Something horrible is happening to me. It’s called Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew. I can’t get enough of this freaking train wreck. This is not the first addiction based reality show. Intervention, Sober House, and Drew’s own Celebrity Rehab, helped blaze the trail that led to this. Perhaps these were entertaining and worthy shows, but I was not compelled to watch a minute of them. But this one covers a subject near and dear to my heart.
Here they come, traipsing mock-reluctantly into the Pasadena Recovery Center, if such a place even exists. The surfer dude, the porn star, the rocker, the model, the disgraced beauty queen. All claiming that their out of control libidos are ruining their lives. Is wanting to ‘fuck anything that moves’ comparable to having a need to tie off and shoot heroin? As far as I know there aren’t any chemicals added to bodily fluids to enhance their addictive properties. Some days I want to fuck anything that moves too, and I am not a sex addict.
What makes the show hard to dismiss out of hand is all the helping. It really is a new kind of porn, with tears as the cumshot. While one might question whether having oneself filmed crying, jonesing for cock and pussy and confessing to all manner of truly disturbing abuse is a wise choice, one cannot deny the impact of hearing these horror stories and watching as the patients become more in touch with their emotions, form bonds of friendship with fellow addicts and learn to trust their fake therapists. Another TV shrink, Dr Phil has based his career on this kind of public shaming. It can only go so far in terms of actual progress, but it’s better than nothing. Of course reality shows are a perfect way to gain attention without actually having any talent other than knowing how to get the camera to pay attention to you. (Hint: call someone a “jealous transvestite-looking bitch” as Kari Ann Peniche did to Kendra Jade Rossi.)
If these “sex addicts” are getting better, it’s not because they are learning how to quit something, like cigarettes, alcohol, drugs. They are getting better because of therapy. Therapy will perhaps enable them to make better partner choices and allow them to be more emotionally open with the people around them. You can’t quit sex. But you can become more honest about what you need and what no-longer works for you. You can outgrow behavior that only serves to tear you down. You can feel differently about your actions, even if you’re not happy with them. As Kendra Jade says “I’m not in a position to heal when I’m being attacked.” She’s learning a recovery language we all speak now. It sounds at once empty and full of promise.
Alternate show titles: So You Think You Can Fuck, America’s Got Talented Porn Stars, I’m a Compulsive Masturbator, Get Me Out of Here.