Sunday 4 December 2016

Brendan O’ Neill: Sex addiction? Gross self-indulgence and sordid greed more like it

Published 13/01/2012 | 15:23

WITH the new Steve McQueen movie Shame now showing, everyone is banging on about the problem of "sex addiction". Shame tells the story of a high-flying bloke brought low by his insatiable lust for casual sex. And according to the media, there are many such men out there, men who have a weird, possibly chemical instinct to bed every woman they clap eyes on.

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Yesterday the BBC introduced us to Jeff Leach, a comedian (no, I've never heard of him either) who tells us that his "attitude to sex is just not normal". He "watches porn regularly" and has slept with 300 women. Naturally he has started seeing a psychotherapist to sort himself out. One newspaper today features a comment piece by a "recovering sex addict" who is on a mission to raise awareness about "the sheer scale of sex addiction", which is apparently so bad that it's leading to "crime and societal breakdown" and heaping an "untold burden on to the NHS, police and social service budgets".

Really? An army of sex addicts is bringing us to the brink of social collapse? I hate to be the one to break it to these self-pitiers and doom-mongers who would have us believe that their saucy conquests are driven by some uncontrollable compulsion, but there is no such thing as sex addiction. It's a myth. It's a fancy, psychobabbling term for what we used to call "promiscuity".

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