Sex addiction means the addict doesn't enjoy sex?

Submitted by freedom on
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I heard David Linden, author of The Compass of Pleasure (, talk on NPR ( Sex addiction in particular came up. He doesn't think there are many sex addicts because as long as a person gets pleasure they are not an addict. That doesn't sit right with me. Linden might be qualified and well-intentioned, but he seems to be missing something. He also describes himself as having a not very addictive personality while being a hedonist who has to spread out his vices, presumably so as not to become addicted. That alone suggests to me that he hasn't fully integrated all that he could into his own life. I also question this distribute your vices model. Dopamine is dopamine. Does it matter how it gets to the brain if it is still getting there in large quantities?

I agree

I heard the same interview. I don't know the man but the parts you mentioned seemed to be a tad hypocritical to me. Maybe we both heard it wrong but hat is like saying cocaine addicts do not like cocaine. I know people who are coke heads, they love cocaine. My video game addict brother, enjoys the hell out of video games. I'm addicted to masturbation, I still love it. I love real sex with girls much more and thats why I stopped, not because I hate masturbation.

You have got to be kidding.

That is hilarious!

"He doesn't think there are many sex addicts because as long as a person gets pleasure they are not an addict."

Oh really?

Oh, I'm so glad to know that. Whew! What a relief. All this time I thought I had an addiction, first to porn then to masturbation, but now I can rest assures that because I was still deriving pleasure from both activities, I wasn't a "true" addict. Uh huh.

Those my friends are the words of true addict who is in denial. Having been down that river before (you know the one. . . De Nile is de longest river in de world), I can spot a fellow addict a mile away. Unfortunately, if he doesn't get out of that river, eventually his boat will sink.

I wish the media and for that matter our entire society would clue in a bit more. It seems to me that statements like that, if left unchallenged, can do a lot of damage.


"He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened." -Lao Tzu

We listened, too

I think he was getting at the fact that the addict isn't enjoying the subtleties due to numbed pleasure response, and is caught chasing the highs of seduction. But I don't know.

The part about smokers getting hooked more easily than heroin addicts struck me. Gary has said this to me number of times, but only after this interview did I get it that Internet porn is like smoking in terms of frequent brain-training dopamine hits, while sex addiction is more like a heroin user who shoots up less frequently. No *wonder* you guys have such a hard time quitting.

He might have meant a lot of

He might have meant a lot of things, but we can only hear what he said. He's free to comment if he likes.

I've been told smoking links to other addictive behaviors and thus drives various addictions simultaneously so that things like caffeine, sugar, etc. are tied into the smoking addiction. I don't know if that is accurate. Perhaps I didn't understand the comment enough to repeat it accurately. You can go out for a smoke anytime, but say drinking is generally more acceptable in the evening. Smartphones have been rapidly adopted in large part due to the dopamine drips of the high of connection (email, facebook, etc.) and porn (I see people viewing porn on them pretty often these days).


I think Linden was applying observations of substance to natural rewards, in that many substance addicts don't really enjoy use, as much as they are preventing the lows of not using. The addict wants it, but doesn't so much like it.

Natural rewards are programmed into our brains to be both liked and wanted. So I don't think he's accurate. However, once we over consume lots of junk foods, deer meat cooked over a fire seems pretty boring - we don't like it so much, but if we are hungry we will want it.

Or porn addicts with ED. It's clear that the liking aspect of real life sex has been reduced, other wise it would be just as easy to get an erection with the real deal.

Is that necessarily true?

Or porn addicts with ED. It's clear that the liking aspect of real life sex has been reduced, other wise it would be just as easy to get an erection with the real deal.[/quote]

Is that necessarily true? Liking and the neural pathways that lead to erection might not be the same. While the range of likes might get skewed toward the porn images, that doesn't mean that men don't like real sex.

Right, what freedom said.

I can see where the desensitization comes in. My brain(not me) prefers the super stimulation and huge variety found online and the easy masturbation that goes with it. I(the person) prefer sex with a real girl, which I'm sure we all do. It's battle between our brains and our selves. It's too bad our brain wins out over our selves until we reboot and take our brains back over again.

@gary I see what you are saying he is trying to say(if that makes sense.) Meth and Heroin users often don't continue taking their drug for the highs but instead to avoid the lows. I think our addictions might be unique. We want to stop porn/masturbation which to our brain is just supercharged sex, but we don't want to stop sex, we want to increase real sex.

The only thing like it might be people who become overweight through eating junkfood. You can't just stop eating food, you'll die. The trick is to avoid the high calorie food long enough that you HAVE to eat low calorie food because you're hungry. Once your brain gets more sensitive to low calorie, bland tasting food your body fat drops extremely fast. It's one of the tricks they use behind the scenes on "The Biggest Loser." Viewers only see the contestants for a fraction of the contestants whole week. The contestants can only eat food that is available to them and can you guess what kind of food that is? Yep, low calorie food.

Maybe they should make a game show for us like that. Put us all in a house with no internet or t.v. or anything else that is stimulating. All we can do are activities that help our recovery. God that would be a boring show!!


True, but if they film me, a woman and my "snappy new erectile health", I think that would look a lot like porn. I would feel bad about contributing to the problem itself. }:)