Author of the week
Erica Garza didn’t have to go public about her struggle with sex addiction, said Elyssa Goodman in Vice.com. The 35-year-old essayist is not, after all, a celebrity caught in a scandal, and she has already gained control over her problem, through therapy and a 12-step program. But in Getting Off, her frank new memoir just published by Simon & Schuster, Garza argues that nothing feeds sex addiction like silence. Growing up in a Catholic household and attending parochial school, Garza heard little about sex except that it was sinful. Thus, when she started masturbating at age 12, she experienced a mix of shame and excitement that fueled an obsessive habit. That led to more damaging habits: daylong porn binges, unprotected hookups that destroyed valuable relationships. “I became a shell of a person, isolated, on a path to certain destruction,” she says.
Garza occasionally worries that some readers will learn the wrong lessons from her experience, said Arwa Mahdawi in TheGuardian.com. After all, she began taming the addiction just before meeting her future husband six years ago. Some media outlets, she says, have “minimized my story by saying that I was saved by a man—that’s not the whole story.” It also bothers her that some profiles, instead of recognizing the need to break down the shame many women feel about their sexuality, have presented her as a woman who deserves to be ostracized. At least she’s not especially wounded by such judgments: “I feel like nobody is going to be able to shame me more than I’ve already shamed myself,” she says. “They can certainly try. But that’s on them. I’m past that.” ■