Can Women Have a Sex Addiction?November 23, 2015 - Addiction, Mental Health, Women's Treatment - 0 Comments
Sex Addiction: Not Just A Guy Thing
Throughout history, women have been highly underrepresented in studies and research about addiction, particularly sex addiction. Some people may even be unaware that sexual addiction can be a female problem, not just a male one. In the media, all of the sexual scandals and acting out is assigned to male public figures and politicians, i.e. Clinton, Wiener. However, a few studies show that eight to twelve percent of the people seeking rehabilitation for sexual activity are women.
Most experts believe that this is not the full number of women experiencing sexual problems, but there is a special stigma related to women who are interested in sex that may keep this population from seeking the help they need. An example of this cultural shame can be found in the terms that society uses to describe those who are sexually active. A man might be called a “player”, while a woman is called a “slut”. Women may be afraid or embarrassed to admit the extent of their sexual activity for fear of this prejudicial attitude. No one wants to feel judged or misunderstood.
Female and male sex addicts display many of the same symptoms, including risk-taking behavior, but there are some general differences between the two. Women are more likely than men to have experienced some type of sexual trauma that leads to this type of addiction, while men are more likely to have experienced neglect. Women may also be more likely to seek a greater intimacy and emotional connection in a sexual relationship, although sex may still be the major component. Women often use sex to fulfill needs for power, fantasy, and attention. Unlike men, they are acting contrary to cultural norms. Of course these differences may not apply to each individual case, and it is important never to make assumptions about a specific person.
Women with sex addiction may enjoy the object of their obsession for a while, feeling powerful and attractive through their sexual actions. Eventually, just like any addiction, their behaviors can lead to intense isolation from others, difficulty expressing emotions, codependency, feeling embarrassed and ashamed, and a need to keep secrets from loved ones. It is important for men and women to be aware of the symptoms of sex addiction so they can recognize it in themselves and those they care about. It is also crucial that as a society, we work to overcome the stigma against addiction so that people can feel more free to open up about their struggles and seek out the help that they desperately need.