Porn: For men only?
ADDICTIONS & ANSWERSFriday, July 9th 2010, 4:00 AM
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“Midnight last night,” writes Grace, “I got out of bed to find my boyfriend at hiscomputer, the screen filled with porn. Ken admitted he’s been doing it all three yearswe’ve been together. When I told him it made me feel insecure, inadequate as a woman,he promised never to do it again. Dr. Dave and Bill,” she ends, “can I believe him?”
A lot of men can take porn the way they take a drink. Now and then, or never atall, and with no apparent harm done. But if Ken’s erotic interests are wrapped up in anaddictive cycle, Grace is probably going to be disappointed.
We all know how the sight of a pretty woman zooms from a guy’s eye directly to thetestosterone with the speed of light, completely bypassing the heart and brain. Mydifficulty is understanding how something can be addictive without introducing some newchemical into the system
Several decades of science tell us that the major brain chemical in non-drugaddictions is dopamine. Eating, gambling, compulsive shopping and, sure, porn too.Simply put, you get high on dopamine, and before you know it, you are chasing an evengreater dopamine fix in a fog of denial and delusion.
Dave, what makes porn a For Men Only addiction? Celebrities and politicians toonumerous to mention all seem to confirm my admittedly non-scientific hypothesis.
Our society applauds “the stud,” the seemingly oversexed male. Women’ssexual desires still get hidden in the shadows, lest they be called the ugly names we allknow. Just as women were the closet alcoholics of the 80s, they are the closet sexaddicts of this decade.
I recently read that what addiction M.D. Scott Perlman noted aboutGrammy AwardWinner Kanye Westwho says that his sex addiction contributed to his success! When hewas in 7th Grade he created a sex-themed video game. As an adult he takespornography with him everywhere he goes and says he “needs” sex at least twice a day.
Nor is it surprising to see that compulsive sexual behavior is often entwinedwith alcohol and drug abuse. Who can forget Kanye’s rant onstage about howBeyoncewas cheated out of her trophy at theMTVAwards--where he was swigging Cognacstraight from the bottle on the Red Carpet?
So, sex addiction is an equal-opportunity compulsion, often hidden in women andcommonly wrapped up in a dual addiction to alcohol or drugs?
When we worked together at Scripps, you may remember how many coupleswe discharged for jeopardizing their alcohol or drug treatment by having furtive sexalmost anywhere but in their beds. Of course, the other issue was that they were eachmarried to someone else!
All of which—surprise! surprise! -- bringsLindsay Lohanto mind. Did you see howthe celebrity blogs were “a-twitter” at her last stay at the posh rehab called Cirque?Allegedly, Lindsay was caught in a compromising position with a male patientin abathroom cubicle when staff went to check on some unusual moaning coming frombehind the door.
I will let your imagination float with that; but the important thing was that,several days later, when she was reportedly tested for substances —her urinalysiscame back positive for drugs, sources revealed.
Let me mention some non-scientific thoughts of my own about why women arerarely addicted to porn. Early in my career, I used to write for Helen Gurley BrownatCosmo. “Bill,” she told me one day, “the sexes are equal, but not the same. Evolutionshaped men to want to impregnate as many women as possible. Which means, ‘Love’em and Leave ‘em.’ Men can separate sex from love. The genetic structure in womenalways remembers there may be a child, and she needs a man to stick around to helpraise that child. Women want involvement, they want romance.” Dave, times may havechanged. That genetic structure in women has not yet.
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