By Parker Rose for Your Tango.
I remember meekly shuffling around the aisles with my eyes bulging out of my head in complete terror. As a self-described prude who considers shower sex to hit the upper limit of my experimentation threshold, I didn’t understand how that could go there.
No, thank you.
How had I, a straight-laced, missionary-loving individual ended up in a relationship where anonymous threesomes, online porn and sex toys had entered our standard vernacular?
Before we started dating, Greg and I had been friends for two years. There was always a palpable sexual tension that existed between us, and I think deep down, we acknowledged that it was only a matter of time before things escalated. (Post continues after gallery.)
I knew everything about him—his regrets about failing out of college, his strained relationship with his family and his struggle to stay sober after a year-long drug-and-alcohol-fueled spiral following the death of a close friend—but we never discussed taking our relationship to the next level.
All that changed in December 2013. We were both at a requisite holiday party thrown by a mutual friend, plotting ways to escape so we could avoid socializing with a room full of people we didn’t know wearing Christmas sweaters.
My personal filter had been disabled about two drinks ago, and I figured now was as good a time as any to ask Greg why we never hooked up or even contemplated dating. I took another swig of my rose and mustered up the courage to ask him if we could, in theory, ever date.
“I don’t think that’s a very good idea… for a lot of reasons,” he retorted.
I was a little pissed. I didn’t understand how he could manage to blatantly ignore the fact that we both wanted to be together.
“That’s not a valid reason,” I stammered. “You need to at least have an actual reason!” I proceed to shove a handful of peanut M&Ms into my mouth in an effort to diffuse the tension.
“Well, for starters, I’m a sex addict.”
I half laughed/half choked at his response, unintentionally spewing a fine layer of masticated chocolate across the back of my friend's couch. She wasn't going to be happy, but my best friend had just told me that he was a sex addict.
He started to elaborate—probably thinking that he had my best interest in mind—explaining that he watched porn daily, cycled through various women with reckless abandon and couldn't maintain anything resembling a healthy relationship. I had always known that he had been through a string of tumultuous relationships in the past, but I had no idea the extent of it.
I was at a complete and total loss. In a moment of panic, I excused myself to the bathroom, muttering about needing to find floss (I'm not that smooth under pressure) and hid behind the locked door Googling "sex addiction."
There is some debate as to whether sex addiction is a real disorder, and many cite the fact that it was excluded from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the unequivocal "Bible" for all psychological diagnoses) as a rationale for denying its validity.
That said, many psychologists assert that it is a real condition, but at its root, it's not about sex at all—sex is merely the mechanism that these folks use to hide from deeper emotional issues. Given that Greg had previously been an addict, it made sense.