Archives for sexuality

General

Sex Addiction Insights From Across the Pond: UK vs. US

Sex and porn addiction treatment are alive and well in the UK.  On a recent trip, I met and talked at length with two wonderful colleagues, one in London and one in Edinburgh.  Our two countries approach  sex addiction treatment in much the same way.  But there are differences, things we can learn from one another. Obviously this is not intended as a comprehensive survey but rather as food for thought based on my own observations and questions.  It seems to me that the differences between the approach to sex addiction in the US and the UK fall into (at least) three categories.  There are professional differences, cultural differences, political differences.
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General

Is Trump a Sex Addict?

The temptation to diagnose Donald Trump from a distance is hard to resist.  So I've been sorting through the evidence for and against #Trumpisasexaddict.  And if he's not, then what's wrong with him? I don't know where to start with Trump's sexual indicators and behaviors.  I mean, who buys a beauty pageant?  Actually he bought three of them.  It's like the bad old joke about the gay teenager's wealthy father offering to buy his son Boys Town for graduation.  But let's start with some basics.
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General

Why Isn’t Married Sex “Hot”? And Should it be?

Does married sex really need to imitate porn and sex addiction? If sex in a long-term relationship was, on average, as erotically compelling as other kinds of sexual encounters, then about half of all books, plays and movies and other forms of entertainment would never exist. And that's not even counting the various forms of X-rated cultural products. Certainly many comedians would be out of a job. You may remember Chris Rock's clever riff on this topic: "I've been married for 14 years, and in 14 years I've never had sex! I've had intercourse---sex is something you have in the back of a rented car!" So now in this age of pornified culture there are cottage industries devoted to the goal of making marital sex as erotic and irresistible as it "should" be. The trouble is that thinking sex in a committed, long-term relationship has to be erotically supercharged is utter nonsense.
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Gay-Straight

An Explosive Issue: Are Sexual Behaviors Learned?

The question is not whether our sexually addictive behavior and fantasies are learned, but rather which ones are learned, when they are learned, and which ones are carved in stone? This issue quickly can become radioactive. Talk of any changes in our patients' sexuality brings on accusations that clinicians want to alter people's sexual orientation or fit them into a particular model of sexual health. But the fact that something can be learned or unlearned is just a fact. It does not imply anything about good or bad behavior.
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General

Does “Yes” Mean “Yes”? Sexual Consent, Manipulation and Gaslighting

Revelations in recent years as to the extent of sexual assault on campuses, in the military and in other institutional settings has lead to some changes in the idea of what constitutes "consent" to a sexual act. There is increasing recognition that simply failing to say the word "no" does not automatically imply consent in the sense of actual willingness to do the act in question. Hence the new standard that only "yes" means "yes". But does it? It is clear that children and teens who are under the legal age of consent cannot legally (or meaningfully) say "yes" to a sex act. But there are any number of other situations in which agreeing to engage in a sex act may be the product of undue pressure, unequal power, mental abuse or deception.
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Gay-Straight

New Report: What’s Popular in Pornography?

Reading the statistics on what kinds of pornography people are watching is a little like the proverbial can't-look-away-from-the-car-crash. It is appalling yet fascinating at the same time. It's not recommended reading for the recovering sex addict, but I'll attempt to summarize some of the more interesting bits. Pornhub.com, which is happy to say it is the number 1 porn site in the world, published this exhaustive review of worldwide porn use for 2014.
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General

New Study on Porn and Erectile Dysfunction is a Wax Banana

I chose the metaphor of fake fruit to describe the recent article by Prause and Pfaus entitled Viewing Sexual Stimuli Associated with Greater Sexual Responsiveness, Not Erectile Dysfunction. I did this not because of any phallic symbolism with bananas but because the authors present fake conclusions. Published in the online journal Sexual Medicine (04/2015; DOI: 10.1002/sm2.58) this article appears to offer a synthesis of findings from Prause's prior attempts at porn research.  On closer inspection the article turns out to be lacking in any real substance.
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General

If You Never Go Limp

I am impressed with the fact that men, the same men who are reluctant to have any fears or vulnerabilities, are all but obsessed with one persistent insecurity: their sexual potency. Normal men seem to be just this side of having a body dysmorphic disorder about their penis size and experience performance anxiety that is crippling enough to make them take ED drugs when they don't need them. A recent NYTimes.com article (1/25/15) reported the data on men's Google searches which found that men make more Google searches about their penises than about any other body part, more than about their lungs, liver, feet , ears, nose, throat and brain combined.
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