The Persistent Myth of Sex Addiction

Here’s an interesting one from one of my female followers…

According to every online test I’ve taken, I’m a sex addict. And if you took the quizzes, you probably would be too, at least if you answered honestly to questions like “Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts?” “Do you ever feel bad about your sexual behavior?” and “Have you used the internet to make romantic or erotic connections with people online?”

Even if you answered “no” to all these questions, you’re still not off the hook. If you watch porn, you might be a sex addict; If you “often require the use of a vibrator… to enhance the sexual experience” you might be a sex addict; if you spend some of your time “ruminating about past sexual encounters,” you might be a sex addict.

By these standards, nearly all human beings are sex addicts, as a recent study found that 73 percent of women and 85 percent of men had looked at internet porn in the past six months; other studies found that about half of American men and women have used vibrators. Perhaps that is right: sex is one of our strongest drives, and according to one study, the median number of times people think about sex is 10-19 times a day. But pathologizing all of humanity for expressing normal human sexuality is ridiculous in the least and dangerous at the worst. The fact that most people would be considered sex addicts is positive for only one group of people: those employed by the multimillion-dollar sex addiction industry.

Sex addiction treatment forces people into a kind of re-education program, which tries to convince them that perfectly normal consensual sexual behavior is the sign of a serious problem. Some of them are run by Christian pastors, others by licensed professional counselors. In-patient facilities are often located in picturesque areas, like palatial Arizona desert retreats, complete with poolside ping-pong and equine therapy (how nuzzling a horse cures sex addiction is never explained). These programs tell supposed sex addicts that they can reprogram themselves through behavioral modifications to become ideal sexual citizens: monogamous, non-porn-using people who rarely masturbate or fantasize about anyone other than their main partners. Some even take it further and force people to abandon healthy activities like masturbation for 30 days.

If this sounds familiar in a bad way, it might be because some of the same centers that treat sex addiction also offer gay conversion therapy, although they no longer call it that because conversion therapy has been banned for minors in 19 states (instead they say they treat “unwanted same-sex attraction” and “homosexuality/lesbianism”). This sad fact further illuminates the ugly truth behind the sex addiction industry: it’s based on a moralistic judgment on what sexual behaviors are socially acceptable, yet it’s cloaked in a scientific sheen that gives it legitimacy. Although gay conversion therapy is much more harmful, sex addiction treatment is similar in that both are about modifying behavior even though biology and psychology are compelling a person in a different direction.

One key question that appears on nearly all sex addiction quizzes is: “Do you feel that your sexual behavior is not normal?” The problem is, most people don’t know what a “normal” sex life is, and consensual sexual behaviors that are statistically abnormal are not the sign of a disease. As psychologist David Ley has argued in his book, The Myth of Sex Addiction, the criteria for sex addiction “reflect heterosexual and monogamous social values and judgments rather than medical or scientific data.”

Sex addiction isn’t a new concept, it’s a new name for an old one; it falls into a continuum of pathologizing sexual behavior going back to the 19th century when women were labeled nymphomaniacs for behavior we would consider normal today, such as having orgasms through clitoral stimulation. In fact, 21st-century sex addiction therapists sound nearly identical to 19th-century vice reformers.

“Pornography coupled with masturbation and fantasy is often the cornerstone for sexual addiction. This is a dangerous combination …A fantasy world is created, sometimes as early as adolescence, that is visited throughout developmental stages,” says the website of a current therapy center called L.I.F.E. Recovery International. “The sexual addict may use his or her addiction in place of true spirituality — sex becomes the addict’s God,” the website declares.

Similarly, 19th-century vice reformer Anthony Comstock wrote that “Obscene publications” and “immoral articles” [sex toys] are “like a cancer” which “fastens itself upon the imagination…defiling the mind, corrupting the thoughts, leading to secret practices of most foul and revolting character.” He suggested that young adults read the Bible instead of giving into their sexual urges.

Why do we continue to further such an outdated view of sex? Sex addiction is a way to police sexual behavior and impose conventional morality through a seemingly scientific, trendy addiction model. It attempts to slot people into some mythical standard of normal sexuality, one defined by monogamy and devoid of fantasy.

The sex addiction industry persists in spite of the fact that again and again sex addiction has been debunked by experts. Sex addiction isn’t considered legitimate by psychologists; the scientific literature doesn’t back it up; and it isn’t in the DSM-5, the authoritative catalog of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. Yet therapists benefit financially from sex addiction diagnoses, moralists benefit spiritually from them, and supposed sex addicts benefit practically from them. Sex addiction provides a great excuse for people who engage in socially objectionable sexual behavior (It’s not my fault! I couldn’t help banging the sexy neighbor! I’m an addict! I’ll go to treatment!).

This coincides with the fact that most sex addicts are heterosexual men, so the diagnosis frequently becomes a way to legitimize male sexual behavior, while also sometimes labeling their female partners as enablers. Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein reportedly checked himself in to an in-patient treatment program after allegations against him were first published in late 2017, a path that many other high-profile men have taken in the wake of scandal.

The concept of sex addiction makes sex seem way more logical than it actually is. It fits into our culture’s view of controlling and constraining sex through rules, like the criminalization of sex work. Hiring a sex worker or engaging in any illegal sexual activities is a sign you’re a sex addict, according to most sex addiction screening tests. Yet, a wide range of more widely accepted sexual behavior is also illegal in the U.S., including having sex with an unmarried person of the opposite sex (a crime in Idaho, Illinois, and South Carolina) and adultery, which is a crime in over a dozen states.

But sex is messy and complicated, and hardwired and controlled by hormones, and no amount of counseling is going to stop you from having sexual urges. The sex addiction model provides a 12-step solution to the messiness of sex and the challenge of monogamy: if you follow these simple steps, the thinking goes, you too can be in control of the strongest biological urge and be free of daily horniness. If only it were that simple.


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Cringe-Inducing ‘Nice Guy’ Moments Straight From The Gutter

If we took the internet seriously, we’d all believe that women are out to get all the “nice guys” of the world. We’re happy to be smarter than that. What these guys really need to do is get a grip.


  • 1
    Text - 09 December, 10:07 PM Saw you on tinder, had to add, hope to hang out sometime in HK:) Yesterday, 3:22 AM You dont neee to answer but i saw that if you remove photoshop eyes and make up you are a 4/10, and as i am among the top 1 % i am unfollowing:) your loss wants to send you a message 150 followers 8 posts asend you messages from now Do you want to let on? They'll only know that you've seen their request if you choose Allow. Decline Allow

  • 2
    Text - 4 hours ago -11 points I'll be gentle to her also 3 points 2 hours ago now im jealous of a wolf thanks reddit Reply Share Report Save Give Award Reply Share Report Save Give Award |-6 points 1 hour ago I would lick her gace too Reply Share Report Save Give Award -21 points 9 hours ago Yes, yes she is. Oh you meant the canine. Reply Share Report Save Give Award

  • 3
    Text - Eh u come gimme a hug МЕ No Why not? МЕ |Because I don't wan to Want to Aight hoe. Go die МЕ Wait, what? Who says that? GODS do МЕ Honey, you're not a God. You're crazy. Going to block you like I should've done a long time ago.
  • 5
    Door handle - "Send nudes)" Haha my friend took my phone म

  • 6
    Text - 6/28/11 Elvir Heyy how u doing beautiful. 7/2/11 Elvir Heyy how u doing beautiful. 7/9/11 Heyy how u doing. U beautiful Elvir Elvir 7/12/11 Heyy how u doin.beautiful 9:23 PM Elvir heyyyy 9:23 PM Elvir u ugluyyy

  • 7
    Text - Idont get whyall these Women say they want a gpod, real, loyal, blah blah, guy.then continue todate douchebags, and cry when Cheyget played Like STFU, gou chose douchey mcdouche, your Fault. Heart Reply Chat

  • 8
    Text - 1 100% AT&T 17:28 Wayne Jackson Canal Winchester, Ohio, US - 1 min The biggest discrimination in Americaisagainst single, ntce gentlemen Suchas LAll we want are ladies to not be abese and providle daily intercourse. SMH HMU ladies. Me in pic Reply Heart Chat NO REPLIES, BE THE FIRST!

  • 9
    Text - J5 in Baltimore, Maryland, US Ihate that girls don't like nice quys no more. |Thate being mean &rude , but i guess that's what they want. Reply 2 Chat SWIPE UP TO VIEW 4 REPLIES

  • 10
    Facial expression - What's the best way to make friends? Tell a woman that you love her, and she says "...i think we're just friends"

  • 11
    Line art - Leave the lady be.

  • 12
    Product - Gave her a kiss, a sip of drank, 32% 1:02 PM and leaned over to see her nails.. Thread That man is in love. Replying to he probally does more for her and treats her well & someday she'll still cheat. the good dudes always get shitted on, cant tell me im 's wrong. tl12 19 121 Fernly Grass Pit @ You got that from this? i... 1d 2.2M views PTS F JIMMY 21 BUTLER 11 10 4 ASSTS STLS 313 L1.49.2K 182K GIF Show this thread Ll10 734 3 Matt @ L 1d r/niceguys

  • 13
    Text - Verizon 10:17 PM 21% Pet CHAT PROFILE Why aren't you in a relationship right now? Too picky? Self sabotaging? Too jaded? Let's talk about it. I'm just looking to hidden motives! ked your photo Wed, Dec 19, 10:16PM I'm only responding in the hopes you learn something & don't continue to embarrass yourself. Those are absurd things to ask someone. Sometimes relationships end bc people grow apart. Sometimes, it's because of unexpected life changes. Your questions clearly demonstrate

  • 14
    Text - 81% 12:31 Q Search Women constantly get sent disgusting pictures to their inbox, get called horrible things and get terrible things wished upon them just for not replying to guys or telling them to leave them alone. So, I wrote this brief parody to all the morons that won't show women respect: You're not so brilliant Your love isn't pure you think you'll win her over of that you're sure she accepted your friend request you don't care if she's with another man you'll just blow up her inbox

  • 15
    Plant - MURDER LACI PETERSON abc #Peterson 1 month ago (edited) Beautiful women like Laci wouldn't give guys like me the time of day because we don't meet their criteria, while entitled, unappreciative, superficial jerks like this fkstick murder them and the child they're carrying in the coldest blood -just like that! Way things turn out, I guess... 1 2

  • 16
    Mode of transport - When you keep the door open for a girl and she just passes right away "Not even a blow

  • 17
    Face - When you give her everything & she still cheats with fkboys: Man gets plastic surgery and name change to date his ex-girlfriend after she obtains restraining order

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Sun Stories – Career Confidential: Harrowing Tales From The Tanning Salon

Here’s a post from one of my followers that worked in the tanning industry…

I used to work at a chain tanning salon’s Maryland and New York locations. Tan Mom is so scary, she’s so gross. But some of the people I worked with were that level of tan. We would rig the booth, so they could go in multiple times when they weren’t supposed to. We also used this stuff called Tingler, which is a tanning lotion that you put all over your body. When the UV rays hit it, it tingles and it activates the melanin in your skin even more so you get really, really tan. I know girls who would put it on their face and their faces would be purple when they came out of the booth. You’re not supposed to wash it off after going under the lamps, so your skin would be burning. That was the next level tanning experience — they’d come out and look just crazy purple. I could not do that. And it is legal but it’s really dangerous. We would always advise customers of the different Tingle levels. If you do a level 5 Tingle your skin will burn, so we recommend a level 1 or 2 Tingle.

I would just put on Australian Gold tanning oil. Tan Mom? I’m sure she has Tingled — she probably does something beyond a Tingle, her skin is crispy. But that’s what this stuff would do — it would literally make you that tan.

I worked in the salons before the age restriction laws took effect but we always had a rule in place that you had to be 18 or older to tan, and if not you’d have to have a parent with you. We’d check IDs, and the high school kids, if you didn’t let them tan, would be pissed.

In Maryland moms brought their kids to the tanning beds. They’d be as young as 12 years old up in the tanning bed. I felt wrong putting the kids in the beds, but the mom would always say things like, “We gotta tan for the beach.” The moms would tan too. In Maryland tanning was such a thing — everyone wanted to be tan — so the kids were just happy they got to go to the tanning salon with mom. But I never saw anyone as young as five years old try to tan. I would never put anyone that young in a tanning booth.

In New York the place I worked had been a 24-hour tanning salon. Nobody needs a 24-hour tanning salon. Everyone was coked up all night trying to get people to tan. When they hired me, they also hired a bunch of new people and got rid of the old cracked-out people, but we still had to stay open til midnight. Nobody needs to be tanning at midnight.

A lot of people did not care about being naked. I saw so many naked booties all the time because a lot of them would leave their shoes outside and run around willy-nilly just wearing a towel.

Tan Mom Patricia Krentcil.

We caught people having sex in the booth once. It was two guys and we had to bang on the bulbs and tell them to stop. They were not even being discreet about it, either — we could see it moving and we saw two pairs of shoes outside. We kicked one of them out of that booth. They still got to tan but we didn’t let them tan together.

I worked with these flighty girls. Once a midget came in and one of my coworkers just screamed and ran to the back. That was really bad. I helped the midget, but the midget saw my coworker run and everything.

Once, this woman came in who wasn’t a regular customer. We offered deals like $30 for unlimited tanning for a month, but she wanted a one-off. She kept asking all these questions about how to use a booth (we only had standing booths) and you always explain to people how the booth works and where the exit is once you’re in there. It all looks the same once you’re inside because there are bulbs on the doors. But you can open the door once you’re tanning — people step out all the time to cool off for a minute.

But this girl was in the booth and she wanted to get out and couldn’t find the exit, even though it’s labeled “exit.” She called us over and we said, ma’am look for the exit sign, and she’s like, “I can’t find it! I cant’ find it!” So she started banging the walls of the booth — she was having a panic attack in there — and you can hear all the bulbs breaking. And they’re still on! So my coworker rushed to unplug the booth because you can’t turn it off or open it from the outside. So when he opened the door — I’m squeamish so I couldn’t look — but my coworker told me there was blood and glass everywhere. We had to call the ambulance — she cut up her arms and everything.

Also, this is really gross, but wa lot of the time our laundry machine in the basement would go out. And we want to give everyone a towel every time they tan. But a couple times when we didn’t have the washing machine, our manager would tell us just to put the dirty towels in the dryer and not wash them. I was like, we could take them to a laundromat, but they didn’t want to do that because it cost money.


Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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