The Myth Of Sex Addiction by David J. Ley
The Myth Of Sex Addiction by David J. Ley is a must read book. Due to my undergrad and graduate training in psychology I have kept an eye on the sex addiction space. In the 80’s Patrick Carnes with his book Contrary To Love is credited with the concept of “sex addiction” exploding into American consciousness. A book I had read in the 80’s. Followed by more books, more authors, and a whole sex addiction industry with certifications for therapist and treatment centers became entrenched creating an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It’s such a mainstream idea it’s now a part of the American lexicon.
The Myth Of Sex Addiction is a must read counter to this industry and idea that is clearly not based on reproducible scientific study. Sure there are bad behaviors, damaging behaviors, and even behaviors that take real effort and persistence to overcome, but that is something different from addiction. Just properly defining “sex addiction” is so fraught with so many problems that the disease mongering addictionologist keep failing to successfully get “sex addiction” added to the Psychiatric DSM as a defined disorder. Additionally there are extensive cultural issues and moral biases in the area of human sexuality making it impossible to apply any uniform definition. Some behaviors here in America that would be considered behaviors indicating sex addiction would be the norm in other cultures. With a real disease such as coronary artery disease culture has no impact at all. If your arteries have blockage then they have blockage regardless of your local culture. Additionally the extensive differences in sexuality between the genders adds great difficulty in defining aberrant behavior in sex addiction. This space of proposed pathology is so filled with the risk of labeling people as addicted or diseased by agenda driven groups that it is dangerous in itself.
The author also does a tremendous job showing the unintended harm the concept of “sex addiction” causes because it implies a disease at which people can’t control themselves ultimately absolving them from personal responsibility for their own behavior.
I’m always a proponent of exploring both sides of an issue. If you entertain ideas of the disease mongering addictionologist that promote the pathologizing of human sexual behavior then you owe it to yourself to hear out the other side presented so intelligently by David Ley in The Myth Of Sex Addiction. A very important and needed book in this area. So as usual Hit The Books, They Don’t Hit Back!