EDIT: Unfortunately that's all the time I have today, thanks for all your great questions. It was such an honor to be there. If this discussions bring up any questions you can visit my website: http://www.robertweissmsw.com/ or find me on social media!

Hi I’m Robert Weiss, LCSW, CSAT-S, a leader and world renowned expert in Intimacy Disorders, Porn, Relationship and Sex Addictions. My writing, education and therapy programs also focus on the intersection of human intimacy/sexuality in the evolving digital world.

If you’d like to learn more about my work you can read my other books Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Love, and Porn Addiction; Closer Together, Further Apart: The Effect of Technology and the Internet of Parenting, Work and Relationships and Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age.

You can also catch me on National Geographic’s new series “Original Sin: How Sex Changed the World.” It airs Sundays from July 10th-August 14th.

Website: http://www.robertweissmsw.com/

My Proof: http://i.imgur.com/bAg5b8Q.jpg

Comments: 49 • Responses: 13  • Date: 

lovelife18818 karma

Is there a difference between having a lot of sex and being a sex addict?

TheRobertWeiss17 karma

To ask that question is the same to me as asking what is the difference between someone who enjoys drinking and an alcoholic. Sex addicts like alcoholics are not seeking the same satisfaction from the pursuit of sex as someone who is enjoying the sex. Sex addicts seek emotional escape, mood shift via the search for sex. and ultimately sex addiction is not about sex at all, it's about losing your self in the hunt, the search and the fantasy.

diadara6 karma

As a woman I would feel cheated on if my boyfriend would watch porn. The thought of him being sexual looking at other women would hurt me. Is there a simple explanation as to why men enjoy porn so much even when they're in a fully functional sexual relationship?

TheRobertWeiss19 karma

Word up: Men and women look at sex differently. We have brain science, biological evidence and eons of cultural data that tells us that men tend to view sex in a more objectified manner than women. Men tend to be more engaged and satisfied by looking at body parts (porn) as a means of excitement than women do. Women like body parts (porn) too but the scenario of what turns them on is more complex. When I think of women and porn I don't think about three minute hardcore porn that is typical of men to enjoy. I think about Twilight, True Blood, 50 Shades, etc. Women like porn but it also needs to have a relational element to it. Here's the deal: A man may want to get off on viewing a hardcore non-relational porn site. But that doesn't mean he doesn't think you're sexy and doesn' want to have sex with you or you're not good enough. So here's the important part: It's not if your man looks at porn or doesn't but more is his looking at porn affecting your sexual intimacy as a couple, is he less available to you as a man/person, does he expect you to do things he sees in porn that makes you uncomfortable or most importantly is he lying to you that he looks or how often. In the hundreds of couples I've treated for the pain of relationship betrayal there appears to be one universal truth. The deepest pain occurs not because the person cheated or had sex with someone else (but that sucks.) The greatest pain is the lying, it's the feeling that if you're doing that and I didn't know it what else are you lying about. I would rather have a partner who tells me what they're doing with porn than one who hides it. However, it's not okay for someone to dismiss your concerns by simply saying I like this and too bad. Even if your concerns are unfounded meaning he's being completely honest with you and it isn't affecting your couples intimacy then he should accept the fact that it upsets you nonetheless and should be open to change his behavior based on what you're feeling. Your feelings should be more important than the porn.

Sk8tr_Boi5 karma

What are some helpful tips for married couples whose sex drives are dwindling due to work-related stress & other distractions like...oh.. I dunno.. like reddit perhaps?

TheRobertWeiss3 karma

These are simple answers but not easy to do in the hectic world we now inhabit. But to review, they are things like really good self care, rest, exercise, self love, being in a place where you are emotionally and physically available to be sexual. The same for your partner. And then the couple together has to take time out from life's craziness to connect intimately, emotionally and vulnerably. That's where the action is.

yensid74 karma

I have a friend who has had a problem with sex addiction. It goes back historically to problems from his childhood (not surprisingly, I'm sure). A lot of his problems have to do with creating fantasies (delusions?) in his mind about what is going through someone else's mind.

So this basically wrecked his very long term marriage. He started getting help about this about 4 years ago, but the marriage couldn't survive the infidelity, the hang-ups he's had to deal with, and the ongoing neglect for the ex-wife's feelings in all of this. That's fine, it's over, and actually I think when they finally decided to call it quits it made things a LOT better for both of them.

Like I said, he's betting getting help for a while now. He's getting better. He can see an attractive woman and not get lost staring or lost in his own mind. But I know he still struggles with all of this, and probably always will.

So here's my question. I'm pretty much his only confidant (on a non-professional level) with all of these struggles. And now he's starting to date. How can I help support him through this, and keep him from torpedoing another relationship and hurting someone?

TheRobertWeiss3 karma

A friend can be helpful in as much as the addict is willing to let them in fully and allow them to help. This can't be you wagging your finger at your friend, the addict, while they sit back with their arms crossed and don't tell you their truth. Sex and love addicts need accountability and support to make good decisions around dating and sex that most of us make intuitively. If your friend and you are open to you being such an accountability partner around his sexual and romantic decisions that could be really helpful. But only if you have no agenda like moral or religious, but only that of being a good friend. The addict has to be willing to tell you his/her entire truth and to take direction after you hear it. Otherwise, this kind of role is best taken up by a 12 step sponsor or therapist who can remain neutral and unafraid to be completely honest.

dooberina3 karma

How do you feel about open relationships? Do they work, or are they always a disaster?

TheRobertWeiss4 karma

I define infidelity as the keeping of profound secrets in an intimate relationship. There are couples that can and do have successful open relationships provided that they set down a very open set of rules and boundaries around it. And both are entering this openly not because they should or have to (like I'll lose him if I don't do this.) As long as relationship integrity is maintained (honesty, openness and willingness to re-examine if this is working for us or not) there is a potential for this kind of relationship to be successful. However, people often turn to open relationships in an attempt to save a relationship. That doesn't usually work because it means one person is going along with something that they really don't want in the hope that it will keep their partner around rather than because they themselves want to explore other sexual options. Those are the open relationships that fail along with those where rules are set and broken, promises are made and not kept, and lies are given as truths. Before considering an open relationship couples need to already be healthy in good communication, deeply connected and honest otherwise this is an experiment doomed to fail.

aurelienb2 karma

Can women be sex addicts, or is it really only men who have this problem?

TheRobertWeiss2 karma

Absolutely women can be sex addicts. I run several treatment programs specifically for women with these issues. What these women report is early trauma and abuse, combined with a life long need to feel a sense of control over sex and relationships. But, when the relationship comes they run in the other direction. These women have a problem with intimacy avoidance that plays out in superficial sex and love relationships. Many women who sexually act out in this way don't see themselves as having a "sexual" problem. They go to therapy and say things like "I have a problem with dating. I have a problem with relationships. I have a problem finding the right person." Or they enter a therapy treatment seeking help with eating disorders, drug and alcohol addiction and other co-occurring problems. In our culture it's extremely shameful for a woman to admit to a problem that involves having a lot of sex. She will always be called a slut and she knows it. A guy with the same problem will be called things like a player or a stud and he knows it. This is just a tip of the iceberg of why it's so tough for women to get help with these issues. In addition, many women who are sex addicts themselves have issues of abuse, drug problems, failure to derive pleasure from intimate relationships will often end up in the sex industry as prostitutes, dancers, etc. Thereby gravitating away from self reflection.

ksanthra2 karma

After years of marriage it seems quite common for couples to lose the spark, especially when it comes to sex. In your opinion what are some of the common reason for this and ways to reignite the passion in a relationship?

TheRobertWeiss5 karma

It is natural for all couples over time to lose that initial "oh my god you're the hottest person ever, you're all i ever think about" spark. When we are sexual in long term relationships our sexuality comes more out of wanting to please someone you love, willingness to be close and caring, more than being horny. If the spark gets lost the couple has work to do. Cheating is not the logical answer. It's an answer, but not the only answer.

dancechick0932 karma

What is the most common issue you see with today's generation when it comes to relationship & sex?

TheRobertWeiss6 karma

The most common negative issue I see with young people is a lack of understanding about how to build intimacy, trust and healthy sex. This means that adolescents and young adults, because of their extensive exposure to internet porn, and sex without relationships (see Tinder) seems to be leading to untested expectations about what a partner should and should not deliver sexually and when. To put it simply, pre-digital age, if you wanted to get laid, and you weren't going to pay for it, you had to be romantic, you had to have the charm and social skills to make someone feel safe and comfortable enough to want to be sexual. Today, that skill set is no longer required but it is required to build romance, sexual intimacy and love. So I see heterosexual young men struggling with the idea that sex in real life should be like porn, and all the expectations that come with that. I see heterosexual young women both with their new freedoms and openness to sex without relationships in ways that didn't exist in the past. But also feelings of obligation and inferiority around sex with men who use porn as their standard.

However, the positive can be seen by asking anyone over 40 how they learned about sex (dirty magazine, a friend, the birds and bees talk) versus anyone under 40 how they learned about sex (encyclopedic fully vetted information about human sexuality via the internet.)

pinkiepooo2 karma

How much sex is too much sex?

TheRobertWeiss7 karma

This is a great question. And my answer is, how many drinks make a alcoholic.? How many hands of black jack make a compulsive gambler? In other words we really don't define addiction in quantitative terms but rather qualitative terms. It's not about how much sex you have or how much you drink. Defining addiction relates to how functional is your life not how many often. Are the substances you use or the behaviors you enjoy enhancing and supporting your life as you wish to live it or taking you down? Just like everybody has their own limits around eating, exercise, sleep, we all have our own rhythms around sex. I see many couples who are concerned that they're either having too much or too little sex. My concern is more "are you happy?" Because there is no number that is too much or too little in that way

_Salamand3r_2 karma

Is there any research proving that an addiction to porn can actually cause erectile dysfunction?

TheRobertWeiss5 karma

Yes we are beginning to document a rise in something called Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED.) This directly relates to the speed, intensity and endless nature of digitally delivered porn, combined with young people becoming habituated to leaning into such porn (easy), rather than meeting the difficult challenges of dating, relationship intimacy and human sexuality. When people become adapted to hyper stimulation (internet porn, webcam sex) that level of intensity becomes their expectation and norm. Therefore meeting with a real, live person just isn't that interesting. This seems to be a different population than the sex addicts that I have treated for the last 30 years as it is a problem that seems to develop in adolescents and young adults rather than related to very early trauma. Stay tuned because this is an area that is going to be getting intense focus both from the research and treatment stand point. And I'll have a book out on it in 2017.

InfernalWedgie1 karma

Have you had a chance to peruse the Reddit community, particularly corners like /r/relationships and /r/SurvivingInfidelity?

If not, can you spend about 5 minutes there and give us your impression of how relationship infidelity is affecting Reddit as a whole?

TheRobertWeiss2 karma

Digital media, internet and device driven sex, online porn, etc have all come about at the same time as the development of web platforms and social media. Therefore there is a generation of people involved in communities like reddit who need to talk about things and need to get answers to things that didn't exist before. After all, what is cheating in the digital age? That is a very different question than what cheating was in the analog age. Answers for questions like "am I being cheated on if he looks at a lot of porn" or "is she being unfaithful if she chats up her ex-boyfriends on facebook" aren't necessarily something that you're going to discuss with your neighbor or your pastor or your mother. These questions are embarrassing, confusing and potentially shameful. I see these questions being vetted in social media as it can feel like the safest place to get information and express feelings in the community while still feeling a sense of personal privacy. It may also be useful to consider that women are particularly drawn to social media more than men. Communities where they can come together, share, learn, and connect. And women tend to express more open concerns on cheating, infidelity, and the loss of the relationship than do men.

dancechick093-4 karma

With millions of people using apps like Ashley Madison, it seems like nobody is really faithful anymore. So why should I be monogamous?

TheRobertWeiss9 karma

Actually there are many people who chose to be faithful not because cheating isn't an option as you say cheating is easier than it ever was before to do and to hide. But, relationship commitment, integrity and honesty with your spouse which ultimately bring about deep meaningful connection will never go out of style. Keep the faith

ValkriM8B-7 karma

Do you really think this is a "scientific" field (with the ability to create and test hypotheses with repeatable results by others)?

Isn't this really a group of opinions masquerading as 'Science"?

TheRobertWeiss10 karma

There is actually a great deal of study internationally about compulsive and addictive sexual behavior. These are legitimate brain science and behavioral studies carried out at places like Cambridge in London and Harvard. I suggest looking up the names Valerie Voon and Marty Kafka for more research related information.