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Erica Garza grew up in Montebello, California, a middle-class Latino neighborhood that has been dubbed “The Mexican Beverly Hills.” She associated growing up in a Mexican-American neighborhood with her first memories of shame. She was paler than many of her classmates, yet she knew that her family was not like the white families that she saw on television shows in the ’90s like Full House and Growing Pains.

It wasn’t until she was 12 years old that she fully felt like an outsider. She was diagnosed with scoliosis and truly withdrew from others. She felt awkward, unattractive, and different. It was also the year that she first discovered masturbation. She listened to the popular love-and-sex advice radio show, Loveline and heard a guest describe the experience of having an orgasm. From that moment on she would escape her anxiety and dread through pleasuring herself.

For the next two decades, Garza would become addicted to porn and sex. She would use them to distract herself from her feelings of shame and self-hatred and had many casual sex encounters as well as unfulfilling relationships. It was only once she began to focus on yoga, therapy, and even went to a retreat in Bali that she finally began to work out a healthy relationship with sex.

Once she began writing about her experience, she learned that many people and in particular, women, related to her addiction. This led her to write her first book, Getting Off: One Woman’s Journey through Porn and Sex Addiction. Garza’s book is an honest, direct, and often painful look at her complex and destructive relationship with sex.

Featured Images: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

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