Friday, June 17, 2011

"Sex Addicts" (Pandakas) in the News

Wisdom Quarterly (shocking exposé)
Oh, that Quagmire! Peter Griffin and Brian the dog walk in on Glenn Quagmire (R) committing adultery with his best friend Cleaveland's wife, Loretta Brown ("Family Guy")

Pandaka: lechery, perversion, transgression
Wisdom Quarterly (based on Religion and Homosexuality)
References to pandaka ("pervert"), a deviant gender category usually interpreted to include transgressive sex addicts, can be found in ancient Buddhist texts (Pali and Sanskrit).

The term, however, does not have a fixed meaning over time. It is generally (mis-)translated as "eunuch," which most pandakas are certainly not.

Far from neutered, they are consumed with acting out in perverse, extraordinary, transgressive, and deviant (unethical, even illegal) ways.

Leonard Zwilling (1992)* refers extensively to Ven. Buddhaghosa's Samantapasadika, where pandakas are described as being filled with defiled passions and insatiable lusts dominated by libido. The Abhidharma states that due to the obstruction of being obsessed with sexuality, a pandaka is unable to achieve enlightenment in that lifetime. In the future, of course, change and rebirth means it is not a permanent obstruction.

The cartoon character Quagmire (in Seth MacFarlane's "Family Guy") is the poster child to explain what this term means. He could be renamed "Glenn Pandaka" in the Hindi/Sanskrit-dubbed Indian version of the show, although they might not see the humor in such aberrant sexual misconduct.

A pandaka is not a eunuch, homosexual, adulterer, or transgendered individual -- but may manifest in all of these ways and more. "Pervert" may be too harsh in that in modern American usage it connotes a judgmental attitude. But "sex addict" brings peels of laughter because most of do not believe sex can possibly be an "addiction," or if it is, then we imagine we all are such "addict."

Sex addiction (satyrism and nymphomania or pansexuality) is, in fact, very real. But it is not what it seems and not what we imagine. Sex for the "sex addict" is not enjoyable; it is compulsive and terribly unsatisfying.

Dr. Gabor Mate (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction) gives an excellent explanation of one characteristic of addiction: "Acting out" is what one does while playing the game Charades exactly because of an inability to talk it out.

Unable to grasp or express what is happening, our psyches behave in odd and compulsive ways we can hardly begin to explain. So "acting out" has come to mean misbehavior, particularly sexual misconduct, rooted in childhood trauma, confusion about sexual orientation, and an apparent inability to inhibit impulses.

This inability leads to cheating (violating one's own relationships), adultery (violating others' relationships), indiscriminate sexual practices, promiscuity, the insatiable need for novel stimulation... all the while being unable to tamp down the fire that is in fact being fed by everything that is being thrown at it.

Repression and denial are not healthy solutions since pushing it down here only causes it to pop up there with greater force.

Pornography, pansexuality, molestation, transgression, seduction, betrayal, sexting -- things we sometimes take rather lightly are in fact serious lapses in conduct (karma) that get us in a lot of trouble, particularly if we're in the spotlight.

More sex is not a solution when it brings distress, humiliation, self-loathing, low self-esteem, ignominy, jail time, ostracism. Even when it is rooted in having been molested or otherwise traumatized as a child, which of course is unfair, our actions still bring results for us.

In spite of the fact that so many of us are victims (of verbal, emotional, religious, ritual, psychological, physical, and sexual) abuse, part of the condition is to blame ourselves. Caught in a cycle of shame, we "act out." It is hardly sexy.

One addiction is often accompanied by another -- alcoholism to mask painful memories and unpleasant feelings associated with buried memories, drug abuse that makes appearing in porn seem like a good idea, thrill seeking and body art to try to get feeling from something (combating anhedonia, subclinical depression, bipolar disorder, etc.).

Dr. Mate points out that he has never met a sex addict who was not molested, which is not to say that all molested children will become sex addicts.

Sexual anorexia and bodily dissociation are also common expressions of what is coming to be recognized as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) resulting from incest, abuse, assault, rape, and other forms of trauma.

We have a taboo around incest and rape. But the taboo is actually not against committing incest. It is about talking about it, particularly by victims.

There are many degrees of affliction. And nearly all of us have been "traumatized" in life in some way or another. So what makes a free spirited enjoyer of sex a "sex addict"?

The answer is very simple. It is explained by America's favorite sexologist, Dr. Drew Pinsky (addiction medicine specialist and board-certified internist) from Loveline radio, "Celebrity Rehab," and his own CNN blog:

When in the face of increasing consequences and distress, you continue to act out and feel unable to just might be a sex addict.
  • *Leonard Zwilling (1992), "Homosexuality As Seen In Indian Buddhist Texts" in Buddhism, Sexuality & Gender (Jose Ignacio Cabezon, editor, State University of New York, pp. 203-214).
  • PHOTOS: Rihanna S&M (, Congressman Weiner (, Governor Schwarzenegger (, Lady Gaga (, PM Silvio Berlusconi with Pope Benedict head of an army of pedophile priests (, Charlie Sheen (, Ke$ha (, Dominique Strauss-Kahn (, sex vampire (, Dr. Drew Pinsky (, Hugh Hefner (
Anyone who thinks "sex addiction" is "sexy," funny, or fake might ask to visit an SAA meeting then try to keep from cringing as they hear what addicts go through.

Hugh Hefner, "Playboy" or Pandaka?
(Huffington Post) Hugh Hefner has gleefully enjoyed a sexually liberated life. But few know it all started with a little erotic dabbling within the Playboy czar's own family.

In his book, Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream, Steven Watts writes how after Hefner wed his first wife, Millie, in 1949... Hef then went further, trying a foursome out on his own family....

The book also claims Hef once tried a gay tryst. "Hefner's thirst for sexual experience became so strong that he even had a one-time homosexual experience," Watts writes.

Larry Flynt?
Superhero Hef and his superheroine playmates may just be living the American dream revved up after marriage. But Larry Flynt, of Hustler and Flynt Publications fame? He confessed to bestiality and a harsh childhood with difficult parents -- reminiscent of a grown up Cartman ("South Park"). This would go a long way to explaining how he went off the rails from compulsion to obsession to the creation of a pornography empire comparable to Playboy, Inc. only more prurient with its "Chester the Molester" comic strip (echoed in Family Guy's character "Herbert") and accusations of molesting his biological daughter.


Kylie said...

When it comes to sex addiction, the progressive behavioral change can result to destructive and even enduring problems. These consequences however also become the trigger for change and seek recovery. An addict often recognizes he needs to change and admits his condition that he allows himself to change in.

Marie said...

I think there is too much sex at the tv. I don't think that children should see sex in cartoons!