A sex addict who says her struggles began when she was just five has revealed how her pursuit of frequent hook-ups nearly drove her to taking her own life.
Jace Downey, from Austin, Texas, described how her addiction led her to pursue a string of hook-ups with strangers – with the sex becoming increasingly dangerous and painful.
The 30-year-old said her addiction was affecting every part of her life, leading her to watching porn at work and engaging in sex in public.
Jace – who was sexually abused by her father as a child – said she started having sexual fantasies when she was just five-years-old.
As an adult, she said her struggle with sex addiction escalated to the point that she considered taking her own life, before she realized she had a problem and decided to sign herself up to a recovery program.
Now, she helps others struggling with addiction through her job as a self-development coach, as well as finding love with boyfriend William.
Jace Downey, from Austin, Texas, (pictured with boyfriend William Kane) described how her addiction led her to pursuing a string of hook-ups with strangers
Jace, 30, said the sex became increasingly dangerous and painful as she met up with strangers in her pursuit of hook-ups
Describing her struggles with her sex addiction, Jace said: ‘For me, sex almost never felt good. The worse it was, or the less I wanted to be there, the more I would numb out.
‘I would be driving out to meet someone and would just be like, “Turn around, I don’t wish to be around this person’, and yet I would show up and go through with it.”
Jace’s addiction affected every aspect of her life, including her work and general health.
She said: ‘I could have been introducing myself to disease.
Jace (pictured at the age of six) explained how she was sexually abused by her father between the ages of two and five
‘I was meeting strangers in all sorts of different places, and of course not telling anyone where I was going, because then I would have to tell them what I was doing.
‘Engaging in things in public – illegal activities that could have taken away my job.
‘I was watching porn at work and my office had windows everywhere. How would I have explained that to anyone had they walked by my office and saw that?
‘It’s just madness to me now, it seems insane… loss of job, loss of income, loss of health.
Jace said she had considered taking her own life, before realizing that she was suffering from an addiction
The self-development coach (pictured with boyfriend William) decided that she needed to get help, signing herself up to a recovery program
‘I’ve realized now, for me, the biggest danger that I put myself in was that I had no spiritual connection of any kind. I lost my soul in addiction.’
In 2014, Jace began thinking about taking her own life, describing how she began working through a ‘suicide check list’.
She said: ‘I thought, “If I make it look like I just died, okay, that might look unfortunate, but nobody is left with any of the guilt or burden”.
‘So I was honestly checking off a to-do list when it was like a voice outside of me said, “If sex interacts with brain chemicals like drugs do, can it be addictive and damaging?”
Jace said her sex addiction was affecting all aspects of her life, including her work
The 30-year-old (pictured with William) said she would meet up with strangers and engage in sexual activity in public
Jace (pictured with her boyfriend) said she would even watch porn at work, risking losing her job if she got caught
What are the symptoms of sex addiction?
- Recurrent and intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges, and sexual behavior, lasting at least six months
- Excessive amounts of sex, frequently used to cope with stress
- Sex interfering with the ability to function in daily life, e.g. job or social life
- Feeling out of control and having to act on sexual urges, even in situations it might cause significant problems or harm, such as job loss, relationship problems or financial difficulties
- The sexual fantasies, urges and behaviors must not be brought on by drugs or alcohol, or another mental disorder
‘I looked it up, and holy heck! A world popped up where, yes, absolutely – there is no sex addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, there is just addiction, and it shows up in different forms.’
Two days later, Jace signed up to a recovery program, beginning her path to recovery, and uncovering repressed memories of what triggered her addiction at such an early age.
Jace said: ‘My dad was also an addict. He wasn’t a great dad, especially when he started drinking again.
‘My parents have been divorced my whole life and I wasn’t really in my dad’s care until I was about four, when we started going on vacation and staying at his house.’
Jace’s father sexually abused her for two years from the age of five, suddenly stopping one day without explanation.
She explained how memories of the trauma resurfaced while Jace was meditating, leaving her devastated, but focused on healing herself.
Jace (pictured with her mother and sister) said she began having sexual fantasies when she was just five-years-old
She said her father had sexually abused her between the ages of two and five, with the memories resurfacing during a meditation session. Jace is pictured here aged five
She embarked on a year of sobriety, and began a documentary project called Suddenly Celibate, spending the following two years travelling round the US talking to experts in sex addiction, relationships and sexuality.
While planning to stay celibate for the foreseeable future, Jace met the man who was to become her boyfriend at a comedy show.
She said: ‘I had started seeing sex as a bad thing and I was like, “Oh nope, that’s not healthy either” – our sexuality is part of who we are as people.
Jace embarked on a year of sobriety, starting a documentary project called Suddenly Celibate
She spent the following two years travelling round the US, talking to experts in sex addiction
During this period, Jace met boyfriend William at a comedy show. She explained how she has learned not to see sex as a bad thing
‘It’s a beautiful and individual thing that’s part of who we are and I didn’t want to be losing that, so I decided to end my celibacy and I’m really glad I did.’
Jace now works as a self-development coach, helping people work through addiction and other personal struggles.
She said: ‘I’ve recognized that my real passion lies in helping other people get through any type of adversity.
‘I help really amazing people who are ready to say, “Yes, these things have happened, but I don’t want that life. I want more, I want better, I can be more,” and I’m like, “Heck yeah you can”, and I will help you get there.’
For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255