Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Mature series takes serious look at sex addiction.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Although the show is focused on sexual addiction, it addresses its topic seriously and professionally, attempting to lift the veil of secrecy and shame that usually surrounds sexual addiction and underscore the consequences of the disease.
Positive Role Models
Dr. Drew and his staff want to help their patients cope with their addiction and lead a better life. Some of the patients are adult performers or have worked as prostitutes; others are incapable of having intimate and/or monogamous relationships. But the patients show a degree of courageousness by publicly discussing their problem and seeking help to overcome it.
Violence & Scariness
Patients are shown arguing, yelling, and physically lashing out at staff. Patients discuss physical injuries resulting from extreme sexual behavior.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Explicit discussions about a variety of sexual behaviors, promiscuity, and Internet pornography. Some suggestive images of certain sexual acts. People are shown undressing or engaging in certain sex acts, but all nudity is blurred (as are sex-related accessories). Sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases are often addressed, though all of the discussions are in the rehab/recovery context. Patients sign a celibacy contract as part of their stint in rehab. Both heterosexual and homosexual sexual activities are discussed.
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Strong language ranges from audible uses of "damn," "piss," and "hell" to frequent (but bleeped) use of curses like "s--t" and "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Smoking and drinking are visible; brief images of cocaine and other drugs. Sex addiction is often compared to drug addiction; some patients use sexual behavior to cope with their drug/alcohol recovery.
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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).
Where to Watch
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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?
- Premiere date: November 1, 2009
- Cast: Drew Pinsky, Jill Vermeire
- Network: VH1
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 24, 2022
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