“It’s important to know that not all sex addicts are in positions of power and not all sex addicts want to take advantage of and hurt other people,” author Erica Garza told the Guardian. The 35-year-old’s debut novel, Getting Off: One Woman's Journey Through Sex and Porn Addiction, released last week, offers an important correction to the current public narrative around sex addiction and attempts to dispel the secrecy and shame around female sexuality.
So what’s the book like?
Bravely and unflinchingly honest, the book is, as expected, pretty shocking – but offers a hopeful tale for other women in a similar position, of which there are plenty. Women are watching more porn than ever: according to Pornhub’s 2017 Year in Review, ‘Porn for Women’ was the top trending search of the year, increasing by over 1,400%.
It’s a website Garza is more than familiar with. In Getting Off, she reveals she used to spend entire days masturbating to porn, along with having unprotected sex with men she’d just met, cancelling plans with friends to have sex and ruining promising relationships because she couldn’t stop herself from cheating.
While Garza agrees that being sexually liberated is empowering, she views her sex addiction as the opposite, stemming from a feeling that she was “unworthy of love”. Her novel delves deeper into the anxiety that fuels her obsession with sex and porn; charting her journey from Catholic school girl to full-blown sex addict in LA, from visiting brothels in Bangkok to taking an Eat Pray Love-inspired trip to Bali, where she began her recovery and met her now-husband.
What are critics saying?
The New York Times Book Review described the novel as “both inspirational and kinky”, and Elle said it was “a riveting, can't-look-away memoir” and a “wild, timely read”.
Critics seem to agree the book is for anyone too, with Vice calling it “a profoundly genuine, gripping story that any reader can experience” and Booklist saying “Garza’s pull-no punches style will twinge the sympathies of even the most prudish."
Whether you’ve heard of Getting Off yet or not, you may have read Garza’s work before. The LA-based writer’s essays have appeared in the likes of Glamour, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, and Bustle – with titles just as salacious as you’d expect (she didn’t get a book deal for nothing). ‘My Favorite Childhood Photo is a Sexual Statement’, ‘How Not to Give Up Internet Porn’ and ‘More Women Are Exploring Sex Tourism – And I Was One of Them’ are all seriously compelling reads.
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