Robert Aaron Long is the suspect in massage spa massacres that killed eight in Atlanta. The most notable details are six victims were women of Asian descent, and he displaced responsibility onto his “sexual addiction”. The shooter says he tried to obtain “sex addiction” treatment at evangelical Christian treatment center “HopeQuest” in Georgia. The center says it treats “sex addiction” and “pornography addiction”. He also told police he had planned to carry out another attack on a pornography business.
When hearing how the alleged shooter said the attacks were a way to eliminate his “temptations” related to “sex addiction”, as an expert of twenty plus years in sexual misbehavior, I immediately thought of this religiosity influenced “sex addiction” clinicians, and how their take on the issue is not helpful to those who would like to eliminate their sexual misbehavior.
The racism in the attacks is obvious, the connection to religiosity influenced clinicians needs more unpacking.
“Sexual addiction” is a term that has been both useful to helping persons recognize their sexual misbehaviors are not rational, and that their behaviors are not worth the “price” they pay for acting them out. The sex addiction term has been helpful in getting some men past denial and hopefully leading to eliminate behaviors that create external consequences for them. These consequences for sexual misbehavior can include such things as divorce for infidelity, loss of employment due to sending explicit pics to a subordinate, poverty due to spending on sex workers, and any number of other unwanted outcomes. The term has also been grossly misused, specifically by persons who want to vilify homosexuality, sex of any type, or move blame for male sexual misbehaviors.
Religiosity based “sex addiction” clinicians sometimes bake male privilege, misogyny, and general anti-sex views into an incorrect response to male sexual misbehavior. These specific clinicians sometimes go as far as feeling homosexuality itself is bad, and try to eliminate homosexual thoughts or behavior, however harmless homosexuality actually is, and however lethal “conversion therapy” can be in regard to suicide, it does not seem to deter their effort to attempt the impossible.
Rather than take an informed look at both our society’s actual hierarchy, and the real dynamics of sexual misbehavior by men, a male entitled and religiosity-based clinician who deals with sex Addiction, may fall into a dramatic inversion of reality.
In this inversion of reality, men with sexual misbehavior are the “victims”. Men are seen as the “victims” of the porn industry. Because men may spend too much time watching this material, may get consequences for viewing it at work, and may ignore other obligations or options in their time viewing porn, in the eyes of some religiously based clinicians, these men are seen as who is primarily harmed by porn. The fact that it is really the women in the production of this material that are trafficked, and used, is somehow left out. Male privilege-based thinking in the sexual misbehavior field can allow the distorted view where, the man choosing to watch porn is the victim, and the women levered into performing in porn and forever memorialized in a compromising situation are the villains.
In this distorted and religiously influenced “clinical” view, men are also the “victims” of an “over sexualized” culture. No mention is made of the fact that men created the very rules of our culture, and men created its sexual expectations of our culture, and men did so with almost all of the world’s power. This distorted and self-serving male privilege view on male sexual misbehavior can have women’s bodies, or even sexual interest itself, be the culprit for sexual misbehavior.
Because this male entitlement based inversion of reality, where men are the victims, exists in a large and general way outside of the narrow issue of male sexual misbehavior, it is difficult to dislodge this “men are the victims” distorted view with actual real facts and real clinical expertise. When a genuine expert on male sexual misbehavior attempts to inform a clinician possessing these ideas based on religiosity, male privilege, and anti-sex ideas, the actual expert, and the real facts are not at all well received.
Sex Addiction Misbehavior
Sex addiction clinicians with a religious view baked into their take on male sexual misbehavior can push for “sexual purity”. Whatever that term may mean, it is completely unattainable, and in addition, it does an obvious blame shift, away from the thoughts, perceptions and choices of the male acting out, and moves the blame onto what they perceive to be an oversexualized world intruding into their mind, and then creating their sexual misbehavior.
For a man indoctrinated into this distorted view, unbeknownst to that man, that man’s sexual wants are then projected upon women and girls. The men, and their misinformed allies, speak as if women, young ladies, the internet, films, posters, thin dresses, short skirts, the change in wardrobe in summer weather, and “immodesty”, rather than a culture of male sexual entitlement, the objectification of women, and the sexual usury of females, are the source of sexual misbehavior.
There is a difference of opinion in the mental health field as to how to define and treat compulsive sexual behavior. “Sex addiction” is not listed as a Psychiatric Diagnosis in the current DSM, for those that do not know, the DSM is the standard in the United States for Diagnosing Mental Health Conditions.
“Compulsive sexual behavior disorder” (CSBD) is a new diagnoses in the World Health Organization’s 11th Revision of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It seems possible that, unrelated to “sex addiction”, the DSM will lose to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), much like an American made vehicle’s bolts are in metric, Medical Doctors are not measuring medicine in “tablespoons”, and our US Military uses kilometers instead of miles.
Those indoctrinated into the sexual purity view on “sex addiction” can take a hypervigilance posture on what could tempt them sexually.
Rather than looking at how they are distorting reality as to who is the victim, who is feeling sexual versus who is just wearing a dress, and what these females targeted experience, these men indoctrinated into a purity-based view will try and block out all sexuality. These men feel it is easier to try and block all sexuality than to correct these many misperceptions about themselves, men, women, sex, and their choices. This purity strategy will never work, but it does not stop some clinicians and clients from this path.
It is not uncommon for addictions to be redefined over decades and generations, even a now obvious and accepted chemical addiction, such as to alcohol, is often redefined with new diagnosis language and new criteria over the course of generations of clinicians, and sexual addictions will clearly suffer the same fate.