Las Vegas is famous for the uninhibited debauchery it promises the people who visit it. The gambling city in the desert is home to a number of addictions, one that is not often talked about is sex.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal has set out to tackle the taboos around sex addiction, speaking to various sex addicts in the city. Here are their stories.
Richard, 51, is a recovering sex addict. He told the Review-Journal:
Las Vegas is a huge town for sex addicts. The amount of vices that go on here given the number of prostitutes and strip clubs becomes a challenge for sex addicts. The city is geared towards that. A lot of excitement goes on here.
He says he had his first sexual experience when he was 18, but didn’t get addicted until his late 20s:
I was never satisfied. It wasn’t all hookers and picking people up. I was always looking for something different, whether it was different fetishes or role-playing.
At first, I thought I was just a horny guy doing what guys do. I didn’t think it was a problem until I cheated on a woman I really cared about and wanted to be with.
A woman identified only as Marina, is a 20-year-old aspiring plus-size model who knows the struggle of sex addiction. She said:
The ‘addiction’ kicked in around the time I was 16,” Marina said. “I was having sex with a new partner almost weekly. I have never been monogamous in a relationship due to my constant desire for new sexual partners.
I have contracted an STD before and thought that would end my promiscuity, but it only worsened after I was treated. I may not ever be able to have children because of contracting chlamydia at the age of 16, and that has impacted my life greatly.
I have lost many friends due to my tendencies. I have also experienced a great deal of hurt from men I have slept with and dated. Sex has blinded me into believing that I was in love when I really was not, numerous times. I have had sex with strangers and have never felt more empty as I did after those experiences. I also have exchanged sex for money and regret that very much.
James, 34, is a member is Sex Addicts Anonymous in Vegas. He says his porn addiction nearly ruined his life, explaining:
I couldn’t stop myself from watching porn. Every day, I would go to the computer to look at porn, regret it and watch it again within the hour. I started viewing it at work and would stay late to watch it in the office sometimes until 2 a.m. I became much more distant from my wife. I was not present with her even when I was physically there. In my mind, I was having flashbacks of the porn that I viewed that day. I also started viewing my wife as a sexual object rather than the human being that I cared about.
The appeal of pornography and sex is in our human instinct. For me, my addiction helped me numb out. I didn’t have to deal with stress and loneliness or resentment. Pornography became my escape.
He spoke about the Sex Addicts meetings:
You’d think that these meeting are full of creepy people with trench coats, but that’s not the case. The people who attend these meetings are husbands, single guys, business owners, people in power; we cover the full spectrum. It doesn’t matter what race or occupation you have. No one is safe from this addiction.
Being able to be in a room with other people that have been what you’ve been through and know the pain and the struggles you’ve gone through brings great comfort. This is a safe environment, and you leave with friends and a great support system. You learn how to live again.
Las Vegas Review-Journal