by David Wraith
Last week, I made this post regarding accusations that I’m a sex addict.
Now, let’s talk about the nature of addiction. While I believe that physical addictions are limited to things like alcohol and drugs, I do believe that one can be psychologically addicted to just about anything; food, shopping, gambling. The difference between physical and psychological addiction is substantial. Suicide notwithstanding, I’ve never heard of anyone dying from trying to kick a sex addiction without medical supervision.
Now, agreeing that psychological addictions are real, how are they diagnosed? I’m not going to pretend to know, but I would think that one sign of addictive behavior is that the behavior continues regardless of negative consequences.
So, I took a good, hard look at myself. Have there been negative consequences to my choice to be polyamorous? Of course there have. Are they disproportionate to what people in ostensively monogamous relationships go through? I don’t think so. But I do spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about, pursuing and (on a good day) having sex. Could I be a sex addict? I came up with a test for myself. Could I sit across from someone with a serious drug or alcohol problem and tell them I was a sex addict? As a graduate student who has held down the same full time job for eight years and has solid relationships with my friends and family, could I look someone in the eye who’d lost their job, their home, their marriage or custody of the kids to an alcohol or drug addiction and say, “I understand. I’m an addict too.” The answer is no.
It seems like in the post Oprah, post Dr. Drew landscape; lots of unqualified people are running around diagnosing sex addictions, often to suit their own agendas. Seems like every celebrity douche bag who gets caught cheating on his wife claims to be a sex addict. I’m not saying that sex addiction doesn’t exist, but it doesn’t negate the existence of douche baggery. The absexuals weld the term “sex addiction” like a weapon in their war against the scourge of internet pornography. And then there are my straight world friends who use it to “clinicize” my sexual behavior and camouflage their moral judgments of me.
I’ve noticed a trend. The ostensively monogamous people that I get the most heat from are the ones trapped in sexless relationships, the ones who’ve cheated on or have been cheated on by their partners and the ones who’ve had affairs with people in closed marriages. So their judgments come with a splash of Haterade.
Look, I’m not saying there’s nothing wrong with me. There’s plenty. But it’s more over compensation than addiction. What I have is the sexual equivalent of an eating disorder. No matter how many relationships I’m in, no matter how many lovers I have, no matter how many orgies, three ways, or S&M parties I take part in, I still look in the mirror and see the guy that was terrified of women until his 20s. The guy whose pregnant fiancé had an affair with his best friend. Now, if I had any desire to settle down in a monogamous marriage, I’d get help with that shit. But as it happens, I’m happy the way I am. If it ain’t broke, why break it?