The Globalization of Addiction

Submitted by Jkasali on
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Interesting, interesting article.

The premise is that addiction is mainly rooted into the environment. Meaning: if you live in an environment conducive to addiction, you can get addicted. I know, I know.. "Duh!". But they made experiments with rats, so this goes beyond common sense.

[quote]... a cursory historical and cultural survey reveals that the incidence of addiction is essentially a social phenomenon. Many historical and indigenous cultures have lacked even the concept of addiction - but many of these same cultures, once their traditional structures have been disrupted by conquest or colonisation, have been destroyed by it. All across the Americas, the Pacific and Australia, hundreds of 'demoralised' cultures have descended into vicious spirals of addiction, usually to alcohol, in many tragic cases wiping themselves out entirely. The root causes of addiction, then, must run deeper than any individual pathology: they must be sought in a larger story of cultural malaise and 'poverty of the spirit' that forces individuals, often en masse, into desperate and dysfunctional coping strategies.[/quote]

The articles talks about addiction in general, but it even recognizes the presence of less common forms:

[quote]Once addiction is reconceived as a symptom of the dislocation embedded in modern cultures, the practical measures required to manage it become vast in scope. Treatment of addicts needs to become more holistic, and interwoven into a far wider spectrum of social programmes. Education and treatment need to lose their narrow focus on illicit drugs and alcohol, and to encompass addiction in all its forms.[/quote]

Recommended reading. I would buy the book, but it's freaking expensive!


Thanks for posting this

I reached the same conclusion in my book, and devote a big chunk of one chapter to tracing the parallels between the steady disintegration of the tribal life for which our mammalian brains are designed, and the steady rise of the use of "mood-altering" substances and activities (compulsive pursuit of orgasm being one, of course).

It was great to see this, although I think it's too late to include mention of it in my book.


it seems that in the end, the truth is the same: the more we detach from our natural, biological nature, the more we are subject to addiction and unhappiness. Now I finally understand what the movie "Dance With The Wolves" is all about. Wink

Jokes aside, I wonder how we can reconcile the biological truths with the societal conventions.

By the way, loved the article about Freud!


Once upon a time, our ancestors were surrounded by close, trusted tribe mates. Isolation meant death, so our brains evolved to find close, trusted companionship soothing and vital to well-being. At the same time, our ancestors seem to have used their mates mostly for fertilization activities (that caused them to habituate to them in a few years at most). I say this because anthropologists noted this trend in Africa and South America, among tribal folk. This mating program was bad for romance, but served our genes...with greater diversity among our offspring.

Now our situation is different. We have very few tribe mates...but we are *still* using our mates in a way that makes us habituate to them rather quickly (faster than ever, in fact, thanks to all the supranormal sexual stimulation around today). This leaves us WAY TOO lonely. Our brains aren't set up for that kind of emotional matter how good the orgasms. Wink

So my proposed solution...which won't surprise you :-) that we learn to use bonding behaviors/karezza as a way to substitute for some of the reassuring bonding we would once have received from tribe mates. Not only will this new approach to mating soothe our tribal brains, it will also ease the habituation problem - offering more harmonious romances.

And, it may have even larger implications if any of the old traditions are right.


And of course some of us want to go all the way back to tribes and dancing with wolves. < Points at self > I just read the (long) Von Urban series on this site yesterday, and his description of the sexual traditions of one tribe was fascinating. Such as how even little children gather up tension that needs to be released by an old person of the opposite gender. Or simply the karezza-like sex adults engage in. (i.e. were taught to do by the culture.)

It was also very interesting what he had to say about neurasthenia, which is what CFS used to be called (though the term neurasthenia was also applied to other things as well), saying it's a build up of bodily tension. This has certainly been my experience, but none of the doctors I've seen, natural or otherwise, have talked about this much. Supposedly karezza (or Von Urban's easier version) helps.

So then when he advised single women to take a bath at night with a continual douche as a way to release pent up tension if they don't have a man, I thought that might work for men too and took a bath with flow from my shower wand simulating karezza-like sex. The idea is that what releases pent up tension is exchange of bio-electric energy. That's why masturbation doesn't do it, but water can conduct it. Thoughts are still mixed as to whether this was a good practice or not. Experiments will continue.


I've only done it twice so far, but I think it's just too stimulating and makes me horny. A better way to release nervous tension would be meditation, massage, Tai Chi, stretching, breathing exercises, etc. Flowing water just can't replace a woman, it seems. Wink I'll keep experimenting with it though. My theory is that since Von Urban didn't recognize the down side of orgasm, this is why he recommended things like this, and it probably came from the belief in his day that sexual energy builds up and causes problems. Now we know it can be redirected and no longer builds up once out of the passion cycle. It was a worthy experiment though, cuz I do have loads of nervous tension and am always looking for good ways to get rid of it. The search continues.

Maybe you're just

a big pile of yang energy, Dear. Wink If so, cooperation with a goddess will be just what the doctor ordered to put that excess energy to good use.

Von Urban *did* recognize that orgasm causes problems. (Read "Case III" on this page: He just toned down his book (to be less extreme) because he didn't want it to be rejected out of hand. His era (the fifties) is when the Kinsey folk took control of sexuality in the States...and made a hash of things - with all good intentions (but rather shaky data). All of von Urban's colleagues told him not to publish such "crazy stuff," and he didn't...until he was in his seventies.

When you read his case studies, it's clear that the couples who made the most progress (or had the most amazing experiences) were apparently consistent in avoiding orgasm...even while von Urban insists that karezza is too extreme for most people.

I'm not sure what he *really* believed.;-)


Yes, I probably certainly do have a pile of yang that needs an influx of yin to balance. In the meantime, I will console myself with the thought that maybe celibacy will lessen the yang imbalance. A friend of a friend once went to a Chinese doctor who revealed confidentially that the man masturbated too much. He could tell it was too much masturbation rather than sex because the yang energy wasn't balanced by yin.

As for Case III, hmm... wasn't that because of the frequency and short duration? (I feel so sad for that couple regardless. So passionately in love that they ruined it.)

Yes, those Chinese doctors

can be incredibly observant. But even thousands of years ago the Chinese recorded that ejaculation, although depleting physical reserves [we would say messing with brain chemistry], has the opposite effect on sexual desire. "After an immediate postcoital letdown, there is a rapid psychological rebound and an intensification of erotic interest [and wet dreams]." This suggests a cure for sexual addiction: "When the ching is full one is free of lustful thoughts." (

Still, the Chinese were no fans of celibacy. In a pinch, the Hua Hu Ching has this advice. "To achieve the highest levels of life, one must continually combine new levels of yin and yang. In nature, the male energy can be found in such sources as the sun and the mountains, and the female in such sources as the earth, the moon, and the lakes. "

You're stuck in the mountains and celibate. That's a tough combo. How do you feel about mud wrestling in the moonlight???

Two Things

1. Do you think that the depletion a man feels after orgasm is just neurochemical? I tend to think it's neurochemical but also that the body really did deplete a physical reserve of energy, kinda like fighting a cold or flu makes you tired because energy is being used for that. (In any event, I'm glad I'm filling up my "ching" resevoir. I still have lustful thoughts, but it's getting less. When they arise, I take it as a sign I need to do more bonding behaviors to avoid slipping into the old familiar mammal mode. I definitely noticed the rapid psychological rebound happening, and it sucked. Once again, THANK YOU for putting up this site!!!)

2. Yes, mud wrestling by moonlight (next to a lake) would probably be just what I need. I'll post an ad in the classifieds for overly feminine females living in valleys to come up to the mountains to help me with the energy exchange. LOL.

You would be doing

those ladies a great favor. They are probably quite yang-deprived. Wink

My thought is that most of the "hit" after ejaculation is neurochemical related, because women experience it, too (although some of us feel it more in week two), and because people notice it from dream orgasms, even if they don't ejaculate.

That being said, I believe that there definitely is an "energy thing" going on, too. And orgasm may sort of deflate an energy balloon in both sexes at a level that is still too subtle for science to measure. I say this because Gary and I have noticed that either partner's orgasm affects the other partner to a degree.

There could, of course, also be a (more) physical element. Certainly frequent ejaculation has physical repercussions beyond changes in the reward circuitry. When men engaged in a “ten-day depletion experience,” ejaculating an average of 2.4 times per day, their sperm output remained below pre-depletion levels for more than five months. [Freund, M., “Effect of Frequency of Emission on Semen Output and an Estimate of Daily Sperm Production in Man,” J. Reprod. Fertil., vol. 6, Oct. 1963: 269–285.] And, as Gary says, there may easily be other lingering changes, too, that just haven't been measured.


But men generally feel much, much more tired than women, don't they? So it seems like two things are going on for men, with the neurochemical hit being more emotional and the ejaculation a physical drain?

It would be great

to know more. Science just isn't looking for this evidence yet directly (by comparing orgasmic sex with karezza lovemaking). Most of what little we know is turning up in the search for sexual enhancement drugs, although one guy is doing a lot of research on the difference between sex with intercourse and sex without. As I've said before, it turns out that four times more prolactin hits men after sex with a partner than after orgasm without intercourse.

The researcher views that as proof of deep satisfaction, but knowing what we do about prolactin, we view it as proof of greater satiation...not always a good thing in the long run. And some of his experiments have not ended up with the results he expected:

In any case, after talking to both sexes for 15+ years about this, it's clear that their responses overlap. There's no clearly defined male or female response. Women have told me "I pull away to my side of the bed and I don't want to be touched," and men (or their partners) have told me they feel very needy and want more attention than ever from a partner. Still, there's probably a statistically more typical response for each gender. I'm just not sure what it is.