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I think I was five years old the first time I felt a craving between my legs I had no idea how to satiate.
I didn’t know what sex was, but I knew I wanted it. At six years old, I was talking about sex with my friends. I told them I learned that sometimes two people lay naked together in bed. The thought alone was thrilling.
By the time I was 11, I was kissing boys and buying sweatshirts with college logos I knew my crushes liked. It was a foolproof plan—they’d see that I was just like them, and then they’d love me.
I craved their validation.
I was always on a quest for love. Just three years later, I was having sex. I was just barely a teenager—a baby crying for love and attention.
It was always men I would let f*ck me—and yes, sometimes it was that insincere. It’s funny how I used to think that I had so much sovereignty in choosing to have sex with strangers—like it was just harmless pleasure.
I was naive, and so f*cking young.
I couldn’t see the pain I was creating, but I could definitely feel it.
At the time, I didn’t realize I was just using sex as a tool to temporarily fill a hole—literally and figuratively. But eventually, the hole just got deeper and darker, and left me emptier and hungrier.
I became an addict. Sex was a bandage over a deep wound I refused to address.
By the time I was 18, I locked eyes with the love of my life—well, actually, we locked lips. The following five years we spent attached at the hip and loyally in love.
Having one partner was good for me, but the relationship—just like the sex—became a bandage over a wound.
Eventually, we grew apart, he hopped in his car, and with puffy eyes, I watched him drive away. I had no idea that would be the last time I’d see him.
The crack in my heart still remains large, but I’m grateful for the opening.
As soon as he left, the bandage fell off, and I needed to figure out how to get it back on without actually addressing the deeper issue. I was on my own for the first time in over five years. My desires were high and my legs were spread wide.
To no surprise, the pain became worse and the loneliness debilitating.
I felt separate from my body. I hated her, and I wanted someone to love her for me.
The sex eventually became tiring. I was emotionally exhausted and disgusted by my own betrayal.
I finally decided to check in with myself, and ask why I felt this way.
That is when I had the epiphany: my sex addiction was never my fault.
I finally realized all the reasons why sex was my vice, and all of them boiled down to one explanation:
The f*cking patriarchy.
Sure, I was actually craving love and affection, but what I was really addicted to was male validation.
I was taught at such a young age that my beauty was the most important thing about me—that my body was all I had to offer the world.
Day after day, I was fed this information and it was constantly affirmed by the compliments I was thriving from.
At a young age, I understood that men were in a position of power. I always felt I needed their approval in order to prove my worthiness.
I did everything I could to make sure men would keep loving me. I ate less than I wanted. I ran faster and longer to stay thin. I remained small and non-threatening and always made sure to be agreeable.
I’d let them open the pickle jars even though I was fully capable.
I’d pretend to be scared of spiders, so they could come save me once again.
As soon as I felt unseen by the male gaze, I’d give my body to the nearest human with a penis. I was always so quick to reach for the dick like it was some sort of magic wand—surprise! It’s not.
What I really needed was to allow myself the space to learn how to give myself the love and intimacy I desired.
I was finally able to see that what I sought out for so long was here the whole damn time and I was actively choosing to escape that.
I always searched for love externally because society taught me that becoming radically obsessed with myself would make me a narcissist—that a woman who loves herself is a threat.
Thank goodness, I can finally see that being a threat isn’t a bad thing. Plus, I don’t have any time for toxic, fragile masculinity, anyway.
I am so over it.
Although, I’d be lying if I said I don’t still seek male validation. Trying to unlearn 26 years of patriarchal programming is no easy feat, but I’m finally on a path toward radical self-love, and let me tell you—it feels way more orgasmic than sex.