BY Harrison Pierce
October 30 2009 2:00 PM ET
Did you express this on camera?
all the time. I told him, "I’m pretending you’re not here" [laughs]. A
lot of doctors in this country have a God complex. They really believe
in their own omnipotence. I said to him once, "I’m as bright as you." He
really tried very hard to get to be my friend. And we’re quite friendly
now. But during the show I found him really irritating. The woman who
was the actual sex therapist on the show, however, was just brilliant
and made me do things I’d never done before. I took it so seriously and
went on such a journey with her.
In your autobiographical film
AKA, you clearly illustrate that you were a victim of serious sexual
abuse. Do you believe there’s a link between that abuse and your
sexually compulsive behavior?
For me, there’s a direct
relationship. That was an unresolved trauma that I revisited again and
again. Basically, the sexual escapades I was having fell into two very
specific categories: One was sort of "you’re cute and let’s go for it"
normal; the other, however, involved picking up really dangerous guys
who had, like, guns. I was basically re-creating the fear that I had
with my stepfather. I was retraumatizing myself. Since realizing that
I’ve become a very different person. Really confident, really happy,
not angry, not people-pleasing. I can tell you, it breaks my heart that
it took me this long to feel good about who I am.
faked your identity and immersed yourself in '70s British upper-class
culture, your life took on a sort of Patricia Highsmith quality — at
the time, did you feel like some kind of bold literary character?
Babe, I was 16 and from a small seaside town. I didn’t read
novels. It wasn’t all a grand literary allusion. It was just me wanting
what the rich people had. I sort of saw that they were free and that
their stories were fabulous. I wanted a fabulous story. I didn’t want a
story about a small house, in a poor area, being fucked in the ass by
my stepfather. I wanted to have a new story that was glamour and
gilding and jewels and dressing up and a Joan Crawford mama.
In England you were known as “the prisoner," then as a "maverick filmmaker"… do you mind being known now as a "sex addict"?
Not at all, because I know in many ways I’m in the vanguard of
something quite extraordinary by being on the show. I know that there
are a lot of us out there.
Do you think sex addiction is more rampant in the gay community?
What you have in the gay community is a shame-based society. A lot of
these men come with a lot of shame into the big cities because they’ve
been thrown out of their homes, or they’ve left looking for something
better. So I think a lot of people drown their sorrows in alcohol and
sexually acting out because it gives them power. I think we use sex
differently than straight people. I think men together use sex very
differently than women together or straight people together. I think we
explore ideas of power, lost power — a lot of us feel very powerful when
we walk into a club and get looked at. There’s a whole aspect to it
which is about self-worth.