Category Archives: Sex In The News

Sex Addiction, or Too Much of a Good Thing?

This last post of 2010 will start with a declaration. One of my famous “Thus Sayeth Dr. Dick” sorta things, if you please.

Ready?

I categorically reject the concept of sexual addiction that has been floating around in the popular culture for the last 20 years or so.

And yes, I know this will rankle a bunch of you, but you’ll just have to get over it. You see, there is no such thing as a sexual addiction. Period!

Nowadays people bandy about the term addiction as if it can be applied to any and all obsessive behaviors. I have an addiction to chocolate; I’m addicted to shopping; I’m addicted to video games; I’m addicted to porn—or, I’m a sex addict. NONSENSE!

That being said, I hasten to add that I do believe there are sexual obsessions and compulsive sexual behaviors, plenty of ’em in fact. However, obsessions and compulsions are not addictions, and addictions, while they may involve irresistible impulses, are not the same thing as compulsions. Get it? Got it? Good!

I want to be absolutely clear about this. An addiction is a very specific condition. It denotes a dual dependency, physical as well as a psychological.

  • A physical dependency occurs when a substance is habitually used to a point where the body becomes reliant on its effects. The substance must be used constantly, because if it is withheld, it will trigger symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Psychological dependency occurs when the substance habitually used creates an emotional reliance on its effects. There is no functioning without it. Its absence produces intense cravings, which if not fed will trigger symptoms of withdrawal.

Check it out. With the help of my handy-dandy dictionary, a good place to start in discussions of this sort, I discovered these three very distinct definitions:

Addiction: The need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal. Broadly: persistent use of a substance known by the user to be harmful. A state of physiological and psychological dependence on a drug.

Compulsive: Driven by an irresistible inner force to do something; i.e., a compulsive liar.

Obsession: A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling.

See? Different words. Different meanings. Not a particularly complex notion to grasp, right?

And listen, just because a bunch of yahoo afternoon talks show hosts and even a load of my esteemed professional colleagues banter these words about like they were interchangeable doesn’t make it so. In fact, we do ourselves a huge disservice by muddling these very specific concepts into a jumble. My fellow therapists should be the first to recognize this because finding help for an addiction or an intervention for an obsessive/compulsive disorder will be as specific as the problem itself.

One thing is for certain: identifying one of the things, as the other will complicate the problem solving. It’s like going to the doctor with a headache, and when the doc asks where does it hurt, you point to your stomach. It just won’t do.

Hi Dr. Dick,
I recently found out my boyfriend has been cheating on me. He wants me to forgive him, but he keeps on doing the same thing over and over again. He’s like addicted to sex or something. I love him very much, but I feel dirty just by being around him and knowing what he’s doing. It also makes me feel stupid putting up with all of this and at the same time I still love him, please give me some advice. Thank You.
— Darlene

Before we turn our attention to your boyfriend’s behavior, let me make a quick observation about you. You’re a big fat ball of contradictions, huh? How can you say that you love the person that makes you feel dirty and stupid? You’re deceiving yourself about at least one of those feelings. And if I had to guess, I’d say what you’ve got with your man ain’t love—it’s an obsession.

Your boyfriend probably has you figured out by now, and he knows that you will tolerate his misbehavior, which gives him tacit permission to do whatever he feels like doing. From where I sit, you’re the real sap. If you’re really serious about reining in your wayward BF, you’d better come up with a clear, unambiguous message about what you will and will not tolerate. Until you do precisely that, he’ll just think that he can roam wherever he wants and whenever he wants.

If the two of you are supposed to be living in a sexually exclusive relationship, and he’s taking his business elsewhere, then he’s got a problem, too. However, I caution you against thinking that his sexual behaviors are an addiction. Because they’re not.  And thinking they are will not help you find the solution to the problems you folks are having.

There are root causes for his behavior, just like there are root causes for your behavior. To get to the bottom of all of this, each of you will need to invest a good deal of time and energy with a qualified therapist. One can only hope that there’s a big enough bank of goodwill between the two of you to carry the day because overcoming your obsession and his compulsions will demand all of your emotional resources.

Dear Dr. Dick,
I have been in a relationship for five years now and truly love my partner, however I can never seem to get enough sex. I am 30 and he is 29, but I constantly find myself in the chat rooms lookin’ for younger guys to have sex with. It’s more than just a hobby—it’s a habit! I’ve actually lost jobs because he’d be out of town and I’d spend almost every waking hour on the PC with a cocktail looking for sex, not caring about anything else. It’s like I’m addicted to sex. He knows I have played around (I actually have talked him into three-ways a few times), but he has no idea how extreme it’s become. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m not unhappy with him. I just can’t seem to stop wanting sex with younger guys. Any suggestions?
— Brian

It’s interesting that you should tell me about your compulsive sexual behavior in the same breath that you tell me of your love for your partner. As you’ve probably guessed already, there isn’t really much of a connection between the two. Love and sex are two very different things. Sometimes they go together, but not always or even often for that matter.

It appears to me that you’ve really got two problems happening simultaneously: First, your compulsive prowling of the internet for sex (complicated, I might add, by your alcohol consumption). Second, the deception you’re practicing on your partner. Let’s deal with each of these in turn.

Your particular sexual activity, like any compulsive behavior (overeating, excessive shopping, etc.), is more than just a bad habit. It’s a serious psychological dysfunction. Take it from me: breaking this behavior pattern will be nearly impossible without some professional help. If the problem is as serious as you say, then you’d better seek help right away. This sort of thing, if left untreated, will not only destroy your relationship, it will ruin your life. When you seek that professional help, I encourage you to include information about your alcohol consumption. If there is an addiction in all of this, it’s the alcohol, not the sex. And in your case, the addiction may be fueling the compulsion.

Now, regarding your relationship. It’s imperative that you come clean with your partner about your sexual obsessions and compulsions, as well as your probable alcohol addiction. Not only will you feel better about not lying to him anymore, you’re going to need his support in overcoming the difficult obstacles you face. I suggest that you attend to this right away. There’s not a moment to lose.

Good Luck

More SEX WISDOM With Brad Warner — Podcast #251 — 12/08/10

Hey sex fans,

Brad Warner, Zen monk, author of Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between, punk rocker and filmmaker returns this week for Part 2 of our conversation. It’s a pleasure to have him back for another dose of his unique brand of SEX WISDOM.

I suppose you’ve already listened to Part 1 of this exceptional conversation. It appeared here last week at this time, don’t cha know. Good, cuz we don’t want you to miss out. But, if by chance, you missed last week’s show, don’t worry. It and all my podcasts are in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #249 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Brad and I discuss:

  • Western spiritual traditions are shame-based;
  • The concept of sin;
  • Innately knowing right and wrong;
  • Zen, an individualistic path to enlightenment;
  • Sticking his finger in the eye of scrupulous religiosity;
  • Detachment, non-attachment and unity;
  • The Zen approach to sex;
  • Zen and porn;
  • Zen and sex toys;
  • Zen and polyamory.

For more of Brad and his marvelous and insightful writing visit him on his website HERE!

(Click on the book art below to buy Brad‘s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: Fleshlight & FleshJack.

SEX WISDOM With Brad Warner — Podcast #249 — 12/01/10


Hey sex fans,

Damn, I got some might fine stuff to share with you today. This being the SEX WISDOM series, you’ve come to expect prominent movers and shakers in the field of human sexuality as my guest.  And that’s because over the last year, we’ve chatted with researchers, educators, clinicians, pundits and philosophers; each one making news and reshaping how we look at our sexual selves.

Ya’ll probably know of my special interest in sexuality and spirituality, right? I mean for me there’s no more potent place in the human psyche than where eroticism and religion come together. So when I had the opportunity to visit with Brad Warner, Zen monk, prolific author, punk rocker and filmmaker, I jumped on it.

Brad is my kind of monk. He’s got his finger on the pulse of the popular culture; he can raise hell with the best of them; and still remain as centered as a Zen master. No small task that, my friends. We will be talking about loads of interesting stuff, including his latest book, Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between. This is not to be missed, people!

Brad and I discuss:

  • Discerning between how things really are and how we want them to be;
  • The difficulty of combining sex and spirit for us in the west;
  • Celibacy and abstinence;
  • Is there such a thing as a timeless code of ethics;
  • The Buddhist precept — Do not misuse sexuality;
  • His personal spiritual and sexual journey;
  • Zazen;
  • Sexual orientations;
  • Christians and yoga.

For more of Brad and his marvelous and insightful writing visit him on his website HERE!

(Click on the book art below to buy Brad‘s book)

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s Dr Dick’s toll free podcast voicemail HOTLINE. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question or a comment? Wanna rant or rave? Or maybe you’d just like to talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest! Give Dr Dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY!

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the podcast section, obviously, or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

drdickvod.jpg

Sex And Catholic Moral Theology

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m contributing to the Fearless Press site.


I’m writing a series of articles on Catholic Moral Theology. Look for the series HERE!

A Whole Lot Of Wonderful!

Hey sex fans,

One of the real treasures of the Pacific Northwest is the marvelous Center for Sex Positive Culture right here in the Emerald City. The Center and its parent foundation offer events like workshops and discussion groups that are open to anyone 18+. You don’t need to be a member of the Center to attend. And many events are free! Visit them on their website HERE!

So ya know how they say that good things come in threes? Well this is particularly true this month. And I am proud to bring you a little taste of what’s in store for you and me at The Center. Check out this outstanding lineup of upcoming events.

The Feminine Fountain: Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot

This coming Friday, October 22, 2010
8:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Annex
$35 (members receive $10 voucher for the WERK lounge that night)

Join female ejaculation expert and author, Deborah Sundahl, for this amazing workshop. She is a female ejaculation pioneer. Her book, Female Ejaculation and the G-spot, and her video line titled: The Female Ejaculation Sex Education Series, draw on her 22 years experience, research, and instruction on this important topic of female sexuality. Come benefit from her wisdom.

Learn about female ejaculation’s ancient history, current scientific studies, where the G-spot is located, how to have a G-spot orgasm, and how to get this wonderful feminine fountain flowing! Open to both men and women, Deborah’s Power Point lecture with pictures, movie clips and Q&A will tell you all you need to know about female ejaculation and the G-spot.

For more information on this event, click HERE!

An Intimate Evening with Author Christopher Ryan

Sunday, October 24
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Main Space
$10-25 sliding scale (no one will be turned away)

Co-author of Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan, will make a special appearance at The Center to talk about sex and nonmonogamy, and sex and hunters and gathers, and sex and penises, and sex and orgasms, and well sex, sex and more sex. Sex at Dawn is the book everyone is talking about; it’s the book that is turning sexual scholarship on its head.

I’ll be there, so look for me and say hi.

Be sure to bring your copy of Sex at Dawn for Christopher to sign. Don’t have a copy yet? Not to worry; The Center will have books for sale.

For more information on this event, click HERE!

Kinky Carnival Returns

October 29, 2010
7pm until midnight
$25 advance/$30 door/$100 Gold VIP

Ya wanna start your Halloween weekend off with a bang? I thought so! Well I have just the thing for you. The sixth annual Kinky Carnival is heading your way.

Imagine an event where you can sample a load of delightfully edgy sex stuff. The Kinky Carnival is designed for those who are new to sex-positivity and BDSM. It offers a way for you to realize your fantasies at an easy pace and in a safe space. The Carnival will feature the “Ask” booth, where attendees are invited to ask questions about the activities they see. Other booths include “Zap”, “Pierce”, “Submit”, “Sensation”, “Flog”, “Rub”, “Mmm”, and “Ground”.

If you’re a budding pervert, or you’d like to be, or know someone who is, this evening is made for you. Costumes are welcomed, but not required.

For more information on this event, click HERE! For tickets, click HERE!

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