- 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 29: Addiction & Intimacy – From Harm to Healing (2/2)
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.
In Part II of our conversation, we define what it means to have an addiction, discuss the three signs of an addiction, and unpack why it’s important to categorize addiction under the umbrella of mental health and chronic disease.
For starters, for something to be an addiction, it has to cause pleasure. But where do we draw the line between enjoying something and becoming addicted? Is having too much sex or partying too much an addiction? It depends. Dr. Weiss states that addiction is not determined by the quantity of anything, but instead by the damaging effects a substance or behavior has on an individual’s quality of life. If a pleasurable activity is repeatedly used as a form of escapism and begins to impair other areas of life — be it relationships, work, or health — it becomes an addiction.
Three Signs of Addiction
- Loss of Control – an addict feels unable to stop an addictive behavior, as though they have lost the choice to say yes or no.
- Consequences – there are real-life consequences as a result of the addictive behavior — work, health, and/or relationships are impaired.
- Ignoring Consequences and Casting Blame – the addict refuses to change behavior even after acknowledging the consequences, many times blaming other people or outside influences for the consequences.
Embracing “Addict” as a Label
Society views addiction as a moral failing or behavioral issue, attaching shame and a sense of failure to those who struggle with addiction. By viewing addiction as a chronic disease and mental health issue we can begin to remove the immense stigma addicts feel. Addiction should be viewed no differently than depression or even diabetes — all are life-long conditions that need to be treated.
The label of addiction is an acknowledgement that I have a problem that I need to deal with for the rest of my life. But it’s also the hope that if I deal with it, I can have a great life.
Addiction is Excessive Escapism
It’s important to note that we all need to escape or get away for a bit — after a hard day at work or an argument with our partner. De-stressing with a glass or two of wine or bingeing the latest Netflix hit series shouldn’t be a cause for concern. It’s normal, necessary even. What differentiates addictive behavior from non-addictive behavior is the degree of escapism.
Substance Addiction versus Behavioral Addictions
There is an incorrect belief that you can only be addicted to something that chemically alters your mental state (i.e. drugs, alcohol). But how can you be addicted to a behavior? It’s important to remember that even in behavioral addictions the brain releases dopamine and serotonin in response to the addictive behavior. In both substance addiction and behavioral addiction, the neurochemistry of an addict’s brain shifts.
What addicts do is not inherently unhealthy, it’s the degree to which they deny, they escape, and they disappear.
The Journey of Healing
The road to recovery rarely looks the same, but it’s important to remember that healing is a life-long journey and not a destination. Dr. Weiss mentions that healing begins with becoming conscious — conscious of the addiction and its destructive effects on oneself and loved ones. “It’s a journey from selfishness and narcissism into connection,” Dr. Weiss states. Maybe most importantly, healing involves using the experience to help others struggling with the same issue.
One of the tenants of addiction work is that you pass on what you’ve gotten.
Resources For Addiction & Recovery
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.