Life On a Scale of One to Ten

I have never smoked a cigarette and do not have a problem with booze or drugs. However, I would surmise that life with a sexual compulsion to cut hair can be as arduous as trying to beat or manage any of those addictions.

I still have urges. I monitor my paraphilia closely. I am susceptible to needing to cut hair to cope with the more serious challenges of life. Luckily, the more ease I experience in my life, the more the demons seem to remain quiet. However, I am constantly reminded that there is no real “cure” for my condition.

I can describe my OCD and paraphilia using the scale metaphor.

On a scale of one to ten, one being “no urges” and ten being “out of control”, I seem to live my life comfortably most of the time at about a three. That three is thanks to medication and tools I learned in therapy years ago. I know that if I get to a seven it is time to seek additional help.

Last weekend I was at a five. Nothing to panic about, but I was on alert. I seem to hit five or six a few times a year. It is rare that I go higher than seven. Sometimes I cannot pinpoint why I go up and down. Other times, I know exactly why. Such is my life.

You can read all about me at ten in the book.

By the time I turned 25 I had hints that I was not the only one in the world obsessed with hair. There were a few underground video companies and pen pal clubs that catered to those with a penchant for haircuts. It felt very illicit and clandestine.

In 1999, I typed “haircut” into an internet search engine for the first time and was overwhelmed. There was a unique community united and starved for interaction. I joined ranks with many other people who were similar to me. Some of us felt shame, while others relished their interest in haircuts. The demographic of the hair enthusiasts was impressively diverse and were all over the scale from one to ten. I was stunned. Where were these supportive people when I needed them in 1982?

The haircutters meet on a few sites to share their libraries of pictures and their experiences. Some haircutters are very indulgent of their urges. What seemed so disgusting and secretive to me all my life was now pedestrian and at the fingertips of anyone who could type. As I was finding my peers, I realized that anybody could have a sexual secret about anything. Maybe the secret isn’t a serious paraphilia like mine. It could be a sexual hobby or merely a playful need.  As long as no one is getting hurt, what does it matter?

After years of being oppressed by my raging compulsions, I began to open up and share with my internet peers: my pictures, my videos, my experiences, and my heart. My sizable collection of media wowed the haircut followers. I had teetered on the extreme end of the compulsive cutting through the 1990’s. I was out of control and had lost my judgement. Thankfully, I had retired from the dangerous behavior. I tried to be a paraphilia emeritus, yet I was getting emails from all over the world wanting more.

It is tough to balance the real Dennis and my haircutting alias. It seems like the opposite problem I had growing up: no one respected me because I was an outcast. Now there was a community of people like me who adored my alter ego. They seemed less interested in the real Dennis. It is a Catch 22.

I certainly do not shun those who have unusual sexual impulses as long as they are not deviant. That would be hypocritical since I sometimes indulge myself. I will never forget what my life was like as an “out of control” ten. Yet, I don’t want to be a poster boy for paraphilia, either. Thankfully, now I enjoy my life and respect sexual alternatives in a safe environment.

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