My sexual activity and appetite have been insatiable for as long as I can remember. I don't know if this pre- or post-dated the porn. It's definitely led me to get too physical too quickly with men I've dated. Which, as everyone knows, is the best way to get a relationship to end as quickly as possible.
I started wondering if I have an actual sex addiction. I spoke with a friend who's an addiction counselor, and he asked me a very pertinent question.
"How do you feel when you haven't had sex for a long time, Ayelet?"
"I get angry," I said. "Frustrated. Impatient. Snappish. People annoy me; I resent them."
"Sounds like withdrawal," he said. "I think you might be a functional sex addict."
So I took the sexual addiction screening test (female version), which appears on several reputable websites like HealthyPlace and PsychCentral. Here it is, with my answers:
- Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent? No
- Do you regularly purchase romance novels or sexually explicit magazines? No
- Have you stayed in romantic relationships after they become emotionally or physically abusive? Yes
- Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts or romantic day dreams? Yes
- Do you feel that your sexual behavior is not normal? Yes
- Does your spouse or significant other(s) ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior? No
- Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate? Yes
- Do you ever feel bad about your sexual behavior? Yes
- Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you and your family? Yes
- Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like? No
- Have you ever worried about people finding out about your sexual activities? Yes
- Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior? Yes
- Have you ever participated in sexual activity in exchange for money or gifts? Yes
- Do you have times when you act out sexually followed by periods of celibacy (no sex at all)? Yes
- Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual activity and failed? Yes
- Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others? Yes
- Do you find yourself having multiple romantic relationships at the same time? Yes
- Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior? Yes
- Has sex or romantic fantasies been a way for you to escape your problems? Yes
- When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards? No
- Do you regularly engage in sado-masochistic behavior? No
- Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life? No
- Have you been sexual with minors? No
- Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire or fantasies of romance? Yes
- Do you ever think your sexual desire is stronger than you are? Yes
- 1-3 (Your sexual behavior may be an area of concern)
3-5 (Your answers indicate professional help for sexually compulsive or addictive behavior is warranted)
6+ (Your answers reveal that you clearly have a problem with potentially self abusive and/or dangerous consequences. You should seek treatment with a trained professional.)
So combining emotional neediness with the sex drive of a teenage boy (which has not much abated, to my dismay), I spent my twenties and thirties trying, trying, trying to find true love and great sex. I found a lot of good sex, but precious little love. And since I wasn't really well medicated until well into my thirties, I had a lot of the kind of sex that led me to answer "yes" to a lot of those screener questions. One-night stands with complete strangers. It's a miracle I never got raped, killed, or HIV.
Most of those encounters took place during periods of hypomania, which confounds the issue because hypersexuality is a symptom. But at other times, I was perfectly lucid and -- hungry. Craving. So I hooked up.
I downloaded a list of Sexaholics Anonymous meetings, but I've been too ashamed to go. And right now, I need to focus on getting a job and getting along with my colleagues. But this is something I have to address eventually.
The 10 pounds I've gained during unemployment might protect me somewhat from male interest, which is bad for my ego but good for my virtue. And once I'm able to exercise more, hopefully I'll get to a weight I'm comfortable with. Either way, fat or normal weight, a woman can always find a man to have sex with. So I need to take care of this issue.
And right now I'm not speaking to my mother. Because she still lives with that douchebag. I know I'm only trying to blame them for my problems, and since I'm the only person responsible for me and my problems, I have to accept and forgive. But I just can't right now.