After a fairly recent imprompto counseling session...
I thought this might be something worth exploring a bit. When it comes to the question, "Can women really be sex addicts?", it would seem like the answer wouldn't be so cryptic. On the surface, shouldn't the answer simply be "Yes"? But by digging a bit deeper, honestly, when is the last time that you heard a woman say that they had a sexual addiction issue? If they go from go to guy, they may say something like, "I just happen to love the wrong men" or "I'm looking for my Mr. Right." Or if they do have a "relationship" with porn, they will say something like, "I watch it sometimes with my husband or boyfriend" or "I don't do it enough to be anything serious" or "I would never watch it. I just read erotica." Or, if they are in a cyclic situation when it comes to sex (with others or with themselves), they will say things like, "I don't do it all of the time" or even more popular, "I don't discuss my personal business." It's so easy (and unfair) to always point the finger at men when it comes to sexual addiction. And honestly, the fear of being honest as women can also be pretty dangerous. It's kind of like when one person has an STD and doesn't tell their partner. They may get treatment but the two people usually end up passing the disease back and forth because they both need to get help...but only one person knows that.
So, following along those lines, I've enclosed some signs of women and love/sexual addiction. I'd love to know what you think. If you know one, if you are one or if you are in a relationship with one. Especially if it took reading this stuff to realize it.
According to this article, the root cause of sexual addiction is this:
Addictions are reactions to gaping holes in a person’s life. These are caused in childhood when proper love and security isn’t given to a child. Babies are born with a great need for unconditional love and security. They need to be loved and cared for. We all have a deep inner need to held and told we are special and important. We need our parents to hug us and tell us they are proud of us, we are unique and will have a great future. We need to have this happen over and over and over. If it doesn’t, or if mixed messages are sent, we get the message that we are inferior and unlovable. Children assume it is their fault that they aren’t loved and cared for. They feel something must be wrong with them for their parent or guardian to be unable to love them in the way they need. As we mature we know in our minds that this isn’t true – often the adult had their own issues that made it difficult or impossible for them to show unconditional love. By the time we are old enough to realize that the damage has been done, the messages have been sent and believed, and patterns of behavior to compensate have become firmly established.
Everything in life is then geared to bring safety and security, to answer the question, “Am I lovable?” Where can I find acceptance and security? How can I handle the hurt and loss inside? What can I do to get rid of my pain and fear? This leads to all kinds of substitutes and counterfeits. Sex addiction is one of many ways of ‘coping.’
When a person is unable to have real intimacy with another, to really give ones self without reservation, to overcome feelings of rejection or failure, sexual compulsions often compensate. Sex becomes a way of escaping pain and substituting reality with a fantasy world. Society conditions us to this, for everywhere around us we see lust replacing love and substituting for real closeness. Satan works with this, too. His demons magnify openings we give him and keep working on them, putting thoughts and desires into a person’s mind. Often this follows family lines, going from grandfather to father to son.
According to this article, some signs of sexual addiction in women are these:
1) There has to be an uncontrollable compulsion. Feelings of "I can't stop. I keep doing what I don't want to do," pervade the mind of a sex addict.
2) Obsessive thoughts. Hooking up with someone is all you think about. Experiencing the high of skin on skin contact and the illusion that only sex can bring intimacy consume an inordinate amount of your daily thoughts.
3) Continuance of immoral sexual behavior despite adverse consequences. When a person continues their destructive behavior in spite of adverse consequences, that is a clear sign of sexual addiction.
4) Tolerance. The ability to tolerate higher levels of something we hadn't originally been accustomed to occurs through a process called "The Law of Diminishing Returns." When a couple first dates they may venture out and hold hands. It provides somewhat of a thrilling and satisfying experience. After a while, a person may become "ho-hum" with holding hands because it doesn't return the same thrilling effect it once did so they up the ante and progress towards kissing. After awhile, this too has its excitement wear off and behaviors such as heavy petting and eventually intercourse will occur in order to experience the initial "high" that comes with a new experience. An alcoholic experienced the same thing at some point---drinking 5 beers eventually doesn't return the same pleasure that drinking 3 used to so they have to try 6.
Part of the tolerance effect is based in a purely neurochemical change in the brain. We are essentially fighting our own brain chemistry. This is what makes addicts adrenaline junkies. They are addicted to their own brain's drugs (chemicals released) that are produced through sexual experiences. So if the high of one kind of behavior isn't enough, then either it will take more and more of that same kind of behavior or it will take going on to other, higher risk behaviors to get the same effect. This is why some people even engage in more licentious behavior such as threesomes, orgies, and even Level II and Level III illegal behaviors.
10 questions (there are more here) to ask yourself as it relates to sexual addiction:
1. Do you feel that your life is becoming or is unmanageable because of your sexual and/or romantic behavior or your excessive dependency needs?
2. Do you find yourself unable to stop seeing a specific person even though you know that seeing this person is destructive to you?
3. Do you feel that you don’t want anyone to know about your sexual or romantic activities? Do you feel you need to hide these activities from others – friends, family, co-workers, counselors, etc.?
4. Do you get “high” from sex and/or romance and then crash when the act or experience is over?
5. Have you had sex at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places, and/or with inappropriate people?
6. Do you make promises to yourself or rules for yourself concerning your sexual or romantic behavior that you find you cannot follow?
7. Have you had or do you have sex with someone you don’t (didn’t) want to have sex with?
8. Have you ever thought that there might be more you could do with your life if you were not so driven by sexual and romantic pursuits?
9. Do you feel desperate about your need for a lover, sexual fix, or future mate?
10. Have you or do you have sex regardless of the consequences (e.g. the threat of being caught, the risk of contracting herpes, gonorrhea, AIDS, etc.)?