Solo-ish Analysis Analysis Interpretation of the news based on evidence, including data, as well as anticipating how events might unfold based on past events I thought I had a sex and love addiction. Then I wondered if all of us do. I was still getting over a less serious breakup of my own, and at the very least, I figured we might find comedic relief in our shared heartache.
What was his secret? He grinned knowingly, lowered his eyes, and uttered four letters: I had heard about Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous from friends who recommended it every time I bemoaned an ill-fated hook-up. But when this friend talked about it over martinis, it sounded like an exclusive Hollywood club.
Los Angeles is full of sex and love addicts, he assured me. Was it possible that I was one, too? He pulled out his phone and read the 12 characteristics of sex and love addiction, which ranged from a fear of abandonment to a fear of commitment. Judging by some of the characteristics, we may as well all be sex and love addicts.
Many of them seemed to suggest that all the great love songs, the classic rom-coms, the sitcoms about singles in the city, were feeding us unhealthy, obsessive behaviors in disguise as love stories, undoubtedly written by sex and love addicts themselves.
Several weeks later, I found myself sitting in a metal chair in a church basement with about two dozen strangers of all different ages and backgrounds. We went around the circle and introduced ourselves. Some said they were addicted to fantasy and romance; others identified as emotionally anorexic, or deprived of their emotional needs.
Each meeting, someone would start with an anecdote about their recovery, and then others would raise their hands to talk about the behaviors they struggled with that week and those they were proud of. But unlike the difference between drinking and not drinking, sobriety for a sex and love addict is a little less easy to define.
The concept of sexual addiction is controversial. And when Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual assault by an overwhelming number of women, he reportedly went to rehab for sex addiction — a move that drew ire and skepticism from the medical community and beyond because it dangerously suggested that sex addiction was a cause of, or at least a precursor to, predation. SLAA offers a self-diagnosis questionnaire — for example, have you had sex at inappropriate times or in inappropriate places?
It does, however, offer a worksheet about signs of recovery: In spite of such research, plenty of people I know say SLAA has helped them form healthier relationships or halt destructive behaviors. Sitting in SLAA meetings week after week, I realized my own dating life had begun to feel like an endless cycle of crash-and-burn rebounds.
In an attempt to put and end to that cycle, I canceled a date with someone I really liked but who had given me the impression he was only interested in sex. And then I started dating the friend who had introduced me to the program.
In hindsight, perhaps it was inevitable. It was easy to justify monogamy after hearing from so many others who were struggling with dating multiple partners. We, too, were burnt out from the slog of incessantly checking Tinder, analyzing DMs on Instagram and going on first dates with people who might ghost us the next day. Instead, we went on road trips and cooked meals and watched marathons of Netflix together.
After we broke up, I stopped going to meetings. I continued seeing the guy who texted me when it was convenient for him and went out with another who ghosted after cooking me dinner on the second date.