Today we’re going to be talking about sex and love.
This question has come through to me many times:
“Why am I so obsessed with getting laid? Am I addicted to sex?”
This dilemma manifests in all sorts of different problems, like you struggle to express attraction because sex is such a big deal to you and you’re afraid of rejection. Or you struggle to make real connections with people because you only see them as either a resource for sex or not, and if they’re not you just abandon them and lose interest. Or you can’t go a day without porn and jerking it.
There are numerous reasons why being kind of fixated on sex can create problems with connections. You can get yourself into a relationship with a bad-fit person just because they’re putting out, or because you believe sex means they feel intimately connected to you.
But one of the things I’ve realized over the last few years is that your obsession is not actually with sex – that is a misunderstanding in your brain. Like how a drug addict thinks that they’re obsessed with heroin, it’s not really heroin that they’re addicted to. They love the feeling heroin gives them.
There’s a couple that a guy at BROJO told me about: they’re Hare Krshna followers, and they run workshops about sex and connection. But then, at the end of the workshop, they disclose that they almost never have sex anymore. And yet they’re a deeply loving couple.
This really throws the people at the workshop – “Wait! You just went on and on about how to have great sex and now you’re saying you don’t have any?” They tried to explain to the people that their connection is so strong that sex is no longer a big deal for them. It’s no longer important as an aspect of the relationship. They still do it but it’s definitely not high in the priority list.
Now a lot of people will hear this and be baffled by it. How can a relationship be good without lots of good sex? And what’s the point of living if you’re not regularly getting your end away?
Let’s explore obsession
The people I have met who are not obsessed with sex, not fixated on it and don’t think of it as a big deal, fall into about three different categories:
1)Somebody who’s asexual – they’ve never really been interested in it;
2)Somebody who is obsessed with sex but they never get it. So they long ago gave up on it being a possibility in their life and they’ve just kind of suppressed their obsession;
3)The healthy type – somebody who is not fixated. They don’t see sex is a bigger deal than anything else in life even though they are not deprived of it.
Number three is usually somebody who has a lot of genuine love and connection in their life.
I’ll put it to you that the real obsession you have is not with sex, but with love.
What is love?
Real love may well be missing from your life, or you cannot appreciate or accept. I’m talking about that deep connection. A sense of belonging. A trusting, betrayal-free love from yourself and from others. I put it to you that sex has become a substitute for love.
The reason people become fixated with sex, obsessed about it, and worried about it so much during relationships is because for them it is their ultimate measure of validation, approval and love. If they’re not getting it, or there’s some problems with it, they feel this deep panic – a sense of loss, dread, and rejection.
It’s funny how we don’t feel this way about food, even though absence of food could kill us. We don’t feel this way about the weather even though the elements could kill us. We get really worried about sex even though you can live your whole life without getting any.
Why do we worry more about sex than survival or meaning in life?
When I investigated this, both in my own life and the lives of my clients, I came to the conclusion that when you look back over your life you’ll see a significant absence of love.
Missing out on love
If you’re obsessed with sex and you look back into your earlier life, you might see neglect. You’ll maybe see a distant father who was harsh and you were never good enough for him. You’ll possibly see a mother that may have smothered you with caretaking but never really showed affection and love and approval, or was over-loving – what’s called emotional incest – a smothering kind of love that you want to escape from.
I remember from my own experience, I was just so obsessed when it came to romantic relationships, especially the sex part. If a girl was having sex with me I assumed that she loved me or liked me, and if she declined sex I assumed she had changed her mind about me completely. I would actually end potential relationships because the sex died briefly. I would become so worried about rejection that I’d sabotage the relationship. I’d also get myself into really bad-fit toxic connections, simply because the person wanted to have sex with me.
I obviously valued sex as a measurement tool. I obviously thought it meant something important and yet I was so often wrong about that.
Why did I do this? Because I was so desperately seeking love and approval from someone else, and I saw sex as being the ultimate form of love and approval. Now, when I look into why I’d believe this about sex what I see is two things.
Why do we fixate on sex?
1: Sex feels good. What I mean by ‘feels good’ is the hormones you get during love are similar or the same as the ones you get during good sex. Oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline; all those feelings are pleasurable sensations and they’re often a very similar feeling to love. So actually during the act of sex it feels like you’re in love, or being loved.
Me and my friends used to talk about ‘orgasm regret’. During sex it feels like you really like the person but then once you’ve climaxed and finished, you look across and you‘re like, “What am I doing here? How did I like this person a minute ago?” (Usually this response is reserved for drunken one night stands).
I did that a bit in my early 20s. It was like I was tricked by the hormones. I actually thought I felt a certain attraction for someone but I was just feeling horny and desperate – it wasn’t actually about them. It was just physical sensation.
2: We’re told that sex is a validation. I remember early high school years; you weren’t cool unless you got laid, and you couldn’t trust that someone liked you unless they wanted to sleep with you.
So all our lives we‘re constantly told – through various messaging, through the media, through our peers – that sex is a validation of our worthiness. If someone wants to sleep with you, not only does mean that you’re a good person, but also that they feel strong love for you.
The truth is, of course, you can sleep with almost anyone even if you don’t give a fuck about them, but we kind of ignore that obvious fact. We think, “Hey if someone’s having sex with me they must like me, I must be a good person, I finally got that love that I always wanted.”
Of course, the feeling dies off shortly after orgasm, and a few days later the hunger comes back and now you’ve got to try and get more sex.
I saw this a lot in the pickup artist industry. When I was really into that stuff I saw guys who; the more they got laid, the more needy they got for it. It was bizarre. Guys who had once been at least content in virginity now needed to have sex three or four times a week. That’s a drug addiction.
I want you to have a look at your own life. How do you feel during and after sex? Do you feel a sense of loss when you’re not getting sex very often? Do you feel like love has been taken away?
If this is you, what I suggest is a couple of things. One is, have a look into your past. What has love meant for you in your life? What have your relationships been like with your parents or family, with your friends, with partners? What does love mean for you and how has it manifested in your life?
Have there been betrayals? Has there been lack of trust? Has there been conditional, toxic, manipulative versions of love? Has there really been the free and open connection where you never have to worry what the other person thinks and you never have to worry that they’re gonna take it away? Have you ever had that?
Have you ever had that sense of peace in the presence of somebody else where you don’t need to say anything? The connection‘s just there – you don’t have to earn it or work for it.
Because if you’ve never had that there’s a really good chance you’ve been chasing external replacements, simulations of it, and most likely that’s led to a fixation, particularly with sex, which is like the closest substitute to love as possible. (For some it’s a sub-domain of sex, like porn or sex-workers.)
Fixation with sex vs Replacement for love
One way you can know the difference between ‘pure’ fixation with sex vs desire for love masquerading as a fixation with sex, is: prostitutes and porn.
Would you be satisfied spending your whole life just spending money on sex? Just having meaningless connection-free sex, were the other person doesn’t give a fuck about you? Would that be enough for you? If so, probably you are just purely obsessed with sex, free of any deeper darkness – fair enough, enjoy; go to a spa or swingers party or something, fill your boots.
But maybe you feel like I once did, where I could never actually pay for sex because I knew that she wouldn’t really love me. She wouldn’t really like me, it’s just her job, and for me that’s not satisfying. It can‘t have been sex I was obsessed with or that would have been good enough for me. Or masturbating to porn would be good enough.
But those things weren’t good enough because it wasn’t really sex that I wanted, I wanted love and approval.
If you identify that this is the case for you – if you’ve been chasing sexual gratification but you secretly think, “Maybe it’s love that I want” – then it’s time to change your search.
A new way
Stop trying to get sex and stop trying to get love from other people, and ask yourselves a different question: “If no one was ever going to sleep with me again, and no one was ever going to give me validation again, how would I generate love and connection in my life?”
That’s the question that changed my life.
How do I feel confident and loved without getting it from anyone else?
That’s just some thoughts I want to share. A bit deep and dark and dirty there, but I believe sexual shame is one of the biggest issues we face in modern times, especially for men, and I do believe both men and woman use sex as a substitute for love. In doing so they just feed an addiction that ruins their life.
I’m really keen to hear your feedback on this so comment below or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and experiences on this. Be shameless, we can work through it together.