More like a-DICK-tion. Get it?!

3 Oct

Two contradictory pieces on the subject of porn and sex addiction emerged recently, both of which — naturally — virtually ignore the role of gender in the rise of the various social and cultural phenomena people have chosen to lump under the rubric of “sex addiction,” as well as the variety of and wide variations between the behaviors that fall under that ill-conceived label. The first, a salacious Newsweek cover story that warns of a growing epidemic of “sex addiction” brought about by the internet’s facilitation of porn use and casual meet-ups, spawned the second, a Salon piece critical of the concept of sex addiction in which Tracy Clark-Flory interviews Liberal Dude author David Ley, whose new book The Myth of Sex Addiction is due out soon. A cursory reference in the Newsweek article to “greater stigma” for women who engage in risky sexual behavior notwithstanding, neither piece even skirts the obvious questions anyone who isn’t personally invested in the perpetuation of patriarchy should ask (I know there are at least seven people who aren’t personally invested in the perpetuation of patriarchy).

While both articles mention the fact that behaviors as different as compulsive porn use, emotionally and physically risky sexual behavior, and the serial pursuit of unhealthy romantic attachments — to which has been applied the unfortunate label “love addiction” — have been grouped under the umbrella term “sex addiction,” neither pays much attention to why that might be so, and neither has anything to say about the ways in which that ham-fisted grouping shapes the “treatment” that this motley assortment of “sex addicts” receives.

Given that gender is a foundational social organizing principle and that assumptions about gender color nearly every interaction a human being engages in, ignoring the role of gender (as well, of course, as class and race) in discussions of sex addiction (and pretty much anything else) places huge barricades in the way of understanding what the hell is even going on, much less what to do about it. Addiction – whether it be to bourbon, benzos, or getting busy in a Burger King bathroom – means very different things for men and for women. Gender roles come with prepackaged social expectations, and the processes by which women and men become addicted to various substances or behaviors and by which they come to consider themselves addicts differ, as do the gendered social consequences that attach to addictive behavior.

Let’s assume for a second that sex addiction — as defined as compulsively engaging in in-person sexual encounters — exists (which I will get to later). If we want to treat it, shouldn’t we at least try to determine its real causes? Those who believe in the existence of sex addiction identify an insatiable need for validation in the form of sexual attention as its root for both women and men, but socially inculcated gendered behavior results in that need manifesting in very different ways, with different consequences for both the addict and her or his partners. Women, when seeking affirmation or attention, tend to self-objectify and to seek out interactions with the kinds of men who value sexual availability over all other characteristics. You know, opportunistic assholes. It’s not difficult for a woman to find a dude willing to use her for sex, nor is it rare for a woman to run across a date rapist or a man who can’t wait to take out his misogyny on her body. Being a female sex addict in the era of porn saturation is thus physically and psychologically dangerous business for the addict herself. From the Newsweek article:

For Valerie, sex was a form of self-medication: to obliterate the anxiety, despair, and crippling fear of emotional intimacy that had haunted her since being abandoned as a child. “In order to soothe the loneliness and the fear of being unwanted, I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” she recalls.

Women — despite the fact that their stories often lead pieces about sex addiction (how odd) — rarely show up at therapists’ offices or Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings claiming to be sex addicts. The Newsweek piece attempts to explain away the paucity of female sex addicts:

If discussion of sex addiction can seem like an exclusive domain of men, that’s because, according to sex therapists, the overwhelming majority of self-identifying addicts—about 90 percent—are male. Women are more often categorized as “love addicts,” with a compulsive tendency to fall into dependent relationships and form unrealistic bonds with partners. That’s partly because women are more apt than men to be stigmatized by association with sex addiction, says Anna Valenti-Anderson, a sex-addiction therapist in Phoenix. “We live in a society where there’s still a lot more internalized shame for women and there’s a lot more for them to lose,” Valenti-Anderson says. “People will say, ‘She’s a bad mom’ for doing these sexual things. As opposed to, ‘She’s sick and has a disorder.’ But very slowly, women are starting to be more willing to come into treatment.”

Despite the plain differences between male and female “sex addicts,” the therapy community insists on equating the kind of behavior Valerie describes with male sex addicts’ exploitative sexual behaviors:

“The addiction will take you to a place where you’re walking the streets at night, so keyed up, thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll just see if there’s anybody out there,’” he says. “Like looking for prey, kind of…”

Addiction leads male sex addicts, it would appear, to obsessively seek female sex addicts. When they fail to materialize, most turn to prostitutes or to porn. While one could make the argument that renting women comes with the risks of sexually transmitted infections (though it’s usually male customers who insist on sex without condoms), there is a clear and gendered imbalance in the consequences for sex addiction. While male sex addicts might lose a romantic partner or two over their philandering, they don’t face the same level of social opprobrium women do for engaging similar behavior, nor do their risky sexual behaviors come with the threat of rape or murder as women’s do. In addition to avoiding the bulk of the consequences that their female counterparts confront, male sex addicts can be a detriment to many others beyond the romantic partners that they serially cheat on, because they often help create the demand in the porn and prostitution industries that allows for their continued existence and continued exploitation of women and children.

But let’s be serious. Is every character flaw going to become a disease that one can only escape from via rehab? If men are wandering around, glassy-eyed and thoughtless, in search of women they can joylessly fuck, is the problem really that these men are addicts, or is it simply that they’ve bought into the idea that life should be like Entourage and thus lost the plot? If there are women frantically seeking attention from soulless, predatory men who don’t value them for anything other than their breasts and orifices, are they diseased, or are they just manifesting the central lesson our warped social and cultural system has to teach women and girls: that they are valuable only to the extent that men find them sexually useful?

Note that every single person interviewed in the Newsweek article has a stake in the addiction recovery industry. The Salon interview — though it is guilty of get-with-it-ism as it presents porn addiction and sexual dishonesty as unproblematic save for their effect on the flowery sensibilities of puritanical weenies — at least takes note of the fact that those in the therapy industry have a personal financial stake in the mainstream acceptance of the addiction model.

I have an idea. Farting in public is rude and often costs people the respect of others, but there are people out there who just can’t help themselves and get a dopamine rush out of doing it. I’m setting up an in-patient farting-in-public recovery center in LA, complete with massage, fitness center, yoga classes, and personal nutritionists for each of our clients who will help them create meal plans that will minimize flatulence and hence help our patients avoid a key trigger for addictive behavior. We’ll take major insurance plans, of course.

That may seem absurd, but it looks like it’s where we’re headed. A pattern is emerging in late capitalism: leaders of a given industry will seek ways to create physical and emotional dependencies on their products among the public in order to ensure their own continued profits, those dependencies will eventually threaten the consumer’s emotional or physical wellbeing, and then a new branch of the therapeutic industry will materialize to make a profit off of helping consumers shake off their dependencies, thus replacing a dependency on the products of the sex, alcohol, drug, or processed food industries with a dependency on the recovery industry. As long as somebody’s making money, everything’s cool.

And the recovery scene is addictive. Where else but a twelve-step meeting can one narcissistically recount booze/sex/drug party stories in front of an audience that swoons over the most depraved details? And where else can one find a community of people who will repeatedly excuse any failure to abstain from damaging behavior as a disease that simply cannot be helped? Not only do twelve-step programs and therapists offer a convenient way out of trouble for those whose behavior has resulted in negative consequences, but they also provide excuses for continued poor behavior with the language of “illness” and “powerlessness.” That’s right: the addiction model tells us that the guy who jacks off to bestiality porn all day long and/or cheats on his wife with prostitutes a few times a week is powerless to control his own behavior. He’s sick, he needs help, he knows not what he does. The poor guy. What can his wife do to help him recover?

Sex is not heroin. Sex is not alcohol. The sex addiction model being put forth by the recovery industry is:

valley-girl science”… They will tell you, and [the Newsweek] article is a good example of it, that sex addiction is like an eating disorder, it’s like a heroin addiction. The reality is this is an incredibly weak form of argument, because it’s so subjective; and when they tell you that sex addiction is like an eating disorder, they don’t tell you all the things that are different about it. They live by anecdotes, because they don’t have good science.

Lumping porn use and compulsive promiscuity under one umbrella term doesn’t do us any analytical favors. Jacking off to porn all day long is not the same thing as compulsively engaging in casual sexual encounters, and they need to be approached as distinct phenomena. Further, treating sex addiction as if it were similar to alcoholism, etc. creates the assumption that the entirety of the problem is chemical or biological rather than behavioral. Yes, studies show that porn use can cause structural changes in the brain and can warp sexual responses to the point that the prospect of in-person sex with a real female human being fails to turn porn addicts on.  But no adult man (the topic of porn’s effects on children’s developing sexuality will have to wait until another day) wakes up one day unable to get a boner without porn out of the blue. It’s a process that occurs over time, and it’s a process that anyone with enough internet access to jack off thirty times a day has to be aware of, since it’s the hottest news story since the PS4 dropped. Even teenage boys are aware of that potentiality.

Sexual compulsions, even if they have progressed to such a point, are at base behavioral problems that can be corrected if there is any impetus to do so, even if correcting them isn’t a mega-fun fuckfest and requires that men exercise some self-control and empathy for the sake of others. Men possess free will. Let’s not get carried away with all this “addiction” business and turn them into hapless victims, thereby granting them impunity from the social consequences of their choices. Remember, they’re listening; Ariel Castro just attempted to use sex and porn addiction as an excuse for rape, kidnapping, and murder.

Does this guy sound like someone who deserves pity?

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The conflation of sex addiction with problems such as alcoholism reaches the realm of comic absurdity when it comes to treatment. AA has a marginal success rate. When it does succeed, it isn’t because the members “work the steps” and fervently adhere to Bill W.’s gospel, it’s because the AA scene (depending on the city in which one attends meetings) offers mid-range alcoholics the one tool that can help them avoid drinking: people to hang out with who don’t drink. Beyond that, it’s nebulous, fruity, quasi-religious self-help folderol that probably puts more people off than it helps. Since most twelve-step meetings for sex addicts call themselves Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous in the hopes of serving both men and women, they undercut the only useful aspect of AA/NA by creating a community that makes it even more difficult for people to abstain from whatever behavior brought them to the meetings in the first place. A room full of male “sex addicts” and female “love addicts” talking about sex is a recipe for unadulterated (hehe) failure, am I right?

David Ley argues in the Salon piece that part of the problem with the addiction model is that it leads people to measure sexual behavior against that of an idealized (and probably non-existent) monogamous, married, heterosexual couple. Anything that does not fit within those parameters is deemed pathological and “treatment” is recommended. That’s only part of the problem. Ley assumes an atomized individual subject without social relationships or responsibilities, and completely elides any discussion of the role of popular culture, male supremacy, or the sex industry in fomenting destructive behavior. The solution to the “sex addiction epidemic” is not to normalize sexual exploitation and sexual dishonesty in the name of smashing prudery, it’s to recognize what actually motivates compulsive sexual behavior and the anxiety that results from it. We have to decide what’s pathological based not on whether it offends Pat Robertson, but on whether it hurts anyone, and we have to deal with pathology by seeking its root. The solution to empty, hyperactive, and exploitative sexuality is political consciousness, not “treatment” or the fuck-first-don’t-ask-questions-later plan. Unfortunately, “treatment” enables men to continue to exercise their right to use and abuse women, while political consciousness comes with social, political, and emotional costs for them.

49 Responses to “More like a-DICK-tion. Get it?!”

  1. Tammy Salyer October 3, 2013 at 9:52 PM #

    Thanks for yet another insightful mouthful of a post! Gave me a lot to think about, especially with regard to AA and whether or not it’s as awesome as many say it is. I suppose if one has a chemical imbalance that makes it difficult for them not to drink, and AA helps them avoid it, then it’s awesome. But I’ve never really thought about it in the context of its innate veracity. And now I’ll be thinking about it not only in that context, but also in terms of the addiction culture that brings things like AA into mainstream consumerist consciousness. Great mental fodder!

    • Yisheng Qingwa October 4, 2013 at 12:28 AM #

      Men are utter shit–how much more proof do people (and especially women) need? Following the invisible men on Tumblr has only confirmed what I already know to be the truth about men. They are a plague.

      • Missfit October 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM #

        The invisible men Tumblr is just horrible. I wonder if any pro-pornstitution empowerment sex-pozzer has ever address it…

        • SMERF (Sarcastic Meerkat Exclusionary Rad Fem) October 5, 2013 at 12:32 AM #

          It’s highly doubtful. I’ve noticed a myopic trend in sex pozzitivity to hold up the tiny minority of sex workers, uncoincidentally enjoying a relative degree of privilege, who genuinely enjoy their work and are never, ever mistreated by employers or clients as exemplars of the sex industry. Sex work is a magical wonderland of immaculate, fashionably decorated brothels run by kindly madams, STDs are miraculously rare, and the clientele are always respectful gentlemen grateful for whatever services the highly paid, not-at-all-drug-addicted sex workers feel comfortable providing. Oh, and sex workers are always educated, worldly, empowerful women who could walk away from their chosen profession at any given moment but elect to remain sex workers because it’s such a lucrative and personally rewarding line of work.

          You’ll never get them to believe differently. They’re like xtian fundamentalists in that regard. Bombard them with evidence that directly contradicts their sex work utopia and they lose their shit. I think the nicest response I’ve ever gotten was that I’m a “moralistic”, “dogmatic” SWERF* who just wants to boss other women around.

          *Sex Work Exclusionary Radical Feminist. And, get this, you can fully support legalization of prostitution and still be considered a SWERF If you’re an evil harpy who dares say anything critical of the sex industry, because the very act of criticizing the sex industry creates a negative perception of said industry, which could hypothetically lead to men acting like decent human beings, which would consequently deprive sex workers of their right to do sexy things for profit…and indirectly depriving women of their Maude-given right to earn a living any damn way they choose is anti-feminist. I wish I was making this shit up. The logic employed by the new breed of sex pozzies is downright terrifying. Maybe you already knew this, but consider yourself warned if you didn’t.

          • permlatord October 5, 2013 at 4:27 AM #

            You’re preaching to the converted and you’re right on the money. Thanks for standing up!! Maybe you could helps Miley Cyrus grow a brain (good luck with that).

          • LA Baby October 11, 2013 at 10:01 PM #

            I reposted the invisible men tumblr on a private feminist page & frequent & a sex-positive feminist who regularly goes ape shit over “anti-sex-worker propaganda” did not approve…

            • LA Baby October 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM #

              Sorry, I meant I frequent, not & frequent. :P

      • catherineanned44 October 19, 2013 at 6:47 AM #

        Not sure I want to know what that is. But it is unfair to say “all” men. Even I can stick up for “some” men. They aren’t ALL bad. Some men get it. Thank God.

        • catherineanned44 October 19, 2013 at 6:56 AM #

          I do know about tumblr sorry…read article but didn’t realize that was what it was called. Sorry. Yeah. Gross. But those men are shit. Not all.

        • Yisheng Qingwa October 30, 2013 at 7:47 PM #

          “NOT ALLL MEN ARE LIKE THAT!” Spoken like a good handmaiden to be sure… what a cliched attempt to derail and downplay the FACT that men, as a class, are UTTER VIOLENT RAPING, WOMAN-HATING SHIT. Butbutbut not all men are like that! Yeah. Sure.

          • catherineanned44 November 5, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

            I have three sons. And I would like to believe they won’t rape women. Look, I hate most days myself. I get it. But this generalization is just as bad as women being generalized as all whores. Have you read my blog at all? I’m on your side. I’m not the enemy. I can’t read yours because it’s private. Just know, I’m just as jaded as you, but with sons I’m trying to raise into human beings who respect women. And so far, despite the shit world we live in, they are turning out okay.

            • Sugarpuss November 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM #

              I have three sons.

              How unsurprising.

              But this generalization is just as bad as women being generalized as all whores.

              What is your definition of a “whore”, and why are you using that offensive language on a Feminist blog? The fact that it’s even a part of your vocabulary, and you would use it in that particular context, is pretty fucking disgusting. No woman is a whore, thank you very much.

              And so far, despite the shit world we live in, they are turning out okay.

              Ah yes, the mother who thinks her son(s) are “different”. Be certain you aren’t just saying that precisely because they are yours. I’m sure they do a lot of crap you aren’t even aware of. You can’t watch them 24/7.

              • catherineanned44 November 6, 2013 at 10:06 PM #

                Jesus Christ. What the fuck? Ever think women pitted against women like I’ve experienced here might be a huge part of the problem? I never fucking said my kids are perfect. I’m a realist too. But Jesus Christ, sorry I tried to engage. Congrats badass. You da alpha. What the fuck ever.

                • Sugarpuss November 7, 2013 at 9:33 AM #

                  Ever think women pitted against women like I’ve experienced here might be a huge part of the problem?

                  Ah, it’s the Handmaiden classic “women are their own worst enemies”.

                  Yeah, I’m the problem. Not the men raping women, not the men killing women, not the men throwing battery acid in women’s faces, not the men who degrade women in porn, not the men who perv on underage girls, not the pimps, not the men who beat their wives & girlfriends, not the men who take child brides, not the men who harass women in the street, not the men who buy prostitutes, and not the men who say they are the “good guys” but don’t lift a fucking finger to stop the “bad guys”.

                  No, it’s ME…and Yisheng Qingwa. We’re the real problem.

                  • Sugarpuss November 7, 2013 at 9:44 AM #

                    PS I’m also the problem because I don’t condone the use of woman-hating language.

                    *eyes rolling back so far into my head that I can see the ceiling*

                    • Sugarpuss November 7, 2013 at 10:00 AM #

                      From a post reblogged by this idiot: http://catherineanned44.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/feminism-isnt-about-women/

                      Several conservative personas have depicted feminists in a demeaning manner. The “femi-nazi” is all the rage in those circles. The idea that all feminists are bra-burning, man-hating, anti-child radicals with the intention of destroying ‘traditional values’ and our way of life. Well let me tell you, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

                      Actually, Feminism IS about women. Just like GLAD is about gays & lesbians & NAACP is about black people.

                      I guess I am a “feminazi” because I don’t wear a bra, don’t shave, don’t have kids and don’t spread my legs to men (any more).

                      Honestly, I’m getting too fucking sick to even finish this post.

                    • Sugarpuss November 7, 2013 at 10:08 AM #

                      And if that weren’t bad enough, the fact that you follow BroadBlogs says it all.

                  • suzanne March 1, 2014 at 12:14 AM #

                    I have only one boy child. I’ve tried to rear him right. but the misogyny is still there and it kills me. I run acrossed it over and over, again and again. I don’t know if I have failed to fight it or he gathers it from those he know on the street, But if we as mothers can’t teach it, what can we expect of the rest of the world?. I’m sorry I tried so hard to set an example, teach a new way, and educate my only one on respect, but it kills me I have not succeeded or pushed forward our situation as far as I can tell. Please, if someone has seen some momentum, let me know! I have lived almost 40 years and it kills me and angers me that I still have to face this in every aspect of my life. I am so angry and feel so helpless to dedicate my energy and power to changing a mindset that is so engrained. in our everyday minutae. I am tired of fighting this fight.

                    • Sugarpuss March 3, 2014 at 1:02 PM #

                      There’s not much you can do, hun. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s not you, it’s him. The Lib-Fem belief that biological males can be coached or changed is nothin’ but a pipe dream.

        • Yisheng Qingwa October 30, 2013 at 7:50 PM #

          Nope. They don’t “get it” and they never will. They are men. They have NO, and I mean ZERO vested interest in “getting it”. They, men, ALL MEN, benefit from women’s oppression, abuse, disenfranchisement and murder EVERY DAY. Keep deluding yourself, though… try telling a man you no longer want to have PIV with them, EVER. And watch them turn on you. Want to see the true nature of a man? Tell him “no”. (hat tip: Bev Jo)

      • Sugarpuss October 29, 2013 at 11:55 AM #

        Men are utter shit–how much more proof do people (and especially women) need?

        Yes, this. I’ve always known men were fucked up, but once internet access was obtained, I found that the situation was far more dire than I could have ever imagined. Men are genuinely evil to the core (and “evil” is not a word I use lightly). The worse part is how they seem to be completely blind to their own filth. I found a forum where these “punters” discuss the prostituted women they use as sperm receptacles. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw one of these creeps complaining about how those women “only care care about money” and “have no feelings”! Un-fucking-believable! Welcome to the sick, twisted, self-serving male mind!

  2. Melanie Hamilton October 4, 2013 at 12:47 AM #

    Being the adult child of a cross addicted jackass of a father (Nembutal washed down with booze), I’m not all that impressed with 12-step programs and I, for the most part, reject the idea that addictions are diseases. Chronic conditions I’ll grant you, but I bristle at the disease concept where an addiction, or a so-called addiction, is concerned. Choices are made at some point. Most people feel that my approach to “addictive” behavior is too harsh. Is it? I agree with the statement that lumping porn addiction, sex addiction, “love” addiction and serial promiscuity under one treatment umbrella is a huge mistake. Rehab seems to treat only the symptoms of the problems, not the roots of them. When are people going to be held responsible for their habits, choices, behaviors and bullshit? I admit that I have a tremendously jaundiced view of substance abuse, or “addictive” behavior of any kind. What I’ve found to be true about the majority of these slackers is that they’re utterly self-centered and will do whatever it takes to get attention, create drama, and/or “steal the show”. There’s not enough excitement, attention, acceptance, approval or affection in the world for these people. They’re metaphorical black holes for such things.

    Another problem I have with 12-step programs and the “disease” concept is that both are huge enablers for those who find themselves immersed in addictions of any kind. Not only that, they don’t even allow the addict to take credit for his/her sobriety or recovery. It’s all credited to some nebulous higher power and, as stated in this well presented piece, it renders them practically powerless to control their destructive behaviors. It’s all set up as though “slips” are to be expected. What hog slop! What these folks need learn is how to make better decisions and choices.

    I could go on and on and on about the toxicity of porn and compulsive sexual activity, but I’ll spare everyone. These reduce women to three orifices and not much else. The turn sexual activity into grunting, demeaning, mindless rutting. I’ve got news for men who absorb pornography: I’ve NEVER known a woman who thinks it’s a turn on for a man to ejaculate in her face. It’s degrading and it’s meant to be degrading.

    I’m getting off topic here and I’m getting angry. I need to stop. This is a really well stated work. Thanks for your wisdom and perspective.

    One caveat: The younger an addict is, the more likely I am to cut him/her some slack.

    • catherineanned44 October 19, 2013 at 6:44 AM #

      That is the problem. Your last statement says it all. Young people are “choosing” to view out of curiosity, forming visions and future expectations. When I was very young, I saw a movie I shouldn’t ever have seen. Because my parents were out and I found that I could get HBO if I put the channel just right. My parents would never have it in the house. But the demons in cable made it so I could. It was a violent rape scene. I was so young I didn’t even realize women had hair “down there”. Yeah I know now I’m showing my age as god forbid women have pubic hair today. It was “A Clockwork Orange.” I chose to rebel and watch, as tears streamed down my face. I changed the channel shortly after, and that day not only was my innocence gone, I realized I couldn’t trust men. It changed me forever. And now kids can click a mouse and see women gang raped and fucking a horse. It is devastating to me. Saying men and women are addicted to porn is a double standard and sexist (love vs sex addiction?) Oh brother. But it is the children I worry about. The future. They deserve better than this.

  3. Terre Spencer October 4, 2013 at 2:54 AM #

    A political consciousness? Oh, noes! That would take mental effort and reading and stuff. Can’t have THAT!
    Got a simpler answer in there? One that has, yanno, better PR and marketing and stuff?

  4. Juxta October 4, 2013 at 8:36 AM #

    The solution to empty, hyperactive, and exploitative sexuality is political consciousness, not “treatment” or the fuck-first-don’t-ask-questions-later plan. Unfortunately, “treatment” enables men to continue to exercise their right to use and abuse women, while political consciousness comes with social, political, and emotional costs for them.

    ^ THAT!

  5. Redpeachmoon October 4, 2013 at 10:20 AM #

    Excellent piece. Thank you. I am an AA defector ( who chooses not to drink and takes responsibility for that) who shares your well articulated opinion.

  6. Hecuba October 4, 2013 at 11:31 AM #

    Now male sexual predators will claim ‘I’m addicted to phallocentric sex so therefore I’m not responsible for choosing and enacting my agency in raping women and/or girls!

    Is it not illogical that men claim they are the rational sex and yet it is males who are supposedly addicted to ‘phallocentric sex!’ Another male created excuse justifying pandemic pseudo male sex right to female bodies.

  7. SMERF (Sarcastic Meerkat Exclusionary Rad Fem) October 5, 2013 at 1:31 AM #

    David Ley sounds like, pardon the obviousness, a sex addict. Isn’t it just like an addict to state a case for normalizing maladaptive compulsive behaviors? Argue that the “crazy people” are the ones who want to take away their fun? They’re the masters of convoluted rationalization.

    I’m willing to entertain the notion that a person can get addicted to sex (shopping and gambling addictions are Real Things, after all), but only if personal responsibility is made the cornerstone of the recovery process. There’s a reason why AA has a meager 5-10% success rate. I’ve always directed self-professed addicts to SMART, which is a secular recovery organization utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy techniques. Makes a lot more sense to me and seems to work for those committed to recovery. No patriarchy-smashing in SMART, but self-awareness *is* a necessary component for successful recovery, no matter the program, so perhaps coming to grips with narcissistic tendencies sometimes serves as a humble beginning in the development of a social conscience. To look at it from an optimistic perspective.

    • permlatord October 5, 2013 at 4:33 AM #

      Again, you’re right on the money. Pedophiles pull the same crap using the lame argument that homosexuality used to be a crime and that eventually pedophilia will and should gain acceptance. It makes me want to SCREAM!! Of course, such idiots also claim that homosexuality is a life style choice. What a load of hog slop!! I’m pretty sure that I despise David Ley.

    • Anonymous October 11, 2013 at 7:32 AM #

      So, I’m sort of curious what differentiates blaming addictive behavior on a lack of personal responsibility and the standard arguments against the poor that are based on people being poor due to a lack of personal responsibility. The idea that people have infallible free will and are totally in control of what they do seems a bit misguided imo.

      • Nine Deuce October 11, 2013 at 8:57 PM #

        You really can’t think of anything?

        • Anomymous October 12, 2013 at 9:19 AM #

          I guess not… What I’m seeing looks a lot like cult of personal responsibility stuff and I’m trying to figure out where my mistake is in understanding this. If someone is in a destructive behavioral spiral, sure there’s an element of poor decision making present. However, It seems that writing off the entirety of the problem as being attributable to personal responsibility ignores just how hard it can be for folks to pull out of a destructive spiral of any sort.

          • Nine Deuce October 12, 2013 at 1:19 PM #

            Addiction (at least to some things) is real, but entitled men are using language and concepts that should be reserved for people suffering from addiction to excuse their unwillingness to relinquish privilege.

  8. franticpain October 5, 2013 at 11:22 AM #

    Great post, right on point. Shockingly (HA!) men use all those 12 programs as a way to prey on vulnerable women and than blame it on their ‘addiction’. As someone that was involved in NA and AA as a teenager (16-19), I can attest to the mindfuck the older dudes pull on the younger (mostly female) members to get them to sleep with them. Any time they get called out on it, it’s all ‘well he’s an ADDICT’. I remember one of the older woman members publicly called out the dudes in a meeting saying ‘they are using their penises as weapons against the younger, more vulnerable members’ and she got PHYSICALLY thrown out of the meeting. At the time I didn’t get what she was saying, but I get it now, man, I totally get it now. But the dudes are untouchable, because, addiction, amirite?

    • permlatord October 5, 2013 at 3:31 PM #

      Yes, darlin’, you ARE right! Really interesting comment! I like the way you thnk.

      • Franticpain October 5, 2013 at 11:12 PM #

        Thinking about this now 10+ years on I wonder if the general public knows how this works? In urban areas, like where I live, they have ‘clubhouses’ that are open all day and have a variety of meetings (NA, AA, SA, etc…) starting at about 9:00 am and going until about 3:00am. They younger people almost solely go to these meetings as opposed to church based meetings that are mostly older members. The dudes literally hang out all day at these places and offer up their homes to hang out in after hours as a sober place to go. This is prettttty much how it goes. And if you mention any abuse you are fucking with some dudes ‘recovery’. Cause that’s all that matters. You are are so afraid of being a ‘stumbling block’ you keep your mouth shut. It’s so set up to provide dudes with young chicks it’s disturbing.

    • jeannettesmyth October 8, 2013 at 11:56 PM #

      two words. women’s meetings.

  9. S October 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM #

    wow what that site reveals is true and repulsive. someone needs to save those women from…

  10. jeannettesmyth October 8, 2013 at 11:50 PM #

    i think this is terrific stuff, but i think you err in your characteristically feisty description of AA. i’m no big rhetorician like you, but the number one reason AA fails is not because of AA, it’s because most alcoholics die drunk.
    secondly, if you think of AA’s brand of fruity self-help as basically, cutting to the chase, ancient systems of buddhist thought-switching known these days as cognitive therapy, it might seem less hocus pocus to you. thought-switching works for that peculiar borderland where the porn/benzo/bourbon/cortisol has rotted your brain, such that your activities/behavior are in fact neurochemically driven.
    i’d go to an SLA meeting if i were you. nothing that is going on there between the love addicts and the sex addicts talking about how they’re avoiding sex is anything like the orgy you’re thinking of. these are people who know sex has nothing to do with it, and have lost everything (money, family, job) to whatever it is, let us say neurochemically entrenched behavior, that they are abstaining from. srsly, you should go. don’t take notes, they’ll cut you.

    • jeannettesmyth October 8, 2013 at 11:51 PM #

      rhetoritician.

    • jeannettesmyth October 9, 2013 at 12:04 AM #

      and, if i may say so, if david ley spent one second at an SLA meeting he’d learn very quickly het monogamy is not the model anyone there is using for anything. as i say, it’s more like “i’ve lost everything and i’m going to die if i don’t stop”. the lack of attention to real people in this whole discussion disturbs me.

  11. LA Baby October 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM #

    Sex-positive “feminists” got really angry over that invisible men tumblr…

    • Justin October 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM #

      This is one of the reasons why women are superior to men. Women have better control over their sex drive. Men don’t even compare.

      My concern is that if equality is preached, people will think that men and women are perfectly equal. This is why I get confused when feminism associates with ideologies that preach that both genders are equal. In the business world, I’ve seen women do a better job than the males. Sure, it’s just my personal observation, but it seemed quite obvious to me. Corporate/Business is not purely best handled by men; men just tell the world that to justify keeping women out of corporate America -that is because of the fragile male ego.

      I have seen plenty of male pigs managing companies, and they think men are the stars of capitalism. They don’t realize how many times a woman has saved their company from a disaster that the male manager didn’t see coming.

      How do we reconcile the literalist-equality-idea with the notion that (seems obvious to me) that women are truly the better gender?

      Men and women must NOT have an equal role in managing the world, men suck at it. I don’t see how men compare to women: men are more violent, less caring, will go into debt to look at porn, have less control over their sex drives, are poorer listeners, have less emotional empathy, and are more of a discipline problem in school etc.

      It’s perfectly ok to say women are superior because the facts clearly indicate that they are.

      So how do I reconcile the equality movement of the left with my beliefs about gender? Any thoughts are welcome.

      • Sugarpuss October 29, 2013 at 1:05 PM #

        This is one of the reasons why women are superior to men. Women have better control over their sex drive. Men don’t even compare.

        Men are perfectly capable of controlling themselves when they want to. But that’s the problem; they don’t want to. Also, the desire for sex isn’t the problem; it’s how men go about getting it that is absolutely disgusting & immoral. Men, as a class, have too much power. So much that they can just walk down the street and buy another human being’s body, yet still manage to feel sorry for themselves because they are expected to pay for services rendered. LOL That’s entitlement for you.

        Just to clarify, I do believe you men are deeply flawed at the biological level, but that’s not a valid excuse to fuck women’s lives up.

        • Justin November 3, 2013 at 4:45 PM #

          > “Just to clarify, I do believe you men are deeply flawed at the biological level, but that’s not a valid excuse to fuck women’s lives up.”

          Sugarpuss, I completely agree. Men need to take responsibility for their actions and not make excuses. Men can control themselves, but it’s a choice how to behave.

          When the “boys will be boys” mantra fills our schools and our culture, we teach boys early on that they have a “free pass” for misbehavior. It creates a slippery slope that leads some men to behave violently in later life.

          I am optimistic about my gender. I think if we teach boys and men to be respectful and get rid of the “boys will be boys” excuse system, things can get better.

          • Sugarpuss November 4, 2013 at 12:02 PM #

            You cannot teach to an unwilling student. Men don’t care, and they will NEVER change unless they are forced to change. A king never just gives up his crown; he must be conquered & defeated.

            Hi, I’m Sugarpuss…and I live in the real world.

            • Sugarpuss November 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM #

              PS Holy Birkenstocks, Batman! Hippie logic is highly flawed.

  12. Sugarpuss October 30, 2013 at 9:55 PM #

    [...] feeling a little sexual tingle around your daughter is completely normal[...]

    http://www.mrdad.com/faq/a-single-dads-guide-to-his-daughters-puberty-2/

    This is why men should NEVER be granted full custody of their daughters. This genuinely made me want to throw up. I can’t believe this piece of shit is normalizing something so disgusting and abnormal. This is why I hate men. Pure trash to the core.

  13. mapaxn January 21, 2014 at 6:04 PM #

    “Addiction” is flagrant misnomer and is a complete disregard for the well being of female people; and mostly because we as a society are too collectively squeamish to hold men responsible for their behavior.

    Oh, so it’s *addiction* now, hmm? Were they saying that when Republicans were telling women to put an aspirin between their knees? Nope. The likelihood of that is greater than elephants learning to fly.

    I see the same mind set toward sex addiction occurs when in reactions to men who have a problem with overeating. “Men have bigger appetites.” “As a man, he needs the extra calories.” “His mom didn’t cook well enough for him.” “Men are supposed to be bigger.” or “He’s just a big guy.” “He’s filling a void, can’t you see he deserves your sympathy?”

    See how it works? Not for women. We are considered inherently defective and inferior – unworthy of existence if we fall out of lockstep with what society thinks we should do with ourselves. And they say we’re post-feminist? Sure, whatever.

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