Men, internet pornograhy and why it can be so very difficult to give up.

porn1Besides women and low libido, a plenary of premature ejaculation sufferers, a big block of my practice involves problems related to the use of pornography and its effect on marriages. However you feel about porn you can’t argue how pervasive and how readily available it is. Sometimes called the “crack cocaine of the 21st century”, internet porn is dead simple, free and hits those pleasure centres in our brains. It appeals to the male need for newness and for visual stimulation. Pornographic images requires no work on your part to please a partner,and you always can find exactly what strikes your fancy at any given moment.
Here are the problems. Some people have real ethical issues with the material. I’m of mixed minds on this (having personally met many women who happily and cheerfully work in the sex industry and would shout up and down that they are NOT exploited). But some women find their partners viewing this material highly offensive. Many women also feel threatened by their partner fantasizing to images of women with perfect bodies. Some men masturbate so much that they aren’t able to help their partners out in the bedroom. I’ve had patients who need to go into the bathroom at work to masturbate, or miss outings because they were in the “porn haze” of extended sexual sensory overload. If it starts to interfere with real life, then “Houston we have a problem”. I do skype sessions around managing porn with men in all cultures and through out North America.
As a sex therapist I see some challenges. Porn is not real sex with real women and thus the perception of what is authentic sexuality gets distorted. Real women aren’t always perfectly waxed, go into throes of ecstasy when you touch their knee, nor like a 12 inch penis in their rectum. If you expect your partner to behave like a porn star, you can understand why there is a disconnect.
Unlike some therapists, I think there can be a place for adult material in a relationship. I find some of the female erotica directors depicting the funny, sexy, imperfect act of genuine sex endearing and a turn on. I find mindless banging with disrespected women offensive. I also understand that porn needs to be treated with respect. Just like drugs, alcohol, food, gambling, sex can impact those pleasure centres in the brain and become addictive.
Having a cart blanche that your partner can’t look at porn EVER makes it secretive and is setting them up to fail. In my opinion it doesn’t work. Finding a middle ground that invokes communication and creative dialogue about what really pushes your buttons is information that partners need to know about each other as to what they find hot. Porn can be a slippery slope of self loathing, secretive behaviour and diminished partner response. It can also be a fun, raunchy, silly way to add visual images to your love making. If you’ve caught your partner looking at porn don’t freak out. Come up with some boundaries, make your feelings heard and maybe get some help mediating this. It’s a complicated issue and far more powerful than most women realize. Oh, and 90% of men look at it. Be informed.
For men who think their pornography habit is taking over their life there are solutions I can help. Let’s set up an initial consultation for 30 minutes to explore solutions. It’s $75 and it will give you the framework you need to take action. Book with me now and let’s get started.

Men behaving very badly. Why Big Ben, Charlie Sheen and Tiger need a sex therapist intervention

Charlie Ben

I've long thought that major sports club should have sex therapists on retainer. Part counselor, part nurturing principal figure (don't disappoint us), and part kick-ass dominate who'll be what out-of-control testosterone needs. Young men with too much money, time, and overblown egos need their sexuality managed if they can't seem to keep it in their pants. Sports figures manage their image, financial planning, and coaching. I think they there needa consistent, therapeutic way to manage potential "off the field" problems. As a sex therapist/and sex addiction counselor I've written insights into Clinton, ARod, Tie Domie, Woods, and countless CEO's,  I find myself shaking my head about this week's exploits.  I really believe that many men will have difficulties managing their sexual selves if they aren't given the tools to deal with raging hormones, fantasies and overwhelming opportunity to indulge.

Take Big Ben Roethlisburger, the Quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's in front of the NFL Commissioner this week after a third women (this time a 20 year old in Georgia who was kept in a back room by Ben with his body guards blocking the door) came forward with sexual assault charges. There is absolutely no excuse for the behaviour, but it could have been identified and managed before he put anyone else at risk. The NFL need some help dealing with large men out of control. And despite what Terry Bradshaw says, I think he needs therapy, (and a serious tune up) not a lecture from the Commissioner.  Like Tiger, he's a lock to repeat the behaviour. The only thing he's may have learned out of this is discretion. He doesn't have the tools to self correct. This week we also learned that Stephen Seagal (quasi athlete turned TV star) has had his reality show "Lawman" halted because he is being sued by a model for making her "his sex toy".

And there is Charlie Sheen. Not a sports figure (he just played one on TV), he is up on domestic abuse charges for holding a knife to his wife's throat. I would be inclined to give these guys the benefit of a doubt except that with the third time for Roethlisburger (fifth occurrence in the case of Sheen) shows the pattern continues unabated. I think the answer is to understand the psychological link between physical achievement, domination and sexuality. If you understand that triad of deep rooted inclinations, and you have a chance of solving inappropriate sexual behaviour. I have not yet heard from sports management organization (feel free to call, I am so confident of my theory I'll work for free). It is time to quit doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  You and I both know that is the definition of insanity. It is also the absolute guarantee that the headlines of men behaving badly will continue. 

Reading about the U of Montreal study that says watching porn doesn't change what you like sexually. Apparently we find new porn options interesting, but doesn't change our base preferences. Interestingly, they had real trouble finding a control group of men who don't watch porn. Smile

More about why Tiger Woods is not a sex addict


Much of my work as a sex therapist is to simply reassure people that they are normal. Everyone has sexual needs and desires. The instinct to rut and reproduce only follows the urge to survive as our most powerful drives. That most men are randy and think about sex at least once an hour isn’t news to the women who live with them. Sex addiction happens when those sexual needs override everything else, and render the individual unable to function both personally and professionally. So based on my definition, Tiger Woods is not a sex addict.

Addiction is a real thing. Anything that targets the pleasure centres of the brain can become addictive. Smoking, alcohol, chocolate, or gambling can certainly change your physiology.  Any addiction gives you those little pleasure buzzes in your head that have you coming back compulsively for more.  Sex most certainly falls into this category.  It goes from being a happy pill to a full blown addiction when it starts to take over an inordinate amount of brain space. The sex addicts I see in my day to day practice are paralyzed with inaction. They surf porn for five hours at a time, find themselves masturbating at work, blow their rent money at the local massage parlours and are generally filled with self loathing.  If a behaviour starts to interfere with ones ability to function, especially professionally, then it’s time to get some help to cope with the compulsions.  Just like in those employee assistance commercials which showed an empty desk and ringing phone on Monday morning to illustrate a co-worker with a substance abuse problem. Sex addicts like any other group with a problem start having problems maintaining their corporate responsibilities. At no time while frolicking with a bevy of mistresses, did Tiger’s game seriously falter. He continued to be ranked first in the world with prize winnings of over 10 million dollars last year.

Much more common than sex addicts, are people struggling with temptation. I believe that men’s sexual needs are defined by hundreds of million years of evolution. Men are biologically attracted to “newness” when it comes to sex. There is a global appeal in wanting variety when exploring sexual appetites. Desiring sex, or sex with a litany of different women does not make you a sex addict.  The only difference between Tiger Woods and some of the men I see looking for suggestions on how to explore an urge for more variety is that he has the opportunity. Few men I know get propositioned by different women in their daily lives. If they did, every study done in the last ten years about male sex drive would suggest that most of them would act on the invitation. And unlike men and couples looking to explore sexual variety with integrity, Tiger took the easy ride into infidelity. 

Think about it, he's like any other young, fit, aggressive guy chocked full of testosterone. Men who can, often do and Tiger has beautiful, seductive women throwing themselves at him continuously. He faces temptation that would tempt a saint. And Tiger is no saint.  Despite his previous PR campaign to hold himself up to higher standards, Tiger is as human, and as sexual as the rest of us.

There is a new series on History television called Ancients Behaving Badly. It's simple "Rocket Robin Hood animation" meets the known facts of all the great conquerors. It also offers up a moving scale of personality disorders. It uses historical facts of men in positions of power. There are lots of throwing tantrums and demonstrating psychosis along with a competitive need to win.  One of the most common characteristics of exceptional men is narcissism and the need to be viewed as special. In my opinion, Tiger is more of a narcissist.  To call himself a sex addict and use the label of an addiction because it spins better as an excuse for his behaviour is dismissive of people really struggling with sexual addiction. It also gives any philandering spouse the “get out of jail free card”.  It feeds into what I see as the American Hollywood culture of victimhood. To say he was just a philandering jerk doesn’t lend itself well to his sponsors and public. To say he has a problem that a month in the Betty Ford Clinic will fix makes him a fallible hero. I believe Tiger Woods will give into temptation again. He maybe able to say no to the first hundred propositions, but the liklihood is that he will give into the 101st. Like holding your breath under water he will come up sputtering. You can’t fight those urges with nothing more than platitudes, and he needs a life plan not a month surrounded by yes men telling him he has a problem.





What a Sex Therapist thinks Tiger Woods may say about his infidelity at tomorrow's press conference.


So Tiger Woods who has disappeared for the last three months (after his wife tried to take him out with his five iron) is resurfacing. He's got a "let's be humble" press conference coming up tomorrow.  My own opinion about Tiger is three fold. I don't think he's a sex addict any more than any other man. Think about it, he's like any other young, fit aggressive guy chocked full of testosterone. However what annoys me about Tiger is the Holier than thou attitude. And that he expects to get a pass on his behaviour simply because of his golf prowess.  If he didn't make this about his larger than life image, then his infidelity could stay between he and his wife. As a rule, I don't believe in offering judgements on other peoples relationships. No one really knows the inside of someone else's marriage.
Many in the media are bantering around the sex addict title. As someone who treats sex addicts I think it is self defined. Sexual addiction happens when your sexual obsessions start interfering in other aspects of your life. I define sexual addiction as what happens when your sexual thoughts over ride your working thoughts against your better judgement.  By this definition Mr. Woods would qualify.
But I think Tiger is missing the point about why there is so much interest in this story. And why a canned statement won't cut it. Sure he's dipping his wick. And I bet the farm he'll do it again, and again, and again. He's human, red blooded, and getting offers daily. He may turn down the first ten young, new women offering their favours, but expect him to take the eleventh. As Blaik says, the only difference between him and any other heterosexual man on the planet is the opportunity and willingness of partners hitting on him.  Thousands of beautiful, suggestive  women  would tempt the Pope.
The reason the public is so pissed off is that he portrayed himself as Saint Tiger, the family man and above reproach. Tomorrow's press conference is more of the same. Not taking questions, assuming he's The Emperor's new clothes kind of reaction.
There is a new series on History television called Ancients Behaving badly. It's bad "Rocket Robin Hood animation" meets the known facts of all the great conquers. It also offers up a moving scale of personality disorders. One of the most common one of exceptional men is one of narcissism. In my opinion, Tiger is less than a sex addict and more of a narcissist. He may the Dany Heatley (note my Ottawa Senators hockey reference) about sports Demi-God surrounding himself with yes men. He needs to own his behaviour, stop hiding and either work on his marriage or work on his separation. Either way, coming clean, and playing some golf, and forgetting about being a hero is my hope for him and his family.
I was reading about the odds makers thoughts about the bullshit bingo game of the press conference coming on later today.  Kind of funny, and let's hope he doesn't use all of them in the same statement.
Odds on the first "cliché" that Tiger Woods will use:
"I regret the hurt I’ve caused" 4 to 1
"I’m sorry" 5 to 1
"I thank my Family" 5 to 1
"Time to reflect" 6 to 1
Thank "God" 12 to 1
"Thanks to my sponsors who have stuck by me" 15 to 1
"We all need to move on" 25 to 1
"I love Elin very much" 30 to 1
"Sex addiction" 70 to 1
"Ok, I admit it looks bad, but . . . " 100 to 1


Sex and Gaming – why computer generated hotties may be a good substitute for the real thing,,

I was asked to comment on a Canadian survey that came out in time for Valentine’s Day this week. The survey, conducted for Virgin Mobile, shows 56
per cent of young Canadians (ages 18 to 34) prefer holding their mobile phone
over their Valentine’s hand and almost 40 per cent say they’d rather live
without their Valentine for a week than their mobile phone.
“Clearly, people have a deep love affair with their mobile phones,
especially younger Canadians, and this survey shows just that,” said Nathan
Rosenberg, Virgin Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer.
argh! I found the thought of being more attached to my phone than to a thinking, breathing (demanding or snoring) partner kind of depressing. I regularly try and kick my cell phone across airports, (and have a graveyard drawer of dead blackberries). But does technology have to be bad as it relates to sex? I’ve been blogging about my love affair with toys (can’t remember when I actually had to use my own hand to bring myself to orgasm (it has to have been a decade), and now I cam kind of intrigued with some of this virtual sex. All the gaming vixens that started with the anatomical Laura Croft, and come of the sexier, and steamer virtual partners. With the audience getting older, we want a more adult feel to our console interaction (can we all say vibrating joystick?). Think of the success of we fit with middle aged women.
It turns out that more sex is coming for women in the gaming community.
“Erotic content for women is the fastest growing segment of the adult market,” she says. “It stands to reason it’s a growing segment in the gaming market as well.”
It also stands to reason that if you want gamers to subscribe to an interactive sex game, you want to appeal to both men and women. In fact, if you can get women to sign on, the men will follow.
Two games scheduled to launch next year are taking this woman-friendly approach, although both companies are shy about describing exactly what the new games will entail.
Having spent some time at the Banff New Media Centre designing new media sex games, Iknow it’s hard to walk that line between cheesy and sleazy but I’ll know it when I see it. I’m thinking the Rock, Howie Long, Clive Owens, and Ben Affleck naked and at my control. Hmmm it may have possibilities. In the meanwhile, let me turn off my phone and for my damn vibrator.