‘sexual desire’

Porn Addict or Selfish Bastard? Life Is More Complicated Than That

I’m seeing an epidemic of “porn addiction” in my office. Not of porn addiction, but of “porn addiction.” Here’s how it looks: Wife/girlfriend somehow assumes that husband/boyfriend does not watch porn (guess that’s what she means by “he’s one in a million”). One day, his porn watching comes to her attention (he leaves something on the screen, she searches his website history, he gets an email or bill from some friendly porn site, etc.). She freaks. She decides what his porn watching “means”: * He doesn’t care for her * He’s been faking sexual desire or enjoyment * He’d rather…

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Is It Sex?

I’m in Houston, lecturing to the Houston Group Psychotherapy Society about “sexual narratives”—the vocabulary and stories with which our culture discusses sexuality, which patients and therapists inevitably use, too. Stories like “all men are hounds,” “I have a hot Italian temper,” “oral sex is for prostitutes,” or “I’m cursed with a small penis, so I can’t satisfy women.” This morning, I talked about the place where I get my hair cut. You check in, then go into the changing room to remove and hang your blouse or shirt, and put on a smock. On a busy day, there might be…

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Map of Non-Monogamy Makes It Clearer

The related topics of monogamy, affairs, and infidelity account for a large percentage of every sex therapist’s caseload. One common assumption—of both therapists and media alike—is that people are either behaving monogamously or not, and if they’re not, they’re being “unfaithful,” and the details aren’t especially relevant. That’s terribly disrespectful to sex; when people discuss other kinds of behavior, they gladly use lots of categories. Think, for example, of situations in which a person or couple: • Doesn’t have children; • Doesn’t have a job; • travels abroad; • loses weight; • manages joint finances In all of these situations,…

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Religion & Sexuality: Iron Age or Dark Ages?

Since today is Christmas Day, our subject is sexuality and religion. Specifically, what do the world’s three Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, & Judaism) say about sex? Of course, it depends on whom you ask. Each religion’s adherents form a wide spectrum of observance, from the orthodox/fundamentalist to the “I like the holiday food.” That said, here are some of the common ideas about sex featured in the mainstream traditions of one or more of the three religions: * no sex during menstruation * no birth control * no abortion * no same-gender sex * no anal sex * no oral…

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(very funny) Movie Review: A Dirty Shame

I just saw the stupidest—and funniest—sex film of the decade. John Waters made A Dirty Shame in 2004. Perhaps you’ve seen one of his 11 other films—Hairspray (made into a Tony-winning Broadway musical in 2003), the brilliant Cecil B. Demented, Pink Flamingos (one of 6 that he made with the cross-dressing, 300-pound actor Divine), or his first, Mondo Trasho (best movie title of the century, no?). A Dirty Shame stars Tracy Ullman, our era’s classic comedienne (think Claudette Colbert, Myrna Loy, Lucille Ball, Rosalind Russell) and pop singer Chris Isaak (our era’s um, Chris Isaak) as Sylvia & Vaughn Stickles,…

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Judge Criminalizes Strip Club, Patronizes Stripper

A 67-year-old guy is arrested by the FBI for illegally using marijuana, cocaine, and prescription painkillers with a stripper over many months. In addition to purchasing lap dances and sex with her at a strip club, he had a sexual relationship with her outside lasting many months. Nothing unusual about this. A lot of victimless crimes, but crimes nevertheless. It turns out that the guy is a longtime federal judge, appointed by Ronald Reagan. That’s certainly uncommon—most people aren’t federal judges—but judges are human, subject to the same impulses and narcissistic sense of invulnerability as the rest of us. So…

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