Published in my column Sex, or Something Like It in the February issue of The Lynchburg Current.
After Tiger Wood’s recent fall from grace, and Dr. Drew Pinsky’s VH1 reality series, Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew, the nation has become more aware of a type of addiction that is more prevalent than drugs or alcohol; sex.
When most people hear the term ‘sex addiction’ they probably imagine some deranged nymphomaniac or pervert. However, sex addiction can happen to anyone, at any age, and as college students we are extremely vulnerable…Dr. Pinsky defines the addiction as a type of intimacy disorder, for people who become addicted to sex are often unfamiliar with what it means to truly become intimate with another person. Instead they focus on sex, substituting it for intimacy and inevitably becoming addicted to it, as they struggle to feel any type of connection with someone else.
“It is one of the problems of our time,” Pinsky explained in a 2009 interview with Oprah. “We’ve just been through a period of history where sexuality was viewed as a revolution and [people thought] it’s okay to do whatever you’re into, but the fact is, sexuality has become a drug in our culture.”
A college campus provides the perfect setting for the start of a sex addiction; an environment with hundreds of strangers who many nights of the week are looking to get drunk, get out there and make deep, soulful connections with one another, right? Wrong. How many people know a girl who just can’t seem to realize that sleeping with a guy won’t make him like her? Or a guy who feels the need to get with a different girl (or three) every weekend?
A freshman in college is thrown into a setting where for the first time in their lives they can make decisions completely for themselves, from what classes to take, what clubs or teams to join, to what brand of booze they can afford (a handle of Burnett’s is only thirteen dollars, and I have a theory you can also run your car on it…) For the first time in their lives, students are doing what they want, and who they want, whenever they want to do it. Everyone around them is doing the same, looking good (maybe?), and ready to get out there and have a good time. If you throw alcohol into the mix, subtract a large amount of clothing and nearly all inhibition, you inevitably end up with copious amounts of sex.
And for some it doesn’t matter, and they have an easy time differentiating sex with a real connection. However, for those young adults who are trying to find a real connection in casual sex, they may end up with a problem with sex addiction before they have even packed on their signature freshman fifteen. (Just because the ice cream machine is on during breakfast, doesn’t mean it is an appropriate breakfast food). Substituting human interaction with random sex, someone struggling with sex addiction simply can’t get any peace if they’re not gettin’ a piece.
If you think you know someone who suffers from sex addiction, try locking them in their dorm room for the weekend without a phone or internet connection, because phone sex and Skype sex can fuel sex addiction too. No, don’t do that, but maybe you should talk to them about why it is they can’t seem to function without a couple used condoms in the garbage under their lofted bed(because you are using condoms, right? Right?).
If you yourself think you may be en route to a serious sex addiction, try giving it up for the new year, or buying a huge medical book on STDs and peruse it before you head out on the weekends. If none of that works, seek counseling, because sex addiction can seriously damage your mental and physical health, wreak havoc on your relationships, and turn you into a creepy middle aged nymph with emotional issues and an account on AshleyMadison.com.