Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bill Maher: Stop Saying Sex Addiction Like It's a Bad Thing


Now, I haven't commented on Tiger Woods much because, well, he's just a golfer and it took me this long to give a shit. But all this talk about sex addiction now - please - sex addiction is just something Dr. Drew made up because he had no other way to explain Andy Dick. And that's not just me saying that - it's also the American Psychiatric Association, which does not list sex addiction in its manual; it does not regard it as a real psychological syndrome, like delirium or bipolar disorder or any of the other things Glenn Beck suffers from.


Okay, so the essay's mostly fluff, but, as usual with Maher, it does raise a very good point.

That is, there's no such thing as sex addiction. I mean okay, I'll grant that there are no doubt some people who pursue sex so often that their lives suffer for it in various ways, but labeling such behavior "addiction" hasn't done much more than allow a veritable industry to arise, one that offers "treatment" for the "addicted," fodder for both gossip and political columnists alike, a route to redemption for celebrities and politicians, and shitloads of self-righteousness for whoever wants to claim it. Seriously. People have gotten rich off of "sex addiction," which is no doubt why we hear about it so much these days.

But the amount of money grabbed by sex addiction hucksters is only a minor part of the problem. What really troubles me is that it's not the OCD types, people with real problems, who make the headlines and capture our depraved imaginations: rather, it's famous people who simply like to have a lot of sex. And that fucks up the entire national conversation about sexuality.

Remember all the cries of "Sex Addict" when the news about President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky's liaisons became public? Instead of talking about sexuality and the possibility that Bill and Hillary may have had something of an open marriage at that point, and what that might mean in terms of how we understand human relationships, we were talking about bullshit. At least one pundit, on Pacifica Radio, had the sense to ask "how many times do you have to have sex before you're an addict?" But that was just one guy on one public radio network. What most people were hearing from the corporate media were sanctimonious castigations for the President's adultery mixed with armchair psychologists analyzing Bill's "addiction." Same thing with Tiger Woods.

We might as well be asserting in a serious conversation about evolution that God placed dinosaur bones underground in order to test our faith. In the end, all that "sex addiction" does is make the people who take it seriously more stupid.

Like we need something to make people more stupid.