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Iain B

This quiz is sad, but it is not surprising. If it was on a government or non-profit health website it would be much more worrying, but it is essentially advertising. "Are you addicted to sex/blogging/hamburgers? If so, only our self-help book ($19.95 plus postage) can save you from a fate worse than death! Take our quiz to find out!"

The quiz is then constructed in such a way that practically anyone who has partaken of sex/blogging/hamburgers will register as an addict and maybe buy the book.

The other side of the coin is that labelling some behaviour an addiction can enable the "addict" to disclaim responsibility. "It's not my fault that I am [doing something] and causing [negative consequences]! I have a medical condition!"

Of course, this quiz is all the more effective because it taps into commonly held fears about sex, but I think that's a secondary issue. It's more interesting (and disturbing) for pretending that part of the human condition is an illness, and trying to sell a remedy for it. In that sense it is closely related to the "alternative medicine" industry, selling false cures for ailments both real and imagined; and to practically all other advertising, pretending something you don't need is in fact essential for your well-being.

That said, there is such a thing as psychological addiction (to sex, gambling, computer games, whatever) which can be a serious problem requiring serious help; but that help is unlikely to come from the website hosting the "sex addict" quiz.

the chaplain

You used the phrase "conventional sexual morality" near the end of your post. What is that supposed to mean? Does Dr. Carnes, or anyone else, for that matter, ever define the phrase? Is the proffered definition, if there is one, suitable and widely accepted? If so, by whom and on what authority?

Some people think that anything other than the missionary position is unconventional, ergo, immoral. According to some, the "doggie position" is absolutely vile! Some people think that oral sex is unconventional, ergo, immoral. I need not go on, you know the drill far better than I do. I think the previous commenter was right: this survey is designed to drum up business for Dr. Carnes "cure" for a problem he conveniently creates - the old "design a cure, then define the disease" trick.


Huh... Somehow, even though I didn't put anything about being ashamed or anything on the several questions which asked it, the test decided I'm depressed and suffer anxiety because of my sexual behavior. I wonder if that's hinged entirely on the fact that my family got upset when they found out I was sleeping with someone eight years younger than me... Or maybe that I know my friends well enough to know that most of them have no interest in my sexual desires, so I don't tell them... I also wonder how much weight the BDSM question carries - since in my experience pretty much everyone is into it at least a little. Mostly, I wonder how the test would react to some less mainstream sexual practices it never even touches.


Dang, I thought i wuz goin ta hell cuz i masterbated that one time.


WOW...interesting blog. I don't know if I can compete! Please browse and tell me what you think!


This cracked me up! My husband is a "check" for every last one of the questions on the "musicophilia" quiz - he's an industrial-goth-metal musician! But nobody short of a crazy anti-rock fundamentalist would try to drag him off to therapy. Something is definitely skewed with our culture.

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