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Most addictions require you to extend yourself in some way—go to a particular place, spend a certain amount of money. The fuel for your disease is all around you, invading your senses. But when I ask him if he’s tired, he says no, just the opposite: "I sleep In a wedding photograph on the wall, Jacob holds hands with his wife, Ashley, on a country lane.The poet and professor Michael Ryan captures this experience in his unsettling, mesmerizing autobiography, JACOB* IS A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER, and on the morning he greets me at the door of his and his wife’s Seattle-area apartment, he looks as though he’s been up all night wrestling with code. He smiles hesitantly, his eyes skittering off to one side.
Eli Coleman, a psychologist and director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota, estimates that approximately 19 million Americans—5 to 7 percent of the population—are hypersexual. "We’re all blind in this field," says UCLA neuroscientist Nicole Prause.But they haven’t had sex since June 2012, haven’t even seen each other naked (except by accident) since he told her he was a sex addict.Almost every night, they separately attend meetings or therapy.If sex is ordinarily a way of dealing with another person, then sex addiction is a way of dealing with yourself.You act out—you can’t act out—in order to escape from unbearable feelings: depression, severe ADD, bipolar disorders, the scars of family trauma, profound despair.
It may also be that she’s still not sure she’s going to stay here.