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“I realized I was not comfortable in my own skin,” says Valerie, who checked herself into four months of treatment for sex addiction at Del Amo, a private behavioral-health hospital in Torrance, Calif.“My depression came from the fear I was going to be alone for the rest of my life.
“In order to soothe the loneliness and the fear of being unwanted, I was looking for love in all the wrong places,” she recalls.But compulsive sexual behavior, also called hypersexual disorder, can systematically destroy a person’s life much as addictions to alcohol or drugs can.And it’s affecting an increasing number of Americans, say psychiatrists and addiction experts.The movie follows Brandon (portrayed by Irish actor Michael Fassbender in a career-defining performance), a New Yorker with a libido the size of the Empire State Building.His life devolves into a blur of carnal encounters, imperiling both his job and his self-regard.Take it from Tony, a 36-year-old from the affluent Westside of Los Angeles, who found his life thrown into turmoil by compulsive sexual behavior. “I would go into trancelike states, lose track of what I was doing socially, professionally, spiritually.
I couldn’t stop.”He was ashamed of his tireless efforts to find women.
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Some 1,500 sex therapists treating compulsive behavior are practicing today, up from fewer than 100 a decade ago, say several researchers and clinicians, while dozens of rehabilitation centers now advertise treatment programs, up from just five or six in the same period. “Where it used to be 40- to 50-year-old men seeking treatment, now there are more females, adolescents, and senior citizens,” says Tami Ver Helst, vice president of the International Institute for Trauma and Addiction Professionals.
“Grandfathers getting caught with porn on their computers by grandkids, and grandkids sexting at 12.”In fact, some of the growth has been fueled by the digital revolution, which has revved up America’s carnal metabolism. log on to some 4.2 million pornographic websites, according to the Internet Filter Software Review.
In perhaps the least sexy sex scene in the history of moviedom, Brandon appears to lose all humanity during a frenzied ménage à trois with two prostitutes.