Sex addiction. The term conjures up visions of men addicted to pornography or unable to commit to one woman.
But the so-called disease isn't just for men. Women are sex addicts too and some experts say almost a third of people treated for sex addiction are females.
“In America, 30 percent of people coming in for treatment for sex addiction are female,” Don Serratt, director of Life Works, which offers sex-addiction treatment in the UK, told the Times of London. “They’ll come for help with alcoholism, drug addiction or depression and, in the course of treatment, the sex addiction — the root cause of the other addictions — will be uncovered."
Susan Cheever, a self-confessed sex addict and author of "Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction," said it is common for women to blur the lines between the compulsions of love and sex. “If there is a difference between sex and love addiction, I don’t know what it is,” she said. “Sometimes people say they just fall in love too frequently. Are they saying they don’t want to have sex with those people? Love addict sounds nicer for sure.”
According to the National Association of Sexual Addiction Problems, about 14 million adults are sex addicts. That’s 1 out of 17 adult Americans. But FOXSexpert Yvonne Fulbright isn't sold on the concept of addiction to sex.
"An addiction, such as to alcohol or tobacco, is a physiological dependence," Fulbright wrote in a column. "Deprived of a fix, an addict has physiological reactions, like increased heart rate or the sweats. Physiological changes take place — changes that a "sex addict" does not experience when denied sex. Thus, the addiction label is quite deceptive."
According to Sex Addicts Anonymous, a sexaholic is someone who:
— Looks at sexually arousing materials in the media.
— Feels guilt and shame after having sex.
— Finds themselves in need of a variety of sexual activities in realizing sexual excitement and relief.
— Risks the chance of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection when intimate.
— Feels shame about their body or sexuality to the point that they avoid intimacy.