Pornography and Sex Addiction is not just a man’s problem

This early sexualization propelled Hope (her online name) into “sex play” with other kids and promoted an unhealthy obsession with sex, pornography and the power that women in pornography seemed to wield.

“I felt unattractive as a kid,” Hope said. “I was overweight and … the idea of being a beautiful woman that men wanted to be with so much was a really intoxicating idea to me.”

It was so intoxicating that during high school and college Hope found herself in a series of problematic relationships, only later realizing just how far she went to gain attention and affection, even if it was warped and violent.


This is also why I can’t really be that angry at Sydney Leathers. At 21, she could make her own decisions, but the risky behavior she displayed is also indicative of a problem. One that lots of parents are trying to ignore right now, which is that their kids boys and girls alike are sending porn to each other.

Anthony W., like many people who have an addiction, knew how to pick someone who would be amenable to his addiction.

Thoughts on Anthony W.

I really liked Ta-Nehisi’s take on Weiner’s behavior, because it’s not just about the whats and whys of a “sexual scandal”, it’s about what Mr. Weiner’s actions say about his own short comings as a person:

There is something else at work here also — a lack of compassion. Here is where I differ with many of my liberal and libertarian friends. I believe that how you treat people matters. It is folly to embarrass your pregnant wife before an entire nation. To do the same thing again is cruelty. And there is the promise of more to come. One argument holds that what happens between Weiner and his wife is between them. I agree with this argument. But cruelty is not abolished by the phrase “consenting adults.” And the fact that the immoral is not, and should not be, illegal does not make morality meaningless. Huma Abedin has one choice. We have another. — Ta-Nehisi Coates

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What about me?

Sometimes I get super sadsack. I’m like no one will ever want me or love. No one will ever understand me. I work with a guy who has a pretty intense stutter when he gets excited or when he is confronted. He talked before about how hard it is to communicate how it really requires that he thinks before he speaks.

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In the last week, I’ve joined a gym. Worked out everyday except today and really feel good about myself. Or so I thought. When I’m sweating I actually feel sexy and beautiful, but it doesn’t last very long. Lately I’ve actually been sleeping in my workout sweat. Partially it’s to keep my SO away from me and partly because it’s the last positive feeling I have before I go to sleep and I’m trying to prolong it. Yes, I’m so gross and smelly, but since I’m eating clean my sweat smells and tastes like nothing. It smells like water.

I’m convinced that humans continually reproduce patterns of pain and pleasure and that they spend so much of their time trying to recreate the first pleasure that the addiction that almost everyone has is not being in the present and not being able to recognize joy in the pleasant. When people have midlife crises it’s not about actually recapturing youth. It’s about how you felt when you did things even though you were afraid in youth. It’s about being exposed to new things and not being complacent and above all it’s an inability to articulate that.

Brain cells that wire together, fire together (we never understand these positive experiences as little bumps of dopamine, endorphins, a chemical rush). All that comes out of it in our stilted language is new spouse, new mate, new car, new something. And yet none of these new things make us as happy as we thought. It is only once we learn and can see the pattern that we manage it. Until then we keep shopping few piecemeal answers to a problem that requires a holistic approach.

The sex acts you love the most? Ones you’ve had he most positive experience with. The one that I still try to recapture as a 16 year old girl feeling cunnilingus for the first time. The one that my SO has is his first girlfriend riding him and that is the first time someone paid sexual attention to him and it was a positive experience. We just spend time over and over again trying to recreate that and new feelings in as many was as we can. Then we replay that in everything, or we see a new image from porn and we want to try that.

I’m examining my patterns and saying fuck it. I don’t want them anymore. I feel so weird to be in this state at only 32. Realizing that everything I thought I liked is the result of some really fucked up trauma and many of the things I’ve never desired are what it takes to be healthy.

Stop me, I’m driving myself crazy…

I got the crazy idea to hire an escort, strictly non-sexual. I used to think this was pathetic, because it’s all an illusion and you have to know that you’re just there for the service. But now it seems more appealing to me. A companion experience where I chill out with a dude for a few hours, and then go on my way. 

What do I fantasize about? I fantasize about just hanging out. We have dinner, play a few video games, and then he tells me about his extreme daredevil hobbies. There is no interest in me as a sex object, and I’m not interested in him as one. Only in that he is male and provides me with a mimicry of interest. He has to be convincing and a little stylish.

Although, in a weird twist I did fantasize about buying a ring from Tiffany’s and presenting it to myself as a surprise! And at the core, I know this is all outrageous. My SO could do this for me, but I don’t want it from him. I feel like his deceit makes it more palatable to pay for companionship. And I almost feel like I’ve been paying for it all along. I could throw out $300 or $400 here or there, skip those couture pieces I like and just pay some dude to spend time sitting in the park with me.

And how do I rationalize that in my belief that if the roles were reversed, I’d find this to be disgusting. I’d rail against capitalism forcing people to have to become emotional companions to earn ends meet. That emotions are something that shouldn’t have to be paid for. And yet a part of me desires such a controlled response to meeting someone who is interested in me and disengages when I want to.

I told him about it and felt that in this case, explicitly because of the non-emotion and non-sex, I felt like it was going to a therapist. As a feminist, this should heavily interfere with my own beliefs and I know this, it’s just incredibly hard not to participate in it. But everything in this culture is a commodity. It is why they hire young women at Starbucks (and in food service and hospitality industries) and you pay money to talk to them (tips, for the drink that’s not worth anything) for 5-10 minutes a day (if you’re that type of person).

It’s why we want doctors with good bedside manner, and nurses and nannies that are emotionally involved or at least can fake compassion well. I could do this with any of my friends, but I want a new person that is NSA. Someone who doesn’t need to know me, but can interact with me for a few hours out of the week.

There are so many male companions out there, but I’d need one who could at least fake being as non-sexist as possible for 45 minutes, whose read bell hooks, Combahee River Collective, Audre Lorde, Cherry Moraga, Gloria Anzaldua, Andrea Smith, etc.

I’m down with being catfished. Just sell me a dream that involves my interests. Sell me a dream that doesn’t say you love me, but that says it’s okay for me to want to spend time with you. Sell me a dream where our conversation isn’t a list of facts about things I’m not interested in, but that starts with a mutual interest and listen when I tell you I’m not down with that. Sell me a dream where you don’t dominate the conversation. Sell me friendship, where I get to be the friend and I get to participate and I’m not just watching from the sidelines anymore.

But I know that friendship is not for sale. It’s just so appealing to think maybe it could be.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”                                             Elizabeth Roosevelt

Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”-Deborah Reber