This month’s new rom-com film “Sleeping With Other People” takes a Will Ferrell-style look at sex addiction, with Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis playing New Yorkers hooked on doin’ it. But the reality of the situation is much different — and a lot more serious. Here Jane Ridley talks to David*, an NYC businessman in his early 40s, who struggled with sex addiction for more than two decades.
Checking into the short-stay hotel in Manhattan with a stranger I’d met on the Internet, I felt exhilarated and aroused.
It was my lunch break from work — and I was about to bed the woman who had answered my “Casual Encounters” post on Craigslist looking for no-strings-attached sex.
You live for the hunt when you’re a sex addict. And though I didn’t know it at the time, I fit the profile perfectly.
My issues started in junior high school, when I got my first taste of porn from girlie magazines. The more I found of it, the more I wanted to see it and the more times I would masturbate. After college, when I had more time on my hands, the obsessive behavior escalated into seeking anonymous sex partners.
I’d have sex with whomever was willing. I burned a lot of bridges with female friends — we would get physically intimate and then I’d walk away — and soon I was seeking out strangers where there was no question of emotional involvement.
I did start to have some long-term relationships in my late 20s and early 30s. They were great, as far as they went, but I’d frequently be unfaithful behind my partner’s back. I paid prostitutes a couple of times to have sex in places like Central or Riverside Park. I always wore condoms — as careless as I was, I never wanted to bring anything home with me.
Soon I was relying almost exclusively on the Internet for sex, mostly through the “Casual Encounters” section on Craigslist. I remember meeting that previously mentioned woman outside the hotel in broad daylight, going inside and having a very “long lunch.” We had sex and went our separate ways. It was very exciting to go back to the office afterward and act like nothing had happened. The secrecy was all part of the high.
But things finally reached crisis point four years ago when my serious girlfriend at the time found the secret e-mail account I used to find sex partners. That’s when I found the Web site Sex Addicts Anonymous and answered yes to every question on their self-assessment test. I was most definitely an addict.
The very next day, I went to a meeting. I jumped straight into the 12 steps and my path to recovery began. From that first day onwards, I have never allowed temptation to get the better of me. I now go to meetings twice a week and credit everything I have learned and my sobriety to SAA.
Two years ago, I met the wonderful woman who is now my fiancée, and we are planning our wedding. She knows all about my history and is comfortable with it.
I’ve found that, deep down, I have always craved commitment. It’s funny that I spent such a long time dodging it. I feel very lucky to have gotten out of the situation I was in. Now, my life has completely changed.