Sex Isn’t An Addiction

sex-addictRecently, the mayor of San Diego, a popular fellow named Bob Filner, came out and publically apologized for his treatment of women, saying he has a problem with sex addiction and he needs help.  Filner’s admission has brought widespread criticism and has cost him his  engagement to “San Diego’s first lady”, Bronwyn Ingram.

Unfortunately, sex addiction isn’t an addiction, at least according to a recent study which has found that hypersexuality does not qualify as an actual addiction, at least judging by the traditional metrics medical science has applied to addiction.  Sex addiction failed to make the cut into the recently updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5, although it does appear, at least for the moment, in the European equivalent.

“Potentially, this is an important finding,” Nicole Prause, a researcher in the department of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, said. “It is the first time scientists have studied the brain responses specifically of people who identify as having hypersexual problems.”

There is a classical measure in neurobiology called the P300 response, it is an involuntary response that occurs in the brain 300 miliseconds after being exposed to an addicted stimulus.  It is not something the patient has any control over, which is why it’s so diagnostic, but this characteristic is entirely lacking in people claiming hypersexuality.  That means it’s not an addiction, it’s a choice.

I have such a problem with this because, over the past 20-30 years, it seems like medical science has made an attempt to remove personal fault and responsibility from so many socially unacceptable behaviors.  It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s a disease!  It’s a syndrome!  It’s an addiction!  Nobody is ever wrong, there’s never any reason to be ashamed of one’s behavior because nobody can be held accountable.  This is, once again, a symptom of the liberalization of America.  Nobody is ever responsible for anything they do and that’s really ruined our culture.  It falls, at least partially, under the socio-psychological problem called “diffusion of responsibility”, where people actively take less responsibility for actions or situations when others are around.  Nobody wants to be in charge if they might have to take the blame.  If you get your girlfriend pregnant, it’s not your fault, birth control failed or she lied to you, it must be her fault, not yours.  It’s really absurd.

Overall, our society has allowed personal responsibility to whither and die.  Look at American obesity as a classic example.  People want to blame food producers, TV advertisements, restaurants, etc.  They don’t want to blame themselves.  Sorry, you opened your mouth and shoved the food in, nobody made you do that.  Take some responsibility for yourself!  Yet that’s not how modern-day America works.  If you become pregnant at age 16, it’s not your fault, you didn’t receive free condoms and a sufficient state-sponsored sex education program!  If you take a gun and shoot up your high school, it’s okay, we can blame it on video games or a gun-culture or the kid that picked on you when you were 8.  Addicted to drugs?  That’s fine, society or your peers are to blame, you’ve done nothing wrong!  If you don’t learn to read, it’s not your fault, your teacher failed you or your classmates must have done something wrong!

The real problem, if you want my opinion, is that Americans have it way too easy.  Since WWII, Americans have been able to thrive on the sacrifices of the men and women who came before.  Americans have inherited greatness, they haven’t had to work for it, by and large.  People who lived through the Great Depression, the few that remain today, have a very different picture of a bad life than the modern-day American does.  Today, America is the very picture of a first-world problem, if you lose reception on your cell phone, people break down and cry.  They wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they ran into real trouble and that’s led to a lack of any kind of responsibility for their lives.  It’s all someone else’s problem, they deserve greatness because they woke up this morning, they haven’t earned it.

So now that hypersexuality is officially not an addiction, I wonder what excuse the irresponsible liberals are going to use?  They can’t just admit that people have to learn to keep their pants on and not jump into bed with everyone they come across.  No, that’s heresy!  It might mean someone has to take personal responsibility for their own actions and we just can’t have that.


4 thoughts on “Sex Isn’t An Addiction”

  1. History is overwhelmingly full of differing relationships then practiced today. It's a lot more likely the behavior is actually 'normal'. Sexual desire is physical and emotions are attached to it just like hunger. Just because this (very small) study didn't find a connection to addiction using traditional methods does not mean the sex drive is not overwhelming for some people while not for others. This study does not solve any problems, it simply suggests it's not a traditional addiction.

    1. The point is, a lot of people try to excuse their behavior by pretending it's an addiction or a disease or a condition, when it's none of those, it's just a behavior that is largely unacceptable in society. People need to stop making excuses for their behavior and just learn to control themselves.

  2. Shouldn't addiction be defined in terms of its effects on the addicted person's life instead of in terms of neural firing? The brain scans can show if there is a neurological basis for a particular addiction, but they won't rule out other possible bases for addictive behavior such as upbringing (e.g. there are more smokers who had parents who smoked than there are smokers whose parents didn't smoke), compulsive behavior, etc. And, it may be possible to have an addiction to some activity as opposed to some substance, such as sex, or video games, or telephone conversations, wherein the addicted person indulges to excess in the activity such that said overindulgence interferes with that person's ability to live a happy, self-supporting, functional life. As these activities have no chemical basis, it wouldn't be surprising to learn that they do not have much impact on ones neuro-chemistry. But the end effect for the addicted person is still one of overindulgence to the detriment of the rest of his or her daily life. <a href="” target=”_blank”>
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