Hot Read: "Diary of a Sex Addict"

By: Joe Thompson

It's not porn.

Let's be clear about that right from the start.

It is sexy. You'll find yourself getting turned on. But it is NOT porn, not in the traditional sense.

Scott Alexander Hess’ debut novel, Diary of a Sex Addict, chronicles a gay New Yorker’s month-long descent into a circus of anonymous hook-ups as he struggles to erase the pain of a failed romance and blot out the routine of a soul-numbing day job. It opens with a bang—literally—and that initial encounter feels like it's happening right in front of your eyes. You see the sweat on the trick's back, smell the mixture of spit, sweat, and man musk as the frenetic energy increases, and yet it quickly morphs into something else. Suddenly you start asking yourself if the scene is really sexy or sickening, if that carnal conquest is a fun fantasy or just plain sad. And as these questions enter your brain they enter the narrative as well, and you see that what Hess has done is put you in the mind of a real sex addict, someone who is aware of what's going on and yet unable to stop himself.

This is particularly interesting to a gay male audience since we often hear of sex addicts in our midst, men who have a sexual compulsion that is tied to a real addiction like drugs or alcohol. Most gay guys will have periods of super sexual activity, but few of us really fall into the "sex addict" category because we're not losing friends, jobs, or money due to abundant sex. So Hess' book opens that door slightly, letting the average reader get a glimpse of that world and what it's like.

Hess extends that idea with his clever marketing campaign. He created a short film "trailer" for the book that stars Brandon Hawk and Gio Dell, pictured here. Yes, they are porn stars because, well, there was a need for nudity in the piece and they would do it, which also makes the trailer NSFW and thus you can't find it on this site. It's definitely titillating, but soon you're experiencing sensory overload, alternating between a frustration with wanting more and a distinct sense of boredom. And yet you continue watching, hoping that the next cut, the next moment, might be as exciting as you imagine it should be, thus putting you in the head of the addict once more.

By being neither porn nor an academic analysis, Diary of a Sex Addict won't be for everyone. But for those interested in pushing things to the edge, it is worth checking out.



Diary of a Sex Addict on (print edition)
Diary of a Sex Addict on (Kindle edition)
Watch the NSFW Diary of a Sex Addict trailer