This interview was originally part of the Silent Bonds: Facing Sex Addiction series
In order for privacy, the interviewee’s name has been kept anonymous.
V.H: When did your sexual compulsion start?
A: I guess it started about when I was eleven. That’s when I started my compulsive masturbation and my addiction to porn. I started masturbating when I was nine, but it wasn’t compulsive then.
V.H: Do you know why it started? What do you think were some of the factors?
A: One of the contributing factors was definitely my private school and their negative view of sex, and the fact that any time I looked at porn or masturbated I felt bad or evil—felt like I was doing something sinful. I couldn’t just enjoy my sexuality without feeling immensely guilty or shameful. I also had learning disabilities in school and hated school because of struggling and not being able to keep up, and I think it helped to enrage my sexual addiction. I guess it was a way of being able to control my life. It comforted me. Jesus was never capable of comforting me.
V.H: When did you realize that you were a sex addict, and that you needed help?
A: I first realized I was a sex addict when my first very serious relationship was falling apart. I think that I had accepted that I had a problem with sex, but I didn’t accept that I was a full-blown addict until the day after I revealed to my girlfriend all of the things I had been keeping secret, all the times I had acted out with people or on the internet without her knowing. I felt like [saying that] I was a sex addict was just an excuse—I was just mentally fucked up—it wasn’t an addiction, it just was that I was a bad person. It was a cop-out to say “I have a disease, that’s why I did that.” It was a matter of not forgiving myself.
V.H: How come you couldn’t just stop?
A: It’s like any other addiction. Ask a coke addict why he can’t stop. People don’t realize that it’s an addiction to the release of chemicals in your brain. It’s not necessarily the sex. It’s a psychological cycle. You do it to make yourself better, but in the process you make yourself worse, and to make yourself better you have to do it again.
V.H: Why did you ultimately decide to fight your sexual addiction?
A: Because I knew that I couldn’t be the person that I always envisioned myself being, with my addiction. So if I ever wanted to be the person who I wanted to be, I had to get rid of it. It was initially for my girlfriend, but I had to do it for myself as well.
V.H: How did you overcome your addiction?
A: I went and saw a psychologist—I went to see Dr. Paul James. I read some books on it, got some knowledge about my addiction. I told some people, like my parents, people who cared about me, for support. I went to SAA but I didn’t find it that helpful. I think just mainly because there was no one there in my age group, they were all in their forties. There was one girl there of my own age group, which I think made it worse because she was hot. I didn’t feel comfortable. I also didn’t like the fact of the whole “higher power” thing.
V.H: Do you still struggle?
A: Yeah, I do still struggle. I don’t struggle as much with acting out in a physical sense, but I still struggle with my mental obsession with sex.
V.H: What advice would you give to an undiagnosed sex addict?
A: To take pity on themselves, first of all. It may not necessarily be their fault, there may be circumstances like abuse that’s out of their control that’s made them the way they are. Try and find someone you can trust that will help guide you into getting help for yourself. Try and see a specialist. Get information, read books, look up online—there’s groups online for sex addiction too, which may be easier since you don’t have to talk to someone face to face. You need someone who can keep you accountable; by yourself, it’s so much easier to fall into pitfalls.