I watched Sex, Lies, & Obsession last night. It starred Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna who are husband and wife in real life. They portrayed their characters well though Lisa's bad collagen job on her lips (not trying to be mean here. I am sure she is a good and lovely woman. I just don't see where she needed the bigger upper lip) was somewhat distracting.
The movie accurately portrays the life of a sex addict. Harry Hamlin plays Dr. Cameron Thomas, a man lost in his (seemingly) uncontrollable urge for sex. He has multiple partners come to his secret apartment. He visits peep shows, strip bars, watches porn on screen, print and internet and attempts to hide his secret life by constantly lying. He also puts on the facade of good husband and father though his wife can feel the distance.
The movie does an excellent job of capturing the sex addiction in the dialog. I don't know if it was great filmmaking but the essence of sex addiction was revealed. I am guessing it would have been a bit teachy for an academy film but, hey, films have many different purposes and this one accomplished its goal of showing the underlying factors and truths about sex addiction through story.
SEX ADDICTION IS NOT ABOUT SEX. It's a chosen means to fill a gaping emotional and spiritual void. This comes through loud and clear. In this movie one of the contributing factors was a young Cameron being confidant and secret keeper with regards to his father's constant infidelity.
The film showed an accurate depiction of the recovery process. Pardon my lack of verbs here. The lying. The lack of control. The unwillingness to admit a problem. Claiming a high sex drive. The continuation of the minimization, denial, justification and rationalization. Hitting bottom. Admitting a problem. Still dealing with minimization, rationalization, and justification. Resistance to feeling deeply. Not wanting to be labeled a sex addict. Sees that as a freak or pervert. Getting in a community where real honesty and questioning can begin. A total commitment to honesty with everyone especially his wife. Real emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy begins to take place. All this in a 3 steps forward, 2 steps back process. Those are the high points anyway.
The film showed an excellent picture of a 12-step recovery group. It really can be a supportive place where believed lies can be debunked and truths then owned. It can be a place where a friend comes when one is battling temptation on a street corner filled with prostitutes. It's a place where one can finally be real and will be called on his bullshit when it comes out of his mouth. It's a place one can be accepted in his or her struggle.
One final excellent point the movie made. The sex addict loves his wife. Even when he was with all the other women he still loved his wife. This wasn't about her. It was about his aching, gaping black void in his soul and finding temporary relief through sex. He didn't ever quit loving her.
Caveat, there are two brief displays of nudity when Cameron hits his bottom. This wouldn't be appropriate for a recovering sex addict in the early stages of his recovery to view. I think they could have been left out but I didn't make the movie.
I think this movie can be helpful for therapists, wives of sex addicts, friends of sex addicts and anyone who believes that sex addiction is about sex.