Archives for posts with tag: Dorian Gray

Mario Testino was a friend of ours.  He had a studio in an abandoned hospital on Soho Square.  Scott Crolla, Georgina Godley and others were frequent guests.  My boyfriend in 1981 was Mario’s long time friend and collaborator Patrick Kinmonth.

Patrick lived in a tiny apartment in Holland Park, deliberately disheveled, dusty yet filled with beautiful object.  The place was brutally cold in the winter and a furnace in the summer.  Patrick, according to the artist Craigie Aitchison dobbed me in to the police when they were looking for me to ask questions about my credit card and why I hadn’t paid the bill.  It was Patrick who lent me money to buy my Peter Doig and it was Patrick who encouraged me to make art.  He was a vicious snob, exquisitely beautiful and at that time worked for Vogue magazine.  He amused us all by mimicking Mario’s Peruvian lilt.   Patrick is a deft impersonator.  The problem with Patrick?  Nothing ever came of his own talent.  He lives with the painfully shy food photographer Tessa Traeger in the West Country.  He designs opera sets for out-of-the-way operas but never became the great anything everyone thought he might become.

The last time I saw Mario and Patrick we were in LA at The Chateau Marmont.  I was having dinner in the garden they were having a party in the lounge with a bunch of gorgeous boy/men models.  I sat beside Patrick for a moment but I didn’t stay long.  He enjoys scolding me.  I made amends for some indiscretion and left.  Mario looked at me disdainfully.  Patrick enjoys being on Mario’s winning team.  He wrote the forward to Mario’s book and he styles the most interesting shoots.  Neither of them wanted me hanging around.  You’ve seen pictures of young girls on a yacht wearing bikinis, oggled by old men?  This was Mario’s gay equivalent.  I’d already ruined things by talking to him and Patrick, bathed in Mario’s reflected glory, wanted me gone.  He looked down his aquiline nose and told me I could have made so much more of myself.  Yeah, I thought… if you hadn’t worked with the establishment to destroy me.   I probably could.

You know why old men put young girls on yachts?  You’d think… so the girls can’t escape.  No, it’s so their old men friends can’t join the party.  I returned to my dinner in the garden.  Soon I saw Mario, Peter Pan like… screaming and laughing down the stairs with his crew.  Patrick lagging behind like a heavy train on an old dress.

I’ve never written about Mario.  Now, within the context of the salacious revelations and accusations leading to his spectacular firing from the Conde Nast creative family I revisit my association with him.  Let me say immediately,  I didn’t know anything untoward was happening.  I had never heard anything.  The towel series he shot with models were obviously designed to get the model naked and to legitimize Mario’s pervy intentions but I never heard from models who worked with him they felt uncomfortable.

Many of those same models who worked with Mario were not so discreet about their working relationship with Bruce Weber.  For a decade or more I heard story after story from young men who had worked with Bruce and the discomfort they felt being ‘relaxed’ with his hands on their bodies, the ‘breathing exercise’ or asked to take off their shorts when they were alone with Bruce.  I heard again and again about the notorious ‘private archive’ for which Bruce said he wanted their naked picture.  I heard how he tantalized young men with lucrative campaigns and the promise of a life beyond their wildest dreams.  I heard how he set models against each other, how within minutes of the private naked shots… would change his mind about the campaign promise he’d made, playing with them, manipulating them.

Yet, it seems, many models were perfectly happy to have their bodies used by Bruce.  Yesterday I spoke to a male super model I know in NYC.  Last year, after a few drinks, he described in detail how Bruce molested him, removed his underwear and taken pictures of him naked.  I asked if he was willing to come forward, speak publicly.  He told me I should be ashamed of myself for suggesting he told tales on Bruce.  Thus we understand how Bruce, inspiring loyalty in others, groomed them for sexual molestation.

I’ve had my run ins with Bruce over the years.  I asked him to take the Dorian Gray portrait.  He curtly suggested that I wasn’t the sort of person he could do business with.  Oh… how the tables have turned.

Sunday.  I had a late lunch in Hackney with a young gay artist.  We talked about Mario and Bruce.  He asked the difference between flirtation and harassment.  Worried his flirtation might be misconstrued.  How would he know?  Of course, one asks ones self: why doesn’t he know?  He’s a bright lad but his white male privilege is so ingrained he cannot differentiate between the two.  He asked if the men now making complaints were somehow complicit.  Many gay men make excuses for Bruce and Mario habitually devaluing our lives by suggesting the men who agree to work or consort with us are suspect or complicit.  We remain baffled by the notion of consent.  They knew what they were getting themselves into.

“Consent, that’s for straight people?  Women?  Isn’t it?”  He looks confused.

We talk about the abuse of power between men (beyond top and bottom although that too) and how our anti social behaviour and lack of morality has been largely ignored by heterosexual society firstly before equality, because straight people found it distasteful and didn’t really care. Then, after equality straight people were too embarrassed or confused to question how we lived in case they were accused of homophobia or insensitivity.  Recent gay celebrity scandals have shocked many of our straight allies, realizing they don’t know anything much about their gay friends at all.  Like rats we live discreet and cautious lives just a few feet from theirs, scurrying from one assignation to another.

We’ve done a great job passing. For many years the only evidence we existed?  When the police arrested, tried and sent us to jail for being gay. Cottaging. Tricking. Dressing up. Without these occasional mentions in the newspapers our gay lives would remain completely invisible.  I broke the law simply by being born, alive and sexually active. Straight acting wasn’t a fetish, it was a survival strategy… saving a young man from a beating or death. Ironically, this parallel life served many of us very well.  As a young British gay man I enjoyed social mobility, sexual freedom and access to extraordinary financial opportunities my straight peers could only dream of.  Yet, I paid the price for all of those benefits by surrendering my moral imperative.

Paris Hilton is maligned in the press for saying gay men on gay hook up apps are ‘disgusting’.  Which, after being sent 50 or so asshole pics this week… one might be inclined to agree.

With equality comes responsibility.  Some fought hard to enjoy marriage equality.  We fought hard in the UK to have homophobic laws like section 28 overturned.  In the UK these laws were ratified in Parliament and are hard to revoke.  We are tentatively exploring a new moral landscape.  Morals defined by heterosexuals, most gay men are unprepared for these changes and how this shift toward ‘normalcy’ may affect our lives.  Simply, our lifestyle compared with that of the average heterosexual may not bear scrutiny post Weinstein and Mario, Bryan, Bruce and Kevin may just be the very tip of the iceberg.

Entitled, affluent gay white men are especially morally impoverished.  Many still live secret, compartmentalized and shameful lives blighted by addiction, alcoholism and mental illness.  To many straight people we may seem carefree, highly entertaining, a cause to celebrate ‘gay pride’ and drink rainbow cocktails… but, on our own with our second screens we indulge less salubrious, secret lives using hook up apps as the portal, through which many enter a dark and disgusting world of chem sex, lies, cheating and despair.

They say,  everyone lies on-line.  We live in lying times.  Acceptable lies are now morally ring fenced.  The lies most gay men tell before they come out are perfectly… acceptable.  A habit we are loathed to break.  Most gay men are addicted to lying.  Only yesterday I met a closeted 25-year-old gay man.  I asked him why he was in the closet?  He described the same feelings of shame and despair I felt nearly 40 years ago.  Some things never seem to change… however much I am told, ‘it doesn’t matter, nobody cares’.  I explained to him why he needs to come out of the closet.  He needs to stop lying.  The more he lies the less respect he will have for the truth.  As I mentioned in my previous blog gay men get into nasty habits around the truth and the sooner we embrace the truth the less damage is done to our morality and our integrity.

The last time I saw  Mario he was skipping like a teenager down the stairs at The Chateau Marmont surrounded by beautiful teens.  Like Peter Pan, a 60-year-old man unable to face the truth about his failing body and his failing ability to make good decisions.  He could not stop himself grabbing them by the pussy.  He is the same as Trump.  Made of the same stuff.  Gripped by power, fame and entitlement he understood himself to be unassailable.  Nothing would ever bring him down… his legacy would glitter in perpetuity.  The dream maker, the fantasist, the story-teller… the liar.  Conjuring a universe of beauty, Mario forsook a life of loving relationships for an abuse of power.

Anna Wintour, who I confronted publicly about her reticence to stand up to Weber, made this statement last week.

Today, allegations have been made against Bruce Weber and Mario Testino, stories that have been hard to hear and heartbreaking to confront. Both are personal friends of mine who have made extraordinary contributions to Vogue and many other titles at Condé Nast over the years, and both have issued objections or denials to what has emerged. I believe strongly in the value of remorse and forgiveness, but I take the allegations very seriously, and we at Condé Nast have decided to put our working relationship with both photographers on hold for the foreseeable future.

Of course Anna Wintour is torn, it is hard to align what she hears and what she knows of her friends Mario and Bruce.  She is rightfully appalled, but thankfully she doesn’t know the half of it… she merely glimpsed, very briefly into the dark heart of every gay man I know.

Duncan Roy and Wendy Asher

Oscar Wilde enjoyed the extravagant promises of the Victorian Age, capturing the imagination of London’s aesthetic elite. However, beyond the enlightened few, everything about the man provoked consternation to the prudish, hypocritical Victorians—from the green carnation in his buttonhole to his sensational novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Like his suits, Wilde, a tireless self-promoter and purveyor of the unforgettable bon mot, was exquisitely tailored. While young, he was best dressed in bold plaid, plus fours, starched shirts with high, tight collars or gabardine suits cut short above the hip. Wilde traded his own slender, youthful visage (French
pleated hair and Cupid lips) for a bloated middle age rife with extravagant capes and voluminous fur-lined coats.

In his revisionist biography of Oscar Wilde, Who Was That Man?, Neil Bartlett describes how Wilde became a huge man with a penchant for young, willowy boys. He was an intriguing mass of contradictions: The love letters he sent to his wife, Constance, are as beautiful as the letters he sent to the dark-hearted “Bosie,” his lover. The innocent stories he wrote for his beloved children were a counterpoint to the pornographic tales he created from his forays into London’s dank underworld.

The pornography attributed to Wilde in the British Library, under the pseudonym “Teleny,” reveals his sado-pedophilic fantasies. Young boys figure highly in these violent, disturbing texts. The virginal youths are deflowered by older, cruel men, their innocence torn from them.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, it is the reworking of these same themes that lead Wilde to his pessimistic and wholly modern conclusions about our shared horror of the loss of youth and how we might reclaim it.

When casting for a perfect Dorian, I was not interested in hiring a great beauty, but rather, a young boy. After all, beauty is subjective, youth indisputable.

For the movie’s Dorian Gray, it was imperative that our actor, David Gallagher, look effortlessly chic. David is very much the stick-thin look of right now and Dior Homme (as reinvented by our costume designer, Hedi Slimane). Dressing the literary youth icon of our age was a perfect solution for us and Dior: Slimane set his homoerotic boy-man aesthetic against the new Puritanism of American mainstream culture.

It is Lord Henry Wotton who appeals to the youthful Dorian Gray and speaks for the moisturized 40-plus generation, when he says to Dorian: “I wish that I could change places with you. To get back my youth; I’d do anything in the world. You are the type that the age is searching for and is afraid that it has already found. The world has always worshipped you—and it always will.”

If Wilde’s sensational sodomy trial had happened today, would the acclaimed wit have ended up in prison? Given that we find it hard to throw celebrities in jail, perhaps not. But Wilde’s predilection for sex with underage boys? I am sure that his hard drive would have been littered with unsavory images of children.

Once in prison, Wilde was given a thin gray cotton shirt and pants. Issey Miyake—or Kim Jong Il—might have gotten a kick out of this minimal Bauhaus look, but Wilde loathed it and woefully described his prison uniform in the poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol. A couple of years later, he was dead. (“It’s either me or the wallpaper.”) But as hard as I look, I cannot discover what he was buried in. Except, of course, shame.

This article was edited by Black Book for whom the piece was originally written.  It has been pointed out to me that Hedi lent us the clothes for Dorian rather than designing them for the film.   I have also been asked what happened to the film.  How did it do?  Well, in my own estimation it did OK.  It closed the London Lesbian and Gay film Festival, opened the Miami G&L film festival and opened the New York G&L film festival amongst others.   It had a small life and then vanished.

Alison Schulnik presently showing at Mark Moore Gallery

Whilst cooking lunch yesterday I bent over and herniated one of my disks.  My spine gave out and I am now laying supine in a cloud of white linen and little dog waiting for the pain to subside.  Symptoms include: Shooting electric spasms in my legs.  Laboured breathing.  My balls ache.  It is Impossible to make the most simple move without the most excruciating pain.  So, this is what getting old is all about?   I went into a terrible shame spiral as I was forced to ask Cooper to help me perform the most simple task.

Instantaneously crippled by SHAME and spine failure.

Shame, Resentment and Fear.  The three ugly sisters who regularly cripple this particular Cinderella.

It’s interesting how a deeper understanding of toxic shame has given me a greater insight into all things-especially writing fiction.

Watching my adaptation of Dorian Gray again last night with Cooper  (I was in bed sweating from the flu and squirming in pain from my herniated disk)  I realized how much more evolved it could have been.

My contemporary adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s only novel Dorian Gray is a deeply flawed movie.

If I had had the understanding that I now have..understood Dorian Gray’s shame and Lord Henry Wooten’s subtle manipulation of it.   If I had comprehended why Dorian, in turn, heaps shame upon Basil Hallward.

We collectively determine what is shameful and who we think ought to feel shame .  Shame is subjective.

Sanctimonious people, self-righteous people, religious people, are all very eager to heap shame on whomever takes their fancy.

My mother’s shame began as a young 16-year-old girl when she had me-out of wedlock.  To make matters worse my father was a Persian!  My mother was hustled out of dodge by my vitriolic Grandmother to a Catholic mother and baby home where she was forced everyday, by nuns, to perform menial acts of attrition and atone for her sins.

I was born into shame.  I have perpetuated it at my leisure.  I was oblivious to how shame had shaped my life until I started dealing with my sex issues.

For what should we legitimately feel shame?  Should I feel shame for being gay?  Should Natalie Octomum Suliman (Natalie is her birth name) feel shame for having all those babies?  Judging by what is written on my comments page the answer would be a resounding YES.

There is a disturbing connection, for me, between Natalie Octomum and my mother who, 50 years ago, was shamed for the same thing..for giving birth.  They were both called selfish, irresponsible, their actions cast as shameful and both punished by society.

My mother’s character would not have withstood a barrage of outraged press attention when I was born.  She may have come off as surly or defensive when in fact she was just scared and confused.   After refusing to give me up for adoption (for which she was branded selfish and irresponsible) she had the audacity to ‘sponge’ off of her parents and the state before she got a job.

The mother and baby homes run by nuns have all been closed down.  We would be outraged, in the UK, if we heard that heavily pregnant young girls were scrubbing floors by way of Christian punishment.  My Mother was considered by her shamed parents as both criminal and wrong-just like Natalie Suliman.  However, times change and wounds heal.

The morally acerbic press keep Natalie in a holding pattern of shame.  The babies are born!  By punishing Natalie we merely punish every one of those children, creating a stinking cloud of toxic shame that will linger for the rest of their lives.

This is OUR part in the shame game, we perpetuate shame as and when we feel like it.

My mother’s actions in the early 1960’s are scarcely shame worthy in contemporary Great Britain.   In fact most British people would not think Natalie Octomum should have shame heaped upon her for her actions.  She is perceived as a macabre American sideshow where ‘freedom’ breeds freaks like Natalie and people like me who end up on Dr Drew’s Sex Rehab.

Natalie, in my eyes, is neither criminal, wrong, selfish, irresponsible or cruel.  Unless her children are not being loved or cared for…and one assumes with so many prying eyes on Natalie Suliman an unwashed kitchen surface would be enough for child protection agencies to be summoned..then she should be allowed to get on with her very own brand of American ‘freedom’.

Hey, America, I don’t give a damn that Natalie accepts public handouts.  Sounds like some of you want her to feel shame for accepting welfare.  It stinks when I read that some of you don’t think that she is capable of rearing those children when really none of you have any evidence to the contrary.  None of you know how capable she is of limitless love.  None of you.

As my therapist friend Sean M is want to say:  There’s No Shame in My Game.

Finally an artist who inspires:  Allison Schulnik who is presently showing at the Mark Moore Gallery in Santa Monica‘s Bergamot Station.  I am persuading all of my friends to buy her work.  It is amazing.  A real figurative painter who uses great gobs of paint with such dexterity and precision, so sculpturally and with such poise that I stood before the work salivating, hankering after Frank Auerbach, De Kooning and oddly Corot.   I immediately called Kay and Amanda and insisted that they buy something whilst Allison’s work remains affordable.

random Malibu interior

I climbed Runyon.  It didn’t shift the feeling of rage that shook my body after a curt little note from Adam at the American Foundation for Human Rights.

I met Adam after the Precious event at the Chateau Marmont.  I showed some interest in the human rights work he is involved in.  I offered to help.  We became Facebook friends.  I offered to take Adam to lunch.  Adam said he was available after Thanksgiving.  I emailed him once again today.

Adam replied that he didn’t have time to meet to discuss the Foundation before say, February.  He is ‘stressed’ too stressed, apparently, to think that maybe somebody like me could actually help.  Adam will be appearing, however, in a choir, carving pumpkins and decorating his Christmas tree with ‘friends’ and ‘family’ during the holiday season. Adam, as you can imagine, is ‘single’.

Before I launch into this I just want to remind you that I have devoted my life as an artist and filmmaker and now TV personality to serving the gay community.  My last gay film, The Picture of Dorian Gray a reworking of the original text by Oscar Wilde was either the opening or closing night film at 5 major gay film festivals around the world and played in over 300 others.  This film followed in the footsteps of 5 previous films.  When Jimmy Kimmel said publicly, mockingly that he had not heard of me my response was why should he?  He doesn’t go to gay film festivals but there are many thousands of us who do.  Before becoming a filmmaker I made theatre primarily for a gay audience.  My credentials as a bone fide, committed, gay artist and cultural aficionado are without doubt.

I watched the promotional video on the site of the American Foundation for Human Rights.  The gay men at the heart of the Prop 8 human rights case were dressed anonymously, the lesbians like a man and a woman.  The representative for the Foundation earnestly telling the rapt audience that they were going to find ‘justice’.   The straight lawyers from ‘across the political divide’, already married to heterosexuals, were coming together so that gay men and lesbians who ‘deserved’ equal rights could get married just like them.  As usual, they spent time invoking and quoting and channeling the ubiquitous Dr. Martin Luther King, as usual ignoring the irritation this causes black men and women who are loathed to let the gays appropriate their tireless martyred hero.

Why should that be you wonder?  Why should the black community want to hold so preciously onto Martin Luther King?  Why do they feel that their struggle is so different to ours?

Well, for a start the gays can’t muster enough of a consensus to find one man or one woman who speaks their truth or to their condition.  There is no face to the voice that whines and complains.  I suspect the black community loath comparisons between their struggle and ours because we so rarely struggle.  Because they really did struggle: appalling, life threatening, daily, no reprieve, at the back of the fucking bus struggle.

If you take time and look at Dr King’s timeline scarcely a month passed when he was not actively risking his life for equal rights, where he marched in hostile neighborhoods,  where he calmly faced a sneering, Glenn Beck type media.

When he was assassinated there were riots in 130 cities, 20,000 people were arrested.  There were riots in 130 cities.

Dr King galvanized his community as a leader could galvanize ours.  Where is our fearless leader?

When did the gay men you know really fight for equality?  When did the gay man you know last risk his life or risk being arrested or simply hand a leaflet to a person outside of WeHo or Chelsea or your cities gay ghetto?  When did he take real risks for what he believed in?  When did he let someone who never previously met a gay man know him so that that someone could put a face to the notion on the ballot before he/she voted?

Every time we say Dr Kings name in regard to our struggle we choose to overlook the history of slavery, emasculation, lynching, rape, child abuse, murder etc. etc.  But mostly we choose to ignore our own dirty little secret:  the appalling racism that exists in the gay community.  Let me say it again:  we simply overlook this most shocking fact.  Endemic RACISM in our own community.

  • According to a 2008 study, racism against gay Asian/Pacific Islander men leads to socially and contextually prescribed sexual roles for that may also contribute to the practice of unsafe sex among this group.
  • According to a 2000 survey conducted of LGBT African-Americans in nine U.S. cities, a third of respondents reported negative experiences in predominantly white LGBT organizations and with white LGBT persons in bars and clubs.
  • In 2005, Les Natali, the owner of a gay bar named Badlands located in San Francisco, was criticized by the city’s Human Rights Commission who determined that thirteen instances of racial discrimination by the staff occurred. Examples include refusal for entry by African-Americans, white patrons being served first even though African-Americans were first in line among others.Badlands was picketed by a diverse group of community activists over several weeks to bring attention to the situation and a group, And Castro For All (AC4A) was formed that has continued to promote dialog about racism in LGBT communities.
  • In 2006, there were reports of verbal attacks on gay Latinos by gay whites in The Castro district of San Francisco. John Mendoza, a protest organizer against racism in the Castro, said he was told by a gay white male to “go back to Mexico, you fucking wetback, where you belong”. A rally was staged in response.
  • Drag queen and performance artist Chuck Knipp has been criticized by anti-racism advocates for his character Shirley Q. Liquor. Knipp performs his act in blackface, and makes comments about blacks and black culture which some people consider offensive. Several protests have taken place and Knipp has canceled several of his shows.
  • Some LGBT media outlets have been criticized for not putting a racially diverse representation of gays and lesbians in their works, like magazines such as The Advocate and gay-themed television series such as Queer as Folk.Shows such as LOGO’s Noah’s Arc utilized more gay people of color in their casts.
  • The late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe produced a work called The Black Book which many gay, African-American artists have called fetishistic, racist, and demeaning.

Thought you might not know that stuff.  Think you might hesitate before quoting Dr King next time?

As usual this Human Rights Foundation is merely a money making machine for more over paid lawyers. Lawyers and more lawyers feeding off of the carcass of our community.  Using the same old routes expecting a different destination.

Why is it so difficult for us to find our own Dr King?  I want my own brave, eloquent gay leader?  Can we get ourselves a leader who galvanizes our community?  I very much doubt it.  Unless he’s a porn star of course or Ellen.

Another thing.  When I walk the streets in my gay neighborhood I get pestered for cash all the time by pro gay marriage beggars.  Can we spend our communities money wisely-I suggest we spend it on pro-gay aren’t we fab type advertisements, on outreach, on being visible to people who might not know who we are but hold the deciding vote?  So, when and if the time comes we are known, that our faces and stories are known beyond our gated community.

I am sure Adam is a very nice boy.  I am sure his friends and family will appreciate his ‘time’ during the holiday season.  I am only sorry that, as usual, there seems to be no time for those of us who have engaged successfully with changing the law in our own country without pissing off a community that suits a comparison but not a shared culture.

Some of us want to get involved, feel included without being shoved condescendingly to the sidelines by prissy queens who seem, by their Facebook profiles to know tribes of identical men with identical, mediocre hair cuts and manicured histories and no idea what it is to be risky beyond snorting crystal and barebacking.

P.S.  I had a dream that every man I ever objectified lay in a pile of naked, rotting pink and brown tangled limbs.  Every man I ever slept with, fantasized about, intrigued with.  Every man from straight college man dot com, from Sean Cody dot com, Corbin Fisher dot com-they were all there. Rocky, Max, Tucker, Rider, Sean.  A mountain of dead bodies, a heap of  pristine white underwear, blue jeans, teeshirts, huge piles of expensive sneakers.  Every man I ever wanted, however briefly, a useless, decaying memory.

DR DREW

Runyon Canyon before dawn. 6 people 4 dogs-including my own.

At dawn there is nobody to objectify. There are no model/actor/waiters jogging along the dusty paths, their tight abs begging to be admired.

The only man with his shirt removed was an elderly Russian man stretching before the rising sun.

Since I last blogged 3 years ago so much has happened. My Film Dorian Gray came and went. I moved from Hollywood into a large, rambling house in Malibu then moved back to Hollywood again. I succumbed to a dog, then another. I stayed put in LA for three years waiting for the promise of adventure and big money but none came.

The adventures I expected were film related, but when the adventure finally came 6 months ago it was TV that called, the worst kind of TV. The kind I never dreamed I would be part of. When opportunity calls in a city geared to entertainment who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?

Reality TV is plagued by inarticulate, orange, primped and prone to excessive dramatic exposition. Highly regarded by the masses usually ignored by people like me-I still don’t own a television. An email arrives one day wondering if I might be appropriate for a show about sex addiction.

Looking at earlier blogs it is now apparent that I was gripped by sexual compulsion. Hook ups, intrigue, pornography, excessive masturbation, etc. etc. I was fast becoming a parody of THAT gay man, who in is 40’s, should certainly know better. Trading a life of intimacy and love for the merest possible moment with many men and some women.

I have never been shy of owning up to my frailties. I spoke openly about my drinking and drug taking that caused me to get sober some 12 years ago. I had habitually written the most terrible truths about myself. For the longest time, however, I had reserved my startling insight for others and been unable to tell the truth about the fact that was now totally defining my life: I could not say no to any opportunity that came my way of a sexual nature. Increasingly I was plagued with shame, isolation and self-doubt.

The house in Malibu imprisoned me, the Internet made me lazy and self obsessed. I looked, day after day, at the same Internet sites. Like an alcoholic drinking at home alone I could not persuade myself to leave the house and live the life I had committed to when I put down the booze and the drugs years before. I stopped living any kind of reasonable life.

The sites usually included scenes where straight men performed sex acts with each other for gay men to videotape.

They became a cast of friendly faces who would go on holiday with one another before cumming over each other. The men in these videos were ‘regular guys’ ‘straight men doing not so straight things’ they would be interviewed about their straightness before performing acts of unspeakable homosexuality.

I began to question why I was watching these images. What I was learning about men together from these images and increasingly began to doubt myself for watching. Watching at any time of day or night. Watching, hoping that new characters would be introduced like to a soap opera. Watching and wondering and longing.

As time passed and the weeks and months and years flew by trapped in the beautiful house I finally admitted that I had a problem and decided to get some help. The help was swift and sure. It came from other men and women similarly trapped and shamed. It came with almost immediate results. I was immediately liberated from the shackles of active sexual compulsion. Liberated but not cured. The lure of the Internet, of the flirtation, the seduction is more powerful than any drug. Managing sexual compulsion is like managing an eating disorder or compulsively spending money. The solution for sex addiction is sex. The solution for an eating disorder is food. A healthy relationship with food or sex or money for an addict like me is not easy.

6 months after I sought help the invitation came from Dr Drew to appear on his sex rehab show and after a great deal of trepidation I said yes to an experience that would change my life.