My interest in sex and sexuality is so acute that it was just a matter of time before I asked myself that dreaded question: Am I a sex addict? And since I like to throw back some beer while being sexual, am I an alcoholic on top of it?
Here’s what my sex life is like: I like to masturbate every single day, and usually for at least 3 hours at a pop (pardon the pun). This has been my pattern for years. As for sex with others, for a long time it centered around internet or bar hook ups, just on weekends. I had no desire for a relationship, lived alone and liked it (still do). Interestingly, now that I live in a city where sex is easily accessible, I’m less compelled to hook up. There are more enticing ways to be with men, such as the monthly orgies that I have been attending. The more the merrier!
So if masturbation is my most regular form of sex play, could I be addicted to it and its accoutrements (porn and booze)? One could be, yes. One definition of sex addiction I read was that sex becomes a problem if you are using it to avoid issues in your life that need to be dealt with, or if you are trying to mask pain you’re feeling through sex. It reminds me of the movie Shame, in which the main character uses sex in this way. But I conversely can’t be sexual if I have an outstanding issue in my life that needs resolution.
Here’s how it works: I get home from a job where I give my best, and come home and deal with laundry, dishes, grocery shopping and making calls to loved ones. On a weeknight, I try to have this all accomplished by 7 PM. Then I unapologetically turn off the phone, turn on some music and allow myself to get turned on. It’s Jason time.
Tell me something: Should this be pathologized? Is it because it’s about the oh-so-scary topic of sex that we pathologize it? Is it not pathological to watch a movie every night? To read a book in bed for hours at a time? Why is your hobby ok and mine a sickness? Are we pathologizing our behavior based on cultural norms and cultural fears only?
I researched further and found that some types of sexual addiction include: compulsive fixation on an unattainable partner, compulsive love relationships, even compulsive sexuality within a relationship. Well, this is everyone I know except for Sister Helen at the local parish. Behavior that signals sex addiction is usually of the sort that goes against your values. In one article I read, it said that many clients seeking help for an addiction to masturbation "report that their internal beliefs about masturbation are that the act itself is dirty, shameful, or sinful". But as you can tell from my writing, I value my sexuality. I had to fight hard to get here. To get to my current worldview of sexuality, I had to unravel all the things I was taught (explicitly and implicitly) around sexuality. Do I feel distressed about my sexual behavior? No. I feel distressed, though, by the opinions others might have about it.
Is it not possible perhaps that at least some of those who seek treatment for so-called sexual addiction are simply those who unnecessarily feel guilty about sex, masturbation and porn, and would benefit more from learning to accept that they are highly sexual and see it as a gift?
I am not at all disregarding the fact that sexual behavior can in many instances interfere with a healthy life. As in the movie Shame, if sex is the recourse taken to avoid dealing with personal issues, then “Houston, we have a problem”. At the same time, what if your edging sessions are done after you’ve attended to your emotional and literal responsibilities? What if the three hours you would spend to go out to the movies is replaced by going online for some sex chat? There are a lot of bad movies out there, folks.
The sexual addict often must lie or sneak in order to act out sexually. I lie and sneak a bit too because as open as I am, I’m not open enough to say what I really want to say to friends and family: “Listen, I’m going to be self-pleasuring between the hours of 7 and 10. The phone will be off. But I will get back to you first thing in the morning.”
So I had to ask myself, am I in denial? A few months ago, I tried a little experiment: I decided I would try for two weeks to not drink during masturbation during the weekdays. I would only drink on a Friday or a Saturday night bate session. The first night, without booze to fuel my bate, I just couldn’t be bothered. I bated for two minutes and gave up. Instead, I transferred my desire and went to McDonald’s. Not good.
The next night I tried masturbating again, without booze, and it was pretty terrific. But porn fueled the event. I wondered if I now needed to try bating without porn because maybe I was a porn addict. Sigh. How far would I go with this thinking? Would I no longer be able to bate in front of the mirror because maybe I was a narcissist? How much would I have to take away, how short would my bate session have to be to not consider myself addicted. There is a saying that a slut is anyone who has more sex than you do. How would I ever know when too much was too much?
When Friday and Saturday hit, I let myself do my usual thing – I poured myself some whisky and bated away. It felt odd to be under the hypnotic trance of booze combined with horniness again after a few days of sober jacking. I felt that with booze, it was almost as if another force was driving my sexual car rather than I.
Then it unraveled. Sunday night I was not intending to drink while bating, but I did. On Monday, feeling guilty (there’s that word again) for drinking while jacking on Sunday, I didn’t jack or drink at all, but was oh so productive. I read in bed, but had that feeling of “isn’t there something I should be doing?”
Since I wasn’t drinking as much, my liquor supply was stretching. I began to worry that the cashiers at the liquor store would start wondering if I was ok or had been in a terrible accident. I wasn’t buying as much liquor and began to worry about the economy. I questioned myself: Had I ever been arrested for public intoxication? No. Had I ever pissed the bed because I drank too much the night before? Yes, but I’m a watersports lover, so I’m not sure that this is such a bad thing, especially when you have a fantastic mattress cover that you bought online from Fort Troff. Had I drunkenly phoned anyone late at night and started the conversation with “...And you know what your fuckin’ problem is?” No.
Suffice to say I threw the whole experiment out the window, continuing though to wonder if I had a problem. I had read an article on sex and masturbation addiction and it was there that I’d gotten the idea to at least scale back my edging. The article had suggested that one try to abstain from sex and masturbation for a month and to note the feelings one had had. I couldn’t carry out this experiment for a week. But fast forward to my present situation...
As of this writing, I have been living in Toronto for two weeks, having moved from Montreal. And I am not living alone. My sister and I have temporarily moved in together, to split costs, and I am sleeping in the living room. I am living the movie Shame wherein the protagonist’s sister comes to stay and interrupts his sex habits. I have no privacy whatsoever. Now, her work often takes her travelling, and I’m longing for that work of hers to begin, but in the meantime, there is no jacking. Why don’t I quickly rub one out in the shower you ask? It’s just not my style. If I can’t edge for a minimum of three hours, I won’t bother. I’m just not satisfied with a quickie. Sometimes me and my sister will share a bottle of wine, but that’s a far as the drinking goes. My feeling is “Why drink?” if it’s not going to be accompanied by my hand (or someone else’s hand) on my dick. The move was costly, so I can’t just hit the bars or bathhouses to pick up a trick. I have to make do.
So how am I doing with this abstaining from lack of sexual activity? I’m a bit grouchy but try not to let it show; otherwise, I’m holding out until my sister starts travelling for work. I’m getting more writing done and working out more, which admittedly makes me happy. Today I’m going to sort through receipts since it’s tax time. How exciting! I’m more caught up with emails than ever before. My friends have no idea why.
And so it goes. In the future, I will continue to keep one eye open for signs that I’m taking it too far with my sexual behavior. On the other hand, perhaps a sense of humor about it all would be a nice change from the constant self-analyzing. I did the online research for this essay on sex addiction hours before going out the door to the above-mentioned orgy!
So for now, this is my message to You: It’s 6:30 PM. So if You want to chat on the phone, best call me now. You’ve got until 7. Then I’m going to have to excuse myself to spend a little time with myself. I’ve spent all day attending to others, attending to the necessities of life. But now Jason needs a little attention. I’m not going to get all high and mighty on myself about this. I’m the kind of guy who likes to throw back a beer and get naked – sue me. One man on Xtube writes in his profile “I am a cock worshipping sex addict and fucking happy to be one.” I laughed so hard in recognition and thought to myself that if I and he are sex addicts, oh well...forgive us.