January 20, 2012 10:14 pm

Sex addiction? Damn attractive …

Many of its victims are rich and successful. It’s clear from movies and the media: nothing says ‘winner’ like this affliction

For my next career move, I’ve decided to become a sex addict. I’ve been considering my future for some time now and it seems like the logical next step. So many of its victims are rich and successful that it’s something of a status indicator. It’s clear from movies and the media: nothing says “winner” like sex addiction.

Sex addiction

I had considered sudoku addiction instead, but you don’t get as good a crowd at Puzzlers Anonymous; there’s less chance for networking and it’s full of crossword obsessives speaking in triple-letter words. It’s just not manly enough. It’s not cool either – no one makes films about the misery of puzzle addiction.

I’m less keen on the being-consumed-by-compulsive-behaviour-and-self-loathing bit, but I’m sure I could tolerate it for a limited period if it gets me to the next level. People say sex addiction signifies a meaningless, emotional void, but life’s pretty hectic at the moment, so a meaningless void could be just the ticket for a while. Furthermore, I’m approaching mid-life-crisis age and, frankly, it sounds better than purple corduroy suits and a new hairstyle.

I’d been considering the move for some time but it’s this new film, Shame, that’s finally made up my mind. It’s not that Shame doesn’t make clear what a sordid, loveless life sex addiction offers, but they are all so good-looking and successful. It turns out that sex addicts have good jobs and look like Michael Fassbender. The sex may be utterly meaningless, but it’s with great-looking women and, damn, that guy is sculpted. It even helps him to bond with his boss.

Then there are the other addicts such as Tiger Woods and Michael Douglas – and senior businessmen, too. This is a top crowd. What’s not to like? Well, apart from the golf – I’m not really into that. But if I need to put in some time on the links to make this work then, by jingo, I’ll just have to do it.

For all its downsides, it is clear that sex addiction is very much an affliction of the rich. Of course there must be sex addicts who are poor and ugly, but you only see them on daytime TV so there’s no real crossover. The media message is clearly that the term “sex addict” is really reserved for the attractive and upwardly mobile. You need a good income before you can fritter it away in an orgy of hedonism.

Even so, there’s much to learn. Fassbender can score simply by raising his eyebrows at a woman on the Tube. That’s quite a talent. I can raise my eyebrows at women, but not without looking like Mr Bean. Also, if you are playing in the same league as Tiger and Michael and the others, you’ve got to be at your best. These are competitive guys. It could be a vicious cycle and you need the staying power. But it would only be for a short period and then it’s off to The Priory and a corner office at work.

But the best thing of all is the total lack of personal responsibility. Until you are caught, you are just a love rat, but once your priapic, narcissistic betrayals are exposed you get to play the victim. That’s the great thing about modern life; there’s always an entire industry ready to insist that whatever you’re doing, it isn’t your fault. No doubt there is real suffering out there – real addiction, real depravity – but frankly, those guys are giving it a bad name for the rest of us who just want to get on.

There are some hurdles to overcome. My wife is not convinced. She’d prefer me to seek other routes to success. But she’s always been extremely supportive of my career and I’m sure wouldn’t stand in the way.

But perhaps she’d prefer me to stick with the sudoku. Actually it could take off. I hear there’s a film coming, Count. It centres on this extremely good-looking guy whose life is consumed by the 9 x 9 grid. At night, he scours the internet looking for puzzles; by day, he hangs around in WH Smith looking for new books. In the end, normal sudoku is not enough and he is driven to extreme number puzzles. It doesn’t sound that sexy, but I hear Michael Fassbender will play him in the movie.

robert.shrimsley@ft.com

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