An unflinching account of the author's journey through sex and pornography addiction describes the childhood factors that contributed to her sexual fixations and her international travels in search of a loving relationship and healing, recounting the difficult process that led to her marriage and newfound sense of self-acceptance.
At thirty years old, at twenty-four, even at twelve, it was impossible for me to think about sexual pleasure without immediately feeling shame. I felt bad about the type of porn I watched. I felt bad sleeping with people I didn’t like. I felt bad because of the thoughts I feasted on when I was having sex with people I genuinely loved. For as far back as I can remember this is just the way it was. My sexual habits were sick and shameful. My thoughts were sick and shameful. I was sick and shameful.
Myself, I'm reserved when divulging my sex life, but Garza is not, which is for the better in this book. Just like seeing Steve McQueen's excellent film "Shame", one quickly reads through this book and knows that its contents are not sexually arousing but symptoms of what occurs in Garza's life. Bar the start of this book, it is chronologically written. As such, her growing up, the introduction of Internet that projects her extremely quickly into hypersexuality, her first relationships, her short sentences that describes self-damaging behaviours, it all bears the hallmarks of simplistically describing situations that have happened, á la Lisa Carver in her diaries.
When other addicts shared about porn addiction, my ears always perked up. Porn kept us from engaging with the world. Porn distorted our perception, not just of sex, but of everything. Something so simple, like standing in an elevator with other people, or brushing up against another body on the subway, or exchanging money with a supermarket clerk—anything really—could quickly be turned into a pornographic scene by our trained, overstimulated minds. We felt numb to touch and always craved more of it. We were impatient and disinterested with a situation unless it was leading to sex. We were never really satisfied with the act of sex—it could always be better—and when it was over, we quickly wanted to discard the person. Their use was diminished. Our use was diminished.
Her descriptions of being a sex addict leaves me with the sense of what I felt when watching "Shame" for the first time. Still, this is not a hopeless nor a shocker of a book. It's a description of a life—which has yet to reach midlife—and the haunts that come with sex addiction. This is a very easy read, even though the stories affected me; at times, I was a little jolted, but mostly I kept hoping for Garza to feel a lot better in the end; naturally this is something that can be felt for every human being.