In the world of those who consider themselves “sex addicts” or “sexaholics,” there exists a concept: the “lust-based decision.” Most of us are likely familiar with this. We decide which line to wait on, which seat to take, where to point our eyes as we walk on the basis of some nearby hotness. The thinking in 12-step land goes, “That’s a problem. Lust has taken over your life, and NO decisions EVER should be made based on lust.”

This was where the first fissures appeared in my relationship with the 12-step approach to my problem.

On the one hand, the concept points to a problem many of us have: the prioritization of our lust above all else. For me, this would manifest in ways huge and small, but, in short, it would mean that I would choose the possibility of fulfilling, feeding, my desire over things that should have been more important to me, that I told myself were more important to me. But which, evidently, weren’t.

The theory of the LBD says that, for the sex addict/sexaholic, making a decision on the basis of lust is problematic.

For me, though, there’s a big difference between choosing to place myself in the proximity of a beautiful woman by selecting one subway car over another on the one hand, and choosing to spend an evening away from my family to have sex on the other. The former decision? Not problematic for me. The latter? Definitely so. And for me (I’m not speaking for anyone else), it’s never been a problem for me to choose the line with the hot cashier, to modulate the speed I’m driving momentarily to drink in a beautiful road-mate, to sit near an attractive woman in an airport. Those things I do from time to time deliver me a little jolt of excitement at no cost. They don’t entail sacrifice. I don’t disrespect the women I appreciate. I simply act to improve the visual experience of my day – like taking a route that’s pretty when driving.


  1. Don’t laugh, but I thought you were going to wax on about the Little Black Dress.

    In regards to the real LBD you’re talking about, though, I agree with you completely. The 12 Step model over compensates in a way that pathologizes simple appreciation. I might not pick a line with a hot guy in it, but that’s because I’m terrified of him, not because I’m *not* ruled by lust haha.

    1. I chose my initials for the post intentionally. I always thought it striking that LBD refers to this and the source of my most frequent lust-based decision in dining.

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