, breast enlargement (in men), breast reduction (in women), heart attacks, stroke, sexual dysfunction, renal failure, and possible liver cancer. For those who take anabolic steroids it would seem that the natural human instinct for self-preservation is overwhelmed by the promise or reward of potential wealth and fame. For those individuals the potential reward is immediate and concrete while any risks are perceived to be in the distant future and thus, vague.

Within the pharmaceutical industry there is another controversy that at first glance may seem entirely different: the birth control pill. But if fact, anabolic steroids and birth control pills share a great deal in common. Both are “steroids.” Anabolic steroids are the synthetic version of the male sex hormone, testosterone. Birth control pills are the synthetic version of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Both involve significant risk to life and health.

Birth control pills cause decreased libido, even after a women stops using it, and can cause mood changes, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, heart disease and heart attacks. According to a study published in the “Journal of Sexual Medicine”, the pill may have adverse “long-term, sexual, metabolic and mental-health consequences.” The birth control pill is listed as a “Group 1 Carcinogen” alongside of asbestos, tobacco and formaldehyde by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Cancer Society! Birth control pills are associated with a significant risk of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer called “triple negative,” increased rates of breast cancer in general and increased rates of liver and cervical cancer in general. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

A Ballet May be Just What You Need

When I think of ballet, I think of the movie, “Men in Tights” which I happened to catch a little of the other day (the Mel Brooks movie of 1993 is uneven at best). Well fortunately I was asked by my oldest daughter Sarah, to attend the Kansas City Ballet’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” on Sunday February 26th at 2 pm and this was no “Men in Tights.” My wife Rita and I went to mainly enjoy the company of my daughter and son-in-law. There was also the promise of some fine dining afterward. I also went because I am familiar with the music to the ballet by Sergei Prokofiev. Now Prokofiev is a quirky Russian composer with an uneven output of classical music. That means there is some music that is captivating and some that is grating and irritating to listen to. “Romeo and Juliet” is of the former and is some of Prokofiev’s finest music. What caught me further by surprise was the excellence of the ballet and the overall presentation with sets and dramatic gestures by the dancers. I was moved by their presentation of this time-old story of thwarted love and family feuding. Honestly how could adults get in the way of such devoted lovers and not encourage their love for one another. Selfishness and pride come to mind.

Three things stood out to me. First was the dancing of the male lead, Anthony Krutzkamp. Now I have been exposed to athletes all of my life and I can tell you this guy is an athlete, yet very supple and effortless. It sort of reminded me of Joe Montana throwing the football. Understated but quite effective. It seems to me professional athletes could learn a thing or two from ballet dancers about flexibility (this is not a new notion!). It would probably help them a lot. Second was the farewell performance of a long-time dancer with the Kansas City Ballet named Kimberly Cowen. I thought how this must have been a very emotional performance for her and while I read she will appear in May at a last “public” performance this had to be a very bittersweet moment for her. For all of the hubbub surrounding someone like Peyton Manning, there are so many professionals dedicated to their art and craft that go unnoticed and under appreciated. Lastly, of course, is the Kansas City Symphony, a significant partner in this production. Sometimes when ballet music is performed as orchestral music (or a suite) without dancers, the music is played at breakneck speeds with no regard to the tempo or the subtleties of the music. However with dancers in the mix, there has to be restraint because tempos that are out of control are not conducive for allowing the dancers to execute their intricate moves. The conductor did a great job of watching the dancers and conveying the desired tempo to the musicians. Even with a small force of musicians, most probably because of size constraints in the orchestra pit, the music came across as majestic and skillfully executed. Prokofiev loves to write passages for various instruments that go to the extremes of their range. The musicians acquitted themselves quite well and the brass never sounded too forceful or obnoxious.

Once again a message for all Kansas Citian’s, please check out a symphony, opera, or ballet performance at the Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City. Support these local artists and their gifts. There are some genuinely beautiful things going on and the arts so enrich one’s mind and soul. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

What Makes A Marriage Work

Marriage has the power to sanctify (make holy) each person in the marriage. A couple cannot love each other just based on their own power and initiative. There must be a vital and shared prayer life because faith changes everything. There is a heroic generosity in working for the good of the other person.

As a starting point both individuals in a marriage need to develop their Christian identity. This means a set of values and asking yourself the question of, “Would you live out those values if a camera were on you?” Values are a reflection of your choices and actions. It is a clear sense of your mission.

Couples should start with a “Marital Mission Statement” and asked themselves who they are in relationships with people. If you don’t know what qualities to work on look at Galatians Chapter 5, verses 22-23. Typically the qualities of patience, gentleness, generosity, and self-control need to be worked on marital relationships.

Next, get practical and write it down. If one partner has difficulty with their temper (i.e. patience) then the other partner needs to know how to respond to outbursts of temper. Make sure it is about the quality or virtue you each want to work and remember you are there to help be a source of grace for your partner’s emotional and spiritual growth. Attacks on a partner’s character have no place in a marriage. If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

Sexual Addiction – Part Five

So what makes a sex addict? Sex addicts come from families where there were addicts of all kinds. Families of sex addicts have been described as detached, uninvolved, and emotionally absent. They have also been described as rigid, dogmatic, and inflexible. Sex addicts report high incidences of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse in their families of origin. It is clear for sex addicts that trauma or high stress and addiction are inextricably connected. This can include physiological/psychological trauma reactions from unresolved past traumatic experiences; seeking or finding pleasure in the presence of extreme danger, violence, risk, or shame; efforts to numb, block out, or overwhelm residual feelings due to trauma; and blocking traumatic realities by splitting or dissociating from painful experiences and not integrating those experiences into personality or daily life. For sex addicts less than 13% of addicts have only one addiction and sustained recovery is more successful when all addictions present are addressed. Addictions do not merely coexist, but actually interact with each other. For those who may be struggling with sexual addiction and are married a good book to consider is “Open Hearts: Renewing Relationships with Recovery, Romance, and Reality” by Patrick Carnes and Debra and Mark Laaser.  If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

Sexual Addiction – Part Four

So what does a “perfect storm” look like for a sex addict? First the truth emerges. Addiction can only thrive in deception. Sex addiction requires compartmentalization and duplicity. Addicts typically believe in secrecy as the solution. Yet there are no secrets. Something happens to expose the reality and this creates a strong reaction in those around the addict. Second there is damage control by the addict which only makes it worse. Addicts will acknowledge the truth in bits and pieces as they have to. They will resort to dishonesty in the hope that no more facts come out. Then as more facts emerge, they have to admit to more lying which in turn further undermines whatever credibility they have. Spouses often refer to this as Chinese Water Torture. They are worn down by the dishonesty. Next the spouse or loved one becomes a seasoned private investigator. Armed with a heightened sense of distrust and anxiety the loved one becomes obsessed with the addict. They become “forensic” accountants in an effort to find out the truth. Unfortunately they are usually rewarded with more to discover. When an addict discloses the truth or even part of it, the net effect on the spouse is traumatic because it involves “sex” and the wounding is thus “amplified.” It is by comparison easier to understand if someone chooses alcohol over you, but if the disease is about other sexual partners, it is harder to accept. Yet truth and full disclosure does help because it lays bare that the addict clearly has a problem.  If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

Sexual Addiction – Part Three

When someone comes to therapy and presents with a sexually compulsive behavior as a serious concern, there can be an enormous stigma attached to it because it is about “sex.” One of the main primal activities of humans is sex, to reproduce ourselves. However this imperative to reproduce requires responsible behavior. So the reactions are very intense when there are violations of love and trust in the expression of human sexuality. The media bombards us almost on a daily basis with very “messy” situations regarding sexual revelations. These revelations may be about a political leader or a leader of a church such as a priest, minister, or rabbi. Business leaders, educators at the high school level, physicians, college professors, day care professionals, and even law enforcement personnel have had their sexual behavior revealed in graphic detail as well. When sex becomes an addiction it threatens our most important social bonds. Things like compulsive overeating that cause obesity does not generate the huge outcry sexual addiction does and it affects far more people. The fact that 4,300 adolescents might start using drugs everyday does not get much reaction, but sex does. The fact that 16% of graduating seniors from high school are at risk for pathological gambling does not grab headlines, but sex does. Sex is so core to our species’ survival that it has been hard to appreciate when it can be addictive. So when it is, it creates a significant reaction.  If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

Sexual Addiction – Part Two

From a scientific standpoint we now understand so much more about sexual addiction. For example the brain categorizes sex 20% faster than any other stimulus. Sex taps into the same neural chemical processes other addictions do. We now have large samples of data that allow for therapists/psychologists to understand the cause (or factors that contribute) to sexual addiction. There are a lot of researchers who have looked at treatment models that can be effective in helping a client. In fact the willingness to enter into the process of recovery is a benchmark for returning to normal functioning. Reluctance indicates a lack of trust and can reinforce patterns of behavior no longer helpful to the client. Being open with a trusted person is the start of healing whether it be in individual counseling or a group setting.  If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

Sexual Addiction – Part One

The more time I spend in the counseling office the more I am discovering that addiction to pornography is an all too common problem especially for men (not that this doesn’t affect women as well). A broader term for this area might be referred to as sexual addiction and the complaints usually center around lost time, money spent, and deteriorating circumstances within significant relationships. When the losses are great such as a divorce or loss of job then the behavior rises to the level of an addiction. Sex addicts weave a web of lies around their compartmentalized lives. For the therapist and client, therapy does not work well without the whole or entire picture. Research appears to indicate that sex addicts can take up to two years or longer to commit to a treatment process even though they know they inevitably have to face it. “Commitment” can often start with the “perfect storm” which usually includes something so disastrous, so painful and so costly that the addict accepts the inevitable, surrendering and asking for help. So the sooner an addict can become totally honest, the sooner treatment can begin. Total honesty is the first place for the addict to begin even though “full disclosure” can appear as a very daunting and overwhelming task.  If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at

The Selling of Sex

SEE SEX YOUNG, HAVE SEX YOUNG. A recent study (published in April of 2006) entitled “Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents’ Sexual Behavior” revealed that this type of exposure accelerates white adolescents’ sexual behavior and increases their risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse. White youths who were subjected to repeated exposures of sexual content were 2.2 times more likely to have sex between the ages of 14 and 16 than those who viewed much less of such material. Those who have fewer alternative sources of sexual norms, such as parents or friends, may turn to the media as a kind of “super peer” that encourages them to be sexually active. Think about sending your 12-year-old son to the mailbox to get the mail and he encounters a Victoria’s Secret catalogue where the cover shot features a gorgeous brunette in a pink bra and panties with a “come hither” look. Many magazines and billboards feature people with perfect bodies wearing next to nothing or clothes that leave little to the imagination. Over time how would that affect the way all of us judge ourselves or others? How much pressure does this put on young girls and boys to look and dress a certain way? This objectification of men and women has gotten markedly worse in recent years and it is very hard to escape. Many parents come to counseling with this concern and it does little good to tell them “just turn it off” because we are literally under siege by this selling of sex everywhere you turn. The daily bombardment affects all of us. Consider the number of marriages ruined by the pornography industry and yet we are told “we are only giving people what they want.” If you or someone you know may need counseling, please contact Lamar Hunt Jr. or see his website at