Sex & Society » Movies, Sex positivity; Health » Brain: "Shame, Sex-Positivity and The Sensationalizing of Sex Addiction"

EdenFantasys Store

Shame, Sex-Positivity and The Sensationalizing of Sex Addiction

Anya Garrett
  • Print
  • E-mail
The new film Shame, starring an often-nude Michael Fassbinder as Brandon, with Carey Mulligan as his sister, Cissy, directed by Steve McQueen, is drawing lots of buzz and discussion about whether sex addiction actually exists.


moderation. anything can be looked at as an addiction. any coping mechanism with negative effects or risks can take on the addiction label. Think of adrenaline junkies. notice the word "junkies" that is so loosely used. Addict in general is an overused term. so is alcoholic. I used to be a problem drinker, a drunk, but I'm not an alcoholic. I've learned my boundaries with drinking, and I am completely capable of taking cough medicine without it leading to a drinking binge.

I've had periods of my life where I would of been labeled sex addict. Yet I am completely capable, and have been successful at monogamous relationships. I am even able to endure and choose times of lack of sex.
Ok, I can get on my soapbox about such subjects. I think that addiction labels for actions that hurt people is a way of trying to place the blame on "illness" and not take accountability.


Hmm. I stumbled on your column through flickr, as I normally wouldn't go to this type of site. I don't like the term "addiction", since it doesn't really define the dynamic going on for the person, and it also implies that any sort of control is near impossible. I've personally stopped looking at porn through behavioral therapy, though I'm still working on the attitudes which led to it. (I've yet to have had sex - and would prefer to have love affair over at least 2-3 months before having that experience).

For me, the desire to sexually consume, degrade, dominate, and inflict cruelty seems to come from a desire to inflict resentment. This comes from self-loathing, a sense of rejection, a hopelessness about ever being love or appreciated for who I am. I end up stereotyping and viewing women (and men) in narrow roles. In Shame, Brandon is very sensitive to slights he feels others make against him, such as with his David and Sissy - about what roles they feel he doesn't measure up to. I would venture a guess that his wounded feelings and resentment against the angry boyfriend affected his going into the gay club.

Some related books are Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ("Men Who Hate Women" in Sweden). When I saw the sex scene of the Swedish film of the latter, it was the first time I saw a woman's naked body without feeling like a creep or voyeur. Another favorite book is Jane Eyre.



No discussions yet.

Interviews with Award Winning Author of Erotica Rachel Kramer Bussel

  • Writing quality erotica can be very tricky. As both an accomplished editor and author what do you seek out from your work that separates it from other erotica being published?

    Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York-based author, editor, blogger and reading series host. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, wrote the Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice, and hosts the monthly In The Flesh Reading Series, where she's booked everyone from Susie Bright to Zane. She has written for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast,, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Playgirl, Time Out New York, and other publications. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, the Best Women's Erotica Series, Zane's Succulent: Chocolate Flava II and Purple Panties, and others. She wrote her first erotica story, "Monica and Me," about Monica Lewinsky, in 1999 and has been writing smut, first-person essays and journalism about sex and relationships, pop culture, and books ever since. Rachel has a fondness for spanking, rough sex, hotels and general naughtiness...when she can tear herself away from her computer and iPhone. She also has a unbridled passion for cupcakes which she blogs about frequently at her popular group blog Cupcakes Take the Cake.

     Read full interview

What's Hot

Sexis in your inbox

Keep up on new articles, projects, columns and more