Harvey Weinstein’s Sex Addiction: An Excuse or Reality?
Harvey Weinstein claims he is suffering from sex addiction. Are you surprised? Yet another rich, influential man is receiving sex addiction counselling after over fifty women accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. At least six of those women have alleged sexual assault and rape.
Is Weinstein really addicted to sex? If so, does this explain or excuse his behaviour? Dr Nicole Prause, PhD, thinks not. She says, “I have no idea of the details of his case. However, sexual harassment and assault have never been proposed as behaviours of sex addiction that I have seen.”
Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Behavioural Addiction at Nottingham Trent University, agrees. He said, “Saying that you have a sex addiction is used to justify serial infidelity. I would argue that many celebrities (like Weinstein) are in a position where they were bombarded with sexual advances from other individuals and succumbed or did the bombarding themselves (like Weinstein).”
Sex addict or simple predator? It’s said Harvey Weinstein is one of the most thanked people in the history of Oscars’ acceptance speeches. His production company was responsible for some of the biggest blockbusters of recent decades including Oscar-winners Pulp Fiction, The King’s Speech, Shakespeare in Love and Chicago, and he worked with the biggest stars in Hollywood. Meryl Streep famously called him ‘god’ in an Oscar acceptance speech. The women who have accused him of actions ranging from groping to rape say this level of power is exactly what allowed him to get away with sexually predatory behaviour for decades.
Actresses would be denied parts and their careers ruined if they resisted his advances and it was an open secret in the industry for many years that he was abusing women. Finally, in October 2017, the floodgates opened when the New York Times published an article detailing his history of alleged sexual harassment and dozens of women came forward with their stories of abuse. Weinstein soon lost his reputation, his wife, and the company bearing his name which filed for bankruptcy.
Weinstein took the familiar route of many famous men in the past and claimed sex addiction and sought refuge in a treatment centre. The whole scandal brought the issue of sex addiction to prominence again and restarted the debate over whether a person can really be addicted to sex. It’s clear in Weinstein’s case that he lost everything because of the his sexual behaviour. Does that mean he is a sex addict?
What is sex addiction, then?
Sex addiction is a real disorder that can drastically impact your life and the people in it. It is characterised by insatiable urges to engage in sexual activities and being unable to stop, even when doing so could jeopardise physical health, mental wellbeing, professional life, and relationships with others.
Unfortunately, sex addiction does not yet have a universally accepted formal diagnostic definition – and that is how celebrities like Harvey Weinstein, Tiger Woods, and Kevin Spacey could viably get a diagnosis to explain their actions, even if they are not truly addicted to sex.
For genuine sex addicts, checking in to a sex rehab is an effective way to regain control. Sexual behaviour can be controlled with sex addiction treatment.
The difference between sex addiction and a high sex drive
There is a big difference between the two. Sex addicts are not just “really into sex.” Their actions are motivated by compulsion, not by pleasure. They are obsessed with sex in an unhealthy way, to the point where it affects their lives and interactions with other people. Behaviours resulting from sex addiction do not bring joy or pleasure – they bring guilt, shame and pain. Severe sex addiction can make it feel impossible to function normally in social situations.
If you are unsure whether you are addicted to sex or not, contact us to chat with an understanding, non-judgemental professional.
Activities associated with sexual addiction
Sex addiction is generally defined as any sexual activity that feels out of control. Activities include but are not limited to:
- Compulsive masturbation
- Cybersex, sexting, or exchanging nudes and homemade porn
- Excessive or overwhelming sexual thoughts and urges
- Paying for sex
- Persistent pornography use
- Practicing prostitution
- Practicing unsafe sex
- Risky exhibitionism
- Risky sex including affairs, one-night stands, and multiple sexual partners
- Using sex to manipulate others
Sex addict behaviours
A sex addict may feel irresistibly compelled to act on their urges, even if doing so brings no pleasure or happiness. They may continue to engage in sexual activities even with full knowledge it is harmful or causes negative consequences. Behavioural symptoms of sex addiction vary from person to person, but may include:
- An inability to respect personal boundaries of others involved in sexual activities
- An inability to feel emotionally satisfied by sexual activities
- Spending a lot of time and energy pursuing sex, being sexual, or recovering after sex
- Reducing time spent on social, professional, or leisure activities
- An obsession with attracting people, being in love, and nurturing new romances
- A long list of past relationships
- Repeated failed attempts to stop or reduce behaviour
- Guilt and shame
- Sexual rage disorder, where a sex addict becomes mentally unstable and potentially violent if unable to fulfil their desires
Is sex addiction curable?
Once you have recognised and accepted that you are addicted to sex, you can seek treatment and take back control of your life with sex addiction therapy. The first step after accepting your addiction is to seek a reputable sex addiction treatment centre with experienced counsellors. While you may have feelings of guilt or shame around your behaviour, experienced counsellors will treat you in a respectful and non-judgemental way, allowing you to feel safe enough to open up about your feelings and past actions.
What happens at sex rehab?
After checking in to sex rehab, a qualified professional will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your addiction. They will ask questions to learn about underlying conditions you may have that cause your sexual behaviour, like depression or anxiety. If you do have a co-occurring mental disorder, your medical team will treat it at the same time as your addiction.
An individualised 30-day treatment programme is a good way to benefit from sex addiction therapy. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other medical staff will help you develop a healthy, positive attitude towards sex and love.
The Dawn is a leading addiction rehab centre – and one of the very few that is properly equipped to treat sex addiction. Sex addiction therapy at The Dawn usually includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, secular 12 steps and group therapy.
Sex addiction is difficult to manage alone, but you can overcome it with help. If you are ready to develop a healthy approach and reclaim control of your actions, get in touch today. Your journey to recovery begins as soon as you pick up the phone or email us.