Not many of us would want to sit down with our exes, offering them a no-holds barred conversation in which they can tell us what they thought was wrong with us and what went wrong in the relationship, but that’s just what Jeff Leach is setting out to do.
The film starts out with Leach introducing himself as a slag. “Why do I not see what everyone else sees?” he questions the camera directly, before revealing that when he views the world around him, he doesn’t even acknowledge the men’s presence, and registers each woman as a “potential sexual adventure”.
“It makes me miserable. It tires me out. It makes me feel vacuous and shallow. And ultimately, very lonely.”
As Leach’s friends settle down around him, he acknowledges that he feels that he can’t go on like this any longer. He decides to consult his list of past lovers—an Excel spreadsheet saved on his computer (actually titled “THE LIST”)—to get feedback on what they thought of him and the time they had spent together. Leach scrolls through his list of 300+ names before returning to his first love, Amy, #28 on the list. The one who broke his heart.
The film cuts between Leach’s personal narrative to the camera, inviting us into his home as he goes over his list, and his onstage performances, where he doesn’t shy away from self-deprecating humour and revealing some of his most personal vulnerabilities.
“Apparently, the average British man has had 13 sexual partners, and women just 7. I’m pretty much off the scale,” Leach quips, before talking about how he realizes that his attitude towards sex is just not normal.
In Leach’s quest to reform himself, he leaves no stone unturned. He meets with #161, Nicola, who agrees that he was a bit of an arse, telling him that he made her very uncomfortable on many occasions.
Despite Leach’s unabashed onstage presence, where he ruthlessly tears himself and his sexual behaviour apart, he also shares a lot of quiet, tender moments with the girls on his list. #207, Claire, tells Leach that she didn’t think he could be a proper boyfriend and didn’t want a relationship with him. #252, Emma, advises him to allow himself to be vulnerable.
Throughout the film, Leach is perhaps more vulnerable with the camera than he has with anyone in his life. He consults a sexual and relationship psychotherapist to discuss both his childhood and current behaviour, and visits his childhood home to reveal a particularly disturbing drawing he did as a child, revealing that he had many childhood memories of hiding away to escape his parents fighting.
While Leach’s journey is entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, it’s also filled with incredibly heartfelt moments, where he apologizes to some of the girls on his list, and offers a very personal insight into the psyche of being a sex addict.
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Confessions of a Sex Addict