I’ve long been hostile to the idea of “sex addiction” because it strikes me as nonsense on its face. Sex is a core biological imperative, like breathing or excreting, making a “sex addiction” as nonsensical as a “crapping addiction”. Pathologizing normal behavior is something I recognize as a tool of control, a way to twist people up inside so that you can more easily guilt them into changing their behavior (joining your church, giving you money, working longer hours, whatever.) Thus, for me, concerned talk of “sex addiction” is a red-flag warning that the speaker is likely to be a sex-negative culture warrior or a woo-woo-therapy-selling charlatan.

I’m pretty good at being dismissive of nonsense, but I’m not always so good at patiently explaining why it’s nonsense. “Suffering fools gladly” equals a skill I was behind the door when they were passing them out. Fortunately, we have Annie Sprinkle to bear what I cannot, and she’s written a nice article succinctly explaining the nonsense that is sex addiction prattle. There’s lots, but this paragraph fragment is exemplary:

Sex addiction often makes a disease out of what is often quite reasonable sexual behavior. It emphasizes negative aspects of sex. It takes away some of the personal responsibility for sexual choices and blames problems on a ‘disease’. It offers simple solutions to complex problems. Marty Klein points out that, “Sex addiction legitimizes sex-negative attitudes and supports sexual guilt.” It can make people feel badly if they simply have an active and varied sex life. Sex addiction can be used as a way to put down socially disapproved of behavior.

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