Craig Palethorpe (The Black Book Magazine) in association with ASX Official
Sex Addiction is often skimmed over, or mocked rather than being looked at in depth. Read Craig's personal story about his sex addiction.
There are always talks in & outside of the sex industry and society itself on Sex Addiction, but it's often skimmed over, or mocked rather than being looked at in depth, in the detail it deserves.
The how? The why? The what? Are just seemingly left alone and a lot of people don’t believe it exists.
Well, I am here to re-address the issue, as I am a sex addict.
To most, if they hear the term sex addict, it usually comes with a barrage of laughter, or people associate the term with someone who cheats all the time. But sex addiction is far, far more than just that. It’s also one of the worst things to have as an addiction, because technically its free. And any addiction that costs nothing is a dangerous addiction.
For the longest of time, as far back as I can remember, I’ve always had an ‘over keen’ love for porn and sex. I remember seeing my very first porn film when I was around 6 or 7 years old (VHS tape left in the machine) and back then it was probably the greatest thing I had ever seen, now some could say ‘no wonder you turned out how you did’ and maybe they are right, maybe that was a catalyst for what was to become. Or maybe there were other factors. Maybe it was a lot of non-asked for solitude as a child, maybe it was being sexually abused as a child. I don’t think even I could put a WHEN on a catalyst if `I am honest.
But through growing up and school, I felt like the proverbial weird kid, always thinking about girls, probably way more often than I should. Reading any porn mag I found, watching any porn movie I could…looking back there were signs, just no one picked up on them. Back then the words sex and addiction weren’t exactly rife or even heard of, if anything the word ‘nymphomaniac’ was probably more apt of a description. Then of course as younger years turned into teen years came masturbation alongside the porn, and let’s be honest I spent a LOT of time doing that, pretty much whenever I could. When some kids were out playing football with friends…I was not, I was in my room, with video or magazine and going for world records.
This then obviously progressed as I got older, evidently it seemed I was attractive to the opposite sex! Who knew? And this just led to a few more problems with addiction. From rushing to bed the first girl that I went on a date with, to then breaking up quicker than it started because they wouldn’t put out in the first hour let alone on the first date. Even though I lost my virginity at 14 to someone that did ‘put out’. I remember the experience, but sometimes wish I didn’t. There was me trying to be a pornstars, but as we know, that first time isn’t quite like that. It was quick, it was messy and was not fun like it looked in films. But there had to be more to it than that right? So, a few more experiences later, it got better, thankfully. At this stage, even I thought I was watching way too much porn and porn wasn’t ‘real life’ so I should act differently….should.
Then it came to college, and even though college isn’t American Pie, I kind of looked at it that it could be. My college years were a lot of fun, free of school restraints and away from some people at school I didn’t care to see again. I was for lack of a better word seen as ‘promiscuous’ through college. First threesome at 17, first two separate girls on in night, at one point I was seeing 5 girls all separately in the same week, to me as a young guy I was living my best life.
Then came actual work. I moved out of the parents’ home because I was actually settling down with a girl, so started working, and this is where problems really started.
Doing the job, I did led to a lot of female attention, I can’t say it wasn’t wanted, because it felt great, and yes, monogamy was not adhered to, I couldn’t do it. And there were a lot of women in the years doing that job, sometimes it was just kissing, sometimes, most times it was full on sex, and it didn’t matter really who, where or when if it was offered, it was taken. Suffice to say, that relationship didn’t exactly work out for much longer.
Then I moved away and moved to somewhere far quieter than where I was previously, somewhere I thought I could relax the brain more and kind of calm myself down. How wrong I was.
Moving away to do the zen and calm life really didn’t go that way as intended. There was a lot, almost what now feels like daily after work drinks, which was a 6pm till…whatever time, and 99% of the time that would involve going home with someone different every time. What was supposed to be calming down, ramped up dramatically. At one stage I was in a relationship with someone, whilst seeing another 3 women. And if anyone else was around at whatever evening out, just added to an uncontrollable number.
I knew I might have to take drastic measures, when sex in the workplace became a regular thing, sometimes a few times a week, I didn’t care, I had an urge and had to deal with it.
After a while of doing this same routine for about 3 years, I moved back to the UK with the intention of seeking some form of help. I went to see a doctor and described what was going on with my lifestyle and what my thoughts were on a daily basis, that the urge to have sex was constant and was hard to remove from my brain unless I actually had sex or self-relief. He referred me to a therapist and councillor to discuss this more in depth. Great, I thought this could be the fix. For bout 2-3 months I saw the therapist and councillor, and talked about everything, really let it all out. The result, my therapist said outright “you sound like you have a sex addiction”. What the actual fuck was this person saying to me? Was this a thing? Was it such a normal thing that it had a name and a diagnosis? Evidently it was.
So, I had been given a title for what was wrong with me, so what’s next, how do I deal with this? And that was the question, no one could really answer. There was only so much written on the internet about sex addiction, and no famous person had come out with the same thing at that time. But what I did read about was how ‘sex addicts often turn to a career in porn’. Ok…so that thing which may have started all of this, is what I should kind of go back to?
Around 2 months later I was on a plane to northern Spain with a girl I was seeing at the time, and with the purpose of looking at going into porn, she was from the industry and knew contacts, to look at getting me involved and had arranged some meetings for me.
A couple of days after arriving I had my first meeting with Paulo, a simple looking guy, who’s English was about as good as my Spanish at the time (not very). Eventually via translation he told me what he does, where, how, etc etc and invited me to try it out with a girl he had been working with for a few years who was known in the European market, and if I could work, then he would hire me.
A few days later I went to his studio, far different from what you see on a movie, it wasn’t all glitz and glam and high-end erotica, it was a set studio, lounge/bed type of set up. He got the English-speaking girl I was to be working with to explain what was going to be happening, the ‘story’ of what was going to be filmed, how it’s going to happen and that was it. Within about 10 minutes the scene was being shot. I was an adult actor, having sex while being filmed, and it was bizarre…yet felt right, felt like I should have been doing this for a long time, even though the nerves were there, the girl I shot with made me feel relaxed, and we got the entire scene shot within about 40 minutes. I was asked if I could ‘go again’ and was more than happy to. That day I shout 5 scenes back-to-back.
I stayed in Spain for about 6 months, shooting 5 days a week, with various girls. earning good money, and having a decent life, sex wasn’t really an issue whilst I was there, I was having sex 7 days a week and felt free enough to do what I was doing. But all good things come to an end.
I had to move back to the UK for various reasons and had to leave my newest career behind me. It was a weird and hard time trying to get back into some form of normal, working and living without my ‘safety net’ job. As time went on, and as age grew upon me, I guess I found ways to deal with things on my own, I had the occasional therapy appointment, but I didn’t, wouldn’t rely upon it. My sex life was still frequent, occasionally a relationship, which, more often than not, would run its course after the ‘honeymoon period’. And this was to be my life? I tried some medications, yoga, self-help books, foreign teachings, online seminars, foreign doctors’ guides all to try and calm down on what my brain was telling me.
Nothing ever really did remove the addiction, and most likely never will. But in time I have found other things to do to mask my addiction, whether something musical or physical, things that give me an ‘alternative way’ of dealing what my brain is telling me, and for the most part, it has worked.
Safety and security have always been an aspect, as it is with any addiction, as sometimes you could put yourself at great risk, not just to do with health, in that respect, I always wore protection, and got myself checked at the clinic a few times, just to ‘make sure’. And always came out of that clean. I wouldn’t want to imagine any other outcome on that. Luckily these days you can even get std kits you do at home, even Superdrug sell them now! But you can get from test.me or letsgetchecked.co.uk so you don’t have to go to a clinic in person, an save yourself some embarrassment, if that’s what your worried about.
I could put some links on for more understanding, but when the NHS website starts off with,
“Experts disagree about whether it’s possible to become addicted to sex”. It’s hard to know which way to go with that. But places like ATSAC (The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity) https://atsac.org.uk/ can at least be the contrary to the NHS. And do offer some great insight, advice and help and even an online ‘am I a sex addict?’ assessment you can do.
But the other side to safety is the situations you could put yourself in, ending up at someone’s house you just met, not knowing, or caring at that stage if they have a partner that could walk in at any minute, or doing something with someone in a less that safe area, like a building site, garage rooftop, hi rise block of flats roof etc. In the moment you don’t tend to contemplate safety, and that can be dangerous and have lasting negative consequences. So, you must be careful, and try to at least think about what you are doing, easier said than done, I know.
Nowadays, the addiction is still there, and sometimes I will see something that just really gets me under the collar, and shakes me around, BUT I know, now, how to deal with it. In an understanding partner it helps a lot, sometimes not enough, but any kind of understanding is always a small win, and a small win is better than 10, 5 years ago. So, day to day living, is done and when the thoughts of excessive desire, wanton sexual gratification pop up, as they do, how do I deal with it? I use my methods of escapism. Whether that’s something musical, or whether something more physical based like a kata, some art or some diy things that always need doing, they work. Cooking has always been a great escape, we all must eat, so it’s something easy to do, and necessary especially when there’s more than one person in the household. And obviously with age, work, priorities, addiction can settle to much less than what it has been, by filling your day with the things that ‘must be done’ and the ‘could be done’ takes a huge mental strain away and lessens an addiction much more.
I have spoken to a few focus groups on sex addiction, and for some it has helped them with their focus, it’s always about finding and understanding what a sex addict is, and why they are a sex addict. It is not a dirty word, it isn’t under the radar and the main point, it never just goes away and the important part, you certainly are not alone. I maybe a sex addict, but I am not ashamed of that.