Can Women be Sex Addicts?

females legs in high heels

From the beginning of time, there have been inconsistencies between the way men and women are treated.  Although alcoholism has been a recognized as a disease for nearly three quarters of a century, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that researchers realized there were differences in the way it affected men versus women.  Most diseases and disorders happened the same way, with gender variations being overlooked.  Women are entirely different beings, and the way their brains operate are very unique, especially when you involve external environmental factors.

Sexual addiction is intrinsically complicated.  The way it is viewed by society for each gender is widely distinct.  Societal norms tell men they must be macho and autonomous.  Men are often celebrated when they achieve sexual goals.  Our Western culture tends to objectify women, making them goals to be sought.  Men can have many sexual partners without being considered a sex addict because society tries to teach us that behavior is normal.  The way men approach relationships is far different from women and a male sex addict typically prefers to have a relationship which has very little emotional involvement.  They often have an inability to express emotion and a powerful sense of entitlement.

The way women deal with an addiction to sex is much different.  People in society may wonder if it’s even possible because it isn’t talked about often.  While men usually stray from intimate relationships if they have a sexual addiction, women are often part of a codependent relationship.  Their intimacy and feelings toward another person may be too strong, resulting in an unhealthy dynamic.  In a codependent relationship, one person is essentially mentally controlled by the other.  Women who are sexual addicts might use sex in their relationships to manipulate their partner into staying.  Sex may be the only way they know how to control a situation.  A woman may have strong sexual fantasies about role-playing, painful sex, and trading sex.

When a man is involved in sexual addiction, it is basically an extension of the norms which society has put in place.  Women, however, are going against all cultural norms when they have a sexual addiction.  They may frequently watch pornography and be addicted to fantasy and romance.  Extreme cases of female sexual addiction can include prostitution and exhibitionism.  Although it is not extensively discussed in the media, sexual addiction is actually quite common and often stems from childhood issues such as neglect or abuse.  Treating those issues through therapy is imperative to the healing process and will help develop positive and healthy future relationships.

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