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How I'm Coming To Terms With A Sex Addiction
I'm in my early twenties, and I've had sex with almost a hundred people.
By Michael Reed
I've fucked pretty close to a hundred women and men. I remember about half of their faces, and a very small handful of their names.
An emotionless sex drive steers you into some pretty dark corners. I've persistently ditched friends or parties to jerk off, unless there was an opportunity to fuck. Sex was more like masturbating in the dark than any act of making love, especially since most rendezvouses involved brief eye contact and were normally in the dark. I wouldn't call it dehumanizing, as I was quite aware of my existence, along with that of the other sweaty, naked human being by my side. But I might call it unnerving.
Growing up, I realized fairly early on that gender played no part in who I was attracted to. Male or female, if someone was good-looking, they were good-looking, and that was that. But I found it difficult to talk about these feelings with anyone — as far as I knew, there was no one like me in the entirety of New Jersey. Coming out as homosexual seemed difficult enough for the few brave souls I knew who had the backbone to do so in high school. So trying to explain my sexuality to a bunch of narrow-minded jocks definitely wasn't going to work. Also, even if you have a fluid sexual orientation, people tend to insist that you're either gay or straight in the end. So I kept my sexuality to myself, instead cultivating a funny-fat-guy persona throughout high school.
I remained sexually inactive until I was eighteen, when I decided that I really needed to get laid before high school ended. And it wasn't too hard. Anyone who's been involved with high-school theater knows it's full of the horniest kids around. I lost my virginity in an orgy-like cast party in my basement. It started with chugging cheap, plastic-bottle vodka, which led to playing spin the bottle, which led to a group make-out session, which ended up with about ten of us on two air mattresses in various states of nakedness. Check.
I dropped about fifty pounds en route to college, so freshman year was like entering a new world. I wasn't just that guy who was there for a laugh anymore. My "number" jumped from one to nine in less than a year; I simply attributed this explosion to excessive drinking and years of pent-up frustration. I slept with another guy for the first time; I fucked this annoying, heavily Republican girl from Texas with an Obama condom; and I got a blowjob from a random woman at the bar near our college that didn't card. In my mind, this was all just part of college life. Sophomore year came and went, and I slowed down a bit, settling at a "modest" twelve, before entering my third year of college.
Looking back, it was during my junior year that sex became a more routine part of my life. I studied abroad in London, which fanned the flames. One, because British accents are pretty much verbal porn, and two, because I started to develop a bit of an anxiety problem. I found that going to another country on your own can be terrifying and lonely, especially when your flatmates are all middle-of-the-road kids from Penn State spending their four months abroad looking for bars that play American football, while the rest of the European population seems to distrust you just for being American. I didn't make many close friends, and spent most nights at local pubs.
To cope, I started smoking, pack after pack, to the point where I was chain-smoking enough to vomit, but even that didn't cut it. So instead, I learned to use sex as a coping mechanism. While I was having sex, I wasn't worrying. I kept telling myself that I should be having as much fun as I could during my four months abroad, and sex was fun, plain and simple. I had my first threesome with two random girls I met at a James Blake concert. I engaged in public sex for the first time, drunkenly, in a park in East London. I went to a burlesque club that was really more of a sex party. When I began to travel throughout Europe, I made a game of how many countries I could get laid in.
While my European excursions sounded glamorous, I returned to the States with deep-rooted anxiety, a newfound culture shock and a reestablished "number" of thirty-three. Also, I was suddenly an adult. At twenty-one, I was graduating in a year, taking as many credits as I could each semester, interning, and working to pay New York City rent and my student loans. Everything seemed to sink in at once, and I wasn't getting anything done.
It was at that point that sex became a mandatory part of my life. When I didn't have the time to make it to a bar, I turned to online resources and my right hand. (This was also my first time not living in a dorm since college, so masturbation was as easy as sleeping — or in my case, easier.)
NEXT: "I started to recognize other sex addicts through their constant reposts on Craigslist."