Well, this has been interesting. As you may know, I’ve been blogging on the subject of love addiction for the Huffington Post recently. Usually, my columns are ghettoed in the Women’s Section, garner 40 or 50 comments apiece, and sink into happy obscurity. Last week, I wrote a piece I called “Portrait of the Love Addict as a Young Woman,” detailing some colorful behavior dating back to my college years. It was a different time, the Seventies; the worst thing you could get from sex was crab lice, and cocaine wasn’t even officially habit-forming. Even non-addicts racked up some serious notches on their bedposts.
HuffPo, in their marketing wisdom, headlined the blog “Why Sleeping With 75 Men Didn’t Make Me Promiscuous.” Overnight, it got picked up by the AOL portal and has amassed, as of this morning, 741 comments. I stopped reading after about 200.
Mostly they fall into three categories. The first category is variations on the theme of “You go, girl!!” Women should own their sexuality, said the women. Screw the double standard; no one would call a man promiscuous with the same track record, said the women. Can I have your phone number? said the men.
Apparently, lots of men read the Women’s Section. Who knew?
The second category is variations of “You are, too!” You may not recognize a slut when you see one, but I do and you’re It, said the women. You poor thing, you must have horribly low self-esteem, said the women. I want to marry a virgin, said the men. Also, can I have your phone number?
The third theme is variations of “You are me!” You told my story, said the women. I always thought I was alone, said the women. Love addiction doesn’t only happen to women, said the men. That’s the target I was aiming for.
Themes 1,2 and 3 got into some lively debates with one another online. So far, I have stayed out of the fray. I was tempted to point out that, come on, it was a long time ago and that I am hardly promoting this behavior; I equated it with lung cancer, fergawdsakes But nothing I say is going to change anyone’s mind, after all, and what other people think of me is really none of my business.
So I say to Group 1, thank you for your support but the wheels fell off that toy a while ago. What it was doing to me overpowered what it was doing for me.
To Group 2, since you seem so darn worried about my health, my father’s feelings, and the example I’m setting for my daughters — I have never had an unwanted pregnancy or STD; my father is dead; and, my son doesn’t read my blogs.
To Group #3: Welcome. You are not alone. There are resources like Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Patrick Carnes’ sex addiction website, Susan Peabody’s love addiction bulletin board, and more, to give you the nonjudgmental support and encouragement we all need to heal.
By the way: If you’re a guy who reads the AOL Women’s Section looking for sexy stories, then comes on to total strangers online — welcome, you’re not alone. There are resources, like…