Sex Addiction – What it is and what it isn’t. Does it exist? Is it real?

The following piece was written by Timothy Perper, PhD (1938-2014) for the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists list serve. It was written several years ago and I feel the need to unearth it again, since the issue still looms large.  This was his response to the professional member’s ongoing debate on whether sex addiction actually exists.

Timothy Perper, PhD response to: A self-identified sex addict

 

Reposted by permission of author from the AASECT listserve (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists)

 

Names within text, other than author, have been changed.

 

…I got to thinking about this business of “uncontrollable

sex urge.” I’m NOT — repeat, not, not, not — going to try to define

that; in fact, my point is that a definition suddenly and unexpectedly

EVADES us. I don’t mean just me; I’ve been reading this postings

(nearly 500 of them since 2006, as I just said) — the definition has

been evading all of us. Seems to me that maybe that’s part of the

problem.

 

When I was a teenager, I too had “uncontrollable sex urges.” My penis,

with a life of its own (a standing joke among men), would get hard in

the middle of high school classes. It just did that — and I wanted to

jerk off. I wasn’t able to talk it down; it ignored me and my

explanations that THIS is not the right time. Or sometimes on subways.

Or at other times.

 

And later in college, and even later than that, the same thing would

occur again and again: “uncontrollable sex urges.”

 

Oho! Now we reach a crux in the whole search for a definition.

 

At some point in college — though not in high school (for reasons I

don’t understand) — I discovered that I could eliminate these

“uncontrollable sex urges” by going to the men’s room, sitting in a

stall with the door locked, and jerking myself off. Then, for some

hours, I had no “uncontrollable sex urges” at all.

 

In brief, if the definition we are looking for arises from

“uncontrollable PENILE sex urges,” then the solution is simple. Go

find someplace private and masturbate to orgasm. End of that. Yes, I

know that some men have moral and other qualms about masturbation, but

that’s not what we mean by “sex addiction” — that’s called “sex

guilt” or something like that.

 

If so — and that “if” is very very large! — then no problems exist

about sex addiction. Find someplace private and masturbate. This

solution may be less effective for some women, but I’m going to set

that difficulty aside for a while. IF — repeat, IF, IF, IF —

“uncontrollable sex urges” are of penile (or vaginal/clitoral) origin,

then they can be resolved in a few minutes. End of story and discussion.

 

Now comes the big but. BUT, someone says, that’s not what

“uncontrollable sex urges” are about! They’re about sitting and

watching HOURS of porn on the internet, talking for HOURS on some sex

phone line, spending HOURS imagining copulating with someone. They

center on the uncontrollable desire to get laid.

 

And if so, then we have a different definition, and it has nothing to

do with “sex addiction” at all. It is an “uncontrollable” desire and

yearning for a CERTAIN KIND OF SOCIAL CONTACT — with the surrogate

human beings of internet porn, the less surrogate but still fantasy-

laden telephone partner, or the imaginary but completely social

fantasy of masturbating with not only HER (or him, perhaps) but with a

whole bunch of “hers” and “hims.” Those sessions of imagination are

barely sexual at all: sexuality provides a mechanism for imagining a

fantasy of a different life, a different world, a different place, of

different people than the ones we know. The penis or vagina has become

a portal taking us elsewhere — somewhere where we are wanted, are

desired, are happy, are never rejected, are satisfied and are

satisfying. In brief, we invent a utopia for ourselves — because we

do not live in such a utopia in reality.

 

The underlying engines of such fantasies are not sex — they are

loneliness, despair, unhappy alienation, anomie. Sex is simply a

vehicle by which we imagine a place and time where such loneliness

DOES NOT EXIST. In that world, we are happy.

 

So if a man — I explicitly do not mean Craig, whom I do not know at

all — tells me that he’s a sex addict, then I privately think to

myself, “And you’re a liar.” If you really and genuinely were an

addict of your penis, you would not be telling ME about it in this

bar, or party, or therapy session. You’d be off jerking yourself off

in the bathroom.

 

The same holds for a woman, who might say “I was a real sex addict in

college! I just had to get laid all the time, and all I could think

about was how I could hook up with Joe or Jeremy or Chad — ”  And

again my response is the same. “No, you’re not a sex addict at all. If

you were you wouldn’t be telling ME about it in this bar or party.

You’d be off in bed with Joe or Jeremy or Chad or maybe all three of

them, fucking their brains out. You wouldn’t be TALKING about it.”

 

Underlying everything I have read and heard about sex addiction and

the “uncontrollable sex urges” said to define sex addiction are the

engines of loneliness,  isolation, alienation, and despair.

It is therefore a social — NOT  SEXUAL — dysfunction,

and centers on the inability of the person to

provide him- or herself with people who love and want them. It

involves a FANTASY that sexuality — meaning penile and/or vaginal

contact — will satisfy those social needs for love. But because mere

penile and/or vaginal contact does not fill those needs, the recipe is

repeated, in the hope that maybe it’ll work out the NEXT time. Which

it does not, and we enter a cycle of repetition driven by unidentified

— but profoundly human — desires for social contact, for someone to

talk to, someone who likes you, and who wants to listen.

 

Did that describe me in high school? Oh, come on. Of course it did. I

would have given anything to have spent the whole day talking to (and

kissing) two or three of the girls I knew… like Jane, who sat next

to me in one class (I loved that class!), and like Amy, who I would

walk home with… Sometimes my penis got stiff, not surprising at the

age of 17, but always I wanted to be with Jane and Amy, stiff penis

or not. That’s not sex addiction. It’s desire and loneliness.

 

Tim

 

 

 

 

Press Release-August 15-The Erotic Literary Salon-Live/Adult-Sex Ed

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon-Live and the Adult Sex-Ed Salon, Tuesday, August 15.

 

Kiss Pop Art by beorange http://beorange.deviantart.com/art/kiss-pop-art-154759096

Thursday, July 27, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 PCSalons@gmail.com – contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com – guidelines for reading.

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com – blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.

 

The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, August 15. The evening will start with the Adult Sex-Ed Salon a one-hour program devoted to sex and sexuality. The audience will have the opportunity to pose any questions regarding sex and sexuality anonymously. Sexologist Susana Mayer, PhD, along with co-host Walter will facilitate the Adult Sex-Ed Salon and attendees interested in sharing their knowledge and experiences will join in the discussion. This is always an extremely lively, audience driven Q & A period.

 

PHILADELPHIA: The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 65 or more individuals. Approximately 10-15 attendees participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works, some read, “missed connections” and “romance” shorts from Craig’s list. The rest of the attendees come to listen, enjoy and applaud. Sign-up to read at the door, but you must have attended one Salon previously. Guidelines at the Salon’s website.

 

Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed between 7:00-8:00, readings begin at 8:30. Admission is $12, discounted for students and seniors to $10. Salon attendees must be 21.

 

Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.

…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010

 

“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.

Daily News, March 15, 2010

 

“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.

First-time attendee and reader 2013

 

 

How to Books on Anal Sex – Adult Sex-Ed Salon

As promised at the Adult Sex-Ed Salon (first half of the Erotic Literary Salon-Live), a listing of books on anal sex. But first –

One of my favorite books on eroticism:

The Erotic Mind, Jack Morin Ph.D.

Favorite sex book:

Guide To Getting It On: Unzipped, Paul Joannides Psy.D and Daerick Gröss Sr.

How to books on anal sex.

Anal Pleasure and Health: A Guide for Men, Women and Couples, Jack Morin Ph.D.

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, Tristan Taormino

Feb 11, 2006

TONIGHT-The Erotic Literary Salon-live/Adult Sex-Ed, FREE Tickets Sex-Expo

Come tonight to the Erotic Literary Salon and learn about all the changes planned to celebrate the 10th Anniversary May 2018.

Could not find a Sex Expo image I found interested, so I decided upon this Tantra one.

SEX Expo N.Y.: America’s Premier Sexual Wellness Event – FREE Entry

About Sex Expo

Experience a refreshingly open environment where learning the latest facts about sex and intimacy is celebrated with style and flair!

Featuring today’s leaders in sex, intimacy and romance, Sex Expo delivers a crash course in understanding modern sexual relationships with must-attend workshops and captivating intimacy product showcases — all with the chic backdrop of its stylish venues.

September 23-24

Five Reasons to GO!

  1. AN UPSCALE AFFAIR!

    Attend an event unlike any other, where sex is celebrated and presented with style!

  2. GAIN EXPERT SEX-ED!

    Learn facts and fascinating info from top sex educators and intimacy experts with fun product demostrations and entertaining workshops.

  3. DISCOVER PRODUCTS!

    Discover the best products that enable a better sex life for men, women and couples.

  4. IMPROVE YOUR SEX LIFE!

    Get tips and advice from the pros and learn new tricks to bring excitement back into the bedroom.

  5. FOR ALL ORIENTATIONS!

    Sex Expo embraces the needs of couples and singles of all genders and sexual orientations with insightful information and goods for all.

    Text from their website: http://www.sexexpo.com FREE tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2017-sex-expo-new-york-tickets-31935553099?_eboga=174964357.1499447624