Strip Club Addiction
Today the occasional visit to a strip club for many men may in fact be a right of passage. In our culture, men at certain ages, in college or prior to marriage, some with girlfriends and lovers in tow, go to hang-out at the local strip club, basking in the excitement of an exotic sexual dance or perhaps making it to the ‘back room’ for a “lap-dance” or hand-job. In this context, some may find that the occasional visit to such an environment can be considered a part of our culture.
That that married guy attending the semi-annual Vegas conference may also “find himself” going to the strip club with his male co-workers at the end of the conference-day and simply considers this to be a part of doing business. “What happens in Vegas … as they say.
As these behaviors are not inherently pathological and clearly have a good deal of cultural validation, this type of behavior does not itself constitute sexual addiction. There may be lies and secrecy involved, but that too does not constitute sex addiction.
The sex addicts who attend strip clubs are the regulars.
Their name is known to at the door. They are the ones who go there not just as a part of a life-transition (bachelor party) or work experience, but rather because they enjoy losing themselves. Sitting in a dark sexualized environment for hours at a time, the sex addict returns again and again, preferably alone, to lose himself and zone out in the intensity of the moment. Sex addicts who frequent strip clubs often are moderate to heavy drinkers because drinking is required in strip clubs and drinking heavily is encouraged.
Sex addicts can and do give away large amounts of money seeking the validation and interest of an attractive sex worker/dancer, all the time hoping that he is somehow more special or important than the man behind him or the one in front, because feeling special, wanted, and desirable is his real reason for being there.
The sex addict loses long periods of time in these dark, timeless places – while family, work and community life take a distant back seat. Some attempt to (or actually do) become personally involved with a sex worker, thereby bringing himself fully into a world of sexual distraction and non-reality. Treatment for this type of behavior can be quite effective, first by helping the sex addict eliminate the behavior itself and then by introducing him to his own emotional needs and the many healthy, more intimate means of getting them met.