Sorry, I got sex-tracked.

I’ve been curious as to why so many celebrities (mainly males, that we know of) get caught for sex addictions and enroll in it for rehab, such as Tiger Woods. This made me wonder, in relation to the “Shared Brain Vulnerabilities” article, about the effect of culture and environment on addiction. I’m also specifically interested in sex addictions, as well as food, because they are addictions that manifest from normal human behavior. Eating and sexual reproduction are both natural instincts, and yet they can easily be over-consumed. Another supposed addiction that I think is very interesting, is the addiction of exercise, although it is more likely that people are addicted to the endorphins that are produced as a result of exercise. But is it possible that “sex addicts” are just people who have a higher motivation/tendency to reproduce? If the people in our society that we consider sex addicts were in a different society, would people consider them addicts? Or perhaps is just an overwhelming desire to seek pleasure…

There is much controversy over whether or not people can actually become addicted to sex. I found this article on sex addiction in relation to Tiger Woods, and it brings up a good point in relation to our culture and society, and labeling ‘normal’ behaviors. [] As we talked about at the end of class on Wednesday, people who drink in a cultural or ritual setting in a different society could be classified as alcoholic addicts in our society, and as such I think in this manner the culture and people can really affect the way in which an addiction can manifest, as well as other mental diseases that we have seen (such as Schizophrenia and the difference in types of hallucinations due to societal influences and beliefs).

As I was looking at internet articles on sex addiction, I came across one site that talked about ‘neurofeedback’ as a form of treatment that cured his sex addiction. I decided to look more into this as it seemed quite intriguing. What I found was that it was a way in which people change the way in which their brain activity works by looking at an EEG, and then the person is rewarded with something when people change the way in which they want their brain to work. It’s also known as EEG Biofeedback, and there is more descriptive information at this link: It has been known to treat Autism and Asberger’s, but apparently it may be a treatment for non-substance addictions these days as well. The way in which it works can is described as follows: “We apply electrodes to the scalp to listen in on brainwave activity. We process the signal by computer, and we extract information about certain key brainwave frequencies. (All brainwave frequencies are equal, but some are more equal than others….) We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to promote. Others we wish to diminish. We present this information to the person in the form of a video game. The person is effectively playing the video game with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable, more regulated performance. The frequencies we target, and the specific locations on the scalp where we listen in on the brain, are specific to the conditions we are trying to address, and specific to the individual.”

Just a funny clip that I thought was related to the societal and influential power of culture on addiction.

If celebrities and politicians can be/are sex addicts, or are just addicts to other substance and non- substances, what kind of example does that portray for the rest of our society?

5 thoughts on “Sorry, I got sex-tracked.

  1. Natasha, this is a really great post. I was really interested in this idea of sex addiciton (in fact, I wanted to do my exam presentation on a sex addiction article). However, when I tried to look up papers about this topic, I found VERY few (like, less than 20) which I was really surprised by. You bring up a great point when you mention the idea of what is ‘normal’ behavior in society dictating what is deemed an ‘addiction’.


  2. I’ve never heard of this “neurofeedback” treatment of addiction. Is it only applied to sex or nonsubstance disorders? This seems to be implying that nonsubstance disorders are more controllable and less biologically induced. I feel like this is just a more technical way of behavioral therapy where instead of molding and changing behavior patterns you try to change brain patterns.


  3. I also think that the natural tendency to reproduce/eat make these two addictions very interesting. However, in the Oprah clip earlier they made it seem that sex addiction was more emotion seeking. The guilt and reward roller-coaster (guilt being different from withdrawal) which makes this topic even more interesting.


  4. That neurofeedback method sounds crazy! (as in cool, but i’ve just never heard anything about it before!) Also, a kind of bizarre theory just popped into my head, which I don’t believe (since I’m more with Hannah re. sex addiction linked to emotion seeking), but what if people become addicted to sex if they have evolutinarily ideal genes?? and they were “meant” to be addicited to sex to spread their genes as much as possible.. I could see some people going for that, but I seriously doubt it!


  5. I, too, am intrigued about this idea of “neurofeedback”. It seems similar to the interactive process of cognitive behavioral therapy that is used to treat many different things, from anxiety disorders to behavioral problems. I like the neurofeedback idea possibly even better, because the EEG provides a visual cue.

    I noticed on the website you provided ( that neurofeedback has been useful for “various sleep disorders”. We’ve been talking about sleep and biological rhythms in class, and it makes sense that something that “addresses problems of brain disregulation” could help to regulate a malfunctioning clock. Still, I’m curious as to how this type of training is used in such a situation.

    In any case, neurofeedback sounds really cool – and suggests that simply getting the brain active is a great way to get your neurons in gear.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s