One of my darkest secrets, which I guess isn’t a secret now that I’m discussing it on the net, was one of my darkest moments of my life.

I’m talking about my addiction to sex.

Sexual addiction is something that is not usually spoken about or lumped in the categories of other addictions such as drug and alcohol. There are those who think it would be great to have a sex addiction and why complain about something where you can have casual sex with no strings attached.

To start off I never knew I had a sex addiction. I just thought at a young age I was expressing my sexual freedom. I felt it was just my hormones were raging and like other young men who  were exploring what it meant to be gay and what was my identity. I grew up like other LGBT youth and learned about sex from porno magazines, hearing the experiences from other gay friends and older men who saw a young buck in the headlights and introduced me to something I wasn’t ready for yet.It wasn’t a class taught in school or something you discussed at the dinner table.

As a former victim of sexual abuse as a child I was introduced to sex at a young age. From my experience I thought that by the process of giving of my body was a form of being accepted and also a way to say hello. This acceptance and the combination of low-self esteem lead me down to the path of believing that casual sex was the only way I could make myself valued and visible.Even later when I was diagnosed as HIV positive I still placed myself at risk by having risky sex with strangers. We’re talking about book stores, video stores, groups and the worst enemy of all the, internet which opened a whole world of meeting strangers. I say strangers because if I had to list the names of people who had sex with me it would be impossible. At that time I didn’t care. I just needed my fix.

I knew something was wrong when it seemed that I was no longer in control of my urges. I would be at work and this wave of anxiety would sweep over me. I would literally shake like a junkie coming of of their high. Against company policy I would use my computer to set up an encounter. Something that if I was caught doing I could lose my job, but at that moment I didn’t care. I just needed something or somebody to release my urge. I would be asleep and it would hit me at 3 in the morning or I was stuck in the house alone because of bad weather outside, I had to have my drug.I wouldn’t classify it as being horny but literally an imbalance in my thinking and thought process. It was like I needed to get out there and find my drug dealer to take care of my fix. The reason I knew something was wrong is because sex should be a wonderful bonding experience between two people, but for me it was cold and empty and I always walked away with guilt, telling myself afterward I would never do it again.

But then like before I would break my affirmations and in it’s place give excuses of my actions. And the cycle of guilt and shame like clockwork would be right there waiting for me to get off the train.

Existing in the gay community didn’t help as unfortunately in many cases when it comes to media representation of the gay life, the visual images of the gay environment, whether it’s marketing material, nightlife advertisement and even ads for cruises, there’s always someone with their shirt off and a indirect eroticism of the gay lifestyle which made you think that’s what you’re supposed to be.

I finally got tired of feeling guilty and breaking promises to myself. I was sick and instead of seeing a doctor I tried to come up with my own homemade remedies but the cold turkey act never helped. I needed help.

The first part of the help was acknowledging that I had a problem. The second form was seeking a therapist and learning what I was going through. Not surprisingly it was all tied to my year of sexual abuse as a child and my feeling that I always had to please someone. I recognized that I was placing myself last, even during sex it was never about my pleasure but the pleasure of someone else.

During this period I even tried to be in several relationships, but how can you be in a healthy relationship with someone when you don’t even know how to relate to yourself.

And that’s where my healing began. I had to learn to love myself. I had to learn to find my own value and worth. When we’re born we’re born with wings but as we grow forces come along and pluck off our feathers until you’re at that point where you feel you can’t fly any longer. But we all have that power to fly and we all have to rediscover our wings to do so. Sometimes we treat our clothes or other material items better than we treat our bodies, but we have to flip the script. Sex should be beautiful but when it makes you feel ugly, then “Houston we have a problem.”

I’m flying again but not in a space where I’m above or better than anyone, but I know that I have a greater sense of self and that’s where it all begins, self.