A Sex Addict Goes on a 50-Day 'Boytox'
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Like an addict with a $500-a day habit, seeing four guys at the same time was not easy, but—in my eyes—I was managing.
On our second date, David, a freelance graphics designer and filmmaker, took me to a Moroccan restaurant with rose petals on the table, followed by a documentary at the Film Forum. It was perfect. But so was Tom, a standup comedian and novelist who worked at a literary agency. As we walked my dog along the promenade, he put his arms around me and we gazed at the moonlight bouncing off the water. I thought he might be the one. But then there was Andrew, tall and handsome in a Clark Kent-y sort of way, successful—he worked in publishing—and smart. We argued theories of identity over artisanal pizza, followed by a hand-in-hand walk through Washington Square Park. It was spring and I was newly single, out of a long-term relationship that had consumed all six years of my sobriety.
Andrew seemed ideal, but then came Jimmy. Again and again and again. Within the first three hours of meeting each other, we were doing things I hadn’t done in years—and a couple things I’d never done. The sexual energy was intense. I was in LOVE, I thought. He was a carpenter—like Jesus—and an Afghanistan vet. He hung my curtains. We trauma-bonded. Meanwhile, I wasn’t sleeping or eating very much; up-all-night sex sessions with a rotating cast will have that effect. I had started slacking at work, spending less time with my girlfriends, forgoing my morning meditation practice, and not going to as many meetings.
Sure, of all the guys that I was dating, Jimmy and I had the least in common, but for some then-unknowable reason (which I now realize had mostly to do with his extra-large penis), I chose him to be my boyfriend. Lucky for both of us, he didn’t choose me.
These were the circumstances that precipitated my “boytox” on March 23 this year. Down came my online dating profile, up went the actions that had turned this alcoholic-Al-Anonic-sex- and love-addicted mess into the datable person I had become that I was now at risk of unbecoming.
“Maybe you should take some time off from dating,” my sponsor gently suggested when I sobbed to her about Jimmy’s rejection. It was a suggestion I'd heard before, but this time I heard it differently. Though not as stunning as other points in my history of sexual addiction—sometimes our bottoms aren’t—at just over six years sober, my tolerance for pain was minimal. I was willing to take her suggestions—even the ones I had spent the last six years avoiding.
A “boytox” is probably the most common suggestion when it comes to dating in early sobriety. "Just don’t do it," goes the advice. Not in your first year. In some cases, not for a significant amount of time after a breakup. Or, not until you’ve worked such-and-such step. The reasons are obvious: Keep it simple, and keep the focus on yourself. It sounds like a good idea, but it’s easier said than done—especially for self-proclaimed slutty sluts like me.
Even though I didn’t follow the suggestion in my first year, it wasn’t too late to reap the benefits of a period of time away from sex, dating and relationships. It would be an opportunity to develop my relationships with friends—women in particular.
By taking a period off from sex and dating, I would have an opportunity to glimpse at my true self, apart from my outsized sexual identity. I hoped to come into closer contact with my emotions without all the confusing feelings brought on by romance.