what people really want to know about sexA few weeks ago I agreed to host a Reddit AMA without actually knowing what I’d agreed to do. So I did a quick bit of research and found out that Reddit is a huge website that hosts “discussion threads” on almost any topic you can imagine. And many of the site’s most popular discussions originate with AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions, where celebrities or subject matter experts answer any and all questions posed by Reddit’s nearly 12 million subscribers. I also found out that a whole bunch of people who are way more famous than I am have hosted one of these AMA sessions. At that point I thought, “OK, fine, if crusty old Morgan Freeman can do this, so can I.”

So I sent the good folks at Reddit a picture of myself holding a handwritten sign listing my name, my occupation, and the date of my AMA. This is a requirement, apparently. I’m not sure why. And then I waited for the questions to roll in, wondering what, exactly, people with free reign were going to ask me.

Mostly the questions fell into one of two categories: queries about relationships and human sexuality, and queries about sexual addiction and/or porn addiction.

Questions about Relationship Intimacy and Human Sexuality

Quite a few people asked about the quantity and quality of sexual activity within a serious relationship, including the following:

  • What are some helpful tips for people whose sex drives are dwindling due to work related stress and other distractions?
  • What is the most common issue you see with today’s generation when it comes to relationships and sex?
  • After years of marriage it seems quite common for couples to lose the spark, especially when it comes to sex. In your opinion, what are some of the common reasons for this and ways to reignite the passion in a relationship?

I also got plenty of questions about infidelity such as:

  • How do you feel about open relationships? Do they work, or are they always a disaster?
  • As a woman I would feel cheated on if my boyfriend would watch porn. The thought of him being sexual looking at other women would hurt me. Is there a simple explanation as to why men think this behavior is OK but women don’t?
  • With so many millions of people using apps like Ashley Madison, it seems nobody is really faithful anymore. So why should I be monogamous?

I also got a few questions about fetishes and kinks, including:

  • Is pedophilia more common in men than in women?
  • There is a particular rare sexual fetish, colloquially known as “sissy.” Many men who have it consider it a disorder…. It is often greatly intensified by pornography. … Do you have it in your practice? Are you aware of any successful recovery from it?

Questions about Sex and Porn Addiction

Queries about sex and porn addiction fell into two basic subcategories. First, people wanted to know what sex/porn addiction is and how to know if they’ve got it. They asked:

  • Is there a difference between having a lot of sex and being a sex addict?
  • Is there any research proving that an addiction to porn can cause erectile dysfunction?
  • How do I know if I’m sex addicted?
  • Can women be sex addicts, or is it really only men who have this problem?
  • How much sex is too much sex?

Next, people who felt that they or someone they know might be sexually addicted wanted to know about the process of recovery. Questions included:

  • What is sexual sobriety? Is it total abstinence? If I get sober from sex addiction will I ever be able to have sex again?
  • I have a friend who has a problem with sex addiction. … How can I help support him through this?
  • Is masturbating without porn a good first step towards reversing porn addiction, or is masturbation inherently involved?

General Thoughts

As the AMA lasted only an hour and I had to type out my answers, I wasn’t able to answer every query, but I did get to most of them. If you’re curious, the entire AMA, including my answers, can be found at this link.

As a therapist and commentator, what I found most interesting about the AMA was the nature of the questions, mostly the fact that this completely open and non-therapeutic forum centered on the same concerns that my clients have expressed in therapy for 25+ years. They worry about the amount of sex they’re having, both in and out of committed relationships, and sometimes they worry about the type of sex they’re having (or fantasizing about). They also want to know about relationship commitments and infidelity, in particular whether it’s OK to cheat, what constitutes cheating, and how their relationships can heal from a significant betrayal.

I’m not sure there are any major conclusions that I can draw from the above, except to say that in my years as a therapist specializing in sex and intimacy issues people’s concerns have not changed much. Sure, with digital technologies the “venue” of their worries sometimes looks a bit different, but their basic apprehensions and fears are amazingly constant.

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