Is Homosexuality an Addiction Like Alcoholism?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry drew a comparison between alcoholism and homosexuality during a California visit that also dealt with economic issues.

Perry’s comments to the Commonwealth Club of California came after the Texas’ Republican Convention sanctioned platform language allowing Texans to seek voluntary counseling if they want to break free from homosexual addiction.

He went on to compare homosexuality to alcoholism: “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that, and I look at the homosexual issue the same way.”

Sex can be an addiction. “Pornography addiction has been described as a behavioral addiction characterized by compulsive, repeated use of pornographic material until it causes serious negative consequences to one’s physical, mental, social, and/or financial well-being.”

Some medical professions don’t agree with that pornography is an addiction but a compulsion that can be equally destructive.

“‘The therapists who treat pornography addicts say they behave just like any other addicts,’ Mary Anne Layden told WebMD.

“One of the key features of addiction, she says, is the development of a tolerance to the addictive substance. In the way that drug addicts need increasingly larger doses to get high, she thinks porn addicts need to see more and more extreme material to feel the same level of excitement they first experienced.”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that “[t]he National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity estimates that 6 to 8 percent of Americans — or 18 million to 24 million people — are sex addicts. And 70 percent of sex addicts report having a problem with online sexual behavior.”

A number of famous people have been treated for “sex addiction,” although it’s almost never admitted:

David Duchovny and his wife, Tea Leoni, “separated for a second time in their 14-year marriage. Duchovny, 50, and Leoni, 45, have weathered this storm before: In 2008, they spent several months apart after he admitted that he was a sex addict and voluntarily checked himself into a treatment center.

“‘I have voluntarily entered a facility for the treatment of sex addiction,’ the actor said at the time. ‘I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family.’

“He was the first celebrity to own up to sex addiction. Other public figures have sought treatment following sexual indiscretions since then — golfer Tiger Woods and most recently, former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose wife is reportedly seeking distance from him. But Duchovny still holds the distinction of being the only celebrity to cite sex addiction as his reason for treatment, as opposed to depression, ‘undisclosed reasons’ or any number of other ailments.”

If pornography and sex itself can be addiction, I don’t see why an aberrant sexual practice like homosexuality can’t be an addiction or addiction-like. Like alcohol and drug addictions, what a person does sexually is a choice. If people can kick the drug and alcohol habits, and people can beat their sex addiction problems, then the same must be true for same-sex sexuality.

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