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THE SEX FILES: The Consent Exhibit and an Email Reply

April Flores and Hoodman in Artcore, directed by C. Batts Fly. Courtesy of Carlos Fly.

I had the occasion to hit the apexart (yes, that’s all in small case letters) gallery in Tribeca for their current ‘Consent’ exhibition, an exploration of the “complicated questions of sex, pleasure, intimacy and morality.” Featuring several rooms of four 2o minute videos/blown-up stills and a cool triptych monitor, I learned talking to Assistant Director of Programs Julia Knight that the Consent exhibit was farmed out to curator Lindsey G. (one of the ways apexart acquires their shows is they seek a curator who is knowledagable in a particular subject) and the writer/activist interviewed adult actors, directors and even some consumers like Oriana Small, Nyomi Banxxx, Mr. Marcus and Kelly Shibari (who I actually know, name dropper I am) and many others.

The exhibition plays until May12th and after that a history of American railroads chugs its way to the super cool apexart space, where the exhibitions are always free. Check them out at 291 Church Street or write for more info at the aptly addressed: info@apexart.org

Following up on last week’s column I did happen to get an email from author David J. Ley about my enthusiasm for his book The Myth Of Sex Addiction. I so love getting emails about THE SEX FILES (the few that I have received), especially when they might praise me a little.

I cut and pasted it below so you could share in my glow….

Wow – that’s a great post. Thanks. I think you’ll enjoy the book.

Ultimately, I believe that sex addiction is so powerful and dominant, because it serves a great many functions, including moral, economic and social. It’s funny, because in many ways, it does dual duty – at the same time that the sex addiction label is used to condemn “men being men,” and doing things like looking at porn, strippers or masturbating, it is also used to excuse and explain the actions of powerful men, where it is offered as a simple black and white answer to why even powerful people do things for sex. And then, the powerful person goes to sex addiction country-club treatment, and everything is all better.

A fascinating symbiotic economic relationship also exists between the sex addiction treatment industry, and the media, where the media uses the sex addiction concept for entertainment (reality shows) and as a fear tactic to grab viewers (this person is a sex addict, could your husband be one too?). the sex addictionologists play along with this, because it supports their credibility, and drives clients through their doors.

Finally – even though the sex addiction industry claims that they are providing treatment to remove shame and morality, their very treatment and diagnostic model is incredibly morally-laden and shame-based. The new movie on sex addiction is actually called Shame. The majority of the behaviors that these folks identify as unhealthy, they are doing so based on culturally-determined, morality-based attitudes towards sex, mostly towards aspects of male sexuality that our current society finds unacceptable, from masturbation and pornography, to infidelity.

But – an interesting and disturbing thing for me, as I’ve pursued this, has been the unbelievable vitriol and hate that i’ve received from these folks. The sex addictionologists themselves have attacked me, calling me a sex addict myself – apparently, if you don’t believe in it, then you automatically are one – this might apply to you, watch out! These folks are not interested in the science, or acknowledging the subjectivity of their arguments. They hide behind their good intentions, that they are just trying to help people who need help, blind to the fact that they are feeding and creating this mess, and that it has real dangers and consequences.

I look forward to your response to my book, and I’m thrilled to hear there are like-minded folks out there – given the attacks I’ve received, it’s nice to not be alone.

I am waiting for Mr. Ley’s book presently and after I read it I will of course include my review.

See you in the funny papers kids.

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