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Is Sex Addiction a Myth?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by The Village Idiot, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. The Village Idiot

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    Inspired by this story. You could certainly use the Tiger Woods saga as well.

    But I see these guys and I think 'they're basically doing what most guys would do given the chance.'

    So I started wondering, is sex addiction a myth? We all like sex, well, except for my wife. What would lead you to believe you had a problem? And if you do have a problem, is it no more than poor impulse control? I seriously am asking, because this is one 'addiction' that I don't quite get.

    Focus: What do you think sex addiction is? When does it become more than the typical problem (i.e. cheating on your significant other, etc.). I'm really interested to see what the ladies have to say about this, but male viewpoints are certainly welcome.
     
  2. Drake

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    There are only two things in this life you can't have enough of... money and sex.

    Saying you are addicted to either is like saying you are addicted to air...

    The "Tiger Woods saga" wouldn't be a story if Tiger had only followed his father's advice and not gotten married. A single guy getting some on the side is a non-issue. Hell, he'd have been viewed as a hero by every married man in America.
     
  3. skyello

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    Sure, and then one day you find yourself fucking some disgusting 45 year old Denny's waitress, getting syphilis, and still heading back to the same Denny's a week later. . all while crying your eyes out and whimpering "where did you go, Mommy? Where did you go?!?" into your pillow every night.

    Not that that's, um, every happened to me.


    edit: And an unquenchable thirst for money? Probably not the healthiest thing either, Mr. Burns.
     
  4. ghettoastronaut

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    I think it's a reasonable assumption that sex addiction is a real phenomenon. It's listed in the DSM, and I really don't have the expertise to question the whole field of psychiatry. I understand that sex is the most fundamental drive evolution has given us, but addiction strays into territory far beyond having a high sex drive. By the same standard, food: eating is a very fundamental drive to keep us alive, but overeating strays into territory beyond obesity.

    I sincerely doubt that's what Tiger Woods has, though. See: "Sex Addiction is a Feminist Victory" And by "see", I mean, "read this if you want to be irritated by someone who thinks that another man's personal life is a victory for her ideology" <a class="postlink" href="http://www.slate.com/id/2243481/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.slate.com/id/2243481/</a>

    I think he's just cashing in on the blanket of "addiction". It's a combination of sublimating personal responsibility for his actions, getting some good PR, and escaping explaining the constant question of why he did it. If we knew more about his personal life, which I don't want to know, we might be able to tell if he actually is a real addict. Other than having a lot of sex and apparently never being monogamous, we've seen no evidence of real addiction.
     
  5. Primer

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    I'm not a doctor or have an medical experience but in theory there should be a sex addiction. Having sex releases a fuck ton of chemicals, endorphins and whatnot which all make you feel good. You incredible (almost high) when you have sex, therefore you want more of it and it's not surprising that some people become addicted to it. It's not much different than many drugs, all of which make you experience that incredible rush.

    I would be willing to be that a good 90% of people who claim they have a sex addiction do not. They're weak willed and cannot keep their dick in their pants/legs closed and then use the sex addiction excuse as a scapegoat.
     
  6. ghettoastronaut

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    Well on a general level, addiction stimulates reward pathways in the brain, i.e. the dopaminergic reward pathway. Whatever stimulates that powerfully enough can be addictive. Not the most scientific source, but I remember reading a National Geographic article about this while searching for some naked native women. If something stimulates your dopaminergic reward pathway and makes you happy, well, you're going to do it. A specific example given was neat freaks - they get a certain reward when they see things all neat and orderly. On the other hand, treatments for addiction have tried to block this pathway - I'm thinking of a particular drug to treat alcoholism whose name escapes me - with only marginal benefit. It's complicated shit.
     
  7. Indiana

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    I don't think he's substantially more "weak-willed" than any other man (or woman). He's a good looking billionaire. Probably has pussy thrown at him 24/7. He married one of the best looking ones he could find thinking that it would give him a sense of stability when he wasn't ready to settle down. His story (the cheating side, not the golf-Jedi side) isn't uncommon; it's just shock value because he was the golden boy who could do no wrong... that did wrong. Honestly, I just feel bad for the kids. It sucks going through any kind of messy divorce let alone one with constant press to forever remind you of your Dad's philandering roots.
    Hell, if you had the kind of ass falling all over you that he does though- you'd probably be addicted too.
     
  8. Fracas

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    Compared to older generations of wealthy golfers, I think Tiger is a victim of cellphones and 24-hour media scrutiny, nothing more.

    If you fuck around with people way below your standards and it jeopardizes your health or other aspects of your life, I'd say you have a bad habit. I wouldn't compare it to heroin. I'd compare it to a "runner's high": more a feature than a bug, as long as you're not leading a double life, degrading yourself, or jogging barefoot across used syringes. If you just love to fuck per se, it's not that hard to keep it in balance.
     
  9. Pinkcup

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    I hate that I'm admitting this, but I've been to an S.A. meeting or two before.

    Those people are sad, sad souls and I have no doubt that they're addicted to some aspect of sex. For some of them (interestingly enough, it was the men that voiced this) it was about their craving for intimacy. They couldn't feel "close" to anyone without fucking them, and once the high wore off they felt lonely again and had to fuck in order to feel "close" again. Some others mentioned an incredibly high sex drive--in fact, two the of people there were chastised for fucking each other when they are supposed to remain celibate. They were all crying, they were all miserable, but they all couldn't stop having sex.

    These people, like all addicts, had lives that were absolutely DESTROYED because of their addiction. No family, few friends, and the constant fucking left many of them with diseases and horrible life experiences. It went way beyond "Well, I could tap that ass so I did" and into "I have to tap that ass or I'll slit my wrists later tonight."
     
  10. Supertramp

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    I can add to this more later but I can safely admit that I used to jerk off a lot more than I should. I would jerk off whenever I got bored (which was often). It's numbing sensation and the movie Choke described it pretty much perfectly.

    Then again, I'm probably an alter boy compared to some of you depraved fucks.
     
  11. Primer

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    So, you used to jerk off more than you should have? By chance were you, fifteen or so? Holy fucking revelation, man.
     
  12. Supertramp

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    Hey, it constitutes as sex addiction in my book. Specifically porn addiction I guess. I believe it exists, which is the focus of this thread, and it pretty much sucks because it takes away from the joy of an orgasm.
     
  13. Primer

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    Out of curiosity, did you let it control your life? Did your day consist of jerking off, going to grab a snack and saying to yourself, as you walked past a mirror gazing at yourself, "I gotta get me a piece of that"?

    Unless you're jerking off until your cock is a smoldering pile of raw sausage and you do nothing but masturbate, pretend to live life, beat the bishop, think about the next time you're going to choke the chicken and let the masturbation cycle control your life, I doubt it's an addiction.

    Fuck man, I can jerk off three times a day if I had the time to do it. Am I addicted to fucking myself?
     
  14. Dcc001

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    It would be cool if one of the doctors on this thread could weigh in on the specific definition of this. I think people tend to interchange the terms "being overly horny", "sexual addiction" and "sexual dysfunction" and speak about all of them as if they were all the same.

    Being overly horny: you're an average teenager. Or twenty-something. Or you're male. Or female. Done some stupid stuff? Fucked more than you should? Fucked someone you shouldn't? That's life, and it happens.

    Sexual dysfunction: for lack of a better analogy, I think of "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew" when I think of this. The people in that show claimed to be addicts; I don't think so. I think they were all so wounded by past abuse (heavy sexual abuse from a preteen age by one or both parents, for example), that they became adults with no boundaries or sense of sexual right and wrong. They consequently use their sexuality to perpetuate the abuse or because they simply were never taught any better. Someone with a traumatic past who currently lets their sexual habits rule their lives, I would argue, is 'sexually dysfunctional.'

    Sexual addiction: here is where I'm unsure. Can you just be addicted to sex, without a history of abuse? I don't know. Probably a very, very small group of people can. As Primer said, it releases endorphins and hormones and so consequently could be addictive, but I think the greater majority of people who have something abnormal with their sexuality fall into the first two categories.
     
  15. ghettoastronaut

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    When all else fails, Wikipedia. Some working definitions of sex addiction:

    Interestingly, and contrary to my last post, sex addiction is not in the DSM, and there's quite a debate among professionals as to whether it exists or not, its etiology, relation to other disorders, and so forth.

    Now, this I don't get. On what basis do you assume that sex addiction is primarily a result of childhood abuse? So far as I can tell you're the first person in this thread to mention it and the fount of all human knowledge, wikipedia, doesn't mention anything about professionals holding that opinion. You're going to have to explain that further.
     
  16. Dcc001

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    You're doing what I was complaining about: you're using the terms 'sexual dysfunction' and 'sexual addiction' interchangeably.

    I am arguing that someone who suffered a trauma in their life - molestation as a child, rape, etc. - who subsequently develops abnormal sexual behaviour is suffering from sexual dysfunction, rather than sexual addiction. Their boundaries were badly violated and their behaviour is reflecting that.

    When I think of the term 'sexual addiction,' I think it should for the most part exclude those who are acting out on past abuse, and focus only on those who have truly addictive behaviour: seeking 'the high' to the exclusion of all else, being powerless to control their sexual encounters, allowing sex to ruin their lives and their relationships.

    I'm trying to equate it to drug addiction. Does every heroin addict have a history of drug use at an early (i.e. preteen) age? No. Some people are using their drug addiction to numb the pain of past abuse, but others are plain old addicts. I think the same distinction should be drawn with sex.

    And you know better than to use wikipedia as an academic source.
     
  17. ghettoastronaut

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    Ah, so you've drawn your own line the sand and created your own distinctions between addictive behaviour because of childhood abuse and just plain old addictive behaviour. When you say something like this:

    It sounds as though you're saying that the vast majority of addictive behaviour is due to past issues and the minority of cases are not, rather than reclassifying addictive behaviour because of past issues as sexual dysfunction. But you instead describe sexual dysfunction as not knowing what healthy limits of sexuality, don't know right and wrong, confuse sex for intimacy, and so forth. So there's an impasse: we're talking about the same set of behaviour; you thought I was talking about people with an unhealthy sexuality as addicts, and I thought you were talking about people with addictive behaviour as a result of childhood abuse. I think you just manufactured the disagreement, and most people in the thread seem to be agreeing that sexual addiction proper goes beyond a high sex drive or a manifestation of issues.

    As for Wikipedia as an academic source, if this were a term paper and not the internet, you'd have a point.
     
  18. Dcc001

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    Ugh. We are at a kind of impass, yes. Let me clarify my position and try not to bog down this thread by splitting hairs.

    An example: Imaging a 20-year-old girl. Imagine that she was raped by her step father, nightly, between the ages of 8-13. The abuse stopped when her mother divorced him. Now imagine that this girl started sleeping with all the boys in Junior High. By the time high school came around, her sexual partner count was in double digits. By the time she went to college, she was "that girl." The one who would fuck the entire lacrosse team at once. She has sex constantly, and with anyone, with no regards for her own safety, not in the hopes of establishing an intimate relationship and to the exclusion of all common sense.

    From the outside, she looks like a sex addict. Certainly her behaviour is that of an addict. When you have knowledge of her past, though, what she's doing takes on a different colour. She is perhaps reliving her abuse over and over. She has learned that men only value her for her sexuality. She has no personal boundaries whatsoever.

    I would argue that a situation like this is separate from what others might term a "sex addict," because of her past. Did I invent the argument? I hope not. I hope that others on this thread can make a distinction between someone doing something that they like and letting it get out of hand versus someone who is too damaged to know any better. A sex addict should be treated with the same measures as any other addict would: detox, perhaps meds, and behaviour modification therapy. A person who is the victim of sexual trauma and has gone on to fuck everything that moves is perhaps best suited to a different treatment.

    And given that this is just a random message board on the internet, this is only my opinion and holds no value whatsoever. The thread is asking "Is Sex Addiction A Myth?" My answer is, "No, but I don't think the term is applied correctly most of the time."
     
  19. ghettoastronaut

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    I think you invented the argument in the sense that you're about the only person who thinks you're arguing about it. I think most people in the thread are in agreement that there is a serious distinction to be made between someone who is a sex addict proper and someone who is simply promiscuous and has an unhealthy sexuality. Otherwise I'd be in the camp of this link I posted from before ( <a class="postlink" href="http://www.slate.com/id/2243481/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.slate.com/id/2243481/</a> ), that is, someone revelling in the fact that a serial cheater is now being medicalized and carted off to rehab, rather than facing no consequences and getting away with the cheating.
     
  20. scootah

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    Look, if we're going to talk about DSM-IV differential diagnosis - let's start off by saying that 'Sex Addiction' is not a phrase that occcurs in the DSM-IV.

    Impulse disorder not otherwise specified or Sexual disorder not otherwise specified, characterized by Hypersexuality (which is a symptom, not a diagnosis) would be the usual characterization of a 'sex addict' if we were doing a differential diagnosis with the DSM-IV in one hand and a patient's case notes in the other.

    If we look at hypersexuality, it can be caused by a variety of drugs, a number of neurological conditions or brain injuries and is prominently displayed in Bipolar patients during manic phases.

    If we say that by sex addict, we're not talking about a politically correct, modernized form of nymphomania - then we're talking about either an impulse disorder or a sexual disorder.

    Honestly, I'm having a hard time thinking of someone who any of us could describe as being a sex addict who wouldn't fit into one of those two baskets.

    Now if we talk about Addiction for a moment -

    Now assuming that we re-define 'drug' in the above to somehow include the neuro chemical changes caused by having sex or some kind of neurological chemical release caused by physical intimacy - then there's clearly a potential for someone to become addicted to sex. But treatment for Sex Addiction, Compulsive Gambling and Cocaine abuse will all fall into the same general category of treatments. A path of removing physical dependancies, adjusting social strategies and reinforcing personal controls for the affected patient.

    I think the argument before this has been talking about the difference between a kid who goes out and shoots heroin knowing it's addictive and a a woman who's kidnapped and forcibly addicted to smack so she can be used as a prostitute. While we know that there's a pretty dramatic difference between the two smack head junkies above. Their still both smack head junkies. There's a difference between a sex addict who got that way through a history of abuse, and a sex addict who took a head injury and developed hypersexuality and compulsive disorders, and somebody who likes to fuck so much that they have a chemical dependance on the endorphin release found in sex or physical intimacy. But the differential diagnosis doesn't change all that much and the treatment doesn't change all that much. The words the psychologist users to help a patient reconcile their actions with their self respect change - but the treatment is still not dramatically different.