The Sexist

Rob Kampia On Being “Hypersexual”

Yesterday, High Times published an interview with Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia. Kampia is currently two-and-a-half months into a minimum three month leave of absence from MPP after at least seven staffers quit over Kampia's inappropriately sexual language and behavior in the office. Kampia's behavior hit a crisis point in August of last year, when he took a female subordinate back to his home after an office happy hour, and she never returned to work.

When Kampia stepped down on January 19, he told the Washington Post, "I think I'm just hypersexualized." In his time off from MPP, Kampia said that he intended to pursue therapy for what WaPo termed "his attitudes toward women."

What does it mean to be "hypersexualized"? How much therapy does it take to change a person's attitudes toward women? For a person who claims to have been in therapy for the past eleven years, what will another three months accomplish? The High Times interview attempts to understand Kampia's medical approach to his sexual misconduct.

HIGH TIMES: You told the Washington Post that you are “hyper-sexualized,” and that you will step down from MPP for at least three months and go into therapy. What makes you think that you are hyper-sexualized?

Rob Kampia: You know, I had never actually used that term before, and when I said it, I didn’t know the dictionary definition. Nor have I looked at the dictionary definition since then. Maybe I used it correctly. I don’t know. But what I meant was that I’ve had too much of a focus on sex in my life, and I want to get that more in balance with other aspects of my life.

Do you believe that you have a medical disability, or do you believe that you have a lack of proportion in how you integrate sex into the rest of your life?

I would say it is the latter.

So you don’t believe that you have a medical condition?

Well, I don’t know what that means. Is that a legal term?

You described yourself as hyper-sexualized, and you are seeking treatment for it, do you consider yourself to be afflicted with a medical condition called hyper-sexuality?

Okay. I don’t know the definition of that, as I previously stated.

Can you describe the treatment that you are seeking? And what it is for?

Well, it’s for, like I just said, too much focus on sex in my life over the past number of years, and I am in therapy.

And that is going to go on for a three-month period?

Probably more than that. I don’t know if this got back to you or not. I was actually going to go into treatment, even before this story broke. I was already on that track. I have been in and out of therapy for years for anxiety and depression, and I was going to go back into therapy before this story broke. So this is something that I felt was needed, regardless of the news coverage. And I therefore don’t look at it as specifically a three-month therapy. It could be a year. It could be four months. Five months. Who knows?

. . . When did the light go off in your head? Was it before the incident in August or was it after?You mean the light with regard to the determination of my hyper-sexuality? Well, it's definitely something that I was aware of before August. There were things in my life, certainly not as dramatic as what happened in August, but things in my life that pointed to the need for me to deal with issues involving sex. In fact those issues were addressed to some extent when I was in therapy for anxiety and depression. But they were secondary my discussions with my therapist in the past about anxiety and depression. So, I have been aware of it for years, but I think, it is kind of what a lot of people do in therapy. They’re in for a year or two, and they feel like they’re not making any more progress, and then they take a break for a year, and then they go back in. That is kind of what I have been doing for about eleven years or so.

In the therapy that you’ve had over the years for anxiety and depression, did you seek out MDMA therapy [essentially, therapeutic ecstacy -ed.] for that?

Oh, yeah. That's separate. Yeah. I have done times.

Was that helpful?
Oh extremely.

These helpful sessions all took place prior to August 7th?

Ah...yes. I haven’t done any MDMA therapy since August 7th.

So is it fair to say that you have been in therapy for many years, repeatedly, with a variety of approaches to therapy, and yet none of that therapy helped you avoid the incident on August 7th, and the decisions that you made?

No that would not be accurate to say, because that implies that I’ve been in and out of therapy for years to deal with specifically with issues relating to sex. That was not the focus of my MDMA therapy, at all.

It had to do with depression and anxiety?

It had to do mostly with anxiety and a bad experience with LSD from 1989.

Were you on medication for that?

Yes. I have been on Wellbutrin on and off for about a decade. I also have a prescription for Ativan.

I just want to be clear about a series of events. Prior to August 7th, you say incidents in your personal life led you to believe that you probably did have a problem integrating sex into your life. You’ve been seeking therapy regularly for more than a decade. All prior to this incident…

Yeah . . . I wouldn’t say incidents. I would say observations.

Fair enough. So how can you be confident that with three months of therapy, after ten years of prior therapy, that you’ll be ready to return to MPP?

Well I never said I was confident. I am going to do my best, and I don’t think that my previous therapy, involving anxiety or depression, points to the likelihood or probability of success of therapy involving sex.

  • Mandy

    So, this is all about how he needs to balance sez with other aspects of his life, and nothing to do with not respecting women or their boundaries? If he was just "hyper-sexualized" I wouldn't think that would necessarily mean preying on women he worked with or harrassing women not interested in him. Seems like he's got more problems than hypersexualization, whatever that is, with his chief problem being he doesn't think his attitudes towards women are a problem.

  • Former Staffer

    Someone who's likely to be sued for sexual harassment shouldn't be giving interviews on the subject of the potential suit.

    Put down the joint and get an attorney.

  • Mike

    I hope these former MPP staffers sue. They can make far better use of funds fighting for real reform instead of financing Kampia's ecstasy binges.

  • female drug policy activist

    a "former staffer" is saying "put down the joint"? i guess that person didn't really know kampia because he actually rarely smokes cannabis. and "mike" saying mpp is "financing kampia's ecstasy binges" is also incorrect. as someone who has know kampia for years (a female who has no complaints of kampia's before toward me), i know that he also never uses ecstasy except when he has done so with a therapist for therapeutic purposes.

    funny how high times is attacking kampia for his sexual misconduct when they run a magazine that features naked women with cannabis buds covering their private parts, and basically make cannabis users out to be low-class, "hyper-sexualized" deviants, which actually hinders the legalization movement.

  • Mike

    "low-class, “hyper-sexualized” deviants"

    Describes Rob Kampia to a tee!

  • Typical DC BS

    There's no reason for ANYONE to defend this jerk. His explanations for his actions are laughable.

    If he worked for any other place in DC, he'd have several harassment lawsuits already filed against him. Hard to believe he hasn't been told that he's not coming back in any capacity to the Marijuana Policy Project.

  • female drug policy activist

    well, then, you'd think high times would have kampia as their freedom fighter. maybe if he paid them for ad space, they'd appreciate his hypersexualization. first thing i see when i go to their website is an ad with a woman pulling her panties down. i'd rather work in mpp's environment than high times.

  • female drug policy activist

    not to diminish anyone who worked at mpp who felt harassed, i'm just trying to keep the facts in check. and for me, high times leading the witch hunt is the pot calling the kettle black, but i guess the "sexy" story fits in with their modus operandi. it's been hard for me to sit back while high times attacks kampia for sexual harassment and call them the heroes for bringing it to light when their magazine and its ads have been offensive to women for years.

  • Skeptical

    Are you suggesting that only people of perfect moral fiber or feminist credentials have the authority to criticize sexual abuse and harassment?

    You haven't argued that they should remove sexist images, rather that they should just shut up about Kampia.

  • Rick Mangus

    This guy looks like a stoner!

  • jon

    ok - so this 40 year old guy says he uses ecstasy for medical purposes...

  • Offended

    the criticism of HT for the sexy girls is pretty funny.

    Pretty girls SELL products! especially to an audience that's mostly 14-year-old boys.

    There are two ways to go on this: ban sexy advsertising, or ignore it. The first alternative means a police state - tyranny. no freedom of expression. The 2nd alternative is what most women already do.

    at least the HT girls are healthy-looking. Maybe the militant feminists among us can concentrate on the fashion and beauty industries that actually cause harm to young women.

    unless being "offended" is worse than millions of girls with bulmenia and anorexia???? Pick on someone else please. women are just as reponsible as men for objectification - no one's forcing women to walk around with their cleavage hanging out or pants riding up their ass, but it seems to be the dominant paradigm.

    of course the Arab middle east would be a fantastic place for your puritannical views. perhaps it's time for a visit to lovely Egypt, or perhaps Afghanistan?

  • Offended

    PS, saying you'd rather work for MPP than HT is laughable. The HT people are totally fun and flaming liberals and some of them are female. RK is a former Republican with a mouth than makes women quit their dream jobs in droves.

    that statement shows how far from reality you really are.

  • http://deleted je di

    I always find the paradigm of threads interesting. If someone has an opposing view then everything they say is oppossed; ie., If someone is defending this smuck but downing High Times we must defend High Times. No, how about we acknowledge that She makes a good point about HT but is obviously biased in regards to Kampia. -j

  • Garp

    He needs to be..........ALONE.