Most diagnosis manuals of psychopathology consider a mental disease as such when it interferes seriously with the person’s normal life and subjectively causes him/her problems; however, when it comes to sex, there is more controversy in the psychiatric bibles. In the case of the film Thanks for sharing, Neil’s sex-addiction sends him to court for rubbing himself against a woman’s buttocks in New York city’s subway before losing his job in a hospital for filming his female boss’s legs with a hidden camera and getting caught; for not to mention his compulsive masturbation and his lack of ‘conventional’ social life. I guess we can consider that a pretty good life-interfering. Most psychology manuals of behavior modification for addicts also put emphases on prevention and avoidance of tempting stimulus, so in his sex-addict group meetings, this self-cheating character is recommended not to use Internet or even take the subway. I would definitely recommend this guy –if he existed outside of a film- not to go to Japan, where miniskirts and pornography are ubiquitous and where chikan salarymen (痴漢サラリーメン) or even reputed professors also lose their jobs because of groping or mirror-panty-peeping in the subway.
In the movie, there is also the softer case of a successful high executive in his early 40’s, Adam, who finds difficult to establish a healthy relationship (with Gwyneth Paltrow!) after a 5-year soberness from a problematic womanizing behavior and an addictive prostitute-hiring: whatever form of sex reminds him of his previous uncontrolled life and he fears that an intense sexual sensation might trigger his falling again into the abyss of desire. In his case, he even avoids TV and laptops to keep his addiction under control. These characters are not far from real life, affecting even –and especially- famous people: when I knew of David Duchovny’s sex addiction, I realized how much he was himself in the funny TV-series Kalifornication.
It is unavoidable that Thanks for sharing –creatively translated into Spanish as Amor sin Control, no comments- brings to mind the celebrated 1998’s Happiness, a masterpiece showing the uncomfortable North America’s dark side of sexual life. However, this recent one is a bit more optimistic and closer to a Hollywood romantic comedy with funny buddies. Tim Robins, with a magnetic and verisimilar acting as usual, in the role of a failed father and ex-addict, gives the movie a more serious touch and his character puts it this way: “To quit this is like quitting crack with a pipe attached to your body”. Dede, a female minor character, also unable to relate with men without having sex with them, explains her point: “I have sex when I’m sad; or bored; or tired”.