This morning, in light of Weinergate, Slate.com reposted an article from Feb. 2010 called, In Defense of Sex Addicts. Author Hanna Rosin, in originally discussing the Tiger Woods sex scandal, cites a couple of authors who have waited for this “sex addiction” thing to blow up. Her general claim is as follows:
Not so long ago, there was no easy way at all to publicly shame a celebrity pig or even any ordinary pig. The term sex addict does some of that work, and its introduction into the psychiatric idiom could be considered an important moment in feminist history. Suddenly, certain brutish behaviors that used to be overlooked were exiled as abnormal. And in the clinical literature, the word promiscuous came to primarily describe not hysterical women but rather predatory men.
I see this as saying, Hey, men with mistresses and all that jazz, no need to feel bad. You were just a sex addict. This seems to go against everything I think the feminist movement stands for : creating equal rights and promoting respect for women and humanity as a whole. In fact, the creation of the term “sex addiction” actually hurts the feminist cause.
First, the term does little to attack the root cause of the addiction. Yes, people are addicted to alcohol, tobacco, gambling, food, drugs, etc. But with the exceptions of the ones with addictive properties, what causes people to have addictions? An addiction can just be a symptom or outlet of another problem, like depression.
Second, the term “sex addiction” gives a label to a behavior, and with it an excuse. No honey, it’s not that I don’t love you; it’s that I have an addiction. That’s something I can see many men saying in this post-sex addiction world. Now if we have bad behavior, we have a disease or an addiction.
This isn’t to downplay the severity of people with actual addictions, I believe people struggle with addictions and need help in solving the problems they face.But before anyone jumps around yelling about a victory for feminists, they should consider that sex addiction may be (and most likely is) used to cover up for indiscretions.
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