1. Compulsive sexual activity is different than compulsive sexual abuse.
2. Seeking treatment for something only when you've been caught is disingenuous.
3. And routinely assaulting and harassing those you hold power over is not about sex at all.
I could continue on with this list of high-end "sex rehab" problems ad nauseum. We saw the term creep into headlines more sporadically in the past, and now it seems like everyone and his father is checking into sex rehab centers. Actually, they're all checking into one particular rehab center: Gentle Path at the Meadows in Arizona. Treatments include therapy (valid) along with horse riding, poolside yoga, painting, and carrying around teddy bears. While the image of Harvey Weinstein being forced to hug a horse while simultaneously clutching a teddy bear is hilarious, it doesn't seem to be particularly prescriptive of Harvey's "disease" - which, by the way, is decidedly not sex addiction. But you knew that.
4. "Sex rehab" weaponizes sex, a normal human behavior.
5. It normalizes assault as a part of sexuality, which it is not.
6. It deflects the responsibility for rich, powerful men's behavior.
The list is long, because what men like Weinstein and Kevin Spacey suffer from is a grave abuse of power. Maybe it's a deep rift of insecurity somewhere deep in their psyche, or maybe it's the slow poison of quote-unquote Toxic Masculinity. Perhaps power is a head rush, or they struggled to see their younger, more vulnerable peers as real people. With men like these, sex is merely the shotgun. Their motive of intent is far deeper and more complex than sex, and they revel in it. Decades of sexual abuse are not "oopsy" moments, and they're not similar to moments when you inadvertently find yourself at the bottom of the bottle or the end of a needle yet again.
7. Sex addiction is not a recognized disorder like alcoholism and drug abuse.
8. Group art therapy is not punishment.
9. These men know, and they knew before, too.
Our society's broken perception of acceptable male sexuality is illustrated no better than our deference to real crime - real assault, real harassment - as merely an unyielding, unchecked sexual appetite instead of the urge to hurt or control a fellow human being. For far too many years now, the world has taken sexual responsibility off the shoulders of men and placed it elsewhere - be it hormones, women, broken childhoods, or stressful careers.
As women, we've had to lengthen our skirts, button our tops, never walk home alone, and temper our friendliness to ensure that men could control themselves - that was never their responsibility. Victims who were too drunk, too young, or too attractive supposedly made the perpetrators powerless, too. And now, in the ultimate "men will be men" deflection, we have resort-style sex rehab for the men who were never told that they'd be punished, that they were responsible for their behavior. "I need help," they say, and they do.
But it's not for sex addiction.