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The Myth of Sex Addiction Hardcover – 9 Mar 2012

3.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 1 edition (9 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442213043
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442213043
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.4 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,817,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

David Ley's book raises one important question after another about the nature of sexuality, the social phenomenon of "sex addiction," and the effects of our pathologizing so much of Americans' sexual feelings and behavior.--Marty Klein

Dr. David Ley raises crucial questions in his latest book questions that demand serious consideration before we allow American society to drift even further toward declaring all pleasure potentially dangerous and pathological. Ley shows that the puritanism underlying our politics may also be distorting our medical sciences. This book is well informed, well argued, and well worth your time.--Christopher Ryan Ph.D, Co-author of Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality"

About the Author

David J. Ley is a clinical psychologist in practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He provides clinical and consultative services in numerous other states. Dr. Ley currently serves as Executive Director of a large outpatient behavioral health agency in Albuquerque and maintains a current caseload of clients. He is the author of Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).


Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
It seems that one either loves or hates this book. Of the comments on Amazon USA, almost all reviewers either give it a maximum 5 stars or a minimum 1 star, the ‘loves’ strongly outweighing the ‘hates’. The 3 UK reviewers were less generous. If possible, I would have given it 4.5 but, not being allowed this, I opted for 5 stars. I did this, not because I agree with its central premise that sex addiction is a myth – I don’t – but because of how well written it is and because of the obvious help that it has brought to many people who presumably have been falsely diagnosed. Dr Ley’s scholarship in assembling fascinating and highly relevant case studies is nothing short of amazing. If the book were reframed as, say, ‘Uses and Abuses of Sex Addiction’, I would unhesitatingly give it 5 stars. I must confess that, if I had read it before submitting my own book ‘How Sexual Desire Works: The Enigmatic Urge’ to the publishers, I might well have added a question mark after the chapter heading ‘Sexual addiction’.

Three fundamental issues seem to run through the debate, as follows.

First, is a moral agenda driving much of the discussion, forcing some people to see their perfectly healthy consensual activity as wrong, thereby causing much unnecessary distress and the seeking of expensive therapy? The answer that Dr Ley gives is a very convincing ‘yes’. However, does everyone who claims, or appears, to have an addiction fit this category? I would say ‘no’.

Secondly, do (so-called) sexually-addicted people have free will and agency over their behaviour or have they lost control? Here Dr Ley sails into rather treacherous waters, since the issue of free-will and determinism is one that has eluded philosophers from at least the time of the ancient Greeks.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Here's a quote from the book:
"If sex is inherently dangerous, as the theories behind sexual addiction allege, then why does it feel so good? It’s kind of a silly question perhaps..."

No, Dr. Ley - it's a moronic question.

I bought this book with an open mind. I had been through some treatment for sex addiction with which I did not feel satisfied and I was ready to hear an alternative point of view to the one I had got from my therapist. I had heard a radio interview with Dr. Ley where he asserted that:
a) "sex addiction" as a label prevents therapists from getting to the deeper issues that their individual clients are dealing with and
b) "sex addiction" as a label encourages people not to accept responsibility for their own behaviours.

I hoped that the book would discuss those ideas in more detail. I was, however, totally disappointed. Mainstream theories of sex addiction, for all their many flaws, do NOT claim that sex is inherently dangerous. Maybe some religious fundamentalists in the USA do make that claim, but unfortunately for Dr. Ley they do not represent the whole field of sex addiction.

He goes on at length about how sex addiction theories must define what is "healthy" sex. Again, nonsense - surely it's about the problems that one's sexual behaviours are causing in their individual lives not about what is defined as "healthy" by professionals.

When discussing the role of secrecy in compulsive sexual behaviours, we get this little gem:
"Diogenes, the “dog philosopher,” who was one of Alexander the Great’s mentors was infamous for masturbating in public, in the town square, to show his intentional rejection of social rules.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A solid study of this area. Interesting book, worth reading.
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