Ashley West

Mar 19, 2021

4 min read

Addicts & Murderers Are Not One

I am a sex addict.

I was the first girl to develop in the 7th grade and the power that came with 34D’s was clear as the purple stretch marks scratched across my newly bulbous chest. I received attention from guys I had only dreamed of. I mean popular guys. Captain-of-the-football-team kind of guys. They didn’t want relationships with me, heck, they didn’t even want to be seen talking to me, but they did. They made eyes. They flirted. They crawled under the tables in the cafeteria to look up my skirt. As the years went on and I traversed the rape culture that is the American high school experience, there were a lot of #metoo moments. At the time, though, like the lead singer of The Offspring, I had no self-esteem and was “alright man, ’cause I like the abuse.”

Once my drug and alcohol use picked up, so did my promiscuity. I pined for validation from men. Plagued by a nebulous sense of self, I needed them to tell me who I was; who they wanted me to be. I morphed and squeezed into versions of a girl I didn’t know. I tried on personalities, interests, and beliefs like new pairs of shoes, soon to be discarded for the next fad. The next new demand from the next man I self-ascribed as “the one.” I had this belief that having sex with a man would make him fall in love with me. That I could fuck him into loving me. A friend of mine calls this “magical pussy syndrome.” An unpalatable diagnosis, magical pussy syndrome caused me many painful experiences where I would research my hypothesis only to find out that my loins held no superpower whatsoever and even worse, I was entirely disposable to these men.

Their rejection only made me want to make them want me more.

At 27, I got sober from drugs and alcohol. A lot happened up until that point, the important thing to know is that I changed in every possible way a human can change: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It took time. No one walks away from a fifteen year long addiction without scrapes and bruises and one of my wounds was my sex addiction, which I discovered at three years clean and sober. I was still chasing the high of sexual attention and validation from unavailable men. Married men. It was shameful and it was painful. The guilt and disgust was LA-smog-thick. I crashed. I sought help.

I learned that sex addiction is an intimacy disorder. There are a million and one psychological schools of thought in which I am no expert, yet I’m led to believe I have an anxious attachment style which stems from the instability of my childhood, my parents’ divorce, and a barrage of sexual trauma. I never even admitted I’d been raped in high school until I was 30 years old. No wonder I couldn’t get the hang of this ‘healthy relationship’ thing. No wonder I hid my true self — I was protecting her in the only maladaptive ways I knew how.

Through the support of my peers, psychological and psychiatric practitioners, I have been able to heal deep rooted wounds, some of which I’ve inherited from previous generations. I have done the serious heavy lifting required to heal and become a woman who has self-esteem, self-love, self-compassion, boundaries, self-respect, and a voice in this world.

To hear this terrorist blame his sex addiction for the murder of 8 people, 6 being Asian women, is offensive to me and it is harmful to anyone quietly suffering with a sex addiction.

When I had an affair with a married man, I told him how horrible I felt. I asked him to leave me alone. I asked him to stop speaking to me and he wouldn’t. I never considered harming him.

When my boyfriend raped me at 17 in my own bedroom, I never considered harming him.

When I was molested by two neighborhood boys while passed out at a party, I never considered harming them.

To blame the disgusting, racist murder of these women on a sex addiction is to further stigmatize people who are already bogged down with shame and fear to seek the help they need. It is an attempt to use addiction as an alibi for cold-blooded crimes. We live in the information age; if this man suffered with sex addiction, a quick Google search provides a plethora of ways to get help, free of charge. You can remain anonymous. You can talk to people on the phone from a blocked number and never use your real name. There are a laundry list of options that don’t include murder and to correlate the two will keep others from coming forward and healing their own traumatic cycles for fear of being seen as dangerously sex-crazed. It keeps humanity from achieving its highest potential.

My heart is with the families of the deceased today and the greater Asian community at large. I will not let white supremacy use addiction as an invincibility cloak; not on my watch.

This is another clear sign that we have so much work to do as a collective society. This is why we need better gun laws, to protect people from themselves and each other. This is why we need to normalize treating mental health issues, addictions, and traumas, because sex addict or not, mentally sound people don’t commit murder. This is why we need to dismantle white supremacy, so we see each and every life as inherently valuable rather than a hierarchy of race, gender, sexual orientation, wealth, and ability levels. We have to see ourselves as a greater community of human beings working together for the common good. If you’re not already on board, I urge you to look within yourself and ask what you can do to better the world today. No action is too small and every one of us is desperately needed on this journey of healing.

Thank you for listening.