Do you feel like you are looking for love primarily through sex? Are you turning to pornography to feel excited when you’re lonely or stressed? Are you surprised how much time you are spending online looking at porn? If so, you’re not alone. Thirty-five percent of all internet downloads are porn, people spend about 12 hours a week viewing porn, and using social media or other online dating apps to have fleeting sexual encounters is skyrocketing.
Sex Addiction in Women
Most people think that pornography and sex addiction is a male concern, but research shows that one-third of all pornography consumers are women and that 17% of all women struggle with porn addiction. In general, pornography and sexual addiction involves using sexual images, thoughts, fantasies, and behaviors to numb out or escape negative emotions to the point where it causes difficulties in a person’s life and they cannot seem to control their urges, thoughts, and behaviors. In women, sexual addiction may also have additional features. Women with sex addiction often have unrealistic ideas about love, conflate intense sexual experiences with love, and feel deeply unworthy when not in a romantic relationship. They may also place themselves in situations of physical or situational danger to sexually act out, and be willing to put up with abusive behaviors from their partners or others to avoid the loss of a romantic relationship.
Treatment for Female Sex Addiction
Treatment for pornography and sexual addiction for women includes some of the same elements of sexual addiction treatment for men (for example, work to help bolster emotional regulation capacities, effective coping strategies, and daily activities to heal the damage caused to the brain by pornography and sex dependence), but women also need tailored treatment to address their unique underlying causes for sexual addiction. Sexually addicted women tend to have experienced higher sex-related shaming in their youth, higher rates of sexual abuse than their male counterparts, and have had romantic partners who have histories of addiction. They may also have had struggles with nicotine or other substance addictions and food addictions or other eating-related disorders.
By: Allison B. Weir, MS, AMFT and Kyle N. Weir, PhD, LMFT
LifeSTAR of the Central Valley helps individuals, partners, and families to heal from the effects of pornography and sexual addiction. Complete our Self-Evaluation today to discover if LifeSTAR is right for you.