"I believed that that was all I was good for."Throughout her 20s, she assumed other straight women were reacting or feeling the way she did with men and that “all that guys would want from me” was sex.So she used sex as “a tool,” in her words, to keep men close to her.
“I had this story from a very early age that a woman who was sexually desired, a woman who was sexual, a woman men wanted to have sex with, was of value,” she told .“From as early as I can remember, I would be what was called boy-crazy by anybody who was watching,” Riley says.But this "boy-craziness" didn’t stop in her teenage years, or her 20s, or even her 30s.’” The expansion of women’s sexual freedom made it easier for Riley to justify her harmful behavior as “rebellious” or “antiauthoritarian,” she said, because it’s more palatable to consider yourself “free-spirited” than, say, a homewrecker.“I look back on it now and I think, Wow, I was really hurting a lot of people."But as with any type of addiction, the addict in question probably isn’t thinking clearly about who her behavior could hurt.It was just becoming unbearable.” Her obsession with sex and relationships affected her daily life, including her career in Hollywood: “You’re sitting at your desk fantasizing about having a relationship with your married boss.Or [actually] having a relationship with your married boss—[I’ve] done that more than once! “Running around with married men was just, like, ‘This is so fun! I just get all the good, fun parts and they treat me like a princess and we don’t have to argue about bills or any of the dull parts!The trouble was, De Guzman chose men who couldn’t or wouldn’t commit to her.When she got to the place where she felt suicidal over the guy who wouldn’t text back, “I wanted crumbs from guys at that point.”It’s a story that sounds familiar to Lee Riley*, a 60-something woman (she declined to share her exact age, preferring to identify as “old enough to know better”) living in Los Angeles who is also a sex addict.As Gwyneth Paltrow’s character jokes in the 2014 film In reality, sex addiction is much more complicated—and it doesn’t only affect men.Just as an alcoholic continues overdrinking even when it does her harm, a sex and love addict seeks out emotional and physical fulfillment from others, even when it hurts her.