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.

Sex addict indicators

Preoccupation with sex. 

According to an LA Times op-ed piece, Trump was once quoted as saying that the only company he enjoyed was “a total piece of ass”.   This preoccupation with sex seems to have involved a tendency to cross normal boundaries, as in the often quoted statement that if Ivanka were not his daughter he would date her.

In terms of sexual proclivities Trump seems to lean toward rape fantasies.  There is only the one often quoted and subsequently softened claim by Trump’s ex-wife Ivana that he once forced sex on her.

But there is an undercurrent of references to rape in Trump’s rhetoric, as when he accuses Bill Clinton of being a rapist and refers to undocumented immigrants as rapists.  These seem to be projections of what is on his mind more than anything grounded in reality.

More recently, Trump connected the idea of rape to global trade, saying with regard to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that special interests were “raping” our country.  He went on to repeat the phrase about the “rape” of our country two more times.

Leading a double life sexually

Trump was a womanizer who evidently had affairs with other women while still married to his first two wives.  He is pretty open about his exploits and sometimes seems to exhibit “addictive pride”.  Also he projects responsibility onto the women he has been sexually connected with. He sees women as being after him rather than seeing himself as in any way predatory.

Intimacy disability

There is an apparent difficulty in maintaining a committed relationship with one woman.  This indicates that Trump sees himself as needing more than one woman, which suggests intimacy avoidance.  This intimacy issue further showed itself in Trump’s reported dissatisfaction with his first wife Ivana’s being so heavily involved with her work.  Trump admitted to subsequently seeking relationships in which the woman had less of a work life of her own.  One way to avoid the demands of intimacy is to seek partners who are not so dynamic; women who are more submissive or objectified.

Obsession with women’s bodies and their sexuality

Donald Trump seems to have a history of being focused on women’s weight and body parts.  This is documented or at least strongly suggested in the recent articles such as the January 2016 article about Trump’s history with beauty pageants and his conflicts around the weight gain of Miss Universe.

The Barbara Res article from February 2016 elaborates on the progression of Trump’s objectifying behavior over time.  The article describes his tendency to exploit women and to leer at women.

“He started talking a lot about all the women he was intimate with, bragging about being with top models, movie stars. Then he began talking about women, in public, in terms of their physical attributes. He became very macho… He leered at attractive female employees…. his public denigration of women and his association with objectifying activities like Playboy and pageants have the overall effect of blunting any assertion that he is not sexist, regardless of how many women Trump has hired.”

Other indicators

Does Trump use sex as a drug?  We don’t know what he does in private, so the only evidence we have is that which suggests that he needs to surround himself with a supply of beautiful women, possibly to medicate a deeper self doubt and insecurity.

Certainly Trump appears to have at least some family history of addiction, trauma, abandonment and attachment injury.  There are suggestions of his having behavior problems as a child. And such a history predictably links to the kind of narcissistic facade and extreme self focus that are becoming so familiar in Trump’s public persona.

Rule breaking, risk taking and grandiosity correlate with Trump’s sexual preoccupations although they are also indicators of narcissistic personality.

The verdict

Is there enough evidence to indicate that Donald Trump may have a sex addiction?  My own opinion is that there is probably not.  My overall impression is that of someone compensating for deep insecurity and self doubt.  This is not necessarily indicative of a sociopathic or anti-social personality as much as  a narcissistic facade of hyper-masculinity which suggests an extreme sense of inadequacy and paranoia about being conquered (raped?).

The over-the-top aggressiveness, over-entitlement and the sense of being above the accepted social norms indicate an underlying narcissistic vulnerability.  A true sociopath would be much more subtle and much better at impression management.

No, Trump seems to be pathetically obsessed with being liked.  He seems to run on fear, fear of being one-down.  He needs to be on top and his obsessions with women reminds me of the old nudie “pin-ups” some men used to paste inside their locker doors.  Despite all the symptoms of sexual compulsiveness, Trump’s need for power and sexual conquest is likely not a sign of addiction. Nor is it an indication of his being some kind of “alpha male”.  Rather it screams weakness and low self-esteem.

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