I am a sex addict.
—Whoa there, cowboy. No niceties or other types of pleasant information to associate with you?
Na, not really. Sure, I’m not only a sex addict and it’s definitely not the most important part of my life, but my addiction has had the biggest effect on my life.
That in itself is a lofty claim, because what about Jesus? I guess we could argue that Jesus has had a bigger part in shaping my life, but if I’m honest, I’m not typically thinking about how my life has been affected by Jesus. I’m typically consumed by my addiction. So maybe I can amend my statement.
I am a Christian sex addict.
I am a sex-addicted Christian.
I am a Christian who is a sex addict.
I am a sex addict who is a Christian.
Oh boy! What philosophical implications. I don’t think I could settle on one because the identity thing is complex, messy, and human. And let’s be real: I needed a way to keep my great first sentence while also just really loving the poetic and aesthetic value of my little list.
Let’s be more real: sometimes I feel like a Christian with a sex addiction. Other times I feel like a sex addict who fails at being a Christian.
Identity is huge in western culture right now, and it’s a big topic for us gay/SSA/SideB/not-straight Christian guys; whether or not it needs to be, it is at the moment.
Now, my sex addiction looks a little different than what you would see on Dr. Drew or some TLC special. I’m a virgin, but I am undeniably addicted to pornography and masturbation. Some days I might even say that masturbation is my actual drug of choice.
But if we are really digging into it, are we ever addicted to a substance or to the effects of the substance?
For the sake of comfort and simplicity, let’s just say I’m a sex addict. You see, my sex addiction is not so much about a compulsive behavior as it is about something much darker. To be sure, it’s not abnormal for me to masturbate 3-5 times a day on a consistent basis. It is also just as typical for me to go 3-5 weeks without jacking off or looking at porn.
It’s one or the other. No real middle ground.
The deep and scary part, however, of the addiction is my obsession with masturbation: the platonic essence, the idea of it, the world’s response to it, and the action of it, all of it.
Most days, masturbation holds the dominating position in my thoughts, and not just “when can I masturbate next,” but more so “who around me jacked off this morning or is going to rub one out later today?”
I can’t shake a man’s hand without thinking about how it must feel on his penis or the last time he pleasured himself. I reduce men to how much they masturbate, how bad they feel about it, and who they have told their secret solo moments.
And that’s not even that half of it. But I’ll save the rest for another time.
This obsession, this total mental preoccupation, is the reason why I would qualify “sex addict” with “masturbation addict.”
Hold up, real quick.
Just because I am writing about my addiction does not mean that I am past it. I still have days/weeks that I jack off 3-5 times a day. I still spend some weekend nights prowling online for hours. I still have days where there isn’t room for any higher or more edifying thoughts (about God, literature, social justice, creative musings, etc.) because I cannot stop lusting and hunting for more images of the people around me.
I still am not that good Christian boy I wish everyone thought I was.
I’m a sex addict. But today, I have tremendous hope.
I believe in a material and biological resurrection of Jesus after a just as physical death. Because of that, I believe that while I yet live, my physical and metaphysical self will experience a real and material redemption, change, and resurrection from the old into the new.
I believe that I don’t have to wait until death to be remade. I don’t have to wait for death to slough off my sex addict identity.
My remaking is happening now, just as it was happening yesterday after my fourth orgasm, and just as it will happen tomorrow.
I’m not a stagnant pond. Water is flowing and I am changing, everyday: seen and unseen.
I wrote this poem about myself. It’s Icarus themed:
I’m the Masturbation poet
monstrous and obsessed
I crawl, sunward.
Its fire and light
I keep talking and thinking about masturbation: in my poems, real life relationships, and online musings. It’s a constant part of my life right now. But hopefully, as I continue to trudge sonward, all of it will be burned away. Hopefully, I will be remade into something that isn’t crusty from long binges, or guilt-scarred.
I look to the day that I will be remade into a creation fully right and complete, a finished work.
Are you a sex addict? Did my poem resonate with you? How might Jesus be remaking you today and in what ways has he been transforming you from just a year ago?
* Photo courtesy nomilknocry, Creative Commons.