Jerrod Carmichael Opens Up About His Complicated Relationship With Sex: ‘I Use It to Escape’

Jerrod Carmichael certainly isn’t camera-shy. In Friday night’s episode of the Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show, the comedian continued to pry open his personal life, introducing viewers to his boyfriend and getting candid about his history with infidelity and sex addiction. 

Throughout the self-titled episode, Carmichael shopped for a therapist after cheating on his long-distance boyfriend, Mike. Viewers watched as Carmichael kissed a stranger in his apartment despite revealing strong feelings for his partner just moments before. “I am in a relationship that I want to be monogamous, and then he wasn’t in the city I was in,” Carmichael said. “That’s all it took.”

As Carmichael brainstormed jokes for his next show, he contemplated the role comedy plays in addressing his incessant sexual desires. After settling on a therapist, he opened up about his sexual history, revealing that he became sexually active at a very young age.

“I was a very sexual child since probably I was three or four, with older kids,” Carmichael said. “I definitely had experiences with boys that I hid and my teenage years into my twenties, beginning secret sex with guys.” 

When asked about how many sexual partners he had, Carmichael estimated that it was around “1000,” but after sharing the figure, he admitted that he still felt like he was “lowballing it.” 


As Carmichael navigated the landmines of his relationship, he questioned what he was willing to give up to satisfy his sexual urges. He attributed his sex addiction to early childhood trauma and shame. After Carmichael met up with a man from Grindr, he retreated to his walk-in closet, called for God, and said he felt “spiritually unclean” after the interaction. He revealed his greatest demons are monogamy and masculinity. 

“Sex offers me power and control,” Carmichael said. “It’s an escape. I use it to escape”

Throughout the eight-part series, Carmichael exposes deeply personal elements of his life, including how his religious mother has struggled to accept his identity and how his reserved father started a family with another woman. In the first episode, Carmichael confessed to having a crush on his longtime friend, Tyler, the Creator (who later laughed off his confession and declined his invite to the 2022 Emmys). Since the episode’s release, Carmichael said he hasn’t seen Tyler since moving to New York but still has admiration for him.   


In an interview with Esquire, Carmichael said he still struggles with saying “I’m gay” after publicly coming out in his Emmy-winning comedy special Rothaniel, in large part due to how sexuality is mocked in the comedy world. 

“I still think saying you’re gay is saying something’s wrong with you,” Carmichael told Esquire. “And so much of comedy is just gay jokes. As long as people continue to laugh at it and mock it, and as long as it’s a punchline, it’s going to be scary for somebody. It’s scary for me.”