Sex nearly ruined her life.

Erica Garza has been addicted to sex and pornography since she was a little girl. Her first orgasm came as a tween while lying in a bathtub in her parents’ home in a middle class suburb. While dealing with the shame of having to wear a back brace to fight a childhood illness, she turned to adult entertainment on cable television, and later, the internet, to satiate her desires away from her parents’ eyes.

“Like many, I started with softcore scenes as a gateway but they weren’t effective in the long run,” the 35-year-old Garza tells Moneyish. “I kept seeking out harder scenes that gave me an idea of how sex was to look. I was desensitized to pleasure and needed to feel shocked and a bit bad in order to feel good.” And when real-life sex wasn’t enough, she’s turned to masturbation to get off — hence “Getting Off,” her recently released, bracingly honest memoir of being hooked to sex and smut.

By the time she was an adult, sexual encounters were so frequent that her partner’s names are a blur to the reader. There’s Adam, with whom she had sex after a concert at the Hollywood Palladium; Keith in San Francisco; a waiter and wannabe actor named Peter and then Simon, one of a pair of brothers. (And that’s just from one page of her book.)

Her sex life became increasingly risky: there were encounters not just with strangers, but also without condoms. Garza eventually decided to do something about it when she realized her dependence on X-rated material had became an obsession and that she wasn’t able to connect emotionally with any men as a result.

Erica Garza is the author of “Getting Off” (Rachel Lee Stroud)

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Memoirists recounting descents into addiction are so commonplace that they’ve become a genre of their own. Long before Cat Marnell appeared svelte and blonde on the cover of “How To Murder Your Life,” the similarly svelte and blonde Elizabeth Wurtzel fronted “More, Now Again,” a memoir of her cocaine habit. But these accounts were written by pretty white women with New York literary pedigrees and about dealing with drugs or alcohol, substances often romantically abused by those with literary pedigrees. Not, in other words, by the daughter of a Mexican immigrant on a subject as corporeal as sex.

That said, it’s no secret that women consume adult entertainment. Pornhub recently said that “porn for women” was the most-searched query on its website, having increased 1,400% on the previous year. xHamster also reported a 4% growth in female American users last year, even as the number of U.S. viewers overall dipped. Even so, “all the medical research about porn is skewed toward men,” says Garza. “I don’t think the female experience is very different, but women don’t feel they can talk about it publicly because there’s an extra layer of shame. We’re told it’s bad, dirty and for men. I don’t think boys get the same message.”

Erica Garza’s Getting Off (Simon & Schuster)

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Thus, her very public chronicling of her addiction, first for Salon.com and now in book form. “I wanted to understand the choices I made and allowed myself to get vulnerable. We have to do things like that to grow,” says Garza, who worked as a copywriter before spending the past year taking care of her young daughter.

Today, Garza lives with her husband in L.A. and still watches porn, though far less often. “It’s not my intention to judge people who watch porn, sex is different for everybody,” she says. “I wanted to explore what it feels like when you are ashamed by something you spend so much time doing. It took up a lot of my time I could have spent more productively. It took precedence over creativity and friendships.”

Key to her recovery, she says, was finding someone she could trust—her spouse—and allowing herself to be vulnerable with him. “A huge part was admitting to him that I’m a sex addict and being accepted without judgment, and listened to,” she says. “If you can find a way to talk about it openly, you will feel so empowered by your experiences.”