Scariest Halloween Sex Addiction Headlines (and one nice one)

Catholic pedophile investigator jailed for child pornography

Oct 29, 2011- 7 hours ago by JohnThomas Didymus

Christopher Jarvis, a man appointed pedophile investigator and “child safeguarding officer” for the Diocese of Plymouth, South West England, has been jailed 12 months for possession of thousands of child pornographic images. ..According to Daily Mail, Christopher Jarvis, 49, was in charge of investigating child sexual abuse allegations and child protection in 120 churches and parish communities for nine years. …

Police investigators, at Jarvis’ Plymouthresidence, found on his computer, more than 4,000 pornographic images, mostly of boys aged 10 to 12.   Details of the nature of the images emerged in his trial. About 120 of the images were classified “Level Four” abusive images, showing scenes of rape; 12 were classified “Level Five,” showing scenes of torture and sadism. Jarvis was also accused of viewing erotic images of sexual relationship between a child and an adult male.

Read more:

My Take: This is very scary indeed and opens up a very large topic as to the ways in which some clergy members are placed at grave risk for sexual addiction/sexual offending.  The scariest part to me is that this man had been in charge of investigating child sexual abuse allegations for nine years.

ACLU Sues to Block Enforcment of law limiting Sex Offenders’ internet access

NEW ORLEANS— The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana sued Monday to block enforcement of a new state law that limits sex offenders’ access to social networking websites and other online forums, claiming the restrictions are overly broad and unconstitutional.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is named as a defendant in the federal suit, said he will “fight this with everything I have.”….The ACLU also argues that the law’s definition of a social networking website could be interpreted to include “most of the Internet.”….

“Just about every website in existence incorporates a ‘mechanism for communication’ among users, whether that mechanism is as simple as a ‘comments’ section or as complicated as a web-based email service, such as Yahoo or Gmail,” the group wrote in a court filing.

A first conviction for violating the law carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. A second conviction is punishable by at least five years and up to 20 years in prison.

My Take:  This seems like yet another example of the kind of panic reaction based on no real evidence that the proposed law will actually accomplish anything.  I will post a longer report on recent evidence as to what works and what doesn’t in terms of law enforcement, monitoring, etc. vs. what works and what doesn’t in terms of treatment and rehabilitation.

Sexual satisfaction part of successful aging

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on August 25, 2011

A new study of older women finds that successful aging and a positive quality of life are linked to sexual satisfaction.

The report is published online in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society….As expected, sexual activity and functioning (such things as desire, arousal and ability to climax) declined as a woman aged, as did reported physical and mental health…..However, in contrast to sexual activity and functioning, satisfaction with overall sex life was not significantly different between the three age cohorts studied: age 60 to 69; 70 to 70; and 80 to 89.

Approximately 67 percent, 60 percent, and 61 percent of women in these three age groups, respectively, reported that they were “moderately” to “very satisfied” with their sex lives.

This surprised researchers who surmised that sexual satisfaction would decline with age.

My Take: This does not surprise me.  I have long been aware that the idea that sexuality is absent from old age as well as the idea that sexual urges are somehow unseemly in the elderly is simply an expression of a very ageist stereotype. However, this finding should alert us to the fact that it is often an older person who needs help with the problem of sexual addiction and not just the young or middle aged.



Is Sex Rehab Only For The Rich?

Residential sex addiction rehabilitation programs are expensive.  Tens of thousands of dollars expensive.  However they are amazingly great for sex addicts of all kinds, but especially for people who simply cannot face their addiction and don’t understand the risks they are taking and the damage they are doing to themselves and those around them.  I know a young woman who has already lost her husband and a job and is probably at risk for losing her two young children if she doesn’t get some serious help, and yet she is on the fence even about resuming attendance at Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings let alone getting therapy or rehab.  I know a man who has an arrest record for sex with a child and despite the fact that he still frequently “slips” and views illicit pornography, which could get him thrown back in jail, he does not consider a residential program.  You would think that such folks would do whatever it took to get the money to get the help but it often doesn’t happen.  They are very lucky indeed if those around them force them to make the choice to get serious help.  Only in this way can they begin to break through their denial.

Many people can’t or won’t go straight to rehab, but will go to an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), a 1-2 week all-day every day program designed to help people in the initial stages of breaking through the denial and committing to treatment.  Many people go from IOP’s to residential rehab programs of 30-60 days or more once they realize how much they have to resolve to get better.  Sometimes IOP alone is enough to get the person on track with a community based program of therapy and 12-step meetings.  But IOP is not cheap either, still in the thousands of dollars depending on the program and the lenth of time.

Some residential and outpatient intensive treatment programs say that they provide a few slots for low income people and this is certainly worth pursuing.  Also most programs will submit a patient’s claims to their insurance with a psychitric diagnosis such as Depression, which may be covered, but often they don’t get the claim paid and are on the hook for the cost.   Money is a big problem for many seriously addicted people who are left to suffer and even deteriorate, often ending up in jail or prison where they get no help at all.  Treatment works, incarceration doesn’t (but that’s another blog).

There’s really no great answer at this point in history, but until sex addiction is seen by the larger society as a mental disorder that is covered by insurance, the professionals in the field should continue to see patients for reduced rates for outpatient therapy.  Family and friends can be enlisted to help set up a “program” for the addict who is still living in the community.  The best would be to put together a program of individual and group therapy or a self-help “feedback group” formed by members of a 12-step program to discuss their progress, attendance at a 12-step sex addiction program (preferably every day), and participation in a 12-step writing group using one of the many good workbooks that can be bought online.  As part of the step writing group, the addict should pair off with a “recovery partner,”  a sort of “buddy system” for meeting and discussing their work on recovery.  For people in remote areas, Sex Addicts Anonymous has a large number of telephone meetings (like conference calls) as well as online meetings.

For now it’s a case of doing the best you can.  It’s messy and it’s a struggle but there is no doubt that it is worth doing.


Week-End Sex in the News: Top Headlines – Internet Pornography, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Child Pornography

My news alerts usually consist of a seemingly endless stream of stories about people being arrested on porn charges or other scintillating stories relating to sex and sex addiction such as: “New Brunswick Nearly Leads Canada for the Crime of Stalking” or “Sex Offenders go AWOL in Scotland”.

Today, however there were a few that were both sensational and in some way relevant.  Here they are in no particular order with my comments.

1.   Internet pornography ‘destroying men’s ability to perform with real women’

October 22, 2011 – 5:32 pm by News Desk | Permalink | Print This Article |

London, Oct 22 (ANI): Internet pornography is destroying men’s ability to perform with real women and creating a generation of young men who are hopeless in the bedroom, according to a new research.  Exposure to lurid images and films in the new media is de-sensitising so many young people that they are increasingly unable to become excited by ordinary sexual encounters, the report said.

The result of this over exposure is that impotence is no longer a problem associated with middle-aged men of poor health but is afflicting men in the prime of their lives.  The report explains that the loss of libido 30 years early is caused by continuous over-stimulation of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the body’s reaction to sexual pleasure, by repeatedly viewing pornography on the Internet.

A ‘paradoxical effect’ is created whereby with each new thrill, or “dopamine spike”, the brain loses its ability to respond to dopamine signals, meaning that porn-users demand increasingly extreme experiences to become sexually aroused.

“Erotic words, pictures, and videos have been around a long while, but the Internet makes possible a never-ending stream of dopamine spikes,” the Daily Mail quoted Marnia Robinson, the author of the report as saying.  “Today’s users can force its release by watching porn in multiple windows, searching endlessly, fast-forwarding to the bits they find hottest, switching to live sex chat, viewing constant novelty, firing up their mirror neurons with video action and cam-2-cam, or escalating to extreme genres and anxiety-producing material.

“It’s all free, easy to access, available within seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In some porn users, the response to dopamine is dropping so low that they can’t achieve an erection without constant hits of dopamine via the internet,” she added. (ANI)

My Take:  This is a really important report and suggests the need for further study.  It is important for two reasons:

(1) Because it deals with the brain chemistry associated with bombarding oneself with internet pornography and sexualized imagery in general

(2) Because it points to the fact that use of sexual or pornographic imagery as a drug is creating a “tolerance” for the experience, much like the tolerance for narcotics, such that we require greater and greater amounts (or greater intensity of experience)

2. Gwyneth Paltrow rolls in the hay at former N.Y. stables for sex-freak role in ‘Thanks for Sharing’


Gwyneth Paltrow appears to be taking it off for the cameras again. A source tells us the actress shot some racy scenes for the film “Thanks for Sharing” on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Carriage House, a former stable at 159 W. 24th St. that’s been converted into condominium apartments. The movie is reportedly about three people who undergo a 12-step treatment for sex addiction. An insider tells us that in one of the scenes, Paltrow performs a “striptease via Skype” for co-star Mark Ruffalo, who wasn’t on the set. Hubba hubba. We wonder if Paltrow and her husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, ever engage in similar video chats. A spokesman for Paltrow didn’t get back to us by deadline.

My Take: So I confess that I think it’s great that there are movies being made about sex addiction. Even bad movies, movies that glamorize it, or portray the sufferers or their treatment in misleading ways.  As long as the film does not use the concept as exploitation and makes a stab at some kind of relevance, it will at least get the problem out there into the public dialogue more.  A great example was the movie “Choke” with Sam Rockwell which came out a few years ago.  I have not seen “Shame” yet…

3.  Anonymous Takes Down Massive Child Pornography Server, Leaks Usernames

by Max Eddy | 11:00 am, October 23rd, 2011

In a move that we can all get behind, hacker group Anonymous has announced that they have taken down a huge cache of child pornography and released 1,589 usernames of the website’s patrons. The action came as part of Operation Darknet, which targets illicit websites that are part of an unindexed and therefore unsearchable corner of the Internet.

The server in question is owned by Freedom Hosting, and apparently services over 40 child pornography websites. The largest of these, disturbingly called Lolita City, was said to contain over 100gb of child pornography.

Interestingly, the Anonymous hack is extremely well documented. In two separate Pastebin posts, the hackers involved provide a timeline of events, as well as some of the methodologies they used in tracking and taking down the servers…

My Take: Hackers doing what they do best and judging by the comments, people are cheering.  However, what everyone seems to want to know is now what?  Will law enforcement actually do something with the information?  And for those of us on the treatment end of things, what will happen to the suspects, when they are finally run to ground?  Maybe the next hacking enterprise could deal with collecting some data that would help with addiction research.  Call me, we’ll talk.





Yes, Sex Addiction Really is an “Addiction” (And Why It Matters)


The American Society of Addiction Medicine recently came out with the following definition of addiction:

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.”

Note the key words “chronic,” “brain,” and “substance use and other behaviors” (my italics).  There is now ample evidence that behaviors such as persistent hooking-up for casual sex, excessive internet pornography use, serial seduction and affairs etc. are sexually compulsive behaviors that share the salient aspects of other kinds of addictions.  For example:

-Drugs, cybersex, gambling, and even internet gaming all produce a drastic increase in brain chemicals related to pleasure pathways which can become addictions in the same way.

-Those people with the “disease” develop a tolerance and need an increase in the frequency of the behavior as well as needing more extreme behavior for gratification.

-The behavior follows a progressive course unless it is treated

-The behavior produces dire consequences in the addict’s life.

There is even evidence that the various kinds of addiction can share a common origin in brain development due to a variety of problematic early life experiences. (See also my previous blog post This is Your Brain on Cyber Porn).  Regardless of upbringing, teenagers are particularly vulnerable to addiction due to the fact that their brains are not yet fully developed.  The brain of an 18 year-old is thought to be 80% developed with the last 20% being the frontal lobes (around age 25 or 26).

So why is it important to define the various forms of sexually compulsive behaviors as “addictions?”  My top 5 reasons are:

1. Conservatively, 3-5% of the U.S. population suffers from sexual compulsivity and teens are increasingly engaging in compulsive use of pornography.  This is a significant public health issue just in terms of the numbers.

2. Lives are destroyed by sex addiction: marriages crumble, jobs are lost, people are ostracized and incarcerated and children are exposed to potentially damaging experiences.

3. Sex as an addiction can be treated and people can recovery and lead normal lives with healthy sex lives.  Viewing sexual compulsions simply as “perverted” or as “moral” failings is counterproductive in that it prevents people getting help.

4. Acknowledging that sex addiction is a brain disease resulting in behavioral compulsions allows the people around the addict to be more compassionate and less punitive and judgmental. And by the same token they get to suffer less themselves in the long run.

5. We as a society have one foot in the dark ages when it comes to sexual issues.  We often prefer to retreat into concepts of good and evil.  What we are doing is walling off a human problem and compartmentalizing it.  This is turn leads to the “schizophrenic” cultural trends of increasingly explicit portrayals or sexual imagery in the media on the one hand and branding teens as sex offenders for “sexting” on their cell phones on the other.

So people, could we finally stop asking “is sex addiction an addiction?”