- Casual Conversations: The Art of Self-Discovery
- Episode 57: Masculine vs. Feminine vs. HUMAN
- Casual Conversations: Don’t Apologize for Being Human
- Episode 56: The Complexity of Simplicity
- Casual Conversations: The Paradox of Perfection
- Food For Thought: Jealousy vs. Envy
- Food For Thought: Thankful vs. Grateful
- Episode 55: To Care for Others, Care for Yourself
- Casual Conversations: Anxiety, Boundaries, and Meditation
- Episode 54: Accessibility & Equity in Mental Health Care
- En Español: El Poder de la Mente Sobre el Cuerpo
- Episode 53: Sexual Liberation & The Wisdom of Aging
- Episode 52: Cohabitation, Gender Roles, and The Summer of Love
- Episode 51: The Lies We Tell Ourselves About The Truth
- Episode 50: An Industry of Injustice (4/4)
- Episode 49: This Is Actually Happening (3/4)
- Episode 48: Standing By vs. Being An Ally (2/4)
- Recommendations & Reviews: Boogie Nights
- Food For Thought: Contradiction vs. Complementation
- Food For Thought: Curiosity vs. Criticism
- Episode 47: Sexual “Empowerment” Sells (1/4)
- Recommendations & Reviews: The Culture Map
- Food For Thought: Celebrating The Small Wins
- Food For Thought: The Many Roads To Happiness
- En Español: Sexualidad e Igualdad
- Casual Conversations: Communication, Mindfulness, and Pleasure
- Food For Thought: Operational Definitions
- Food For Thought: Memory Tissue
- Episode 46: The Nutrition Facts of Life
- Casual Conversations: The Lost Art of Letter Writing
- Food For Thought: Attribution Theory
- Food For Thought: Coronavirus vs. Connection
- Bonus Episode: The Psychology of Solitary
- Episode 45: Love, Loss & The Meaning Of Life (2/2)
- Episode 44: Love, Loss & The Meaning Of Life (1/2)
- Live Workshop: Navigating Anxiety During COVID
- Episode 43: The Body Knows Best
- Episode 42: (Un)Censoring Pleasure
- Episode 41: Bring On The Heat (2/2)
- Episode 40: Bring On The Heat (1/2)
- Episode 39: The Myth of Marriage (2/2)
- Episode 38: The Myth of Marriage (1/2)
- Episode 37: Same Page, Different Book (2/2)
- Episode 36: Same Page, Different Book (1/2)
- Episode 35: Humans In Progress (2/2)
- Episode 34: Humans In Progress (1/2)
- Episode 33: The Strength In Our Scars (2/2)
- Episode 32: The Strength In Our Scars (1/2)
- Episode 31: Masculinity & Authenticity (2/2)
- Episode 30: Masculinity & Authenticity (1/2)
- Episode 29: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (2/2)
- Episode 28: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (1/2)
- New Trailer: Let’s Get Intimate!
- Episode 27: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See (2/2)
- Episode 26: You Can’t Be What You Can’t See (1/2)
- Episode 25: Why Relationships Fail vs. Flourish (2/2)
- Episode 24: Why Relationships Fail vs. Flourish (1/2)
- Episode 23: The Evolution of (Non)Monogamy (2/2)
- Episode 22: The Evolution of (Non)Monogamy (1/2)
- Episode 21: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (2/2)
- Episode 20: “Pleasure Is The Measure” (1/2)
- Episode 19: Sex Sells? Or Insecurity Sells… (2/2)
- Episode 18: Sex Sells? Or Insecurity Sells… (1/2)
- Episode 17: DON’T Fake It ‘Til You Make It (2/2)
- Episode 16: DON’T Fake It ‘Til You Make It (1/2)
- Episode 15: Mindfulness For Sexual Connection
- Episode 14: Keeping It “Casual” (2/2)
- Episode 13: Keeping It “Casual” (1/2)
- Episode 12: The Birds & The Bees (2/2)
- Episode 11: The Birds & The Bees (1/2)
- Episode 10: Love & Death
- Episode 9: Communication- Mind and Body
- Episode 8: The Power of Sexual Healing (2/2)
- Episode 7: The Power of Sexual Healing (1/2)
- Episode 6: Redefining Masculinity and “The Million Dollar Point”
- Episode 5: Creating Body Maps and Reconnecting with Pleasure
- Episode 4: (In) Fidelity in The Time of Technology
- Episode 3: Let’s Get Cliterate! Narrowing The Orgasm Gap
- Episode 2: Today’s Not So “Liberated” Sex Culture (2/2)
- Episode 1: Today’s Not So “Liberated” Sex Culture (1/2)
- Episode 0: Google doesn’t have all the answers
- Trailer: Let’s Get Intimate!
Let's Get Intimate!
Episode 28: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (1/2)
In this week’s two-part episode, we discuss the topic of addiction and how it relates to intimacy with Dr. Robert Weiss, a clinical sexologist, practicing psychotherapist, and published author who is an expert in the treatment of adult intimacy disorders and related addictions.
We dive into what it means to be an “addict,” how narcissistic tendencies perpetuate addiction, and what our upbringing has subconsciously taught us about healthy relationships and dependency.
Failure to Trust in Childhood
The vast majority of addicts grew up with unstable, toxic, and/or emotionally detached caregivers. As a result, many addicts never learned the basic skill of trust during their crucial developmental stages. Failing to learn how to trust at a young age often leads to self-sabotaging behaviors as an adult — distrust of others, defensive behavior, isolation, and extreme self-reliance. For more research on the intersection between child abuse and alcohol and drug addiction, click here.
Why “Chemical Dependency” May Be Better Term than “Addiction”
There is an old-term for drug addiction called chemical dependency that is no longer widely used. Dr. Weiss explains his preference for this term because it emphasizes the issue of “dependence” — people become addicted to substances or behaviors because they do not feel safe depending on people.
People are meant to depend on people. We are meant to be connected. We are at our healthiest when we are pair-bonded and deeply embedded in meaningful community.
Addiction is a Neurological Disorder
After decades of research and discussion, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has stated that addiction is not a personality trait or behavioral problem, but a chronic brain disorder. Like diabetes and any other chronic disorder, addiction “must be treated, managed, and monitored over a person’s lifetime.”
An Addict’s Brain Circuity
The trauma — whether emotional, physical, or both — that occurs very early in an addict’s life shapes their brain circuitry. Although genetic factors are recognized as potential contributors to addiction, early childhood trauma can severely damage key dopamine-modulated brain circuits that result in addictive behavior.
Responding to Stress through Fantasy & Dissociation
Children who cannot rely on their caregivers for support and guidance often respond to emotionally turbulent experiences through escapism and dissociation, which is a detachment from a person’s physical surroundings and/or physical and emotional experiences. This coping mechanism can seriously harm identity formation and often manifests itself as addiction in adulthood.
Families & Partners in Addiction
“No one recovers alone,” Dr. Weiss emphasizes. But it’s important to realize that a partner or loved one is not responsible for an addict’s recovery. Boundaries are essential for anyone dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction, and Dr. Weiss suggests that anyone closely involved with an addict should seek out therapy for themselves, like Al-Anon, to be able to support both themselves and their loved ones.
It’s not a partner’s responsibility to get somebody well, it’s a partner’s responsibility to love someone the best that they can and hope that they’ll get love back in return.
About the Expert
Robert Weiss PhD, MSW is an expert in the treatment of adult intimacy disorders and related addictions, most notably sex/porn/relationship addictions along with co-occurring drug/sex addiction.