New York Post Staff Report, March 4, 2012
It seems inevitable that when a famous man gets in trouble for sex, he is immediately diagnosed as a sex addict. Tiger Woods, David Duchovny and Michael Douglas have all been “treated” for it, while the media has labeled everyone from Bill Clinton to Dominique Strauss-Kahn with the affliction.
The trouble is that sex addiction is nothing more than a pop-psychology phenomenon, serving only to demonize sex, enforce moral views of sex and relationship and excuse irresponsible behaviors.
The concept of sex addiction first appeared in the 1980s, though it has its roots in the history of the anti-masturbation movement that flourished in America a hundred years ago. Masturbation doesn’t make you go blind, and sex is not a disease. But these facts haven’t stopped people from falsely proclaiming that too much sex is bad for you, too much masturbation will turn you into a pervert and too much porn will turn a person into an uncontrollable pedophile or rapist.
It is commonly asserted that 3% to 5% of Americans are addicted to sex, though these numbers have no legitimate basis in science. Sex addiction has been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association, time and time again, because there is no scientific evidence that it exists.
The proponents of sex addiction use concepts borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous, applying the 12-step model to sexual behaviors. For decades, sex addictionologists have refused to conduct their own science to defend their claims that sex is a disease and that too much sex causes psychological problems. Instead, they’ve used what I call “Valley Girl Science” to claim that sex addiction is real because it is “like” drugs and alcohol.
But sex is not like alcohol or drugs, no matter how much they claim that it is. Sex has no tolerance or withdrawal effects. No one has ever died from being unable to have sex, nor has anyone ever overdosed from sex.
Alcohol and drugs create changes in the chemistry of the brain, while during sex, the brain is working the way it is supposed to.
Does sexual desire affect our judgment? Yes, it does, but this is normal. Human sexuality is designed to make us want to have sex, and everyone has had the experience of wanting sex to the point that they get a little stupid. But it is a far stretch to reach from this mild effect of arousal to suggesting that sex takes away someone’s self-control. To suggest this would be to imply that all people (especially men) are potential rapists.
More than 85% of self-proclaimed sex addicts are male. The majority of men who enter sex-addiction treatment do so because they’re in trouble with their wives for infidelity or merely for wanting more sex than she does. The list of sexual behaviors that are allegedly addictive is dominated by stereotypically masculine sexuality. Things like masturbation, use of pornography, cyber-sex, going to strip clubs or prostitutes, and even infidelity, are all behaviors that over a century’s worthy of sexuality research has demonstrated are common, if not universal, in men.
Why do these folks have a problem with male sexuality? Because our society has decided that masculine sexuality is inherently dangerous and destructive and must be controlled. In the dark ages, female sexuality was seen as the main way the devil entered women’s hearts and turned them into witches. Today, male sexual desire is seen as equally susceptible to evil. Again and again, it is male leaders, stars and athletes who are labeled as sex addicts, when their indulgence of their sexual desires creates a controversy.
It’s not just men in power who use sex addiction as an excuse. Despite the fact that sex addiction does not meet legal rules to be admissible as evidence, it is pervasively used in courts across the country. In trials of rape, sexual crimes and even divorce proceedings, the claim of sex addiction is raised by defendants as ways to plead for leniency and for sex addiction treatment in lieu of punishment. When courts succumb to pity, they are sending them for a treatment that has never been scientifically shown to have any effect, for a disorder that does not exist.
Believing in sex addiction doesn’t teach men to be responsible, to be thoughtful and conscious in their sexual choices. Instead, it teaches men that they are powerless to control their sexual desires without professional help.
Though the male libido is a powerful force, research shows that all men have the ability to control their sexual desires, if they choose to exert it. We need to teach our young men that having lots of sex doesn’t make them more manly, but that respect, integrity, responsibility and self-control are the qualities of a real man. We do need to demand that our leaders act ethically and responsibly. If powerful men choose not to exert control and accept responsibility for their sexual behaviors, how can we trust them with our laws, lives and government?
Society itself has become addicted, to using the label of addiction to explain people’s behaviors and to absolve them of responsibility. We cannot teach people to be in control of their sexual desire, if we tell them that it is inherently addictive and destructive.
David J. Ley is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Myth of Sex Addiction” (Rowman & Littlefield).
So, when a woman is raped and brutalized, or when her privacy has been violated by a peeping-tom-pervert, concealing himself in either a woman’s bathroom or locker room, or just outside her bedroom window, one should conclude that these behaviors, though “irresponsible,” are “nothing more than a pop-psychology phenomenon, serving only to demonize sex, enforce moral views of sex and relationships and excuse irresponsible behaviors.”
“Demonize sex?” One must ask, what on earth could sex possibly have to do with the immoral, perverted practices of a mind fixated on the aberrant behaviors of a man’s sinful propensities towards anything even remotely familiar or associated with sex?
Sex is the natural order of things. It is that which gives a man and a woman a celebration of their love for the other, their joining and union as one. Matthew 19:5, “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh.”
Further, it is that act that not only gives great physical pleasure to the husband and wife, but assuredly is the very means of the procreation and perpetuation of the human species. It is natural and God-given and is hardly concomitant with sexual addictions.
During the roughly four decades that I spent invading the lives and privacy of tens of hundreds of women, clandestinely observing them dressing and undressing, showering, and sitting on a toilet, are we to believe, according to Mr. Ley, that all of this is nothing more than a “pop-psychology phenomenon, serving only to demonize sex, enforce moral views of sex and relationships and excuse irresponsible behaviors?”
“Enforce moral views of sex and relationships?” Would Mr. Ley rather we enforce amoral views of sex and relationships? Isn’t this, in fact, what he is attempting to do, enforce his particular “moral views of sex and relationships” upon everyone who reads his writings?
David J. Ley, the author of the New York Post article, dated March 4, 2012, maintains that sex addiction is not a disease, in that no one has ever died from it. He proclaims there is no tolerance or withdrawal, as with alcohol and drugs, and no one has overdosed from it.
A little side-bar: no one has ever died from Pink Eye, or Conjunctivitis, yet it is indeed a disease. Conversely, poverty kills more people every year than the two top killers, heart disease and cancer, yet poverty is not considered a disease. Interestingly, 874,000 people died from poverty in 2011!
It is obvious that I have not yet died, and yet I can speak with authority when I say that I most definitely have overdosed on sexual addiction. Spending thirty-five to forty years of my life actively pursuing peeping on unsuspecting women while they dress, undress, shower and use the potty, while feverishly masturbating could hardly be considered the absence of overdosing.
Science tells us sex addiction is not a disease because it bears no similarity to the characteristics displayed in other diseases. Mr. Ley has at last happened upon a circumstance where we can both agree!
Sexual addictions hold no resemblance to alcohol or drug addictions. How can they? Gambling, drug and alcohol addictions are existentially outside ourselves. Not only are they unrelated one to the other, but they cannot possibly be thought to have any correlation whatsoever to the human body.
Their only relationship lies within the machinations and aberrations of the human mind. Sexual addictions are a by-product of the human psyche and stem from the totality of human sexuality. Consequently, sexual addictions are inherently far more difficult to control, if not impossible to control.
Which leads to another question: what if the Bible is right? What if we are indeed born with a sin nature and, as the Bible states, there is no escape from this nature without the aid of God himself?
If this sin nature is passed down through the generations, via the seed of man, beginning with Adam and Eve, then would this not qualify as a disease? Incidentally, my positing these questions as “what-ifs” is rhetorical. I am convinced that the entirety of the Bible is absolutely correct.
I wonder if Mr. Ley would conclude that our sinful behaviors, though “irresponsible,” are “nothing more than a pop-psychology phenomenon, serving only to demonize sex, enforce moral views of sex and relationships and excuse irresponsible behaviors?”
Human sexuality indeed is a part of our very being. We are “hard-wired” as such. This must be, else we would be unable to procreate, to re-produce, to perpetuate our species. Therefore, it logically follows that the very nature of our being, psychological idiosyncrasies and aberrations notwithstanding, that sexual addictions can and may be a part of our daily lives. You need be only casually observant to see the evidences of such behaviors…
Sexual addictions, as well as drug and alcohol addictions are indeed diseases. Demonstrably, throughout eons, the Lord Jesus Christ has always been the sole contributor to their cures. No amounts of surgeries, medicines, or therapies can ever effect a cure without the intervening Hand of the Lord. If the Lord’s will is that there be no cure, then no amount of human efforts will prevail.
The following is from the Oxford Dictionary: Disease is… “A disorder of structure or function in a human… especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.”
Oxford’s definition of disease certainly seems to shoot holes in Mr. Ley’s arguments that sex addiction is not a disease.
Webster further offers: “Disease is an impairment of the normal state of the living animal. … inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies)…”
When it walks like a duck and quacks like it duck, would it be reasonable to conclude that it usually is a duck?
I had been a sex addict for approximately 35 to 40 years of my life. I am now 76 and am still addicted. Though I no longer violate the rights of women to their privacy, thank God, I am addicted to pornography. I don’t say this with pride. I cannot say this as a means of escaping judgment or retribution.
I spent about 11 years of my life in prison. Even though I have not committed a crime for over twenty years, I am still paying for my criminal sexual deviancies and misdeeds.
Does it seem plausible that anyone would continue at least four decades of deviant and criminal behavior just for the “thrill, joy and pleasure” of it, irregardless of the consequences?
Is it conceivable that an explanation for this kind of behavior can be understood by that part of the definition given by Webster: “…inherent defects of the organism (as genetic anomalies)?” Isn’t the concept of “genetic” explainable by the concept of “sin?” Psalms 58:3 “The wicked are estranged from the womb:they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”
The following defines genetics: 1. of or relating to genes or heredity. “all the cells in the body contain the same genetic information” 2. of or relating to origin; arising from a common origin. “the genetic relations between languages”
I’m not one to believe in coincidence. It is not a coincidence that the definition of genetics correlates with the concept of genetics from the concept genes, “all the cells in the body contain the same genetic information.”
Given the complexities of the human species, I believe it is reasonable to assume that discoveries of the “inherent defects…(as genetic anomalies)” of humankind will be forthcoming for quite some time to come. I would go so far as to say that we will never fully know all there is to know about us as a species, let alone that of our Creator.
Mr. Ley further states, “The concept of sex addiction first appeared in the 1980s, though it has its roots in the history of the anti-masturbation movement that flourished in America a hundred years ago. Masturbation doesn’t make you go blind, and sex is not a disease. But these facts haven’t stopped people from falsely proclaiming that too much sex is bad for you, too much masturbation will turn you into a pervert and too much porn will turn a person into an uncontrollable pedophile or rapist.”
Please note. Trees are not a disease either, just as it is true of sex. But diseases can, and do, invade all trees and all life forms. Is it unreasonable to posit a sexual sin nature as a corollary of any disease that clearly and demonstrably invades all life forms, almost always with devastating results?
Mr. Ley continues, “It is commonly asserted that 3% to 5% of Americans are addicted to sex, though these numbers have no legitimate basis in science.” If there is “no legitimate basis in science,” then, how is it “commonly asserted?” Among whom, and by whom? Mr. Ley continues, “Sex addiction has been rejected by the American Psychiatric Association, time and again, because there is no scientific evidence that it exists.” If there is no evidence of its existence, then what exactly is the Psychiatric Association rejecting? And this “scientific evidence” is defined and substantiated by what and by whom, Mr. Ley?
“Sex addiction first appeared in the 1980’s?” Would it not have been more accurate to state that the American Psychiatric Association did not become aware of this until the 1980’s? And would Mr. Ley have us believe that masturbating while watching porn, peeping into a woman’s bedroom window, concealing oneself in a woman’s rest room or locker room, not to mention rape did not make their appearance until the 1980’s?
I find it curious that Mr. Ley begins by stating that “sex addiction first appeared in the 1980s,” and then a little further states that “sex is not a disease.” Would he have us believe that “sex addiction” and “sex” are interchangeable concepts? You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Mr. Ley.
And then he goes on to say, “But these facts haven’t stopped people from falsely proclaiming that too much sex is bad for you.” Facts! What facts, sex or an addiction to sex? What are we arguing here, Mr. Ley? He then informs us that too much masturbation will not turn you into a pervert. Oh, really?
What, then, is a pervert? According to The Oxford Dictionary: “Alter (something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.”
One’s proclivity to peep on women during their private times, while masturbating, most certainly is the physical evidence of there having been an altering of “(something) from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.” Or, would Mr. Ley have us believe that these aberrant behaviors are inherently a part of our very being?
Thirty-five to forty years of voyeurism and masturbation has to be a “state to a distortion or corruption of WHAT WAS FIRST INTENDED.” Isn’t this not only the definition of pervert or perversion, but a blatant reality of that definition?
Too much of most anything would certainly fulfill the definition of pervert or perversion. When more of a people practice masturbation, than procreation, it is certainly reasonable to conclude that the population growth will indeed decline.
I would venture that other aberrations would show their ugly heads as a result of this as well. I don’t believe it unreasonable to presume that divorce would climb even higher than present day statistics reveal.
Rather than rely on Mr. Ley’s opinions on the subject of too much masturbation, or any amount of masturbation, for that matter, let’s see what God has to say: Matthew 5:27-28, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
And further, Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these;Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness.” And, 2Peter 2:14 “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices.”
Mr. Ley contends that 3 to 5% of Americans are said to be addicted to sex. Is being addicted to sex a corollary of being sexually addicted to porn or peeping or voyeurism or masturbation? I hardly think so. Some people only have sex once a week, while others have sex two to three times a week.
Sex between a man and a woman perpetuates the species. We are hard-wired this way, else we would gradually die off and cease as a species.
Now, within this framework lies differences. These differences are a part of what makes each of us unique, different. Some couples may have sex ten times a week, while others may have sex only twice a week.
Sex is a given, a necessary part of our being. To arbitrarily decide what is the appropriate number of times for sex, for procreation, is a stretch. Reproductive sex is the norm. To prescribe how often it should be done in order to fit the parameters of “normal” is a tad over the edge.
Watching pornography, no matter its mode or repetition, cannot possibly be considered a normal makeup of human sexuality. Masturbating and/or watching porn is a sin in the eyes of God. It also, objectively, does not lie within the why’s and wherefores of our sexual makeup and purpose.
Making love to oneself or another of the same sex, defeats the very nature, reason and purpose for our sexual reproductive organs and psyche. That very reason is the reproduction of the human species, as well as the responsibilities of raising children. This should be our focus, our norm, not immediate self-gratification.
Mr. Ley also states that more than 85% of “self-proclaimed sex addicts are male.” Earlier in the article he states that 3 to 5 percent of Americans are sex addicts. Works for me, how ’bout you? Where’s the rift? Only a very small amount of the populace are sexually addicted. So what’s all the fuss? Statistically, it is always a small minority of people who cross the line of “normalcy.” Thank God!
Additionally, doesn’t it make sense that so much of the population purportedly addicted to sex would indeed be males? Aren’t men, generally, far more aggressive than women, and isn’t it a demonstrable fact that men appear much more “needy” when it comes to their sexual desires?
One of the interesting incongruities of Mr. Ley’s arguments is that sexual addiction is not at all like alcohol or drugs. No kidding? “There is no tolerance or withdrawal with regard to sexual addiction. No one has ever died from being unable to have sex, and no one has ever overdosed on sex.” And the purpose and relevance of this information is…?
Apples and oranges are of similar size. One is red, the other orange. One has a rind that usually is peeled before eating. Most people eat the skin of an apple. One is very juicy and soft. Apples are usually crisp when biting into them. One has the flavors of an orange, the other of an apple. Their similarities lie in that they are all fruit!
Fruit and sexual procreation and addiction, are very dissimilar, yet their similarities stem from the organs responsible for their perpetuation. Fruit rely on the natural God-given abilities of the tree upon which they grow for their perpetuation. Outside anomalies, such as diseases and animals and insects can, and do, alter the natural state of the tree and its reproduction.
Humans must also be dependent upon God-given male and female organs for the proliferation of the species. Diseases can also interrupt the natural order of the perpetuation of humanity. Part of that interruption can stem from such false beliefs that masturbation (no matter how often), making love to oneself, and/or the making of love with the same sex, is acceptable or a natural part of the human species. Thank God, they are not!
Please feel free to respond with your comments.