“Shame” Movie Validates Sex Addiction

The new Shame movie helps legitimize sex addiction. It lies in the camp of those who see this disorder as a growing “epidemic”; not in the camp that isn’t sure it even exists.

Writer Tracy Clark-Flory‘s recent article in Salon, “Don’t Believe the Sex Addiction Hype,” is in that latter camp. Clark-Flory calls sex addiction a “cultural phenomenon, not a legitimate medical diagnosis.”

Psychologist David Ley, author of the upcoming book The Myth of Sex Addiction, is quoted by Clark-Flory as perceiving this diagnosis as a “moral attack on sexuality” that’s not substantiated by science. He’s afraid that if the DSM proceeds with adding “Hypersexual Disorder” to its new edition next year, too many people with a high frequency of sexual behavior will be inappropriately labelled and thus harmed.

Isn’t this blaming the diagnosis instead of the misguided diagnoser?

Actor Michael Fassbender stars as Brandon, a sex addict, in Shame; Carey Mulligan portrays his sister. Fassbender has already won awards for his performance.

Sheila Marikar in her review for ABC : “If you’re still in doubt about whether or not sex addiction is real, see ‘Shame.’ There are few things as depressing as watching a man defile a series of prostitutes while his suicidal sister sobs into his answering machine.”

According to Newsweek, Steve McQueen, the director of Shame, is among those who doubted the validity of this addiction—until he researched it by attending meetings of Sex Addicts Anonymous. Much as anyone with an open mind might when exposed to others’ stories of anguish, he became a believer—and made his movie.

As for dealing with the titular emotion of the movie, psychiatrist Garrett O’Connor has reportedly stated that addicts of all types carry at least some degree of malignant shame.

Shame, in turn, is also what often propels the addiction. This vicious cycle is what some would call the “shame spiral.”

Considering this, you may be sorely disappointed if you see Shame expecting sexual thrills, then. In fact, be prepared to experience the opposite, say reviewers.

Back to the issue of whether or not there’s such a thing as a sex addiction disorder, noted film critic Roger Ebert cuts to the chase on his website: “Whatever it is, Brandon suffers from it.”

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