Tales of a Female Sex Addict
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The first time I masturbated I was 12 years old. I was in the bathtub, helpless to a steady stream of warm water cascading down my lady parts, while the most intoxicating buildup brought me to my first orgasm. Nothing in my hush-hush Catholic upbringing and innocent friend circle had prepared me for this earthshaking experience, equal parts pleasure and shame. I didn’t know what I stumbled upon, only that it felt scary and wrong, but I tried not to care. No longer would I be crushed out on Eddie Vedder or Chris Cornell. H2O had stolen my heart.
After that, sex was always on my mind. Dredging through the book “Treasure Island” in seventh grade, I told myself I was allowed to masturbate to orgasm at the end of each chapter so I could finish by the due date. There are 34 chapters in that book and, having made that deal, I breezed through them over the course of a few blissed out days. Robert Louis Stevenson will forever be an erotic novelist in my mind.
My hormones were a freight train, and I tried to keep up. I wonder now if I would have lost the thrill of masturbation eventually, once the novelty wore off, but I found new thrills. I started staying up late, when Mom and Dad were snoring away in oblivion, to watch softcore porn on Cinemax. Shannon Tweed became my nighttime hero. I didn’t know whether to hate her or love her, but I knew I needed her. During the day, I made other arrangements. My brother was three years older, and I’d wait for him to leave the house and then raid his stash, hidden in his bedside drawer under men’s fitness magazines and school notebooks. Girlie mags. Unlabeled VHS tapes. I masturbated every day, multiple times a day, until I was exhausted and sore.
Later, when classmates at my all-girls Catholic high school were talking about MTV, YM magazine and PMS, I was educating myself on all sorts of other acronyms: DP, POV, ATM and more. With the advent of chat rooms on AOL, I supplemented porn with cybersex and sometimes managed to find clips and videos online, which took hours to download. I needed to have an empty house and no plans for the day for that kind of work. When friends invited me out, I often made excuses, preferring the ease and familiarity of my screens and self-soothing to the pressure of social connection. I feared that somehow they’d figure out my dark secret. If nobody was talking about porn and masturbation, then certainly I was doing something odd. And, consequently, I was odd. Odd and pathetic and bad. Shame consumed me.
When dial-up was replaced with broadband, porn was even more immediate. With sites like 89, RedTube, Pornhub, TubeGalore and so many others, I didn’t have to depend on anyone else for my fix. I’d come into my own.
Thoughts of the acrobatic arrangements of flesh and dirty talk filled my mind all day long. I daydreamed constantly. I started and ended my days with orgasms. There was always time and a clip I hadn’t yet seen.
Later, when I started having sex for real, I didn’t abandon the usual porn-and-masturbation combo. Quite the opposite. I surprised boyfriends with my enthusiasm when they’d forgotten to clear their history and insisted that we watch together. I knew porn stars by name, bookmarked all my favorite sites and switched up all the ways I got off — fingers, vibrators and, of course, the water faucet for old time’s sake.