Female sex addiction
It’s not just men who struggle with sex and porn addiction. Of those that do struggle, an estimated 30% are women. But according to research, women are much less likely to reach out for help with this problem. But perhaps that’s not surprising when the vast majority of recovery resources are male-centric.
In this article, we’ll talk about female sex addiction and porn addiction and we’ll look at the similarities and differences to male addiction. But first, let’s explore why it’s so hard for women to find the help they need.
Can women be addicted to sex?
This is the question that some people still ask and the simple answer is ‘yes’. Sex addiction and porn addiction are ‘equal opportunity’ problems. Anyone can develop compulsive sexual behaviours, any gender and any sexual orientation. It’s sad that even in the 21st century, women are still seen as sexless and this can make finding help really difficult. Not only does this mean that historically resources have not been created for women, but it has also resulted in additional layers of shame for women who seek help. The dominant social messages, whether we like it or not, still say that it’s normal for men to want and enjoy a lot of sex, but women who have many sexual partners are still referred to as whores or sluts.
Pornography is also predominantly targeted at men, though there are an ever-growing number of female friendly porn sites. But the social discourse remains that watching porn and masturbating is a ‘normal’ and common experience for men, especially young men, but it’s barely even discussed as a popular pastime among women. Singer Billie Eillish bravely spoke out about her porn addiction saying that she started watching porn at 11 to be “cool” and to be “one of the guys”. Yep – one of the guys, because watching porn is widely considered something ‘guys’ do, not girls.
With these gender biased messages, it’s perhaps not surprising that most resources offering help are aimed at men. After all, if women don’t really like sex or porn, how can they become addicted to it?
How are female sex addicts different from males?
Female sex addiction is often referred to by the acronym FSLA -– Female Sex & Love Addiction. This highlights a common difference between men and women who seek help for sex addiction, which is that men often say their main motivator is sex, whereas women may say that it is love. The term love addiction is used to describe the obsessive and compulsive pursuit of a relationship, and some refer to it as a romance, fantasy or intensity addiction. For some women this will be serial monogamous relationships, for others it will be affairs.
Historically, pornography was always more popular with men, with some using the explanation that men are more visually stimulated than women. Whilst there may be some truth in the stereotype, women are not blind and at many stages of their lives they have equal sexual desire and curiosity. Women’s taste in pornography is often more narrative and creative than men’s preferences, but the drive is the same, and compulsion is a risk for any gender.
Help for female porn addiction and sex addiction
Whatever you call it, love addiction, sex addiction, romance addiction or porn addiction. And whether you’re male or female, straight or gay, the problem often comes from the same root causes and has the same devastating consequences. Getting help for addiction is all about understanding the problem so you can be sure you’re applying the right tools. And developing strategies that enable you to build a life where the unwanted behaviours are no longer needed or desired.
If you’re a woman looking for help with compulsive sexual behaviours of any kind, then Pivotal Recovery is for you. The course has been created and written from a gender-neutral perspective to ensure that you get the help you need to rebuild your self esteem and your life.