How Sexual Addiction Presents In Women
Just the term “sex addiction” may make you shudder. It’s such a horrible label! Many women prefer “relationship” or “love” addiction, but the reality is that “sex addiction” is an umbrella term that covers a number of different presentations. It’s not about the sex, and in fact, some women say they don’t even like the sexual activity they engage in. Women, like men, are looking for love, affection, affirmation and acceptance. Sex and intense relationships are false solutions to these legitimate needs.
Historically, sex addiction was thought to only affect men. Clinicians didn’t consider that women, too, could be sex addicts, and early attention to the problem was focused solely on men. Current statistics show that one-third of the visitors to sexually oriented websites are female. Today experts in the field believe that women actually comprise 40-50% of those who are sexually addicted, yet there have been few treatment opportunities offered solely to women.
Women often feel especially ashamed of being sexually addicted. Our culture views promiscuous women as whores, while it dismisses similar behavior in men. Few women talk openly about their recovery from sexual addiction, and often a female addict believes she’s the only one with her problem.
For many women the disease presents in the form of relationship addiction, which is also sometimes called sex and love addiction. These women are involved in promiscuity, affairs, or a pattern of dependent relationships. Often, there’s a power component at work – the power of being seductive, of being lusted after, and of using sex as a vehicle to get into powerful places or to get in with powerful people.
More and more women are also struggling with masturbation and pornography, especially Internet pornography. Generally speaking, women are typically more relational in their online behaviors and favor on-line relationships and sexually oriented chat rooms. Women, though, are becoming increasingly addicted to Internet sexual activity in all its forms, including visual pornography.
Hope Offered to Women
In 1997, the Woodmont Hills Church in Nashville, Tennessee sponsored the first workshop that specifically addressed the problem of female sexual addiction.
This treatment option was spawned by Marnie Ferree, a Christian woman who had found grace and healing from the sexual woundedness and addiction in her own life. Her vision was to “comfort others as I have been comforted” (2 Corinthians 1: 4). Now part of the comprehensive program known as “Bethesda Workshops,” the Healing for Women offering is sensitive to the special needs and difficult situations of women who are addicted to sex or relationships.
It is possible to recover from sex/relationship addiction. You can achieve sobriety. You can maintain purity in your behavior, relationships, and your walk with God. You can be set free from your sexual shame.
You can begin today a whole new way of life. Ask God’s help in taking that first step.