As the title would indicate, this whole post is about sex and sexual behaviors. Reader discretion is advised.
Please note that for the purposes of efficiency, when I say “sex” I mean any sort of sexual behavior, including masturbation or any other activity that leads to sexual arousal and orgasm.
Antisexualism is to chastity as antitheism is to atheism: it means not only am I chaste myself, but I also think sexual behaviors are a source of a great deal of harm in society and that we would be better off if more people were chaste. There are tons of reasons to be antisexual (disease, women’s health, children’s health, social harm, and depotentiation would also top my list), but for now I will be looking at two related issues: the addictive nature of sexual behaviors, and whether those behaviors are effective strategies for meeting the needs that people want to meet by engaging in them.
My primary objection to sexual behaviors is that sex is an addictive process, and I avoid addictive processes like the plague and wish more people would avoid them too. I will not be devoting space here to explaining why I think addictive processes are seriously harmful – hopefully most people reading this will have enough experience with the world that aversion to addictive processes is understandable.
These studies are an excellent overview of the neurobiology of addictive processes, with a particular emphasis on behavioral addictions including sexual behaviors:
Neurobiology of Addiction by A. Goodman (has gone behind the paywall now, but it’s worth the price of admission)
Carving Addiction at a New Joint by J. Frascella et al.
Brain Activation During Human Male Ejaculation by J. Holstege et al.
Sex, Drugs, and Rock ‘N’ Roll by K. Blum et al.
Sex addiction is one of the best-evidenced behavioral addictions, probably second only to gambling.
Just as every religious person is still an atheist about everyone’s gods but their own, all sex-positive people are antisexual to some degree, in that they disapprove of some sexual behaviors that they see as harmful or contrary to ethical living. People view the sexual behaviors they think of as fine as “healthy and natural,” but anything beyond that as “perversion” and “abuse.” Hence the amount of time radical feminists spend trying to convince other liberals (rightly, in my opinion) that pornography and prostitution are systematic abuse of women, and that fantasizing about abusive sex is not “healthy and natural” but rather is going down a dangerous slippery slope. Meanwhile, they also spend time defending masturbation, homosexuality, and extra-marital sex as “healthy and natural” to the sex-for-reproduction people who see that as “perversion.” It all depends on how things look from where you stand on this spectrum of acceptability, depending on your views of what sex is for, and consequently what sexual behaviors are acceptable and what are unacceptable. This is because people have varying reasons for having sex.
I see three substantive reasons for people to have sex, which I will be examining:
People give other reasons, such as for (male) health and for exercise, but these are such patently ridiculous excuses for people to do what they wanted to do anyway I’m not going to waste time on them.
Sex for Pleasure
Most liberals approve of at least some forms of sex for pleasure. Virtually all liberals approve of masturbation but draw the line at some point where lack of consent gets extreme enough to make them uncomfortable:
The most conservative draw the line of unacceptability at fantasizing about questionably consensual sex, such as rape fantasies or sexual fantasies involving children.
Some people draw the line at actually role-playing violent or questionably consensual sex, such as BDSM, a variety of pain- and humiliation-related kinks, and ageplay.
Some draw the line at pornography.
Some draw the line at prostitution.
And virtually everyone has drawn the line by the time we get to rape, pedophilia, and bestiality.
So even within the permissive “healthful and fun” view of sex, there is still the question of what practices are morally acceptable and what are unacceptable. I think most liberal feminists draw the line at cases of overt lack of consent, namely rape and child molestation, but everything else, including porn and sex work, and certainly fantasy and kink, are viewed as individual people’s individual choices. I think most radical feminists draw the line at where the sexual practice causes harm to another, or where it replicates an unhealthy power dynamic or reflects a fantasy about dub-con or non-con. So porn, prostitution, BDSM, ageplay, and most kinky erotica, all out. One night stands with protection, masturbation to nonviolent fantasies, and as much vanilla sex between partners as you want, all in.
This sounds great in theory. But we are talking about an addictive process here.
I think that as long as people engage in sex for pleasure, there will continue to be violent and dubiously consensual recreational sexual activities. Opposing things like porn and kink while being in favor of sex for pleasure is fighting a battle that will not be won. This is because sex is an addictive process. Addictive processes are not self-limiting. They will not be contained by reason, and once they begin to escalate they will be contained less and less by knowledge of how your actions are harming others. Kink, dub-con, and financial participation in the sex industry are, for very, very many people, a natural outgrowth of engaging in sex for pleasure.
You have probably noticed that kinks and porn are rarely gentle or nurturing – in fact, the more “hardcore” it is, the more violent it is. Even a seemingly benign kink like feederism can become about the pain and distress of the person being (force) fed in extremis. This is because the stimulants for addictive processes like sex are not sweetness and gentleness. Addictive processes are enhanced by novelty, risk and adrenalin, and shame and a sense of the forbidden. I also strongly suspect violence is in itself an addictive process, given the research concluding that violent video games and computer games are addictive, and nonviolent ones are not addictive at all. The most arousing, dopamine-triggering sex is nothing like cuddling. Things that feel new, special, uncertain, daring, and secret make sex erotic. This is true in “vanilla” sex, and it is also reflected by kink and porn. This is why most kinks and a great deal of porn have something to do with pain, violence, or dubious consent; fear, humiliation, or power dynamics; novelty and strangeness, or breaking of taboo. This is what makes all sex erotic, not just kink and porn- it’s just that people who are desensitized need more extreme doses of those things.
As with all addictive processes, the more you do it, the more you need to do it. And what got you high before is soon enough not going to do it for you anymore – you’re going to need more intense, more extreme. This is why it’s easy to predict that the more sex, masturbation, and fantasizing people engage in, the less vanilla it will get. This is not a question of naturally vanilla people vs. naturally kinky people. This is a question of the degree to which people have gone down the sexual rabbit hole. As with drugs, people start out simple and dazzled by the awesomeness. Some stop there. Others work their way up to harder drugs.
Sexual behavior, like every addictive process, changes you in ways you don’t even realize until you’re off of it. Addictive processes work by overstimulating the pleasure centers and other areas of the brain. While that makes the addictive process literally the most pleasurable thing you have ever experienced, it is harmful to your brain. To protect itself, the brain starts to shut down receptors, which means that in order to get the high you had before you have to have more of the stimulant – and the process of escalation and desensitization that results in dependency and ultimately addiction begins. This shutting down of pleasure receptors results in your brain becoming desensitized to simple (non-addictive) pleasures, until the only thing that brings you pleasure in life anymore is the supernormal stimulation of an addictive process.
My problem with addictive processes isn’t just about the dependency and risk of serious negative consequences from addiction. It is also about the color that is lost – it is about the way addictive processes bludgeon out your sensitivity to the pleasures of life, erasing happiness and purpose and making life a lot less wonderful. That happens to varying degrees with any engagement in an addictive process. Anyone who advocates sex for pleasure is necessarily advocating against non-addictive pleasures, and against the value of being fully sensitive and present in reality.
And, as bad as that is, it’s so much worse if the addictive process becomes a full-blown addiction. Sexual addictions become a part of you, something that occupies your thoughts, that demands satisfaction at any time but never really satiates, that changes your personality so slowly you don’t notice until you’re in withdrawal and wondering why this isn’t you doing these things. It goes from fireworks and snickerdoodles to torment and dependency with such rewarding insidiousness you don’t notice until you’re already on the hook.
Sure, some people can engage in sexual behaviors “in moderation.” Some people can drink, gamble, and take drugs in moderation, too. But anytime you advocate an addictive process as “healthful and fun,” realize that there are people (tons of people) for whom it is not going to turn out to be healthful or fun. It is going to turn dark and demanding, and by the time they realize it’s happened to them, doing anything to stop it is going to be hell. Everyone who engages in sexual behaviors, as with all other addictive processes, is dancing on the edge of a precipice. Of course they’re confident that they won’t be the one to fall – they’re special, they’re strong, they’re sane, they know what they’re doing, they don’t do freaky things like “those” people, their sexual behaviors make them feel good and happy and there’s nothing wrong with that. Everyone starts out like that. It isn’t people with moral failings who wind up addicted. It’s people like you and I who wind up addicted.
Pornhub, one of the most popular free pornography sites on the internet, has videos about: BDSM, ageplay, incest, non-con, bestiality, needles, nipple torture, bees, watersports, scat, necro. People don’t start off by having these sorts of sexual fantasies. It develops into these things as their desensitization progresses. What was before intensely erotic and forbidden is now run-of-the-mill and not that stimulating. Explicit, rough sex isn’t so remarkable anymore. A woman hanging from the ceiling by her breasts and taken by one guy in the front and one from behind? Now that’s got your attention. What happens when even the extreme stops seeming so extreme? What happens when ageplay doesn’t do it anymore, and they can’t find any porn actresses who look forbiddenly young enough? What happens when a man starts feeling cucked by watching another man rape women, and wants something better? Sex for pleasure is a really dangerous thing to advocate, because even if it works out okay for you, and you can have enjoyable vanilla sex and masturbate exclusively to totally consensual fantasies and erotica, many, many people, I suspect the vast majority, go down the slippery slope.
I suspect even many people who advocate this “ethical sex for pleasure” stance have already tested or crossed the boundaries of what they themselves consider to be nonviolent sexuality, because that’s the nature of the beast. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to wind up thinking driving intoxicated is not really a big deal when the situation presents itself, because our vision of ourselves is always as one of the sane and moderate people. Have you never enjoyed sex or a sexual fantasy that involved some degree of domination, submission, bondage, pain, humiliation, force or loss of control, voyeurism, or public display? Have you never read erotica with dubious consent or kink? Have you never watched porn? To what degree your moral considerations have been silenced is just a question of how far down the road of addiction you are.
In 2016, Pornhub videos were watched 92 billion times (links to a report on the data, not Pornhub). I would argue that by the time a person has got into watching actual porn, they have already definitely crossed the line into sexual behaviors that are actively harmful to other people (I would argue that all sexual behaviors are harmful to the person practicing the behavior, as I think all addictive processes are harmful). If you don’t think porn is harmful to the people involved in it, see the list of books I’ve included at the bottom of the post.
92 billion views, totalling 524,640 years worth of time spent watching porn, an actively harmful sexual practice. All in 2016. On only one porn site. This is an amount so extreme it’s unfathomable. Sexual addiction is not just something that happens occasionally. It is easily the most common addiction in our society. The “healthful and fun” crowd who advocate sex for pleasure are advocating a practice that harms millions of people, both the addicted, and their victims, via infidelity, STDs, porn, prostitution, child abuse, and sexual violence against both women and men.
Clearly sexual behavior is not something that people have an easy time containing to vanilla masturbation and vanilla sex with a partner. I think people who watch porn do know how messed up it is – if they saw something more extreme than their current threshold of desensitization, I think they’d definitely recognize it as sick and think, “How can anyone watch that?” Even if you believe men are too misogynistic to see the harm in porn (personally, I suspect most of them are aware on some level), 30% of women watch porn too, 50% among women age 35 and younger. Surely they must have some consciousness of what they would experience, if they were in the place of the women on the screen. But morality and addictive processes go together like bodies and viruses. The stronger one gets, the weaker the other becomes. This is why I think it’s futile to try to convince people of the immorality of porn, prostitution, ageplay, etc. You cannot get a drug addict to quit by showing them the harmful practices of the drug trade. They can only make the decision to quit – and continue to make it again and again for the rest of their lives – because they are horrified at what they have become and want to stop to the depths of their souls.
So much better than the agony of quitting is never going down that rabbit hole in the first place. That means having more restrictive criteria regarding what are ethical reasons to engage in sexual behaviors, than simply sex for pleasure.
If you want to know what lies at the end of the road of sexual pursuits, just read the Marquis de Sade, or watch 120 Days of Sodom. Total dependency combined with total inurement is the ultimate endpoint of all addictive processes, though people’s lives are wrecked by much lesser severity than that. While people’s current sexual interests and fantasies naturally seem captivating, as if just around the corner is the next greatest thing, the world of sexual interests, like the world of drugs, is a dangerous world to go exploring. And nothing actually comes of it. Your brain feels like it’s learning and discovering wonders and accomplishing profound things by engaging in the addictive process, but really you are just checking out from reality and doing nothing of substance.
There’s a reason lust is one of the seven deadly sins. Like greed, gluttony, and all the others, it is a need that can never be met. It is only a hungry ghost that grows, paradoxically, both more famished and more epicurean for the exceptional, the more you feed it.
If you’re interested, this is the standard sexual addiction screening test. An easy way to test whether you’re already dependent and on the road to addiction is to give up all sexual behaviors for 6 weeks and see if you’re unable to.
Sex for Bonding
If sex for you is primarily interesting as a bonding activity: sex is not an effective bonding activity. Oxytocin is the primary hormone of bonding. It is actively antagonistic to the neurobiology of addictive processes, and addictive processes are actively antagonistic to oxytocin. See here:
Breaking the Loop by I. McGregor et al.
Oxytocin for the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders by M. Lee et al.
Inhibition by Oxytocin of Methamphetamine-Induced Hyperactivity etc. by J. Qi et al.
Maternal Neglect by L. Strathearn
For more on oxytocin, I recommend The Chemistry of Connection by Susan Kuchinskas and The Moral Molecule by Paul Zak. For more on the competing effects of addictive processes and bonding, I recommend Addictions from an Attachment Perspective, edited by Richard Gill.
Much has been made of the oxytocin released during orgasm, in an effort to claim that there is neurological evidence that sex is a bonding activity. This claim ignores that the oxytocin produced by orgasm is up against the competing hormonal processes of addiction produced by sex and orgasm. Oxytocin clearly loses that competition because sexual behaviors are addictive, not anti-addictive. But what is also ignored is that the amount of oxytocin produced at orgasm is minimal.
Oxytocin Plasma Levels in Orgasmic and Anorgasmic Women by S. Caruso et al.
This study looked at serum oxytocin levels in women during sex, and found that they increased from 2.1 pg/mL at the onset of sex to 4.6 pg/mL at the highest point with orgasm. Oxytocin levels increased by 123% from baseline.
Monetary Sacrifice Among Strangers Is Mediated by Endogenous Oxytocin Release After Physical Contact by V. Morhenn et al.
This study found that being touched and treated as trustworthy by a stranger asking for money increased oxytocin by 243% from baseline controls.
Oxytocin Release and Plasma Anterior Pituitary and Gonadal Hormones in Women During Lactation by M. Dawood et al.
This study found that after 2 minutes of breastfeeding, oxytocin increased from an initial level of 10.8 pg/mL to 224 pg/mL. Oxytocin levels increased by 1,974% from baseline. Notice oxytocin levels for a woman holding a baby are still over twice as high as oxytocin levels for a woman in orgasm.
Influence of a “Warm Touch” Support Enhancement Intervention Among Married Couples on Ambulatory Blood Pressure, Oxytocin, Alpha Amylase, and Cortisol by J. Holt-Lunstad et al.
In this study, couples had one training session in the listening touch of Rosen Method Bodywork, and one training session in head, neck, and shoulder massage, and were asked to have 3 or more 30-minute sessions of nonsexual warm partner contact a week for 4 weeks. Their oxytocin levels were 134% higher than those of the control couples, not during the sessions of warm partner contact, but all the time.
In other words, people should stop talking about the bonding effects of orgasm and go snuggle their honey.
It is not surprising that even orgasmic sex with your partner, quite the optimum conditions for orgasm increasing oxytocin, does not increase oxytocin very much, because it is competing against all the hormones produced by sex that are antagonistic to it. Sex can definitely feel like a bonding activity, but it is primarily the feeling of getting high with another person, which can be incredibly intense, but is not the feeling of oxytocin.
Getting high with someone is not true intimacy. People use alcohol to break down their insecurities about intimacy, and people likewise use sex to break down their insecurities about intimacy. You can feel very, very close to someone when you are drunk or high, more close than you would feel to them sober, and such is the case with sex. It feels real – in fact it feels better than real (always a warning sign), but so does every other addictive process. It’s the best thing ever, the thing you’d rather die than go without, the thing that gives your relationship, and possibly your life, meaning. For the time being. If it is the sexual activity itself and not the physical and emotional intimacy that you enjoy about sex, be warned: the nature of addictive processes is that it is never enough.
If sex really were this phenomenal bonding activity, the lynchpin of a committed partnered relationship, then you would expect sexual relationships to be the most permanent relationships known to man. The fact that prostitution is a thing should put the kibosh on that notion right away. The statistics are that people have had an average of 11 sexual partners after age 17. That is not even how many sexual partners they will have in their lifetimes, just how many the average person has already had. In the most recent statistics, 38% had sex with a casual date or pickup in the past year. 6% have been to a prostitute. Even within marriage, the most committed of sexual relationships, 16% have cheated on their partners. Clearly just having sex with someone does not mean “mating for life” for humans.
In fact, I would argue that sex is antithetical to committed relationships. I’ve already talked about how addictive processes are antagonistic to oxytocin, the hormone of love and bonding. But on top of that, the nature of addictive processes is that they reward novelty and the forbidden. Sexual attraction is a changing thing, and seems like a terribly unstable basis for a long-term relationship. We all know that about 50% of marriages end in divorce – sex is just not a great thing to base a life partnership on. I would love to see statistics on the rates of sexual activity within a relationship and the duration of the relationship – I strongly suspect there would be an inverse correlation. Commitment is based on much more real things than the pleasures of getting high together. Sex does not lead to commitment. Love leads to commitment. Addictive processes like sex are, by their very nature, contrary to commitment and antagonistic to the hormones of attachment.
If what you enjoy about sex is the physical and emotional intimacy – you don’t need sex for that. It is truly real and meaningful to be physically and emotionally intimate when you and your partner are both sober and present, and your mind isn’t dominated by the drive to get your hit.
Physical intimacy and tenderness can be a very powerful expression of love, and there are many types of physical intimacy that do not involve sex. Sex is not an expression of love. If sex were love, there would be no rape. Sex is an expression of anything, from love to hate to utter indifference and objectification. Like other addictive processes, it is an escape from reality, and for the dependent that becomes curiously applicable to every situation. Celebrating – sex. Stressed – masturbation. Bored – masturbation. Lonely – one-night stand. Sad – comfort sex. Angry – hate sex. Alcoholics use liquor in the same way, to enhance boring ol’ reality when they’re happy, and to escape reality and the feelings they don’t want to feel when they’re unhappy. It is not the sexual activity that is an expression of love, it is the intimacy, trust, vulnerability, and tenderness that is the expression of love, and all of that can be had (and had better) without sex and the competing processes of getting high.
Most people have never tried making love to someone without sex. They wouldn’t even know how to be physically intimate without sex giving them an excuse to be close to and commune with another person. It is a society-wide problem – “sleeping together” means sex, “being together” means sex, “making love” means sex (it didn’t used to), “being intimate” means sex, “knowing someone” means sex. There is a huge, rich world of intimacy and tenderness and trust and heart-bursting love most people are missing out on.
Sex for Reproduction
People who are in favor of sex for reproduction share the views held throughout Europe for the last 1,400 years before the 20th century: that acceptable sex is penile-vaginal penetration within marriage, without contraception. Modern views are in fact more restrictive than European views throughout most of that period, in that they say the wife must consent and she must be ready to potentially get pregnant.
The medieval view was that sex came in three levels of acceptableness:
Sex within marriage for reproduction
Sex outside of marriage for reproduction, including pre-marital sex (fornication), adultery, and incest
Non-reproductive sex (sodomy), including sex with contraception or “pulling out,” manual, oral, and anal sex, masturbation, homosexual sex, pedophilia, bestiality, and necrophilia
Notice that rape doesn’t factor in as an ethical consideration because yay, patriarchy. As disturbing as a system is that thinks incestuous rape is an improvement over masturbation, it does have an internally consistent paradigm of babies = good and sex = bad.
If you believe that sex is only acceptable for procreation, then you are already of the opinion that sex should be done as little as possible. And if the only reason to have sex is for procreation, I have some interesting information: sex is not necessary for procreation. So there is no reason to have sex at all.
If you’re imagining I’m talking about a medical procedure involving centrifuges and rubber gloves and mysterious things going on beneath a drapecloth – no. People seem to think that getting semen into a vagina without the penis going in there too is rocket science, but it’s really not that complicated. Nothing special or medical is needed.
The major argument that people who think sex should only be for reproduction use is this – having sex to gratify one’s own desires when it is not necessary to do so is contrary to virtue, and consequently contrary to stable and civilized society. Well, this is also true of sex for reproduction. It is not necessary to have sex to conceive a child, so doing so is merely to gratify one’s own desires, and that is contrary to chastity and consequently contrary to virtue, on which Western society is built.
Some people might argue that it’s better to have sex than not to have sex when creating children, even if it’s not necessary to do so: that that unity and intimacy is important when creating a new life.
I’d like to point out that your children will not see it that way when they’re imagining how they were created. And apparently God doesn’t either, considering He preferred Jesus to be born of a virgin, and had to make the procreative sex between even Mary’s parents “immaculate” in order for Jesus’s birth to be clean enough.
I think it’s also worth pointing out that Christian Europe viewed the marital relation as a step down from chastity, as the best option available for people who were too morally weak to remain chaste.
1 Corinthians 7:1-9 KJV
Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: [It is] good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except [it be] with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, [and] not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
Such was also the case in pre-Christian Europe. The Roman word castitas referred to both sexual chastity and moral purity. Virginity has been a sacred state since the beginning of recorded European history and up until the last century.
“Som say no evil thing that walks by night
In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorish fen,
Blew meager Hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
That breaks his magick chains at curfeu time,
No goblin, or swart faery of the mine,
Hath hurtfull power o’re true virginity.”
John Milton, Comus
Since sex is not necessary for reproduction, to argue in favor of sex for reproduction would be either to reduce your arguments to “sex for bonding” or “sex for pleasure” (in which case, see above) or to use the argument that sex for reproduction is “natural,” in that animals and people around the globe and throughout history do it. Keep in mind that this is the argument that people use to argue in favor of same-sex sex, a position which people of the “sex for reproduction” stance vehemently disagree with. Chastity, like all virtues, is not about doing what animals do, it is about rising above the animalistic to embrace our better natures.
However, I don’t have any practical objections to willing partners having reproductive sex a dozen or two times in their whole lives, if that. There seems extremely little risk for sex addiction from such constrained practice. But the logistics of this arrangement seem to me just fraught with potential negative consequences.
First of all, we’ve already gone down this path of society saying “no sex but for procreation,” and look how that’s turned out. You can try to put the genie back in the bottle, but what’s to prevent things from winding up the same way they are now? Even in the (at least) 1,400 years when this was standard practice throughout Europe, people were hardly chaste in mind, and often not sexually constrained in practice either. Sex is an addictive process: sexual activity will always feed a desire for more sexual activity.
But my primary objection to this system is that you’re expecting people who are in love and in a sexual relationship to live together but only have sex, at most, a dozen or two times in their lives. This does not seem like a set-up designed to encourage people to make healthy reproductive choices. People could wind up conceiving children against their better judgment, not because they truly want to have more children, but because they are so longing to have sex with each other, using “sex for reproduction” as an excuse when their real motivation is “sex for bonding” and “sex for pleasure.” This is a tremendous disservice to the children created when that was not the true desire of the couple.
Such was the case for Charles and Emma Darwin, who were married when Emma was 30 and who had 10 children, three of whom died. Anyone would be able to tell you that 10 children after 30 is terrible judgment. Even Victorian-era books recommend waiting at least a year between the birth of one child and the conception of the next, but Charles wrote privately that he and his wife couldn’t resist each other. After their ninth child they knew they really couldn’t have more children. But at age 43 Emma gave birth to a tenth child, a mentally disabled boy who died as a baby. That is only one example of a literally misbegotten life, among probably many, many thousands throughout all of European history. It is morally wrong to advocate a system that motivates and produces this kind of outcome.
Chastity is the only situation where people make the decision to conceive a child for no other reason than because they want to conceive a child. There are no accidental or unwanted babies when you are chaste.
Sex is not necessary to produce children, and relationships are better without it. If you’ve cut other addictive processes out of your life and consider yourself better off for it, then eliminate this addictive process from your life. Practice intimacy sober. Feel the full measure of love hormones without the hormones of addiction conflicting with them. See your personality change, and remember how you used to feel as a child. See your thoughts clear from demeaning fantasies and turn instead to things that actually matter. Find yourself enjoying the pleasures of life that were stultified by your brain being abused by an addictive process.
So, to sum up:
- If you are interested in sex for pleasure, know that sex is an addictive process, not a simple pleasure like taking a hot bath, cuddling, or eating strawberries. You engage in it at your own risk, and don’t be surprised if you become interested in paraphilias you used to think were disgusting, or end up engaging in sexual activities you used to think were immoral.
- If you are interested in sex for bonding, know that addictive processes are antagonistic to the hormones of love and attachment. Sex is an unstable foundation on which to base a committed relationship. Chaste relationships are much more profound, in that they are conducive to love and attachment (both of which are regulated by oxytocin), if you are secure enough to allow yourself to be vulnerable, intimate, and passionate when you are sober.
- If you are interested in sex for procreation, know that sex is not necessary for reproduction, and maintains its undesirable addictive qualities even when you are making a baby.
The Exception to the Rule
There is one case where I am in favor of masturbation for reproduction. That is that a man needs to orgasm in order to produce semen, which is obviously necessary for conception. I view a chaste man having to masturbate to conceive a child as his fifteen minute sacrifice of his bodily integrity, in comparison to the woman’s forty week sacrifice. Such an act still retains the purity of intention, since the woman is deciding to conceive a child for no other reason than her desire to have a child, and since the man is contributing his part after the sex act, when he has come down from the high and can be fully conscious of the act of creation they are performing.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw
Feeling Good by David Burns
Willpower Is Not Enough by A. Dean Byrd and Mark Chamberlain
America Anonymous by Benoit Denizet-Lewis
The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge
Addictions from an Attachment Perspective, edited by Richard Gill
Drugs, Addiction, and the Brain by George Koob et al.
The Biology of Desire by Marc Lewis
The Addictive Brain by Thad A. Polk (series of lectures)
Unbroken Brain by Maia Szalavitz
–Sexual Behaviors & Addiction–
Contrary to Love, Facing the Shadow, and Out of the Shadows by Patrick Carnes
Breaking the Cycle by George N. Collins and Andrew Adleman
Women, Sex, and Addiction by Charlotte Kasl
Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction by Mark Laaser
Final Freedom by Douglas Weiss
His Secret Life by Bob Berkowitz
The Sex Myth by Rachel Hills
Solitary Sex by Thomas Laqueur
Against Sadomasochism by Robin Ruth Linden et al.
Unleashing Feminism, edited by Irene Reti
Everyday Pornography by Karen Boyle
Confronting Pornography by Mark Chamberlain
Being and Being Bought by Kajsa Ekis Ekman
Pornography and Silence by Susan Griffin
Getting Off by Robert Jensen
The Drug of the New Millennium by Mark Kastleman
Anti-Porn by Julia Long
In Harm’s Way by Catharine MacKinnon
Only Words by Catharine MacKinnon
The Porn Trap by Wendy Maltz
Pornified by Pamela Paul
Big Porn Inc., edited by Melinda Tankard Reist and Abigail Bray
Against Pornography by Diana E.H. Russell
Making Violence Sexy, edited by Diana E.H. Russell
Treating Pornography Addiction by Kevin Skinner
Selling Sex Short by Meagan Tyler
Your Brain on Porn by Gary Wilson
–Prostitution & Sex Trafficking–
Pimp State by Kat Banyard
Female Sexual Slavery by Kathleen Barry
The Prostitution of Sexuality by Kathleen Barry
The Pimping of Prostitution by Julie Bindel
Prostitution, Trafficking, and Traumatic Stress by Melissa Farley
The Book of the Courtesans by Susan Griffin
The Idea of Prostitution by Sheila Jeffreys
The Industrial Vagina by Sheila Jeffeys
Paid For by Rachel Moran
Prostitution Narratives by Caroline Norma
Not a Choice, Not a Job by Janice Raymond
Whore Stories by Tyler Stoddard Smith
Not for Sale, edited by Rebecca Whisnant