DAVE’S* addiction to sex has plagued his life for more than 20 years.
As a teenager, and in to his early twenties, his obsession with crawling the streets to find a man to have sex with made him feel like a “predator”. But he couldn’t stop.
After losing his virginity to a man he’d known for “just two minutes”, the pair slipped into a shed at the back of a takeaway shop in Sydney. It was the beginning of his unhealthy obsession.
“I would actively cruise,” Dave*, who wanted to remain anonymous, told news.com.au.
“I’d go through streets looking for sex … making eyes … I was a predator almost. I was always trying to pick someone up, depending on how I was feeling.
“Now, I’ve had sex with thousands of people.”
At school, Dave would have sex with one or two men a week. By university, and if he was single, that number would increase to three of four people a day.
Dave admits he was a “high-functioning addict” who worked for the past 12 years as a business management consultant.
The now 36-year-old said his sex addiction grew to extreme levels when he started experimenting with drugs following a breakdown with his long-term boyfriend.
“My primary drug was crystal [meth],” he said.
“I tend to latch on to things. I had an alcohol problem in my twenties, then I preferred other stimulants like sex, meth and cocaine as I got older.
“My crystal addiction started four years ago after breaking up with my partner. I went on the apps, started looking around because I wanted to start mixing sex with drugs. They say the best way to get over relationship is to jump on the horse straight away and that’s what I did … and I fell in love with it straight away.”
Dave said while working, he was able to meet and sleep with multiple partners each day. The drug fuelled sex sessions, which would sometimes last for 10 hours, made him “feel like a porn star”.
“I got hooked on to it quite quickly and quite intensely,” he said.
“My job managed my drug using in a way, because if I had work the next day I’d give myself time to recover. But that method only worked for a short amount of time.”
After seeking help for his drug addiction locally, Dave said the “shame” of having a sex addiction meant he was only able to discuss his problem with crystal meth abuse.
While the psychologist was able to get Dave on the straight and narrow for a short period, a relapse was never far away.
“It got to the stage where I was spiralling out of control more and more,” he said.
“At first drugs took away the pain. But the longer it lasted the more emotions would surface. In many ways I was a prisoner in myself, and it was torture.”
Dave reached breaking point while in his own home earlier this year.
Inviting strangers into his lounge room for a drug-fuelled sex bender, Dave said he “was over everything” and completely stopped caring about his life.
“I had a terrible relapse right before I checked myself in to The Cabin in Chiang Mai,” Dave said. “I had three hours of sleep in nine days, and I was going crazy.
“During the first few days of the relapse, I tried to go to work. I had a flight interstate and my first thought was hoping the plane would crash because I was so over everything.
“I accidentally left my suit bag on board the flight, meaning I couldn’t go to the office the next day, so I called in sick and just found someone to go and use with.
“Back home in Sydney, I called in sick and kept using. I’d been awake for three days by this point and didn’t care what happened.
“I kept inviting people over, four or five guys at a time. We got to a point of not even having sex, we just sat and watched each other. Some of them trashed my place, and I just sat there using.
“I took a sleeping pill, slept for 14 hours and woke to messages from my family and boss. That’s when I realised I needed help or I’m going to die.”
In the days that followed, Dave was on a flight to The Cabin in Thailand in a desperate bid to get help.
Today, he is 93 days clean, and hopes to stay in Chiang Mai until early next year to continue his treatment.
According to The Cabin, a luxury rehabilitation centre, which treated Pete Doherty for drug use and Grant Denyer for exhaustion, sex addiction in Australia is a growing concern.
According to their research, 42 per cent of sexual addicts reported they would never consider seeing a professional for their sexual addiction issues, and 38 per cent of sexual addicts are not sure their sexual addiction can be successfully treated.
“Sexual addiction isn’t understood,” Dave said. “Now, it’s about having a healthy relationship with sex and setting bottom lines.
“I’m nervous about moving back to Sydney, and coming home for a week has been my most challenging so far because memories are everywhere.
“But recovery is stronger than addiction, and I know I will overcome this.”