Sex addiction in women is more common than we know. Here are a few frightening statistics on Women and sexual dependency:
28% of those admitting to sexual addiction are women (internet-filter-review.com).
34% of women in one poll admitted to using Internet pornography and 1 out of every 6 women reported struggles with addiction to pornography (Today’s Christian Woman, Fall 2003).
How many women share a similar struggle alone and simply won’t show up in these statistics and how many more women consider their behaviors “relationship or love obsessions” and not sex addictions?
We believe that sex addiction in women is more common today and growing rapidly with the influence of the Internet.
The shame associated with sex addiction in women may be even greater than that felt by men – at least men are culturally validated for their “sexual appetites” while women are often just called names. The double standard keeps many women alone and afraid of discovery and filled with…
The female sex addict (much like the male) learns that she can either get high with sex (arousal), numb out or kill pain with sex (masturbating in an effort to calm anxiety or mask pain), or escape the present moment with sex and sexual fantasy (Internet chat, surfing porn, or the tease of sexual intrigue).
Sexuality is often cloaked in secrecy or shamed as sinful. Rarely does a young woman receive the healthy sexual guidance that she needs to understand things like sexual desire, arousal, or simply healthy courtship. Instead she learns from her peers and a highly sexualized culture.
So, how does a young woman handle the unwanted and unplanned discovery for example of a father, brother, or uncle’s porn collection?
She sees that Dad hides his use of pornography and she knows the subject is taboo in the home. Just what does a young girl make of this exposure and the potential excitement or arousal she may have experienced?
A young girl certainly learns that Dad has an interest in the sexuality of women that are not Mom – creepy! Many a well meaning father has inadvertently exposed his children to such material.
She can’t or won’t ask “Dad, what’s going on?” and she can’t very well ask Mom since that might put Dad in a bind and “maybe it’s no big deal.”
A combination of factors contribute to the problem of sex addiction in women. things like:
1. Early sexual exposure to pornography or other sexualizing experiences.
2. A gross lack of sexual information and guidance.
3. A dysfunctional family of origin that may have included emotional, sexual, or even physical abuse.
4. A culture that is highly sexualized and particularly objectifying of women.
Soon, she may identify her own self worth and value as connected to her sexuality.
Wanting to be accepted by her peers (isn’t that “want” universal?) and especially by other boys she competes for their interest using what she thinks gives her value – her sexuality. She behaves as a sexual object and learns the false power of being sexually desired. … And, she has missed her chance to develop a healthy sense of self. She has no idea of who she is and her place in the world.
She changes how she dresses, how she carries herself, and what she is willing to do sexually. She has been affected in many ways and without the guidance of sexually healthy parents, she learns on her own, often recreating the trauma of past abuse or exploitive relationships.
Add the confusion of shaming religious messages about sex and you find a shame filled woman out of control and using sex like a drug.
Believing herself to be “bad” or a “sinner” for what she’s done, she learns to fix her feelings through the validation she receives from the boys or men who give her the attention she craves.
Take our story of sex addiction in women into adulthood and why should we think that her attitudes and beliefs about sex would change? Where is the “Love” In this scenario? It exists for this troubled woman only as a fantasy – much like the fantasy that sex could ever be enough to make her feel whole and safe in her own skin.
In no time, she may resent being seen as a sexual object by men, but then she may also believe (falsely) that her power resides in her sexuality. She likely continues to live out her own sexual and relationship fantasies.
Now, how different would our story look if she had been incested, raped, or maybe sexualized by adult male or female family members? What would she know about the meaning of the word love? Would she equate sex and sexualized touch with love? Where would she have learned to respect her own sexual boundaries?
Worst of all is the shame she carries about herself as a woman and her own sexual behaviors.
Her only identity might just be that of a “bad” girl.
But she was not a “bad” girl any more than you are a “bad” woman because you have learned to use sex as a means of power and control in a life that often feels insanely out of control.
The good news is that you ARE NOT crazy! Your behavior was a normal response to an abnormal situation. It was not supposed to be the way it was. You survived and maybe sex helped you get through.
Now it is time to learn to live! You have the opportunity to “Live a Life Worth Living!” Some haven’t made it this far – but you have – and now it is up to you to be the woman you always wanted to be. To live the life you always wanted to live. To look the world in the eye, feel proud, and know that you are a precious child of God. You CAN start today…