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Cruise Control: Understanding Gay Men and Sex Addiction

In 2005 I wrote Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men, a book that I took out of print in late 2010 because it desperately needed an update. Essentially, the volume was penned prior to the rise of social media, the explosion of user-generated porn, the advent of smartphone hookup apps, and numerous other advances in digital sexnology. And let us not forget the cultural changes “gay marriage” (and its effect on “gay monogamy”) has wrought in the past few years. Remember, many in the gay community used to deride marriage as an old-fashioned, demeaning, heterosexual ritual. Now, however, gay marriage is a hard-fought-for reality in several states, and with a forward-thinking president who has spoken in support of it on more than one occasion, other states are likely to follow. This has created a dramatic shift in gay men’s attitudes toward marriage and monogamy, leading in turn to quite a lot of individuals rethinking their sexual behavior, wondering if all the “fun” they’ve been having is actually compulsive and destructive rather than enjoyable.

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Cruise Control: Understanding Gay Men and Sex Addiction

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  1. Rob,
    Have you see this guy’s site? I’m wondering if it’s really true that all sexual behavior addicts are “compulsive due to issues.” Might their addiction and ED problems sometimes simply be the result of overconsumption of extreme sexual stimulation?

  2. Rob,
    I found that to be true in my own life. I was not not only dealing with SSA but also found that I had become a sex addict. I forsook that lifestyle and dealt with my sexual addiction. There were parts of the sexual addiction that for me attributed to my SSA and I found the two intertwined. I started recovery in 2001 at that time it was mostly chat rooms, but cruising parks and bars as well as gyms were common. The new methods of smartphone etc remind me basically of the chat rooms but they are more accessable than chat rooms were in my day. I was fortunate to come out HIV neg my close link from those past days are all HIV +. It was the grace of God for me. Learning the cycle of addiction and my triggers was imperative and affected all aspects of recovery.

  3. Just a few comments:

    1. Your comments about gay marriage and exclusivity may only apply to US. In canada and much of europe gay marriage has been around for a long time and having lived in Canada and parts of europe with long standing gay marriage sexual exclusivity has not changed because of marriage. Americans may be more black-white in their think than much of the developed world and may have a more narrow idea of marriage than others. Marriage and gay guys seem to have little to do with exclusivity in canada and much of europe, but it may be different in US.

    2. When I worked with guys who said they were addicted to sex, my suggestion was:
    A. Admit to yourself you are looking for sex, and go get it!
    B. Make sure you are enjoying the sex you are having.
    C. If you are not enjoying it then stop and find good sex.

    Most understood that they felt lonely and did substituted sex for being with someone. The sex was mechanical and they were effectively not present so it did nothing to bring them pleasure, intimacy, or connection. Many were surprised once they got rid of the shame and guilt, they could be present, that they then could feel they could get the control they desired for sex encounters.

    Many of us can identify with the idea of how when we have GREAT SEX it can satisfy us for a long time, and having BAD SEX can leave us wanting more because that sex did not fulfill us.

    Also some guys only wanted to be told they were bad, shameful, and should stop today having all that sex. Even thought they have been told that many times they felt just more shame would help, …. of course it did not help.

    • Bill, that is amazing advice that is also good for us heterosexuals.


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