Sex Addiction. . . More, more, more . . .


An addict will always get their fix, whatever obstacles are placed before them, and if your fix is sex then the internet is a dealers den. It’s not just immigration hoo-ha that is filling UK newspapers, but Prime Minister Cameron’s demand to block online porn, in ‘order to protect children’, bastard love-child of the so called ‘snoopers charter’.

We’ve heard this message before when homos were banged up in prison, before they were de-criminalised in 1967, in order to ‘protect children’ and that never worked as we weren’t peodophiles, but paid the price for ignorance. Nor will this, but that’s a different story, this blog is about sex addiction costing you more than money, and blocking porn isn’t the answer.

sex-addictionSince 60’s liberation, gay men have notoriously been labeled ‘promiscuous’, in much the same way that society called women that enjoyed sex ‘whores’. Neither viewpoints hold water, nor does a current study by the University of California, published last week, on the respected Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology site, pronouncing that “Sexual desire, not hypersexuality, is related to neurophysiological responses elicited by sexual images ( not sex addiction )”. 

This small study of 53 people ( including 13 females ) with no indication of sexuality preferences, has been panned from all quarters as meaningless, even though it hit headlines : in short, it concludes that sex addiction is a fallacy and people are just plain horny. Partners of sex addicts would certainly disagree, with this conclusion.

However, the rise of the internet, has increased opportunity for sexual exploration and therefore sexual compulsive behaviour can become unchecked. My view is that the internet has offered space for sexual and emotional discovery, that encourages the notion that sexuality is not so black or white, that developing grey areas of ‘men who have sex with men’ and bi-curious, have enlightened those who in the past were simply suppressed or confused.

However, sex addiction IS real. You know at least one sexual compulsive who needs more, more more, and it may be you. So where do you begin to arrest this condition? Let’s start here :

Cruise-Control-Weiss-Robert-9781555838218Robert Weiss in his book CRUISE CONTROL / Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men, writes on the topic of seeking a cure :

” Many people who read books like this one enter 12 Step programs, seek therapy, and check into treatment centers are seeking ” the answer”. They want to solve all their problems and answer all their questions – as if their addiction were an equation in a maths quiz.

Some will drop out or give up when they find out that they aren’t going to be cured once they figure it out. The problem is that they don’t actually want or know how to solve the problem; somehow they think that having that “Ah-ha” moment of understanding will be enough.

No amount of information is going to stop a sex addict from repeating patterns of problem behavior. You can only meaningfully change your behavior by taking deliberate, ongoing, active, and committed steps toward change. While this and previous chapters have described and discussed understanding sexual addiction, upcoming chapters will focus on creating change. As we move forward, we’ll learn how to make this happen one day at a time. But first, let’s consider how party drugs and other addictive substances become intertwined with sex addiction”.

Change occurs through action not just understanding, and recovery stems from acting out the unfamiliar. Maybe you are in an open relationship where goal posts keep changing or one wants more than discussed when it comes to boundaries. Yet the perception of sex addicts fisting themselves in a selfie or sauna sex salivation is also a fallacy, as as many kinds of sex addicts abound as the range of fetishes on a porn site. Often sexual compulsives are serial relationship finders believing that regular relationship sex will keep them away from pursuing addictive habits, but it rarely works.

mirror-man-150x150Most sex addicts hunt alone anonymously, while many are also romance addicts addicted to the chase, sexting, flirting, grooming, arranging and avoiding feelings of ‘being alone’ and seeking approval. Real approval comes from looking in your own mirror, not outside of it.

In recovery, healthily ‘being alone’ is essential in determining feelings of withdrawal, patterning and self valuation. Many support groups for sex addiction exist, check the net, or purchasing the book above, will at least acknowledge that sexual activity is getting out of hand and can be resolved.

Maybe some chems need to be dropped or reducing alcohol if you use frequently. We know that some things go together like apple pie and custard, but sex addiction also has it’s own companions : and you know what they are and where they lead.

Put a lid on it.

A-kettle-boiling-006Do you resort to the silent treatment when you are upset with someone or go hell for leather in a latin way? Is your stance to seethe like a boiling kettle or perhaps one volcanic eruption and it’s over?

Either way anger pushes buttons like grindr on speed dial. Don’t you just love people who express ‘passive aggressive’ under their tongue while ‘mopping & muttering’ cleaning the floor? This is likely to indicate “YOU should have done it”. Inter-personal relationships huh, no wonder they call them a “laboratory of learning”.

Passive aggressive types who can’t express in words what they want, really pushes buttons in those who do the volcanic eruption and it’s over. Trying to decode ‘shoulder shrugging’, ‘don’t know’, ‘not sure,’ ‘I’ll have what you’re having laziness’ can blow the whistle off any kettle in reaction, and there you have it – reacting – rather than responding, never works. Living with others who cause you to blow your top, making you feel irritated, ignored or victimised is difficult, but it’s even more difficult to accept that those feelings are not “given’ to you, you simply choose to employ them, because often you couldn’t get your own way.

Learning to accept the behaviour of others, rather than wish they acted out differently, is the key to emotional balance, and maybe anger is a luxury you can’t afford anymore. It always leaves you short changed. 12 Step Programme material talks about being ‘powerless over people, places and things’ which means we can only change our response to others, not change them. When you accept this at heart, it’s easier not to take things personally, if anger is around you. This reminds me of The 4 Toltec Agreements with Self, but the two that stand out for the solution to other peoples anger toward you, are these :

Don’t take Anything PERSONALLY. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you become immune to the actions and thoughts of others, you won’t be a victim of needless suffering.

Don’t Make ASSUMPTIONS. Find the courage to quietly ask questions and express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings and thrust anger.


Similarly another well read practiced tome, ‘A Course In Miracles (ACIM )’, states that “We are never upset for the reason we think”. This helped me a lot when in emotional turmoil about someone’s behaviour toward me. It stops me in my tracks to recall that what is happening in this moment, be it an angry client, or a late bus when I need it, is that getting angry is unlikely to make the bus arrive and that ACCEPTANCE is the answer to emotional wellness. This also means that when a client or friend is angry ‘they are never upset for the reason they think’ – it’s more about the unhealed back story. Whatever is unhealed in the past, like abandonment, abuse or guilt will resonate like a boiling kettle at some point. You just happened to be standing there. This does not mean that we avoid taking responsibility for our own actions, thoughts and behaviours – we are not exempt- but it does offer the facility to view the bigger picture of a quarrel or internalised angst.

Recovery from codependency also means creating boundaries in order to perceive a situation correctly. Checking out your role in someone’s anger toward you, means yes you might have responsibility here, so if you are wrong own it. If you feel ‘wronged’ question it, then recognise whether, this is ‘their stuff’ or ‘your stuff’. Getting defensive is not a solution but a fuller understanding of the bigger picture, including ‘you are never upset for the reason you think’, and not inviting debate, can end the game. Let feelings pass, see the facts and reconcile later.

larry-kramer-e1304350020598There are occasions where anger has relevance. I remember a time in the AIDS years when Larry Kramer rattled gay cages when he said ” gay men weren’t angry ENOUGH” over AIDS and created ACT UP in 1987, a direct action protest organisation over apathy to the solutions of friends dying, with the slogan SILENCE=DEATH. 78 years young, he is still is a fiery, angry, wonderful, beast of passion. So yes there are times when anger has a purpose! Some say we are not vocal enough about rising HIV rates when we live in a world of information about the virus, and the current rise of social media and armchair activism, though often criticised, has at least lent fervour to our spirit of injustice on world events.

Perhaps we need more Larry Kramers’s to remind us of our silence, where it’s wise to express anger and if WE don’t do it – who will? in many languages.

This blog of mine was first published in HIM-MAG on October 1st 2013 :

Living in balance

It’s ironic that most of us choose or have chosen a stimulant to balance us ; booze, gear, puff or nicotine for example, at first it works then it starts to get out of hand, it gets too much and then we are hooked into being taken hostage, kidnapped until we set ourselves free. Recognizing that we are not the most important person on the planet is a beginning in unfurling the freedom flag. Freedom comes from standing back and making informed choices rather than letting the ego run amok. It’s easy to think we are missing something if we don’t join in. Many people don’t possess a mobile phone, an ipod or have access to a computer, and more than survive. Many have learnt that it takes courage to be with yourself, to sometimes dispense with the demands of others or living the “gay lifestyle” whatever that means. In other words, it’s OK not to fit in.
” There’s just too much – too much to learn, too much to see, too much information, too much technology, too many techniques, too many ways to pleasure, too many ways to pain. Too much! How can we be expected to take it all in and deal with it? Perhaps we don’t have to take it all in OR deal with it. What a relief to know that we can go deeper and deeper into whatever we wish, and through that exploration come to understand the everything. Since all of creation is a whole and the oneness of all creation is a reality, our world is indeed a holo-movement or hologram. In exploring the depths of one thing, we gain wisdom about others. Our task, then, is to see what calls to us, what piques our imagination, what stimulates our being and asks us to delve deeper and deeper into it. When we follow this calling, we will find balance. “

These wise words of Anne Wilson Schaef remind me that my current intuition has value. When I was bang at it, using chems every day, I thought that spontaneous thinking and acting out was intuition. What I discovered with therapy was that I was addicted to imbalance and that this spontaneous acting out was unhealthy, unfounded in wisdom, and detrimental to my health. Basically I couldn’t trust myself and conned myself that I could. Most of us come into a recovery space, therapy or personal growth to find balance but the moment we start searching the net, self help books or lists of therapies we can easily become overwhelmed with too much knowledge or choices. Best if we leave it another day then.

Delving deeper into yourself, to check where you harbour imbalance takes investment. It’s not cheap to hire a therapist, coach or counselor but then we cheapen ourselves by NOT delving deeper into what makes us tick, continue to hold resentment or end up with lost weekends, mobile phones and dignity. Think of all the ways you hide from your true self by getting trashed, buying clothes you don’t need with credit cards you have no idea what you owe, using coke to get the party started and deceptions that linger within your soul. All this costs time and money.
Taking the risk to dig deep into your patterning and re-balance your mind proves to be a wiser way to deplete your bank account and create balanced living. Anne Wilson Schaef continues ” In exploring the depths of one thing, we gain wisdom about others. ” What most of us find in therapy or coaching is that we are quite mad. When we get clearer about our own madness we see that the world is madder than first thought. No wonder Antony Newley sang ” Stop the World – I want to get off “. But the result of any therapy is to decide which world we want to live in so ask yourself that question, take stock and seek balance. What perception of the world ” out there ” do you have “. It is after all only a mirror image of your inner world view. Think sanely in balance and the world will change around you.


In the ’80’s Empowerment was bigger than big hair, and our Joanie as Alexis Carrington led the way. Big hair, big power shoulders and big drama on Dynasty had us hooked and at the same time our m8s were going down like flies to AIDS so the buzz word was EMPOWERMENT. At this time I was undergoing my own drama’s – recovering from active addiction, personal bankruptcy, cirrhosis of the liver plus living and dying with chronic active Hepatitis B Virus that had no cure. This is how I came to empower myself.

Every AIDS movie had to have 2 props, one was a token screaming queen and the other a copy of Louise L. Hay’s YOU CAN HEAL YOUR LIFE on the bedside cabinet. If you don’t believe me watch Philadelphia, the 1993 Tom Hanks movie.

When the book was published in 1984 she began creating and leading support groups for people living with HIV/ AIDS – she called these ” Hay Rides ” – for around 300 gay men who were told they were about to die. I got sent the book in 1984 from a friend in San Diego along with an AIDS tape with a guided meditation which I used every night for 3 years. By 1990 I hit the big 50 mark of people I knew who had died of AIDS, many gay recovering addicts and alcoholics with immune systems too weak to withstand longevity, then I stopped counting cases and going to funerals. Between 1994 -96 I worked with people who had a CD4 count under 10 and many in single figures. I assisted those dying in completing this lifetime but many are still alive today with combos, but combos are not empowering unless you HEAL YOUR LIFE alongside it – habits will return unless observed with intent for change.

During the 80’s you only had therapy if you had AIDS or experienced breakdown. Now we talk more about harm reduction rather than waiting to crash and burn. Therapy is now the stuff of glossy mags and pub talk but many still see therapy as fashionable nonsense rather than EMPOWERMENT. Look at Alexis – she powered herself on the outside – Big Shoulders, Big Eyes, Big Ambitions. Well it may get you noticed but it won’t get you sane. The birth of Muscle Marys came out of AIDS when young men became skin and bone before our eyes so we began to bulk up & beef up, but Empowerment comes from having the courage to look inside and not being concerned with the wrapping. Aussiebums never healed ANY life to my knowledge, but therapy has saved millions to balanced thinking & living.

Although parts of the book may feel too New Age and dated now, you cant deny that it has sold 35 million copies in over 30 languages and is still on the New York Times Best Seller List 25 years later. Louise wrote about Empowerment as a natural act and rather surprised that people hadn’t cottoned on to this simplicity – that thoughts are creative. If your mind or lifestyle is crammed and speedy look upon therapy of any kind, including bodywork, as a speed-bump that slows you down to a code of observation. Only by observation can you empower yourself or to put it another way – you can’t get well until you realise how sick you are.

You may ask yourself whether you are a grab-it-all like Alexis powering through with rancidity, swinging those big shoulders to the left and right barging through. Perhaps you have chosen to sound like this but the power is all show because when it comes to saying NO to someone, you always say YES to keep the peace. Maybe you think you are empowered being in a VIP area or on a guest list. You may also may want to check the fuel you use to power the engine.

This weeks REHAB exercise is to ask friends how they see you. Quentin Crisp always said that the most interesting thing about a person starts with ” the trouble with you is . . . So don’t ask your friends how good you are, cut to the chase and ask ” so what’s the trouble with me . . .?  Learning not to take criticism personally and taking it on the chin as constructive feedback is real empowerment. So take a breath, listen & learn.