SHAME Part 2: Is Sex Addiction Real?

SHAME Part 2: Is Sex Addiction Real?

[music]>>ANNA DAVID: Is Brandon a sex addict?>>ALEX KATEHAKIS: I would say Brandon is
definitely a sex addict and this is exemplified by his inability to
stop what he’s doing and his attempts to stop doing what he’s doing
but which fail. You also see that he has consequences by way
of potentially losing his job when his boss calls
him in and says, you know, what’s going on on your
computer, etc? and despite these negative consequences and
repeated efforts to stop he can’t stop doing what he’s doing. And we see that he’s in excruciating pain
over time also as he starts to build a tolerance when what he previously was doing was not enough until at the end when he’s in a state of great despair, degradation and pain.>>ETHLIE ANN VARE: Right, I think one of
the things that this film exemplifies well as far as
addiction is the cycle of craving, compulsion and withdrawal. That it is long past a matter of choosing a behavior because it’s fun. It’s certainly not fun. It’s actually past choice at all. In fact, the Brandon character doesn’t seem
to have a particular preference to any kind of sexual
activity. It’s just the sexual release, which is not
even for stimulation. I think it’s being portrayed as for desensitization. And that’s very much an aspect of the addictive
rather than… – This isn’t someone who’s partying. This is way, in a whole other world.>>CHRIS DONAGHUE: Yeah, we live in a completely sex-negative, sex-phobic culture. So I don’t tend to incorporate shame as an
identifier of sex addiction, or of anything. I expect people to have some kind of shame around their sexuality. So I think for me, sex addiction – like these two just said – is born out of negative consequences to your
life. Important areas of your life that are priorities become secondary to a behavior, thereby making it addictive.>>ALEX: I would say that sex addicts are
basically shameless when they are in their sex addiction and healthy shame would stop people from doing some of the things that people do that are
so destructive to themselves and the people around
them. And I would think that the boss – Mark is more of a recreational sex guy. He’s partying, he’s making it look fun. He’s having an affair on his wife, lying and betraying her.>>CHRIS: And to add to that, I think everyone exists on a continuum where we all have sex addict components and
traits. And so some of us are full-blown addicted and some are maybe more towards the center
in health, but we all have attributes of that. So I think it’s important that it’s a common
experience we all have where sex gets out of control at times, sex
doesn’t feel good at times ->>ETHLIE: I’m actually going to disagree
with you there, Chris.>>CHRIS: Please.>>ETHLIE: The definition of addiction as
accepted by the American Society for Addiction Medicine
(ASAM) right now – it’s a brain disease characterized by compulsive repetition – compulsive use of
a substance or repetition of a behavior despite negative life consequences. So the aspects of that are that it is a disease, it centers in the brain, it’s characterized by repetitive or compulsive
use of a substance or behavior despite negative life consequences. And that’s where I think it separates from just being a party animal just like heavy drinking is not the same as
alcoholism. That one has genetic and other biochemical
and neurological manifestations ->>CHRIS: Well – well, we can’t test for the
genetics and the biology. And as a community we don’t necessarily all
agree with that working definition. So I don’t operate from that. Because I think that’s a little slanted – as we can’t test the biology and genetic components. So I kind of work with people where I let
them subjectively, on an individual level, determine the role that it plays in their
life while acknowledging that we all will have
issues with sex at some point. Like we saw in the film, if you have eyes you’re going to be oriented towards that which you’re sexually attracted to, so I expect pieces like that. And that’s why I think you have to identify that individually based on what’s important to you, if it’s starting to create problems, there’s negative consequences, and things like that.>>ALEX: Yeah, I do think it’s an individual
problem – while this is not a caricature of a sex addict. This is definitely sex addiction. I mean, that last clip that we saw too where this guy’s face is contorted, he’s in pain, the sex is so profoundly mechanistic where he’s just pounding away at these women, you know, just squeezing some kind of arousal
out of his brain – speaks to him being in trouble. And so, I think it is different for everybody. And some people have what they call a high
bottom and some people a low bottom. So it just depends on whether there’s unmanageability and powerlessness in the person’s life.>>ANNA: And to the addicts, At what moment did you realize you were a sex addict?>>BUD: I’m Bud, and I would say that I realized that I was a sex addict the moment that I tried to stop and I could not.>>CARMEN: I’m Carmen, I’m a sex and love addict, and I did try to stop. And I was – I’m a low-bottom sex addict. And I was acting out to the point of physical harm. And I actually – It took me to try to commit suicide. And I could not stop. So I know for me it’s – It’s about life and death. And it is a disease for me. It’s very bad – it’s a very bad disease for
me.>>MILES: I’m Miles, I’m a sex addict. And what happened to me was when I was finally faced with negative consequences, that I was unable to stop a certain behavior. And already being in another recovery program, I realized, this is something I’m lying about, and I’m unable to stop. And that’s – I have an addiction.>>BUD: In the movie, you notice a progression of his sex addiction. He went from just hurting himself by spending a lot of time on his computer – to hurting others. He took time away from his job, he had a relationship with his sister that was somewhat destructive. And then it progressed into doing some illegal
activities – for example, like when he began imitating
that other couple having sex in the window. Having some relations in the bar with the
woman that was another man’s girlfriend – those are things that cross a line that we might think of as normal social boundaries.>>ANNA: The second clip is – what are the signs of sex addiction? [music]


  1. "If, when you honestly want to, you find that you can't quit entirely, or if when [using], you have little control over the amount you take, then you are probably [an addict]." – Bill W., founder of the very 1st 12-step addiction recovery organization. New York, ca. 1935. If it was a good enough definition for Bill, then it's good enough for us. As recovering porn addicts, we really are tired of these therapists and doctors who still don't get it, mischaracterizing a condition that has been figured out by the war-torn wounds of those of us who live it every day. If it's screwing up your life, and you can't stop doing even when you want to, then it's an addiction. Plain and simple. Let's stop all the namby-pambying around, and get on with the solution, we say

  2. I have to say this recovering industry is just horrible. If you are struggling with this I recommend Gary Wilson and Lance Dodes MD and James Fadiman and What the health. AA does not work, do your research and you will understand why. Peace.

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