Story of a Female Sex Addict.
About a month ago we received an email from a woman called Kathleen O’Connor. She had one of
the bravest stories we’ve ever read here at the Pipe Down offices. Hopefully her message will bring
awareness to a subject not often talked about and allow others to come forward and seek help for
Sexual addiction – “a state characterised by compulsive participation or engagement in sexual
activity, particularly sexual intercourse, despite negative consequences”
I came into recovery with an alcohol problem… or so I thought, but it didn’t take long to realise
alcohol was the solution to a deep underlying issue that does not get talked about a lot, especially
being female. Sex addiction!
It didn’t come easy admitting that I had a sex addiction – I haven’t got a problem –
“I can go without it”
“My life doesn’t revolve around it”
“I am single with no ties, I can do what I want”
“I don’t even enjoy it that much”
“Sex is a healthy part of life”
“I went 3 months without having sex”
“It hasn’t made my life unmanageable like alcohol”
“Sex, porn and masturbation help me cope with stress and life”
My childhood was not particularly good, I was brought up in Ireland, my mum was a strict catholic. I
was physically and mentally abused by my mothers husband and I watched my mum get beaten by
him too. My mother tried her best and provided for me as much as she could. I was rebellious
because my mum was so strict. My real father rejected me and my mum when I was born and later
again when I was 14 (which is when I began drinking alcoholically). I don’t know if this is a
contributing factor to my behaviour over the years but I believe it had an effect on how I looked at
men and behaved around them.
The first sexual experience I can remember was when I was 12, sat in my friend’s house drinking
her mum’s Bacardi while watching her brother’s porn video. I remember feeling warm inside. I
thought this was where my relationship with alcohol started. But there was something more to this.
Yes I loved alcohol and what it did, but there was something more powerful than that, something I I
was to find out about 34 years later. I was masturbating from a young age, I don’t know if it was
before that incident with the porn video or around the same time. All I knew was masturbation
made me feel nice. It changed my mood. At that time I used to let my friend’s older brother touch
me and insert his fingers inside me, while drinking alcohol.
At 16 I became sexually active. I was put on the pill and I was off and running. I lost my virginity to
a guy in the bins by a school, but I soon learned that was what men wanted. I slept around for a bit,
I had left home at 16 and moved to London and was using my sexuality to get by. I met a guy who
was 36, who looked after me for a bit, but I was sleeping with other men too. I didn’t feel whole if I
didn’t have a man in my life in some way, shape or form.
At 18 I met a guy and I stayed with him for 7 years. During that time, I slept with 2 of his friends,
both female (as I felt that I wasn’t cheating on him because it was a woman). My 7 year
relationship was a blur of drink, drugs and some good times. Porn was a big problem for me, even
back then. He didn’t watch it, but I did, and I masturbated a lot. This was my best relationship. We
were both codependent and couldn’t live without each other for more than a day.
After I left him, I met a number of men. I jumped in and out of relationships, not leaving one guy
until I had someone else there. I described myself as a monkey who wouldn’t leave a branch go
until I had grabbed another one. I caught STD’s, had 2 unwanted pregnancies but I blamed the
alcohol. But I thought I was in control of men, if I felt someone wasn’t paying me attention or I didn’t
feel mentally stimulated by them I would already be looking for my next fix.
I used men – they bought me things, took me out, took me on holiday but I was never satisfied and
couldn’t settle. I met some decent guys along the way but I didn’t want them.
I decided to choose men who I felt superior to, men who didn’t work, men who had children, men
who were damaged, fucked up – then they wouldn’t leave me, then I had control. Anyone who
worked or was emotionally stable, or I felt were too normal I felt inferior to.
At 25 I joined a sex site for swingers, plus a site where older married men bought me stuff in return
for sex. During every “real” relationship I had, I secretly stayed on the sex sites and even got some
partners to join in with me. I moved around numerous times living with guys. I went to Amsterdam
on holiday with a boyfriend and he paid for a prostitute for us to go with together. I watched live sex
shows which I loved. I began having sex live on camera on the site and enjoyed watching people,
still high on drink and drugs. I used to masturbate for hours at a time watching people, the feeling
from this was more satisfying than anything I have experienced before. It took me out of myself. My
relationships were getting worse, I was putting up with violence, cheating, disrespecting behaviours
towards myself because I didn’t think I deserved any better.
I started to go dogging, meeting men in carparks, revelling in the attention from anonymous men. I
wanted to be blindfolded and fucked – as well as many more fantasies that run through my mind
daily. The lead up to these encounters was more exciting than the actual meets. I was
continuously thinking about sex and fantasies and they were getting worse.
While I was drunk one time, I was raped, I did report it but it was dropped due to lack of evidence,
for which I carried a resentment for a long time. How dare someone force themselves on me? That
is my choice and no one has the right to do that, but I blamed myself deep down. If I wasn’t drunk
then maybe it wouldn’t have happened. Plus, with all the debauched, degrading stuff I was doing
sexually, I deserved it.
I met a guy after this and I fisted him during a bender and I got a sick satisfaction out of it. It was at
this time I realised I hated men but couldn’t do without them, or the chase and lead up to sexual
encounters. The buzz I got from it, the power, the feeling of being wanted.
I started to notice I had a drink problem and so did everyone around me so I started to try and
control that. When I stopped drinking, I began meeting people from the sex sites for sex in woods,
cars, anywhere. I used to talk to guys and arrange “breeding parties” which is loads of men having
sex with me to try and get me pregnant. Then I was arranging stag parties, they would all queue up
and have sex with me. I compulsively masturbated fantasising about this. (I believed this helped
me give up alcohol). I found it easier to meet anonymously than have a real relationship as I didn’t
like men. Plus the emotional turmoil it caused me. And by this point I was incapable of being in a
relationship. But I always had a few guys I was texting and meeting now and again.
I had stopped the alcohol for a bit due to mental and physical health problems, but I was on every
dating site and sex site known to man. Then I met a guy who persisted in trying to take me on a
date. I thought relationships were a bit of a problem so I avoided him for a bit but the inevitable
happened and I started a relationship.
By this point I didn’t realise it but I had no self-respect and no self-esteem, but was still on the sex
sites. He “introduced” me to the swinging site I was already on. I started drinking again. We set up
a profile together and we started meeting other couples and going to swingers clubs. We were
calling prostitutes to come to the house. This was my most toxic relationship yet and during a
break up I tried committing suicide. I felt I couldn’t be on my own but I was incapable of being loyal
and honest. This lead to trust issues, I didn’t trust him as I didn’t trust myself. But I think I had
never trusted men. After going back to him, because I couldn’t cope on my own, I went on my
profile on the site alone and met men from his local area for sex behind his back. Inevitably that
relationship ended with him continuing to hound me, as he was as addicted to the seedy sex as I
was. But I couldn’t deal with the emotional trauma any more so I left him and went to a hotel room
and arranged meets for anonymous sex, for 5 days. This was where I hit my rock bottom. Sat in a
hotel room, covered in cum, and drunk on champagne.
I went into rehab for 3 months for alcohol misuse – everything stopped. I didn't mention any of my
issues other than alcohol and was fine for 3 months without men and sex so I believed that proved
it wasn’t a problem.
I left 3 months later and on the train on the way home I was on a sex site. I was free from alcohol
and I had a solution for alcohol – the thing I thought was my only addiction and problem. The sex
site helped me because I was feeling scared, anxious and confused, but it took my feelings away.
The buzz I get is so intense.
For two months I did everything I was told in a 12 step program for alcohol misuse. I was promised
a life beyond my wildest dreams. And I got on for a while… I felt like I was so well mentally and
strong enough to start a sexual relationship. And so I did, but he was emotionally unavailable. Plus
I was used to drama, getting beaten, being hounded, stalked, taking drugs and drinking together.
Doing weird and wonderful sexual things, but he didn’t do that. I needed him to make me feel nice
because I didn’t know how to do that for myself.
I realised I was very sick. So I decided I was going to break it off, but before I did, I went back on
the sex site and uploaded a load of photos of myself naked, playing with myself. I had men
messaging me, wanting to meet. I felt wanted, sexy, whole. (I knew I wouldn’t be able to just break
up and I wouldn’t cope alone). Now I was strong enough to break the relationship. And I broke it
off, I didn’t feel anything breaking up with him as I was too hooked on the sex site. I Started to
arrange to meet men. This occupied me for some time until I was sat in a hotel room on my own
drinking again! Baffled!
But still I didn’t want to tell anyone, this shameful secret, I was fucked. I masturbated for hours, to
relieve the anxiety, it helped but my heart was racing. I didn’t tell anyone about any of this when I
came into recovery because I felt shame, guilt, disgust. I hated myself, so many thoughts echoed
in my mind – “What will people think?” “What if they all gossip about me?” “What if my sponsor
thinks I am too sick and gets rid of me?” “ I won’t tell anyone and I will be ok.” “ I am fucked there is
no helping me.” “I am the only person with a head like this.” “The sex sites help me when I feel
vulnerable.” “Doing this helps me when I’m not drinking…”
I had counselling but never spoke about it. Probably because of the shame, fear and that deep
down, I didn’t want to stop because I genuinely thought it helped me through bad times. But that’s
what I had thought about alcohol in the past and that nearly killed me.
I decided to tell someone because my program says it will only work if I have 3 things: Honesty;
Open mindedness and Willingness.
I had two choices – keep quiet and live like this forever or be honest and change it. I started to
realise if I continue to feed this addiction, the best thing that could happen is I will never have a
normal healthy relationship. But worse than that, I was putting my physical health, mental health
and life in danger.
So I was honest and it was suggested I seek help for a sex addiction which I didn’t think I had and I
didn’t believe there was such a thing – But deep down I knew the behaviour and everything I had
been doing wasn’t normal. So I embarked on a program which dealt with sex addiction.
To be continued…