A sex addict’s bracing chronicle of erotic dependency.
Essayist Garza’s memoir begins in bed, where she is having sex with a man she neither knows well nor particularly cares for. This scene sets the tone for a narrative that never deviates from its intent to educate and engross readers with the random sexual escapades and private pains of a woman at the mercy of her addiction. What the author thrived upon was “an elaborate mix of shame and sexual excitement I had come to depend on since I was twelve.” She shares that her first source of shame manifested in her mediocre family life in Los Angeles, where she was raised Catholic with a mortgage broker father and a moody mother. Garza retreated into TV and video games and didn’t begin sexually fantasizing until she was barely a teenager, when her parents announced they were expecting another child. The author’s raging hormones feasted on Cinemax soft-core porn, then dial-up cybersex, and, later, high-speed internet porn, which became an obsession and a balm for her burgeoning social anxiety. She describes her high school years and her 20s through the many men with whom she had sex. Moving to Hawaii, she was ever eager to promote herself as an “adventurous, insatiable vixen always down to fuck,” with shame being the common aftereffect. At 30, Garza’s pursuit of sexual gratification became “darker and more intense” until she finally realized how much her robust and seemingly robotic sex life was damaging not only interpersonal relationships, but also the relationship she enjoyed with herself: “I prioritized the satisfaction of sexual release over everything else screaming inside of me Please stop.” A combination of therapy and prescription drugs proved only a short-term remedy; life forced Garza to cope once she found herself in love and on the threshold of marriage. Though exquisitely visceral and written with genuine emotion, the author’s fascinating odyssey ends too abruptly, lacking some of the curative details readers will be expecting.
A provocative sojourn through the wilderness of sexual addiction.