Senator Larry Craig and the Defenses of Sexual Addiction

Aaron Alan, M.A., Sex Addiciton Specialist at the CENTER FOR HEALTHY SEX writes:

It has recently come to light that uber-conservative U.S. Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge stemming from a Jun 11th arrest in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for engaging in lewd conduct with an undercover police officer. The officer stated in his report that Craig appeared versed in the subtle signs used to identify willing sex partners in public places. As part of his plea agreement, Craig was fined $1000 and sentenced to ten days in jail, which was deferred to one year’s probation.

Craig now declares he did nothing wrong, that his actions in the airport men’s restroom were misconstrued and he was set up by the police. He’s even gone so far as to bash the “liberal gay agenda” for smearing him. Interestingly, though, the Senator has asked the people of Idaho, his constituency, to forgive him. This is a curious tack as he maintains he is innocent and did nothing wrong or untoward. Why ask for forgiveness if no crime or misstep occurred? This is perplexing and seems contradictory.

If Senator Craig’s behavior is applied to a sexual addiction framework, then contradictions become much clearer and even understandable. I am not diagnosing Craig as a sexual addict, but his actions and subsequent claims about his actions align quite well with what is known about sexual addiction and sexual compulsivity. Whatever his actual clinical diagnosis, his actions point to, at the very least, problematic sexual behavior.

In all likelihood, covert sexual activity in some form has been present for quite some time in Craig’s life. While the actual behavior may have evolved over the years, the function it serves in his life has probably remained constant, which is to tolerate his mood, feelings and emotions as well as to feel connected to another person without risking emotional abandonment. These are the functions served by sexual addiction.

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