“Unbearable Penis” Use of the Penis and Sex Addiction as the Crystallization of a Sex Negative CulturePosted: October 8, 2013
…The psychopathologies that develop within a culture (such as sex addiction), far from being anomalies or aberrations, are characteristic expressions of that culture, as the crystallization…of much that is wrong with it (such as sex phobia).
Whose penis is this? Your partner or wife, medicine, psychology, religion, and job all claim ownership over it. The male sex addict is a constellation of socio-economic-psycho-relational-sexual factors that combine to produce a “man” who is colonized by the male relational-work industrial complex. The hegemony of work, family, partner, keeps him feeling depleted and trapped, his extensive and consistent sexuality shamed.
The characteristics of “healthy” sex are covert attempts to police and control sexuality. Why is “healthy” sex that which is situated within committed relationships? And why always with a partner? Neither truly legitimize sexual behavior. If our current models of “marriage” and “relationships” were truly “healthy” then they would not have a 60-70% failure rate, as shown with rates of cheating, divorce, and marital dissatisfaction. These symbols of failure are not due to the individual’s internal pathology. That lazy analysis is for the naïve. These high rates demonstrate they are a statistical norm. Failure can be an expected sign of “health.” There needs to be more options and better templates for relational functioning (standby for this in my book out next year, wink wink). The conception of the sexually addicted as indicator of a special type (psycho or bio) that distinguishes the sexually addicted man from “healthy” man is erroneous, as we are all on the spectrum and continuum with differing degrees of struggle with cultural-sexual distress. We all will at times struggle with sexual-relational compulsivity, sexual boundaries, and sexual-relational drives.
What is “healthy” sex? Undefinable. Sex is far too complex, diverse, multi-faceted, historically based, and relationally embedded. Most “disorders” are created by traditional, white, hetero, cisgendered, married, high socio-econ males. I know I do not want my father determining what is “healthy” sexually for me. Morals and values cannot help you either, as these too follow current socio-cultural trends and socially constructed norms and fears. “Healthy” is subjective and relativistic. There is no universal standard. Sex has undergone a bifurcation leaving sex unrelated in most cases from procreation or “relationship”. Evolutionary psychological theorizing is no longer relevant for understanding human sexuality. Thank you Internet for expanding the uses and experiences of sex far beyond what I can catalogue.
The “sex addict” is a “healthy” “self” attempting to find balance and relief and return to a “natural” and functional homeostasis. The “sex addict” is a symptom of our sex negative and phobic culture. Overregulated, over contained, and over shamed. Watch five hours of a baseball game and you are healthy, five hours of porn and you are an “addict”. The hegemony of the sex addict “treatment” perpetuates the toxic label of “addict”. This sex negative cultural pathology is forced onto the psyche of “healthy” men (most diagnoses “sex addicts” are men), then further traumatizing “clients” into sexual-relational 12-step programs where non-academics and professionals maintain a closed system of sexual “health” mythology. The “sex addict” is understandably trying to live in a postmarriage, postmonogamy, postmedical-model world.
Porn actors, sex addict, strippers are all counter balances to our primitive and sexually anorexic culture. They would just be actors, individuals, and dancers if we had a sexually healthy culture. They would seamlessly be integrated into our society, without requiring caveats, distinct labels, or pejorative “warnings”.
“Sex addicts” do not need treatment programs as the real problem is with the “erotophobes.” This extreme mental disorder, run by fear and anxiety about sexuality, dominates most literature, media, and cultural understandings of sexuality. There are various neurological studies, full of brain scans, showing how under-activated and diseased the brains of this clinical population are. They obsessively and compulsively create sex addiction literature, write books about avoiding pornography, over dramatize the impact of sex upon youth, and create diagnoses with no reliability, validity, or useful operational definitions.
If a partner or friend shames, judges, or objectifies your sexuality, please immediately diagnose them as an “erotophobe” and get them help. I’m sure there will soon be a 12-step program for this mentally ill group.
While watching a report on the Amanda Knoxs trial, I was stunned when journalist Diane Sawyer repeatedly mentioned Amanda’s interest in “casual sex” as a qualifier for her having bad character. It’s ridiculous how an expected, healthy and “normal” (there’s that evil word I hate) developmental stage becomes bastardized and used to shame this girl. Sexual-relational developmental milestones are achieved by dating and being sexual throughout an individual’s life. For those that are comforted by statistics, and require social science research data to support all claims, you will feel satiated to know that the stats report that the average teen and young adult will have intercourse many times prior to adulthood, and this is a good thing as sex is learned and not innate. These encounters are how we all learn to increase self-esteem, utilize erotic capital, social negotiation skills, and boundary setting. Let’s not infuse this necessary social education with our own sex phobia and anxiety.
Poor Amanda had her “character” in question because she wanted to be sexual and date a boy. This is a sign that she is statistically “normal” and average, and doing exactly what her peers are doing. The equation of acting on inborn human sex drive and mating as congruent and symptomatic of being “out of control,” “sex crazed,” or “murderous” is both absurd and naïve. The media pushed it further and then equated her possible engagement in an orgy (good for her; she is sexually creative and adventurous) with being more evidence of her poor “character” and a sign of her ability to murder.
This sex shaming is far from rare as I often hear clinical clients being labeled as having a fetish, sex addiction, or being “ill” due to their sexual behaviors. I’m not talking about illegal, coercive or compulsive and problematic. I’m talking about non didactic , non committed, and non vanilla. The word “fetish” as a concept is made irrelevant as everything is a fetish, and no part of our arousal constellation should be shamed by such a “perspective.” You like boobs, that’s a fetish; women, that’s one too. Feet, shoes, and leather (god forbid), they all are, too. It’s all needless modernist attempts to “re-center” a pluralistic postmodern “de-centered” sexual world. Frequently engaging in odd, different, alternative sexual behaviors is not being addictive, its called sexual confidence. Good sexual lovers are open to pushing the boundaries to maintain novelty, the linchpin of high arousal sex. They go after what is arousing for them in every sexual experience. The seeking of high arousal when being sexual is what I advise and what long-term sexual satisfaction within relationships require. Monogamy will limp along otherwise. If you want long-term monogamous commitment, you better break out the monkey suit and hang from that chandelier. Roll with it folks, a sexual revolution is brewing and I’m leading the charge! If these behaviors sound unhealthy or make you anxious, this says everything about your sexual confidence and sex education, and nothing about the other engaging in them. I agree with old Kinsey when he said “the only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform.” If your body can do it, then its “natural.” Whether or not Amanda Knox is a murderer, someone who has poor “character” or is sex addicted has nothing to do with the contents of her sex life. And I worry for Diane Sawyers’ sexual partners. I hope she keeps good reading material by the bed to entertain them because her sexuality sounds like a snoozefest!