A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series about celebrities' struggles with sexual addiction includes frank discussions about various sexual compulsions and past sexual trauma, plus occasional scenes of various sexual activities. All of this content is offered within an educational/therapeutic context, but it's still too mature for kids. Like most reality shows, Sex Rehab has its fair share of theatrically dramatic moments in which cast members tearfully work through painful memories and lash out angrily; there's also plenty of salty language (words like “f--k” and “s--t” are bleeped, while others are audible) and images of people drinking and smoking (plus occasional glimpses of cocaine and other drugs).
What's the story?
In SEX REHAB WITH DR. DREW, Dr. Drew Pinsky works with nine minor celebrities who've voluntarily entered rehab to get help for their sex addiction. With the help of sex therapist Jill Vermeire, the participants work on controlling their compulsions -- which range from porn addiction to extreme promiscuity -- so that they no longer serve as the dominant force in their lives. Cameras film the patients as they try to create boundaries around their bodies and work within various therapeutic environments to understand how they're using sex to cope with painful issues like childhood sexual trauma and and/or substance abuse in order to get their destructive behavior under control. Medical facts about the condition and its potentially devastating consequences -- including cancer, bankruptcy, and death -- are also included.
Is it any good?
Sex Rehab attempts to eliminate some of the shame and ignorance that surround sexual addiction. The show contends that sex addiction is the hardest addiction to deal with because it requires patients to work with deeply rooted and emotionally distressing problems in order to control their compulsive behavior.
Pinsky calls the celebs’ willingness to tackle their addiction on camera “courageous," but you still have to wonder why they made the choice to do so on a reality show. But no matter what their motives, their appearance succeeds in breaking some of the taboos surrounding the subject. Sex Rehab certainly isn’t for kids, but it definitely has something to offer for those mature enough to handle it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why problems related to sex and sexual addiction are often treated as taboo (or as a source of humor) by the media. What makes this subject so difficult to talk about or take seriously? Do you think this show will prompt people to view sexual addiction differently?
Why do celebrities agree to go on reality shows like this? Are they trying to bring attention to these issues, or are they just looking for a chance to be in the media spotlight? Do you think the celebs' efforts to confront their addiction make them role models?