S ex is a difficult topic to discuss in the United States. The puritanical strand of our society labels it as dirty and something to be avoided except, of course, for procreation. Our prurient side is highly attracted to it and whole industries would not exist if not for this attraction. In addition, there is an uneasiness in discussing the topic that is worsened by our stunted vocabulary. We can use terms that are cold and clinical or mere street slang. And there is another problem. The very act of discussing it is often interpreted to mean that we must be obsessed with it; after all, why would anyone discuss it unless they were obsessed with it? However, not discussing it and pretending it doesn’t exist can be worse (and maddening). How can you solve a problem unless it is discussed? [note 1] Despite the lived contradictions and discomfort in discussing the topic, I offer the following excerpts (safely written by someone else, I might add) as a means of starting this discussion. Read the excerpts – and the entire article from which they come – with an open mind. You may not think that it applies to you but I will bet that you will find faint echoes that will make you pause and think.
[I]mpulsiveness are the hallmarks of ADD, as well as of sex addiction. Unable to set boundaries on their own behavior, those with ADD feel an intense need to continue forever” whether it is on a work project or an involvement in a sexual enactment. One definition of compulsion may very well be “a loss of control characterized by an intense desire to continue despite adverse consequences.” A sense of deprivation emerges when compulsive sexualizing does not provide the gratification and satisfaction that results from experiencing intimacy with another person. Rather than sex being a way to bring two people closer, sexual enactments for the person with ADD can stem from intra-psychic conflict, from a narcissistic need for validation, and as a way to medicate the physiological symptoms of brain chemistry deregulation. The result is that sex takes up a disproportionately large place in his psychic equilibrium. His very sense of self depends on his sexuality.
- This has echo’s of Friedan’s “the problem that has no name.”↩