Challenging the Concept of Sex Addiction

b8c1sexaddict Challenging the Concept of Sex Addiction

If you’re skeptical about the ease with which addiction
diagnoses are handed out these days, this
study may be up your alley:This article takes a critical look at the recent
history of the concept of sex addiction, an archetypal modern
sexual invention. Sex addiction began as a 1980s product of late
twentieth-century cultural anxieties and has remained responsive to
those tensions, including its most recent iteration, “hypersexual
disorder.” Its success as a concept lay with its medicalization,
both as a self-help movement in terms of self-diagnosis, and as a
rapidly growing industry of therapists on hand to deal with the new
disease. The media has always played a role in its history, first
with TV, the tabloids, and the case histories of claimed celebrity
victims all helping to popularize the concept, and then with the
impact of the internet. Though it is essentially mythical, creating
a problem that need not exist, sex addiction has to be taken
seriously as a phenomenon. Rarely has a socio-psychological
discourse taken such a hold on the public imagination—and proven an
influential concept in academic circles too. We argue that this
strange, short history of social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism,
therapeutic self-interest, and popular cultural endorsement is
marked by an essential social conservatism—sex addiction has become
a convenient term to describe disapproved sex. Sex addiction is a
label without explanatory force.That’s the historians Barry Reay, Nina Attwood, and Claire
Gooder writing in the journal Sexuality & Culture. I’d
like to do more than quote the abstract, but the rest of the paper
is paywalled; I have not, as of yet, acquired a copy, let alone
formed an opinion of all its arguments. But Tracy Clark-Flory has
read it, and she has posted some more details at

Excerpt from – 

Challenging the Concept of Sex Addiction

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