Is sex addictive?
Yes and no, says Josei Seven (July 9) in effect. No, in the purely clinical sense. It’s mental rather than physiological. Deprive the body of the alcohol or narcotic it craves, once addiction has set in, and the body will claw you to pieces. A heightened desire for sex is less insistent – but insistent enough all the same to wreck lives and careers. The magazine cites examples known to everyone: former U.S. President Bill Clinton; golfer Tiger Woods and actor Michael Douglas.
“Sex dependency syndrome” – let’s call it that, if we’re not to call it addiction – hits men and women differently, explains psychiatrist Kina Takagi. In men it generally arises from a naturally strong libido, or perhaps simply a naturally strong and domineering personality. In women it’s more likely to reflect extreme vulnerability – stemming from childhood abuse, or bullying, or a sense of being unloved.
The distinction between addiction and dependency seems almost academic in the various cases Josei Seven covers. “B-san” (as the magazine calls him) has a fuzoku (sex industry) habit that has driven his marriage to the brink of divorce – which wouldn’t matter so much if he didn’t love his wife, but he does. He’s 37. His fuzoku interests had declared themselves before marriage. “She chose to marry me anyway,” he says, “and I promised her: never again.”
For a time he kept his word. Then there came a passing affair with an office colleague. It reminded him of bygone pleasures beyond the range of married life, and back he drifted to fuzoku. “I couldn’t stop,” he says ruefully. A hole in the couple’s savings gave the game away. Maybe they’ll patch things up. Who know? At the moment, it doesn’t look good.
“C-san,” 39, describes herself as so shy she blushes when talking to strangers. That’s when she’s sober. A drink or two reveals a whole other side of her. At an office party she happened to be sitting next to a colleague she normally disliked. That was forgotten. Next stop: a love hotel. “I knew I’d regret it later,” she says. Next she found herself in bed with her married boss. Rumors buzzed. Everyone at work seemed to be giving her sidelong, knowing looks.
She quit, found another job. Now, she says, she goes prowling in bars and neighborhoods where she’s not known – “I don’t want to have to change jobs again.”
“E-san,” 45, divorced her philandering husband and decided, “No more men!” It’s easy to say. Never particularly libidinous before, she suddenly became so, to the point she began visiting host clubs. There she “spent beyond my means,” and went into debt. “It can’t go on like this!” she confesses to Josei Seven.
Maybe it won’t, as host clubs become focal points of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other than that, there’s no medication for sex dependency syndrome, and the only treatment, Josei Seven hears from professional sources, is counseling, including group therapy. Sharing experiences, discovering you’re not alone – it’s a long road, and not a sure one, but the best there is. In the end, says psychiatrist Mitsuru Umeno, “it may be something you have to live with all your life.”© Japan Today