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June 18 • Sex and Then Some

Day 710

I think it's called 'sex addiction' because sex is always, eventually, involved. Sex is the act in which we get caught. It's what we constantly think about, it exposes us to health risks, it is the shame of our culture, and the reward our culture most glamorizes. But sex addiction is less about sex than the name implies.

There are some addicts whose compulsion is all about the act of sex, usually anonymous sex, with the added excitement of the added risks and the satisfaction of walking away with no additional complications of relationships. But for a lot of us, it is the relationship that somehow keeps us going back.

Long after the victory of sex, what lingers is the chase, the courtship, the flattery, and over-the-top expressions of affection. For example, I can no longer count the number of massage parlors I visited where the extras were routine. But the flirtations and out-right lies of the sex-workers fed that part of me that I could not get enough of; those I still remember in those moments when my guard is down, and unwanted thoughts slip in.

It's the same with the affairs. Long after the thrill of the act faded (as it always did), I couldn't let go of the affirmation I got from the texts and the calls and the visits. The sex was always part of it, but it wasn't the part that compelled me.

Of course, I'm more than 700 days sober from any of that, and the truth is I do not wholly trust my memories on this point. I am still in a season of sexual anorexia, so the lack of hormones firing in my brain may well equate to a corrupted memory file. I do remember this; what I thought about sex and life and risk was always very different when I was in pursuit compared to ten minutes after the catch. So it is reasonable that my recollections of those hormonal-driven obsessions may not meet the test of reality.

However, these memories are the ones I have to deal with in recovery. I'm not just trying to overcome what I was; I'm trying to recover from what I am; those pieces of me still unexplained and untamed. In other words, those struggles of my memories are not the struggles of my today, except for the shame and guilt and regret of every nanosecond of every one of them...

Sex does not call my name today, but there are plenty of middle-circle behaviors that I must deal with. If I don't, I may receive a dangerous and unwanted reminder of what that siren call sounds like, and it may not be as easy to refuse as I think.

Today, I will stay sober; I will avoid those things that tickle my fancies, and hide from my heart the memories of my addiction.




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