By Vaillant Gicqueau
I recently took a trip to Las Vegas for administrative and business reasons. I love Las Vegas. It is a unique city like nothing else. The shows are the best in the world, and being from Paris I know what I am talking about. The Las Vegas strip hotels are tantalizing with decorations, phenomenal architecture, and glamor. These resorts are often very affordable as room revenue only accounts for a quarter of the resorts total revenues. The goal is to get people to stay so that they can spend much more on gambling, food, beverages, and entertainment.
It feels like a Disneyland for adults. They have the best restaurants with cuisine from all around the world. The cost of dinner will typically far exceed the cost of accommodation. Shopping is extraordinary with a concentration of all top brands in the world. Discount shopping is also available with outlet malls and lower-priced department stores. With 300 days of sun every year, you can enjoy relaxing around the pool all year long though it may get a bit too hot in the summer. Nature in Las Vegas is underrated. Hiking the Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire is absolutely gorgeous, with the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, or Lake Powell just a couple of hours away.
The Symbol of American Consumerism
Most people come to Las Vegas to indulge and spend money, lots of money. Nevada does not need income tax because sales tax of about 8% compensates largely for it. Las Vegas is the symbol of American consumerism with its best and worst aspects. 43 million people visit Las Vegas and spend $60 billion every year. Las Vegas population growth over the last seven decades has been absolutely remarkable. The Las Vegas population went from 25,000 in 1950 to over 2 million today. That is an astounding 8,000% growth!
How can we explain such an uncommon success in such a small period of time? Las Vegas is the city of temptation; this is why we call it Sin City. All of our various addictions are tested to the limit there. This is why I advise staying for just a couple of days. The first feeling of being in Las Vegas is exhilarating. We feel anything is possible. We can finally indulge and leave behind our constricted self. Our senses get overwhelmed with stimulations that surround us. We become vulnerable to the various addictions that can easily lead us to take some actions that we would later regret bitterly.
Addictions come from the compulsive desire to feel better, to feel connected and loved. Therefore, behind every addiction, there is attachment trauma, basically the belief that we are unworthy of love. There is nothing more painful than feeling unlovable in full awareness so this is why we develop compulsive behaviors to avoid this experience at all cost.
Clark County (Las Vegas) gambling revenue is more than $10 billion per year. You can find gambling machines in the airport, in gas stations, or in supermarkets. Why do people risk their hard earned money, their life savings, and their precious time on gambling? For most, there is not even any social interaction as they just interface mindlessly with a machine. So what is this addictive behavior really about?
We feel unlovable inside and we have been programmed to believe that we would be loved if only we had money. We believe we cannot be loved for who we are but if we had that shiny new car, if we could flood our partner with gifts and an extravagant lifestyle, if we could have a big house and have status through money — only then we would be loved. So we gamble in a desperate attempt to be loved. Wealthy people know from experience that money does not make us happy and loved (though it makes life easier). For the same reason, people on low incomes spend disproportionate amounts on the National Lottery, adding support to claims that it is a tax on the poor. Because the odds are against us when we gamble, the illusion that getting rich will get us loved can rarely be broken. The more we lose, the more we believe that getting that big win in the casinos is the solution to all of our problems. This addiction, like all addictions, is not rational. Seniors account for 17% of the population of Las Vegas, but 40% of gambling addicts are senior citizens. When you are a senior, things like health, personal time and connection with family should feel way more important than money but obviously, this is not the case. This is why therapists say, “They’re not playing for fun. They’re not playing for money. They’re playing for escape.”
We live in a sex-addicted society. According to various reports, the porn industry’s net worth is currently about $100 billion. This money is enough to feed all the population in the world every day. Porn Sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. In fact, XVideo, on its own, is bigger than Dropbox, CNN and the New York Times combined. Mind Geek, who owns PornHub, Brazzers, YouPorn and Reality Kings, is one of the top 3 bandwidth-consuming companies in the world, the other two being Google and Netflix. 12% of all content on the Internet is pornographic. More women are employed by the sex industry today than at any other time in history. The U.S. Justice Department has also named Las Vegas among the 17 most likely destinations for human trafficking. Nevada with its 21 brothels is host to the only legal system of prostitution in the United States. Despite there being a legal option, the vast majority of prostitution in Nevada takes place illegally in Reno and Las Vegas. Actually, about 66 times more money is spent by customers on illegal prostitution in Nevada than in the regulated brothels. Las Vegas has around 30 strip clubs, with some 12,000 dancers registered with the Las Vegas Metropolitan police department and probably many more unregistered. State officials estimate that there are around 30,000 prostitutes working in the city of Las Vegas. Escort services range from $500/hour to a couple of thousand dollars. Again, why would men spend their hard earned money and take the risk of going to jail for a quick release?
We feel unlovable inside and our body remembers that the times we experienced the most love was when we are having sex and experienced orgasm with a partner. This illusion and addiction can be broken if the man is willing to become fully aware during the experience of sex instead of being completely disconnected.
He Felt Guilty for Living an Inauthentic Life
I had a friend who was once deeply frustrated with his sexual life with his wife. He felt hopeless and powerless to improve the situation directly with his wife so decided to take this matter into his own hands. He first went with escorts to fulfill his sexual needs. After a while, he started to feel terrible that he had to pay money for sex and it was proof that he was unlovable so it made him feel worse. He then went for casual hookups. He had fun for a little while until he realized that the person he was having sex with did not care at all for him. He felt objectified and worthless as a result. He then upgraded his desire to have a mistress with whom he could have an emotional connection. He experienced intimate relationships with a couple of nice ladies that were both loving and great in bed. After a while, he started feeling uncomfortable again. He was feeling guilty that he was being intimate with women that cared for him but that he did not love fully and could not give himself fully to. He felt guilty for living an inauthentic life and cheating on his wife. He then divorced his wife, broke off all of his other intimate relationships and stayed single for a while until he could attract into his life a woman he really loved, which he eventually did. This shows the power of awareness combined with experience to break the negative power of addiction on our psyche.
Actually, the sex addict deep inside is looking to be loved. The truth is that most women working in the sex industry have mental health issues, are struggling with self-love and therefore are less likely to give men the love they are desperate for. Women in the sex industry experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at rates equivalent to veterans of combat war. One study found that 35% of strippers have dissociative identity disorder (DID) or multiple personality disorder, 55% had a borderline personality disorder (BPD), and 60% had major depressive episodes. Between 66% and 90% of women in the sex industry were sexually abused as children. These are women that desperately need to be loved and not the other way around. I have to say that there is a very small percentage of women in this profession who are acting more like therapists but there are more the exception than the rule. As men wake up to their authentic need to be loved, they can heal from their sexual addiction.
I would like to make one last comment regarding sex addiction and Las Vegas. For the longest time, they were no major league professional sports teams in Nevada, but only several professional minor league sports teams, which is quite surprising considering the wealth of the city. The Raiders are now relocating to Las Vegas and the ice hockey Vegas Golden Knights started a year ago. Professional sports leagues are just another way to contain and harness male sexual energy that has nowhere to go. They become unnecessary in Las Vegas because so many sexual endeavors are offered openly and with minimum guilt.
Similar to the other addictions, the shopaholic tries to avoid her profound loneliness and feeling unloved by impulsively buying clothes or apparel that she does not need. The large corporations marketing campaigns have deceptively convinced her that she could be loved if only she could have this Louis Vuitton bag, Louboutin shoes, Chanel dress, or La Perla lingerie. The truth is that these brands attract more jealousy than admiration from the girlfriends, and most men are not that brand conscious. While beautiful purchases can be a meaningful way to love and feel loved, it is more often than not a desperate attempt to fill an inner void. Many sex workers in Las Vegas have income well over $100,000/year but continue to struggle financially as they spend a large portion of their income in frivolous purchases in a compulsive attempt to cope with their self-esteem issues.
Recent government data shows that more than 23 million Americans suffer from addictions to alcohol or drugs. The overall cost is near $600 billion, with more going to Medicare and Medicaid efforts. However, the emotional and mental costs of substance abuse are much higher and more difficult to measure. Nevada is among the top 3 states with the highest percentage of residents aged 12 or older who are dependent on or abuse illegal substances. Nevada is also the second in the country for non-medical use of hydrocodone and oxycodone, a powerful painkiller and one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the country. Per capita sales of oxycodone have increased 400% in the last 10 years, while sales of hydrocodone have increased 20%.
We all understand too well the damage of drug abuse so why are we ready to risk everything for substance abuse? Generally speaking, drugs help us dissociate from our physical condition and experience the more transcendental aspects of our true nature, which is love. While the use of psychedelics in a clinical trial or shamanic settings can support an individual to reconnect with his inner self, most drug abuse is motivated by a desire to escape life’s emotional struggles. We lose touch with reality and end up making everyone around us more miserable instead of sharing authentic love. The “highs” experienced through the drug gives us a temporary relief from our profound sense of loneliness and lack of self-love. But we often come back to physical reality full of guilt and feeling worse than before.
Las Vegas acts as a gigantic vacuum feeding on people’s attachment traumas, through various addictions. Behind the glamor, the giant LED screens, the popular nude shows, the luxurious hotels, the endless entertainment, people are starving emotionally of authentic love. We revere false gods because we have lost touch with our own divinity. Symbolized by the Luxor hotel architecture, Las Vegas is nothing less than a gargantuan pyramid scheme. Did you know that all hotels in the Las Vegas Strip are actually owned by just two corporations? MGM Resorts and Caesar’s Entertainment. I figured that out during my last trip as resorts are now charging for parking but your parking pass can get you in half of the resorts in the Strip.
60% of Las Vegas workers earn less than $60,000/year, which is considered “low-income” for a household of 4 in Las Vegas. Casino dealers start out with minimum wage salary around $7 or $8 an hour, rising to $10 or more as they gain experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average base pay for a casino dealer is a paltry $14,700 a year. The average salary for a server/waiter is $23,000. So the reality of Las Vegas is not as shiny as it may seem behind the scenes. Most of the people operating ‘sin city’ are in a survival mode.
The elites once controlled people through more coercive and direct ways such as taxes, commodities or military control. People would often rebel and various governments would be very unstable as a result. Mind control based on attachment trauma has proved to be a much more effective way to control the masses. You can then make people willing slaves without the use of force and coercion and without social unrest. This is mind control at its finest, and Las Vegas is its successful experiment.
Vaillant Gicqueau is a French native who has been living in the US for 23 years. He holds two master degrees, was a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur and was the Honorary Vice Consul of Monaco in San Francisco for 7 years. He now uses his rich life experience to support people in integrating their past traumas and living life to the fullest. You can connect with him on Facebook.