Am I A Love Addict, A Freysexual, Or Just A Jerk?
Normalizing Love Addiction. Or Not.
One of my less attractive traits as a sex and love addict is that, as delighted as I am by the “getting to know you, getting know all about you” honeymoon phase of a relationship, is exactly how bored I am by the “I’ll do the cooking, you do the dishes” longterm phase of relationship. The unknown intrigues me. The known does not. Falling in love is intoxicating. Being in love is… nice.
This is why I make a great girlfriend and a lousy wife. And you can ask any of my ex-husbands about that.
This, I have come to believe, is an artifact of both my personality and my brain chemistry. There is a reason I have the attention span of a gnat, that I like things that are sparkly and new. I would rather climb a learning curve than repeat a task I am already good at. This is because my brain is and always has been a quart low on dopamine, and I will do most anything for a nice squirt of anticipation. “Wow! You could be amazing!” is simply more appealing to my neurons than “Hey. You’re okay!”… even though I do know that most of the time you’re not going to be amazing at all.
Now, cocaine used to handle this dopamine deficiency pretty well, but it turned out to have negative side effects. Jail, for one. And I don’t take ADD meds because they’re essentially speed and I’d rather not stick my hand into that flame again. So I was actually relieved to learn about sex and love addiction. I am not just a crap spouse; I am acting out Characteristic #5 of the Twelve Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction: “We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.”
According to the tenets of SLAA and other S-programs, my terror isn't so much of boredom. No, when you dig down deep it’s more a fear of standing still long enough to truly be seen, really be known. It’s that old bugaboo, low self-esteem. Self-loathing. If you really knew me, you would leave me, so I’ll leave first thank you very much. I can work with that! Sure, it can be a slog, working a 12-step program on something. All that love and service and showing up and telling the truth. But it worked with the drugs and alcohol — for me and a kajillion other people — so why shouldn’t it work with this?
Then, around 2017, the word “freysexual” started getting some play. It came out of the LGBTQ+ conversation under the “+” umbrella, as a subset of ACE, or asexuality. A freysexual — sometimes (incorrectly) spelled fraysexual — is someone who loses sexual interest in someone once they get to know them. The old-school straight cis guy Madonna-Whore Complex is a subset of this. My old contention that “novelty is the best aphrodisiac” is almost a definition of freysexual.
There is even a freysexual flag: blue, cyan, white and grey in horizontal bars, similar to the asexual flag:
(Official explainer: The blue and cyan represent less familiar relationships. The white represents a lack of attraction. The grey represents the grey area in between and the confusion that freysexual people feel when their feelings disappear.)
So… is my pattern of acting out on what I see as sex and love addiction simply a variation of sexual attraction, something that should be normalized the same way being gay or bi is normalized? There are more than 75 gender/sexual identities floating around at the moment. Is a freysexual bouncing from one short-term romance to the next no more selfish than a sapiosexual attracted to intelligence, or a demisexual seeking deep romantic bonds? Or is my behavior just your basic addict immaturity?
The trick, say people who talk about this stuff, is to be up front about your sexual identity. Closeted gay guys dating clueless women is a no-no. Polyamorous people agreeing to monogamous relationships and then cheating is shitty. I suppose a freysexual could do a full disclosure: “Hey, I’m probably going to get bored of you pretty quick, but don’t take it personally, it’s just my sexual identity.” But I’m not sure it would help.
I’ve been giving it some thought, and here’s my opinion: As someone who has suffered from this behavior — and I do mean suffered, because it frequently sucks — I’m convinced this is not something to normalize. I think it’s something to heal from. And I believe that healing is possible, so I will continue on that path.
However… I do change my opinions based on new information. We can keep the discussion open. I’ll let you know if I run into mister “Hey, you’re okay!” anytime soon.