It's much darker than you may think.
Many of us have probably had a month (or three) where our sex appeal and appetite are so voraciously on fire that we'll (half jokingly) wonder, "Am I a sex addict?" Then the well will dry. Months will pass and the question turns into a mocking shadow of itself. "Am I sex-repellent?" seems more appropriate.
Such musings aren't cute little time-fillers for the writer of a New York Times piece. An in-and-out of treatment center sex addict, Benoit Denizet-Lewis succinctly and swiftly crushes any romanticized "pop-psychology" views anyone may have of a person so swimming in sex he knows nothing of "dry spells."
Excerpted from a chapter in his book, America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life, Denizet-Lewis would often cruise Internet sites looking for sex and then blow off any type of responsibility to get it. He lost jobs, boyfriends, friends and entire years of his life where he couldn't sign off of the Internet.
His affliction for porn and chat rooms were so eyebrow-raising that he installed Internet-blocking software (the type parents use for children). That tactic didn't work out too well. He soon just went ahead and bought another computer.
"If Mike didn't show, I had a 19-year-old backup plan named Travis, a regular in one of the AOL chat rooms I frequented. We had never met in person, but he lived close to Mike, so it seemed logical that I should have sex with both of them on this trip. Mike in my car, Travis in his apartment."
Such double-deckers were a common occurrence, and as the writer goes into treatment he compares the sex high to the same that any substance abuser may garner from an addiction to drugs and alcohol. An entire psychosomatic condition is fueled by a moment of finally "feeling OK."
He considers himself sober today, but addresses the inherent trickiness of cultivating a normal love life. What's unique about sex addiction is that it's unrealistic to think one will cease having sexual experiences. An alcoholic could theoretically never drink again, but could someone put a lid on sex?
Throughout therapy, the author settles on cathartic but generic solution: "For me, recovery is about far more than not meeting strangers for sex in deserted parking lots. It's about learning not to harm others or myself. It's about living an authentic, unselfish life — the opposite of addiction."