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Monday, January 7, 2013

You're a Sex Addict, I'm a Sex Addict, We're All Sex Addicts

Posted by on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Marty Klein called bullshit on the concept of "sex addiction" in the July/August issue of the Humanist:

In thirty-one years as a sex therapist, marriage counselor, and psychotherapist, I’ve never seen sex addiction. I’ve heard about virtually every sexual variation, obsession, fantasy, trauma, and involvement with sex workers, but I’ve never seen sex addiction.

New patients tell me all the time how they can’t keep from doing self-destructive sexual things; still, I see no sex addiction. Instead, I see people regretting the sexual choices they make, often denying that these are decisions. I see people wanting to change, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel alive or young or loved or adequate; wanting the advantages of changing, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel they’re better or sexier or naughtier than other people. Most importantly, I see people wanting to stop doing what makes them feel powerful, attractive, or loved, but since they don’t want to stop feeling powerful, attractive or loved, they can’t seem to stop the repetitive sex clumsily designed to create those feelings.

...

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the sex addiction movement—and certainly the most telling—is that it did not arise from the field of sex therapy or any other sexuality-related field. Rather, it was started in 1983 by Patrick Carnes, whose background is in counselor education and organizational development. He claims no training in human sexuality. “Sex addiction” has been adopted enthusiastically by the addiction community, and to a lesser extent by the marriage and family profession—the latter historically undertrained and uncomfortable with sexuality. You can, for example, become a licensed marriage counselor without ever hearing the words vibrator, clitoris, spanking, tongue-kissing, or panties during your education.

Almost thirty years after its invention by Carnes, “sex addiction” is still not a popular concept in the fields of sex therapy, sex education, or sex research. Of course, the media loves it, decency groups love it, and those who identify as some other kind of addict (alcohol, food, drugs) love it, especially if they’re fans of the Twelve Steps.

The whole piece is worth your time—and Klein rightly points out that almost everyone who takes the Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST), which you can find at sexhelp.com (click the “Am I a sex addict?” link), qualifies as a sex addict.

 

Comments (65) RSS

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1
Alert, we've got a turd in the punch bowl.

South Park commented brilliantly on how sex addiction is bull crap:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_Heal…
Posted by Keenan C on January 7, 2013 at 11:29 AM · Report this
2
This is a surprise to people?
Posted by GermanSausage on January 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM · Report this
WFM 3
What about porn addiction? (Serious question)
Posted by WFM on January 7, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 4
What about cuddling addiction?
Posted by Will in Seattle http://www.facebook.com/WillSeattle on January 7, 2013 at 11:41 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 5
If everyone is a sex addict, why am I not getting laid more?
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 7, 2013 at 11:54 AM · Report this
Rotten666 6
According to the test I don't have a problem.

Now I'm gonna rub one out.
Posted by Rotten666 on January 7, 2013 at 11:59 AM · Report this
Backyard Bombardier 7
@5: Maybe they just aren't addicted to sex with you.
Posted by Backyard Bombardier on January 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Asparagus! 8
Erototoxins!
Posted by Asparagus! on January 7, 2013 at 12:10 PM · Report this
Indighost 9
@3, that's a special term for people like @5.
Posted by Indighost on January 7, 2013 at 12:12 PM · Report this
Pick1 10
*Ahem*

How dare you belittle a serious disease like this! HOW DARE YOU!?

What about in the past when professionals were saying HOMOSEXUALITY didn't exist! How hypocritical of you!

You're a bigot, Dan! BIGOT!


***

This concludes sexually oppressed white male troll theater.
Posted by Pick1 on January 7, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
11
Addiction is a compulsion to do something that has more costs to you than benefits to you. Most people do not engage in sex acts that aren't more beneficial than they are harmful.

What I don't understand is how he claims to not see any cases of sex addiction, and then describes sex addiction - people engaging in acts that are hurting them, because they cannot make themselves give up the smaller advantages that are, in fact, things they should be obtaining in healthful ways. You could write an identical piece claiming there are no people addicted to alcohol, just people who refuse to acknowledge that drinking is a choice and that they keep doing it because they like the way it makes them feel.

As a therapist, he should be helping those people who are engaging in sex acts that hurt them to find a healthy way to express their sexuality and finding a better way to feel powerful, youthful, energetic or whatever misguided thing they are getting from sex that can come from actually having self-esteem.
Posted by uncreative on January 7, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 12
@7, INCONCEIVABLE!

@9, I can accept that.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 7, 2013 at 12:27 PM · Report this
wingedkat 13
More than anything else, that test seems designed to identify people who are ashamed or otherwise unhappy about their sex lives.
Posted by wingedkat on January 7, 2013 at 12:39 PM · Report this
14
This is a bogus test. The following indicators were present in my results:

Preoccupation: obsessive thinking about sexual behavior, opportunities, and fantasies
Loss of control: inability to stop behavior despite commitments to self and others and despite problems caused by behavior
Relationship disturbance: sexual behavior has created significant relationship problems
Affect disturbance: significant depression, despair, or anxiety over sexual behavior

I am happily married, all sexual experiences have been with my husband, and I'm guilty of thinking about fucking my husband constantly. That's the only "problem" I seem to have (that and renting porn with my husband regularly, which is not ok apparently) -- for those reasons, according to the test I'm an addict. The test results indicate I should feel guilty about that.

Screw those people! If being sexually obsessed with your spouse is wrong, I don't want to be right!
Posted by soldia on January 7, 2013 at 12:44 PM · Report this
Pick1 15
@11 No, he is explaining that the people using the term are using it as a crutch. He wants to address the problem, (if they have one) but they do not. They hide behind their "addiction" and make it harder for them to make the right choices.
Posted by Pick1 on January 7, 2013 at 12:45 PM · Report this
16
And thank you Mr. Klein for the dig at "fans of the Twelve Steps." I am definitely not a fan.

Sure, the various "Programs" that use the 12 steps have helped quite a few people. But they certainly don't work for everyone. The higher power stuff, in my opinion, should prevent Judges from requiring AA and the like as one of the conditional requirements for a person on probation or parole.

Forcing a person to accept God as a condition of being released from incarceration should be barred as an unconstitutional infringement of freedom of religion. And the 12-Step apologists who whine "but you can make the Program itself, or the Group, your Higher Power!" are circular-reasoning bullshitters, in my humble opinion.
Posted by Functional Atheist on January 7, 2013 at 12:47 PM · Report this
17
Well, I scored a 5. I am not an addict. But a 6 is considered an addict. So, almost.

What got me was the questions about renting/watching porn in general and *online dating* was an indicator that you may be an addict? What sort of bullshit is that?
Posted by Greycat on January 7, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
18
@14:
I had the same results, probably due to my consumption of erotic books and for using the internet. Oh, and sometimes I daydream about sex.
How that is supposed to have caused problems in my relationships, I cannot fathom.
Posted by migrationist on January 7, 2013 at 1:03 PM · Report this
Knat 19
@16: Are there other equally well known and (I'm assuming) effective programs that a judge could recommend instead? I'm all for the separation of church and state (ardently so), but if it's a judge's determination that someone needs to be put on a path to end their alcoholism, are there any other good options, other than expensive Betty Ford-style clinics?

(Please be quick in replying; even the bailiff is starting to wonder why I've been in chambers so long.)
Posted by Knat on January 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
20
Pathologizing normal human behavior is just good business. The current DSM has just added grief (still grieving after the arbitrarily set acceptable period, I've got some great pills for you) and temper tantrums (does your kid throw down a rage freak-out more than three times a week? It's not your lack of parenting skills and here's meds that will solve the problem).

If all you got is a hammer, every problem is a nail.
Posted by Westside forever on January 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
21
Buying romance novels is a sign of sex addiction?

Seriously?

I guess all those women petting the kitty to 50 Shades are sex addicts now, because lord knows, a person can't just have a sex drive or something.

Oh, and BDSM is another sign. And dating multiple people. And if other people have a problem with your sex life. By that measure, I guess every queer person who has disapproving family members is on the road to sex addiction.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on January 7, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
22
Let me just finish up the title of the post since no-one else has:

THE BANISTER'S A SEX ADDICT!

Sorry I had to shout but that is how that line (which I paraphrased) is performed.

You're welcome.
Posted by SifuMark on January 7, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
yelahneb 23
I'm really more of a fangirl than an addict, per se.
Posted by yelahneb http://www.strangebutharmless.com on January 7, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
24
Well, I scored an 8.
I wish I'd kept a list of the questions, because so many of them were so broad as to be really meaningless. For example, one was to the effect of "Has anyone ever been hurt by your sexual behavior?" Well, yeah. I'm happily married now, but I dated a lot before meeting my husband. Not all of those relationships ended well. It's kind of par for the course. Another was "Have you ever used the internet to meet people for romantic or sexual purposes." Sure. So has anyone who has ever subscribed to Match.com or (in my case) Gay.com. In fact, that's how I met my husband. I wouldn't call that behavior problematic, but the survey apparently does.
Posted by Clayton on January 7, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
25
That "test" is the funniest fucking thing I've done all week. What a sex-negative, judgemental, anxiety-ridden, patriarchal list of questions. It scored me a "9" and proceeded with:

"You've taken the test and it confirmed your fears. You're probably frightened, confused, and overwhelmed. Where do you go? Whom can you trust?"

I guess I'll have to go deal with my feelings by hanging out naked with one of the people I trust and have sex with? Sounds like my Monday night is just *ruined*.
Posted by Juris on January 7, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 26
I took the survey, and it told me I feel bad about sex. I had no idea. Thank you, internet, for telling me how I feel about the things I happily engage in.

Oh, and it says my personal relationships have suffered for my addiction. Sorry, everybody.

And, by the way, using the internet for sexual purposes is apparently a sign of sexual addiction. The survey took real issue with that.
Posted by MacCrocodile http://maccrocodile.com/ on January 7, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
27
Just confirmed my sex addiction.
16 y/o virgin ftw.
Posted by that_bi_gal on January 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this
28
Sex addiction = slut shaming brought to its natural conclusion.

David Duchovny is an example of this nonsense. He is handsome, rich, sexy and non-monogamous. He went into "sex rehab" to save his marriage. The fact is the guy likes putting it about.

There are certainly people who live dangerously because of their sexual desires. Unprotected high risk sex, women (and men) meeting strangers for sex including bondage etc.

Posted by JJinAus on January 7, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
29
Ah! I love it when sensible professionals call bullshit on stupid pop psych. Gives me hope for humanity and all that.

In all fairness, though, I can see why this concept took root (I mean aside from giving people an I-can't-help-myself excuse to do whatever they wanted and feel like victims at the same time). If people can be addicts or almost-addicts with respect to food (see Overeaters Anonymous), then why not another physical need? This falls into my "That was a good question" category.

Now that I read the whole article, though... "Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex; wanting to cut down and unsuccessfully attempting to limit sexual activity. Continually engaging in the sexual behavior despite negative consequences, such as broken relationships or potential health risks. Feeling irritable when unable to engage in the desired behavior." Yeah, these actually seem pretty sound. Even if the word "addiction" doesn't apply, wanting to cut down on sex or shopping or anything and being unable to is certainly undesirable.

Overall, though, this article kicks patoot.
Posted by DRF on January 7, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 30
Are there clinics where I can go to get a safe clean fix?
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
NotSean 31
Sigh. I only have sexy diction.
Posted by NotSean on January 7, 2013 at 3:05 PM · Report this
32
One of the questions on the test seems ripe to generate alot of false positives:

"Do you hide some of your sexual behaviors from others?"

I mean, I'm not sure, but is there anyone in the history of western society who would not answer "yes" to this question? Unless there are people who rubbed one out in front of Grandma at Thanksgiving Dinner.
Posted by Marooner on January 7, 2013 at 3:33 PM · Report this
venomlash 33
@22: Relax, Magenta.
Posted by venomlash on January 7, 2013 at 3:38 PM · Report this
mtnlion 34
I'm going to go ahead and play the Devil's Advocate here. I'm not sure if "addiction" is the right word for it, but an out of control, compulsive occupation with it is obviously possible. And I believe some people destroy their lives chasing the feeling sex brings to them, and I think they need help to control impulses that can harm them. What is the exact difference between that and what you would all call a "real" addiction? And what is the difference between this language:

"I see people wanting to change, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel alive or young or loved or adequate; wanting the advantages of changing, but not wanting to give up what makes them feel they’re better or sexier or naughtier than other people. Most importantly, I see people wanting to stop doing what makes them feel powerful, attractive, or loved, but since they don’t want to stop feeling powerful, attractive or loved, they can’t seem to stop the repetitive sex clumsily designed to create those feelings."

... and substituting the sexual behavior this clinician is talking about with drinking or using drugs? It's not like junkies don't want to change. Maybe their quizzes and criteria are bunk as shit, but I wouldn't write the whole concept off.

Furthermore, some people, usually due to abuse, seek out sex constantly to feed their self-esteems; to fill a void; to feel worthy and complete. These are similar to reasons some people seek out drugs. It's unhealthy and some people really need help with this. You know how some people can drink moderately and be fine and others simply cannot stop? It's similar.
Posted by mtnlion on January 7, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
35
And Venomlash wins the time warp for ten internet points.

I'm calm.
GOD I'm calm.
Posted by SifuMark on January 7, 2013 at 4:06 PM · Report this
36
This test pretty much guarantees false positives. Based on the questions, I'd say anyone who scores under a 6 is probably lying about something.
Posted by Thexalon on January 7, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
37
Have I ever hidden a sexual behavior from someone? My grandmother is a very traditional woman; I've chosen to let her believe that I didn't have sex before I was married. I don't know that that makes me a sex addict.
And apparently my answers are consistent with men who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior, women who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior, and homosexual men who struggle with compulsive sexual behavior. I'm not sure if the first "men" had an implied heterosexual there or if homosexual men just aren't men or what. Would that mean I'd be okay if I were a lesbian?
And @16, I get where you're coming from, but a higher power really doesn't have to be God or any variation thereof. Mine is singing. And what would you propose as an alternative? Unless you want judges to force people to pay for rehab, there aren't all that many options.
Posted by doodle4395 on January 7, 2013 at 7:24 PM · Report this
38
Awesome! I took the SAST and it said that I - a healthy, monogamous married woman whose only sexual partner has been my husband - am a sex addict! Granted, some of the questions were asked poorly: "Have you had sexual contact with a minor?" Yes, technically, although I was in high school at the time . . . and it assumes you count getting my boobs groped as "sexual contact" . . .
Posted by Slartibartfast on January 7, 2013 at 7:36 PM · Report this
39
@37 see the link for non-treatment based alternatives to 12 step programs. There are a variety of secular/rational approaches.

http://www.addictionrecoveryguide.org/re…

Judges could allow those as options for folks turned off by the quasi religious nature of 12 step models.
Posted by gnossos on January 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM · Report this
40
Crap. I'm a sex addict. Where do I turn myself in?
Posted by fubar on January 7, 2013 at 8:42 PM · Report this
Wandergeist 41
"Being preoccupied with or persistently craving sex" -- isn't that every teenage boy, ever?

Well, I scored a 2, which apparently put me in the center of "non-clinical." Of course, I also have not had sex since 2003, so I'd wager that makes me more of a deviant (broadly speaking) than anyone else here.
Posted by Wandergeist on January 7, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 42
What a site of hustlers and charlatans, and their little 'test' is designed to get you running to a therapist- YOU'RE AN ADDICT!!! Aaaauuuuggghh!!!
Like any other website designed to sell a product, they're hustling 'therapy' to cure an addiction that doesn't exist.
This reminds me of the Repressed Memories fad in counseling/psychotherapy during the late 80's to early '90's. Many a parent's life was ruined because of false (ie: counselor induced) memories of any number of horrible things.
Oh- and food addictions of any kind.
Posted by OutInBumF on January 7, 2013 at 10:18 PM · Report this
43
I'm a 22-year-old virgin (yeah, I know, feel free to make fun of me) and while I didn't score as a sex addict, I scored way too close to the threshold to think that test is anything but bullshit.

I mean, so many of those could apply to ANYONE. "Do you use sex or romantic fantasies to escape your problems?" Um, who DOESN'T?
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on January 7, 2013 at 10:40 PM · Report this
44
@34: Well, anything can be addictive to someone. But I think the point is whether the thing is inherently addictive - or at least has a higher potential than normal for addiction - or whether the real problem is that the person has a predilection for compulsive behavior that is more likely explained by other factors, and removal of one compulsion would just lead to another one.

I mean, I spend way too much time checking my smartphone, but that doesn't mean "smartphone addiction" is a thing.
Posted by Whoop Di Doo on January 7, 2013 at 10:46 PM · Report this
45
Allow me to clarify - this test is crap. This test does not measure sex addiction. That does not mean that sex addiction does not exist. For example, it's not uncommon with certain problems, such as borderline personality disorder, for people to engage in sexual acts that are essentially a form of self-harming. They will deliberately have unprotected sex regularly with strangers ~because it is dangerous~. That is a mental health issue.

You can be addicted to anything. But the measure of addiction is compulsively doing something where the negatives outweigh the positives. And saying one is using the term "addiction" as a crutch doesn't really make sense, unless you can explain how it is any different from other recognized forms of addiction. Unless you want to limit addiction purely to physical addiction, but you can be an alcoholic without being physically addicted to alcohol.

I think the problem is that too many people are using the term "sex addiction" too loosely. But that doesn't mean there aren't people who are truly addicted to sex. But remember, if your sex life is positive, then you are not addicted to it. It's not a matter of how much you do it, but whether or not it is harming your life. But if your sexual habits are making you miserable or seriously endangering your life, then yes, you do have a problem. And that problem may or may not be best described through the model of addiction.

However, I don't like the 12 steps model personally. It works for some people, and that is great, but it wouldn't be my first choice for anyone.
Posted by uncreative on January 7, 2013 at 10:54 PM · Report this
46
@13 I completely agree. I'm a sex addict because I don't get laid enough. I've been with my partner for about 5 years now and we haven't had actual intercourse since May. (Our sex drives are very different. I blame it on the age difference.) So, of course, I think about it all the time and It causes issues in our relationship, etc.
Posted by sugarcaine on January 8, 2013 at 1:18 AM · Report this
47
I took the test. Egads, I'm a sex addict!!!! Of course, the test is just a marketing tool by a group of therapists who want to help you with your sex addiction. It's like asking an orthodontist if you need braces. Of course you do.
Posted by mshawn on January 8, 2013 at 3:17 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 48
Being an addict is not just wanting something all the time, it is engaging repeatedly in a pattern of compulsive action with disregard for consequences of those actions.

So of course we all want to get laid a lot, but that does not make us addicts, any more than wanting to eat a few times a day makes us addicted to food.

But the person ditching/losing his job and family life repeatedly to have sex even though the consequences destroy his life, may be a sexual compulsive, even if he does not necessarily have more sex than someone else.

Addiction is based more upon consequence and compulsion more than simple action, and of course no simple test can give you any real answers. The question is: do you engage in compulsive sexual acts despite elevating or bad consequences because of those actions, and are you unable to stop?
Posted by Theodore Gorath on January 8, 2013 at 5:50 AM · Report this
smajor82 49
And we're all food adddicts, so compulsive eating is bullshit too! I'm tired of people trivializing mental disorders. Depressed? You just need to cheer up man! Raped repeatedly as a child and now compulsively seek out inappropriate and self destructive sexual experiences? You just like sex too much! Get some self control!

Yes, there are people who just like porn, think it's wrong, and then label themselves as sex addicts. But there are also people who are constantly struggling with compulsions to have sex. Who masturbate so often that their dicks are chaffed and sore. People who, like alcoholics or drug addicts, don't want to be doing what they are doing, but don't know how to stop.

Maybe this question should be on the test: "have you ever thought about your sexual activity and contemplated suicide?" There are a lot of people who would answer yes and all the trite little comments people make trivializing their suffering does little to help.
Posted by smajor82 on January 8, 2013 at 5:59 AM · Report this
John Horstman 50
@16: It appears that not taking personal responsibility for behaviors one wishes to change (instead ceding agency to a "higher power") is worse than doing so: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10540…

As far as I can tell, 12-step programs have helped few to no people; it appears more likely that people in 12-step programs get better despite the program, not because of it. This might, in part, be why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has become so popular recently - it actually works.
Posted by John Horstman on January 8, 2013 at 9:44 AM · Report this
nocutename 51
@50: Thank you, John Horstman, for linking to a study that makes me happy to read.

I hate virtually every aspect of the 12-step model, but it has gained such popularity and been given such legitimacy that any time I try to criticize it I'm dismissed on all sides.

I recently got into an argument over whether or not compulsive sexual behavior was an addiction with a commenter on the Savage Love thread, so I don't want to jump in again, but certainly "tests" like this one (yay for me: I scored only a 9, so only a little addicted), and the resultant "treatment" they lead to, do far more harm than good for most people.

This is not to say I don't think that there are people for whom compulsive sexual behavior is a real problem, really getting them into legal trouble, costing jobs and relationships, and affecting self-image and self-esteem. To have people's true struggle diminished by this sex-negative, slut-shaming attitude, especially under the guise of mental health, is a travesty. But even in the cases for those who have lost a lot to the gratification of destructive urges, I hesitate to use the word addiction.
Posted by nocutename on January 8, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
52
@50 - I think the main help of the 12-step programs is not the program itself - it's the surrogate family it creates, and the opportunity for honesty with them, without penalty. That'd help anyone, about pretty much anything.
Posted by gnot on January 8, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
53
@34, 51: As I understand it, responsible mental health professionals diagnose and treat situations where people have a problem with compulsive sexual behavior as a type of OCD. OCD responds to medication and to cognitive therapy. There are indeed people who have sexual obsessions and compulsions, but this isn't "addiction" and mislabeling and misdiagnosing it as such not only prevents people from getting help, but also pathologizes all of us horny bastards.
Posted by BlackRose on January 8, 2013 at 4:59 PM · Report this
54
My name is Learned Hand, and I am a sex addict.

At least according to that test. I was an 8 on their scoring system which was way down the tail of their chart and seemingly under both the sex addict and non sex addict curves. Anyway, I am sure that their methodology is at least as precise as that of the Scientologists whose test this most closely resembled.
Posted by Learned Hand on January 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM · Report this
mtnlion 55
@53, Yeah, I get it, and I read the article for more clarification. I just think that we need to meet people halfway: yes, they are responsible for their actions, but as empathetic clinicians, we also must understand that it's really difficult to break habits which bring intensely pleasurable short-term rewards even if they are self-destructing. That's how you should treat all habits which harm patients. This therapist, and particularly this excerpt, places too much blame on people who really do need help. It says they're just too weak or not serious or not willing to stop. This kind of language is not helpful for very many patients.

I see how the phrase "addiction" is problematic, and how stupid the quiz is, and all that, but everyone laughing in their faces is even more problematic.
Posted by mtnlion on January 8, 2013 at 6:57 PM · Report this
56
Some of these questions, in addition to being asinine, are clearly written by idiots unfamiliar with the internet.

"Have you used the Internet to make romantic or erotic connections with people online? "

How the fuck else does one do *anything* online, if not on the internet?
Posted by JudT on January 8, 2013 at 8:37 PM · Report this
57
@55: Yeah, I agree that he makes it sound too easy. It's as if he's saying "You just like being depressed and don't want to make decisions to do anything..." Agreed that it is very difficult to break habits and you can't just snap out of it.

Change of any sort is very difficult, but it is ultimately up to the person with a harmful habit to make the decision and fight for it.
Posted by BlackRose on January 8, 2013 at 10:13 PM · Report this
Roofeo 58
@34 + @53 I think mtnlion has it.

Also, we shouldn't forget that orgasms flood our brains with a cocktail of chemicals. Becoming psychologically dependent on that chemical cocktail to feel good is not a far cry. Hell, there's even some evidence that cumming too much (for guys at least) can deplete neurotransmitters, leaving you physically exhausted the next day.
Posted by Roofeo on January 9, 2013 at 12:11 AM · Report this
59
I understand why people have problems with the 12-step model. I do, too. I find most of it to be bullshit. But I also know that it has helped me greatly. I spent my 16th birthday in drug rehab, and I've been sober for 20 years. I did cognitive behavioral therapy both before and after getting sober, and I really don't believe that would have been enough. I needed a safe place, a support structure of like-minded people and a social group that would not drink or use drugs in front of me. Sure, a lot of the rest of it was bullshit. But those things helped me.
Posted by mshawn on January 9, 2013 at 7:24 AM · Report this
60
@59 is right. If 12-step programs get results, then they're good. Most of the people who read this blog like science or affect to like science, and that's the core of it: Yes, look at whether or not something should work, but whether or not it does work trumps all calculations.

Could 12-step be better? Probably. Should we enshrine it as a sacred institution immune to change? Heck no. Should we treat it as a scientifically proven method that is absolutely right and should not be questioned? Also heck no. Does it work so much of the time that we shouldn't chuck it out the window? Heck yes.
Posted by DRF on January 9, 2013 at 8:55 AM · Report this
61
Technically, we do all have to be sex addicts. Upon orgasm, we receive an release of endorphins, which is what we actually want from sex, and the desires to cuddle or be near someone afterwards, even for men the desire to go to sleep, is also the result of chemicals. That said, perhaps clinicians are just tripping over the minutia of terms. It may be impossible to become addicted to sex like one can become addicted to alcohol, but there's no doubt your brain can program itself to get used to those endorphins, and if a person already has issues that inhibit dopamine regulation or cause deficiency, or suffers of compulsive behavior, sex can become a devastating consequence in a person's life.

My personal opinion is that therapists will continue to inch closer towards acceptance of some type of sex addiction. After all, addiction--as I stated above with endorphins--is a natural part of existence. Not only would most people find themselves to be sex addicts when taking a test, most people would find out they're alcoholics or drugs addicts (even if they are not). These tests are just a tool to help understand what is happening, and to assist in a treatment plan, but they are not the end all, final say on the subject.

What makes addiction bad is when it's destroying a person's life. Addiction can be chemical, habitual, or behavioral (enjoying the first drag off a cigarette, the joy of bringing a glass of whiskey to your lips), and within that context, compulsive sexuality does have a home. Simply dismissing it as a lack of will power is what most people who are suffering from mental illness or addiction encounter frequently. If they have such a lack of will power, why do these people have jobs? Why do they get graduate degrees from school? Why do they make their mortgage and car payments? Why do they have children whom they love? If they come to you insisting there is a problem, and it's different from every other aspect in their life, why can they not be right? Simply because you don't have the answer to fix them does not mean there is no answer, or that the all powerful will power is the fix.
More...
Posted by foodmart on January 9, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
sissoucat 62
These ones amuse me :
10. Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
18. Do you hide some of your sexual behaviors from others?
(yep, from my children, dummy)
26. Has sex (or romantic fantasies) been a way for you to escape your problems?
45. After sexually acting out, do you sometimes refrain from all sex for a significant period?

But those don't :
8. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
9. Did your parents have trouble with sexual behavior?
36. Have you been sexual with minors?

Are these people trying to explain away crimes through "sex-addiction" ?
Posted by sissoucat on January 10, 2013 at 1:12 AM · Report this
63
I, for one, trust the neurologists -- who perform experiments, who hold doctorates -- over the marriage counselors with their "licenses."

Many neurologists accept that sex addiction is correlated with the same kinds of neurological states as cocaine or meth addiction. Once you get inside the brain, the effects are very much the same, whether those effects are precipitated by drugs or by activities like sex, gambling, or binging.

Dr. Howard Shaffer at Harvard: “Although it is possible to debate whether we should include substance or process addictions [i.e. drug addictions versus sex/gambling/binging addictions] within the kingdom of addiction, technically there is little choice. Just as the use of exogenous substances precipitate impostor molecules vying for receptor sites within the brain, human activities stimulate naturally occurring neurotransmitters. The activity of these naturally occurring psychoactive substances likely will be determined as important mediators of many process addictions.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles…
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22641…

Just because it sounds vaguely sex-negative doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just because some idiot made up an online test that gives too many false positives doesn't mean it doesn't exist. (Online IQ tests tend to say that we're all geniuses; that doesn't mean there's no such thing as intelligence...)
Posted by JenniferC on January 10, 2013 at 7:45 PM · Report this
64
I scored a 17. Fuck ya! I, too, am in a sexually active monogamous marriage. Yeah, what can I say, let's get it on since we're both hanging out...WTF is this diagnostic tool? And, no, I don't feel scared or anxious. I feel horny and happy to be alive.
Posted by Annanicoleredpony on January 12, 2013 at 5:15 AM · Report this
Lola Down 65
It might not be an addiction, but it is something. Read about it: mysexlifewithlola.com
Posted by Lola Down http://mysexlifewithlola.com on May 26, 2013 at 3:44 AM · Report this

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