Sex Ed in Bed
Are you Erotophilic?
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).

Sex addiction, sex addiction, and more sex addiction! Argh! I just did my own armchair, 30 minute, research project by typing, “sex addiction” into my online search engine (highly scientific) and would you know that it generated over five million links! Holy obsession, Batman!

Reading over the first dozen or so sites, one would think that our sexuality is in an awful state of affairs. I wonder what it’s like when someone, looking for sex information stumbles onto this wall of addiction warnings. It’s as if I sat down in a good restaurant, opened the menu and all that’s listed is information about obesity — it’s definition, an enormous section about the horrors of obesity, a “quiz” to determine if I have an eating problem, and where to go to get my plump sorry arse some help. These online menus rarely mention what’s too eat, let alone what might be an exemplary healthy diet. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, fear is still used to indoctrinate our sexual understanding, and the “self-help” community is full of it. I suppose I can’t blame Nancy Reagan for her sex avoidance program when it’s so much easier to simply say,“No, no!” than it is to really say what is healthy sexuality.

Fortunately, when I furthered my extremely sophisticated and statistical study and typed in “sexual health” into my search engine, I came up with eighty million sites! Let there be no doubt that we are in the midst of a sexual revolution and it is found on the internet.

I’m concerned what tool of measurement do these “sex addict” sites use to determine what is sexual health and what is obsessive? “Sexual addiction” is such a term of the 21st century, yet, there is very little solid research on determining what it is, how to treat it or, for that matter, determining what sexual health is, too.

Some of the sex addict sites use the idea of control as a way to determine sex compulsivity. “Do you feel out of control? We can help you get in control of your sexual addiction, etc...” I find “control” to be a tricky term, since an orgasm is often described as the ultimate in letting go of control, and that ain’t a bad thing. Also, I’ve found that a lot of sexual problems occur because people are trying to be too controlling in the bedroom. So how can we use “control” as a measurement of addiction? Reading between the lines, I assume many of these sites are inferring not to control but to sexual responsibility, but that sure the hell is not what they are saying.

Another term the SA sites use as a kind of measurement is what level of intimacy one is having with a partner. This is just another way of rehashing the old myth about the only good and legitimate sex is when you’re having it with someone else in an idyllic loving monogamous relationship. So does that mean all the single people in the world are sex addicts until they find a sexual partner, if ever they find one? Hogwash!

An oddity about SA sites is that the idea of pleasure is almost never mentioned. It’s almost like when parents give their children sex negative messages simply by not saying anything about it. Reading these sites could lead one to think that sex is a horrible experience. How balanced is that?

One tool of measurement that has been well researched is the difference between erotophobia and erotophelia (a study by Askwith, Cohen, Fisher, Greneir, Lamont, and Watters). They studied medical students and found that the more sex education the med students had, the more erotophilic (sex positive) they were and they were more comfortable in helping their patients with sexual concerns. Students that had less or no sex education were more erotophobic (sex negative). They were also (as you might guess) more uncomfortable with helping patients with sexual concerns.

Can you see how that kind of solid research is a more dependable tool to determine sexual health than how much control one has? Therefore, to apply this study to the sex addiction groupies, one could extrapolate that the more solid sex education a person has the better they may be able to deal with their sexuality in a healthy manner. And although understanding compulsive behavior and addiction is a valid field of study, I believe it is far more helpful, as this research reveals to teach sexual health, than to teach avoidance mechanisms.

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