woman with candlesWhen it comes to the term sex addict, I'm not a fan. From a strictly biological perspective, human beings are not programmed to be in one relationship, with one person, until death do us part. It may feel right to pursue a monogamous lifestyle, but regardless of your choice, it's just not the only "right" way to be. Still, it's nice and comfortable and feels good for a lot of us.

However, as we continue to stay true to one lover, the term sex addict comes up to describe those of us who fall off the path, mostly for men who cheat, go to strip clubs, pay prostitutes for sex, or send dirty text messages. And now, more and more women are being called sex addicts too.

When does the line get crossed between a healthy sexual appetite and sex addiction? This one woman went to extremes -- she went to sex clubs and even resorted to prostitution to satisfy her sex addiction. But for the majority of us who don't go to such extremes, how many times do we have to do it and do we have to feel bad about it to qualify as an addict? Is this something else for women to worry about when it comes to sex?

According to a recent Live Science article, 8 to 12 percent of people who seek help with sex addiction are women. I've read that female sex addicts use sex to gain power and money, but what I don't understand is how this is different than what we do on a date? Don't we use our sexuality (at times) to gain relationships, jobs even, or the things we desire most in life? When does having sex blur into becoming sex addiction? When the risk outweighs the reward? And do female sex addicts use sex for the same reason male sex addicts do?

I was trying to think of a famous female sex addict. One that didn't once find work in the adult industry or in sex work. I can't. I can think of plenty of men, including, of course, Jesse James, David Duchovny, and Tiger Woods. These men have been called, or called themselves, sex addicts because they risked their monogamous family life for sex. That makes them careless, sure, but does that make them addicted to sex? If anything, I'd say it has something to do with power, greed, and money. That and fame. We are so fed on fame that maybe our making these men larger than life contributed to them feeling like they were above morals and ethics?

I know I have a lot of questions, and fewer of the answers, as I sit and ponder who is a sex addict. But before I throw a large portion of women who like sex (a lot) into the ring of sex addiction, I just want to be clear that we know what we're talking about. Because women already have way more hills and valleys to go through to figure out how to have an orgasm and how to really enjoy the pleasure that comes through sex, and I don't think we need anymore guilt and shame for liking sex. The more we explore female sex addiction, the more difficult it may become for women to enjoy sex. 

When is sex an addiction?


Image via Aimanness Photography/Flickr