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 that...seven 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.