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The Stigma of Female Sex Addiction

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Stigma of Sexual AddictionIn the mind of the general population, men are the only ones who suffer from sexual addiction. David Duchovny, for example, was praised for his admission of sex addiction and seemed to use it as publicity for his television show “Californication.” However, this is not a problem that only affects one gender. Women struggle with sexual addiction as well, especially due to the stigma of the issue.

Some men tend to proudly boast of their promiscuity while women who reveal anything intimate are called names like “slut” and “whore.” Robert Weiss, founding director of The Sexual Recovery Institute, wrote that 8 to 12 percent of people he sees for sexual addiction counseling are women, with other research showing between 3 and 10 percent. However, the number is likely much larger than any of these indicate due to the shame felt by the women who are suffering.

No matter the percent of women addicted to sex, all who are affected need help. Seeking counseling and treatment is one of the most important things you can do with any mental health issue. Unfortunately, the thought that women who are suffering from sexual addiction are bad people prevents many from getting the assistance they need.

You are not in it alone
The problem with sexual addiction is that many don’t know it is happening to them or how to stop it. The Society for Advancement of Sexual Health performed an online survey of 500 women; 261 identified themselves as sex or love addicts. About 70 percent said they felt degraded by their own behavior and 62 percent reported that they have tried to stop and did not succeed.

When we speak to women who are addicted to sex, many feel as thought they are suffering through this addiction alone. They don’t hear about support or other sufferers, so it is assumed that this is a problem they have to struggle with on their own, sans help.

When to seek help
It may be hard to know if you have a sexual addiction, but many who suffer certainly realize there is something wrong. If you are feeling life is becoming unmanageable because of sex, if you cannot stop yourself from seeing a specific person you know to be bad for you or if you get a “high” from encounters followed by a crash quickly after, these could be signs. Other signs can include having sex with someone you don’t know, feeling desperation to have sex and an inability to concentrate on other areas of life. These are all distractions that make every day life harder than it needs to be.

There likely will not be one “ah-ha” instance for women trying to figure out if they have a sex addiction. Issues stemming from sex addiction usually coalesce over time. What may feel like a positive dating life could end up spinning out of control over time.

Feelings of guilt, depression and going through with treacherous affairs, even when knowing the danger, are just a few things that may end up happening to a woman experiencing this kind of addiction.

Hope for the future
This is an issue that impacts real women across the U.S. While many people may play it off as a joke, insult women for their problem or not recognize the negative impact sexual addiction can have, lives can be turned upside down if there is no treatment.

Women struggling with this disorder need to work to move beyond the shame society tries to make them feel and get help from a trained professional. There is hope to move beyond feeling the compulsion for sex and into a loving, caring relationship with a healthy sex life. Please contact our office if you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment.

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