A former sex addict says her compulsive pursuit of anonymous hook-ups almost made her take of her own life. Jace Downey says her troubles started when she was just five-years-old.
Her sexual fantasies eventually escalated to frequent encounters with men she could not now pick out of a line-up.
The 30-year-old said before she sought help the sex she was having was becoming increasingly dangerous, risky and painful.
Jace from Austin, Texas, in the USA, said: “For me, sex almost never felt good.”
“The worse it was, or the less I wanted to be there, the more I would numb out,” she continued. “I would be driving out to meet someone and would just be like, ‘Turn around, I don’t wish to be around this person’, and yet I would show up and go through with it.”
Jace’s addiction affected every aspect of her life.
She said: “I was meeting strangers in all sorts of different places, and of course not telling anyone where I was going, because then I would have to tell them what I was doing. “I was watching porn at work and my office had windows everywhere.
“How would I have explained that to anyone had they walked by my office and saw that? “It’s just madness to me now, it seems insane…loss of job, loss of income, loss of health. “I’ve realised now, for me, the biggest danger that I put myself in was that I had no spiritual connection of any kind. I lost my soul in addiction.”
She said: “I thought, ‘If I make it look like I just died, okay, that might look unfortunate, but nobody is left with any of the guilt or burden’.“So I was honestly checking off a to-do list when it was like a voice outside of me said, ‘If sex interacts with brain chemicals like drugs do, can it be addictive and damaging?
“I looked it up, and holy heck! A world popped up where, yes, absolutely – there is no sex addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, there is just addiction, and it shows up in different forms.”
Two days later, Jace stepped into a local recovery meeting, beginning her path to recovery, and uncovering repressed memories of what triggered her addiction at such an early age.
She embarked on a year of sobriety, and began a documentary project called Suddenly Celibate, spending the following two years travelling round the US talking to experts in sex addiction, relationships and sexuality.
While planning to stay celibate for the foreseeable future, Jace met the man who was to become her boyfriend at a comedy show.
Jace now works as a self-development coach, helping people looking for assistance with addiction and other personal struggles.