Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Is Sex Addiction Real or an Excuse: My Conclusion

This was the cleanest "sexy" picture I could
find without being lewd.
Firstly, thanks to everyone who contributed to the sort of open discussion about sex addiction this Sunday. As I said, at the time I wasn’t ready to draw any conclusion as to whether or not I think it’s real, but now I think I’m close enough.

I suppose it makes sense that someone can be addicted to sex, just as someone can be addicted to gambling or eating. I can see how someone can be addicted to sex. Sex is fucking awesome. I’ve long said that it’s the most fun that two human beings can experience together. But I suppose that the problem arises when one’s sexual drive begins to negatively impact normal relationships.

Even that is a bit murky, though, because although I admit that sex addiction is probably real, I still think that some asshats use it as an excuse for poor behavior.

Take Tiger Woods and Jesse James for example. Tiger had all sorts of affairs and what not, and apparently got into some sort of car wreck over it. His excuse? Sex addiction. And then there’s Jesse James, Sandra Bullock’s former husband. He got caught cheating on her, publicly humiliated her, and then he blames it on sex addiction.

Are we really supposed to believe that?

Here’s the thing. Sex addiction is probably real and probably shatters real lives. There are men out there who have families, have been married for years, and for whatever reason cannot help but fuck every piece of tail that goes by. Then it gets so bad that he actually goes out looking for it because he can’t get enough. The appetite becomes so insatiable that it’s almost as if there’s a black hole left where his soul used to be.

The difference is, though, that he might recognize the wrongness of what he’s doing, he probably wishes that he could stop, but for whatever reason he lacks the will to stop. He can’t help but destroy his family, his career, and everything around him to feed his addiction. I don’t see this being the case with celebrities.

When you’re famous and at least mildly attractive, there’s probably at least a thousand women that would be willing to fuck you without you even knowing their names. These celebrities know that all they would have to do is ask, and they could have their pick of the litter. I like to think that I am fairly virtuous and that I would resist the temptation to be a total fucking douche bag, but I have to admit that it does sound awfully tempting.

So although Tiger might be sick because he had a family he was willing to throw away, I highly fucking doubt that Jesse James has anything wrong with him. I mean, he’s already getting married to that tattooed chick he was apparently banging while he was married to Sandra Bullock. So one moment he’s a sex addict douche, the next moment he’s willing to get married and be exclusive again?

Shit heads like Jesse James are just trying to save face. Although their sex life is not really anyone’s business but his and the people he’s fucking, it bothers me that people like him use sex addiction as a way to save face. “It’s not my fault! I have an addiction!” Bullshit. Guys like Jesse James are just like any other person who chooses not to keep it in their pants.

It’s probably not that he has an addiction or illness, it’s more likely that he just plain doesn’t give a shit about fidelity.


Harrison said...

In many cases, I think it is about power not sex. How many women can you get to do what you want? If you are rich and/or powerful this is even more true. If you were a geek growing up and now have some power (Weiner) then it's about stroking your, uh, ego.

William McCullough said...

With Weiner I would guess that not only power was involved but also a compulsion, coupled with a narcissistic arrogance that allowed him to punch the envelope as he practiced his perverse excesses.

KP said...

It is amazing how we much we learn about the human brain as times passes. We now have MRI that shows Alzheimer’s. We can see brain death due to certain proteins accumulating. We can literally see chemical imbalance that leads to mental disease and addiction.

In David Linden’s “The Compass of Pleasure” he points out that human pleasure is centered on water, food and sex.. That makes sense as those things ensure individual survival and the continuation of the species. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that makes that happen. Technology, in the form of brain scan, show that these normal pleasure circuits can be blunted in some genes of some individuals. In an individual with an attenuated dopamine circuit (meaning dopamine is low), the same set of variables that lead to “normal” people being able to register pleasure are no longer accepted or able. Imagine the discomfort. Some men and women are no longer able to enjoy life as a “normal” person does! They have to go over the line and are compulsive. Compulsion can show itself in any number of ways. It may serve an individual well that is focused on business and making money; or the athlete who shuts everything else out of his life to achieve great success. In both cases we see successful (and destructive) behavior that is in full display on Wall Street and in superstar athletes. At the same time we see in their DNA an impulse control disorder. These disorders result in behavior that most would recognize “as crazy”.

These circuits gone awry result in what we label virtues or vices. Kind of like straight vs gay, or bisexual or transgender. Why would we expect anything else? We see IQ run from 160 to 60. We see very masculine men to more feminine; same for women. We see strong and not so strong; genius musicians or mathematicians and some much less so.

Understand – when we view brain scans – the identical areas of the brain are stimulated by generosity and exercise as gambling, alcohol and marijuana. We have the proof. Uncertainty stimulates the medial forebrain and the dopamine circuit. Generosity stimulates the exact same area of the brain center that reacts when waiting for the flop card while playing blackjack. It is why some recovering alcoholics or bulimics turn to obsessive exercise or counseling.

Weiner is an example of crazy behavior in the face of all signs to stop; he had a wife, kids, career, health, money and on and on. My advice: raise dopamine on purpose where you can. It may not make you happy but it may keep you out of trouble.

KP said...

Compulsion is similar to sexual orientation. It is not a choice. As well, their is ample evidence that brain trauma at certain areas (repeated or acute) can set in motion compulsive behavior (or memory loss, or speech loss, or other personaluty changes). Ask family members of injured veterans or football players or boxers or a patients shot in the head. Lets be careful how we judge. Each of our brains are vulnerbale!

Jack Camwell said...

Very well thought out and insightful KP. That's why I couldn't completely rule out the possibility that sex addiction exists, because I know the human brain is capable of some pretty crazy stuff.

This was a case where I had to reconcile what I felt inside and what I knew to be true.

KP said...

I respect the way you keep questioning things and are willing to change. Change is a sign of strength. In my view, intractable ideology _might_ be a sign of weakness.

I have a feeling part of your ability to reason comes from your spirituallity; and part of it is born from your intelligence mixed with humility.

What we know to be true about the brain is changing so fast it is hard to keep up. The human brain has not evolved as fast as our opportinuty to f*ck ourselves up.

Jack Camwell said...

Thank you KP, for you have given me an idea for today's topic, and you've definitely given me something to contemplate.